Full Moon Bus Club returns to the Nolichucky

By Jennifer Lassiter
star staff

  ERWIN -- The Full Moon Bus Club returned to the Nolichucky Campground once again, making this year the fourth year of the annual gathering.
  Traveling from all parts of the country as far away as Key West and Alaska, it's a chance for Volkswagen Bus lovers to get together, share stories and have a good time, said Mike 'Danglo, organizer of the Erwin event.
  Full Moon Bus Club was organized and started in Charleston, S.C., in 1999. The Internet-based club hosts weekend camping in destination sites all over the country.
  'Danglo along with Eddie Bernardart, Boyd Smith and Travis Adams headed up this weekend's events for their hometown. The Nolichucky River makes a great place for folks to relax and socialize, said Bernardart. Members of the club throughout the country host the event close to them and post the events on the Web site, so all can attend.
  This weekend featured a movie at the stage of the Nolichucky Campground. Bernardart, an organizer, said they decided to do a movie for everyone to watch, "Yellow Submarine." The 18x15 movie screen was something new, but a favorite for the event is always the engine burning.
  Each year, as a tradition, the group sacrifices an old engine casing. The aluminum magnesium-based alloy engine burns bright and hot. According to 'Danglo, you have to wear sunglasses, sort of like a welder.
  Since many of the bus family members grew up together, they have perfected the art of camping, and are professionals. Each Saturday they compile food to make breakfast burritos, yet another tradition.
  The prime location of the campground boasts river fun. They even have a shuttle buggy to pick up people who float down the river on tubes. The bus was created from leftover buses and named the SS Farfromfloatin'.
  Richard Bailey, better known as Beetle Bailey, traveled from Greensboro, N.C. He plans his vacations at work around the event. His 1984 VW Bus comes equipped with propane stove, refrigerator and a five-gallon sink.
  Bailey has plans to paint the cartoon character on the door of his van. Along with others he considers fellow Volkswagen owners more than just friends -- they are family.
  In his spare time back in Greensboro, Bailey works on transforming diesel engine buses into green machines that run on vegetable oil.