Princess Nash and Peter Moore stopped at the Geographical Center of North America on August 20. What makes them different from the scores of other visitors each year to Rugby? It is the unusual story they have to tell.
Nash from London, Kentucky and Moore from Lincoln, England met through Voluntary Services Overseas in Guyana, South America. He was a computer technology consultant and she was involved with international public health. They became good friends and when his buddies couldn't go, Moore asked Princess if she would be interested in a motorcycle tour of the United States. She wasn't too sure about the motorcycle as a mode of travel, but as long as the weather is good she has enjoyed it. They plan to ride until at least December.
They left on Memorial Day from Kentucky and have been traveling ever since. They have visited 21 states, so far. They picked Rugby, ND as a stop along the way as they read it was the Geographical Center of North America.
But there is more to the story than just a cycle ride. Much more.
For over two years (May 2007 -December 2009) Peter was held in captivity in Iraq along with four bodyguards. He was the only one of the five to survive that experience. The others were killed as they tried to escape.
Moore's plan with some of his buddies was to work for VSO for two years and then take a motorcycle tour of South America. In the meantime, Moore was asked to go to Iraq for three months to work with their Ministry of Finance to develop reports for their computer system. His work would show the dollars spent. Moore knew that it could be dangerous. He just didn't know how dangerous.
"I never thought I would be taken and held for political reasons," said Moore.
He and four bodyguards from England, former military men, Jason Swindlehurst, Jason Creswell, Alec MacLachlan, and Alan McMenemy, were kidnapped by a militant group called the League of Righteous.
Moore spent his first year blindfolded and handcuffed. They took his glasses so for 2 1/2 years he was unable to see clearly. He was moved from place to place and his captors played games for their own amusement with him. A captor held a gun to his head and then cocked the gun and "fired" it. The gun was empty, but someone else fired a gun behind him giving the illusion that the gun pointing at Moore's head was fired.
"I thought, I must be dead," said Moore, while he heard his captors laughing around him.
Every day for two and a half years, he wondered if that day would be the last day of his life. When he was finally told he was going to be freed on December 30, 2009, he told his captors to go away and leave him alone, as he pulled his blanket over his head. But soon he was in the care of the American Embassy.
The experience has changed at least two things about him, he said, "one is my risk perception is different and the other is that my work ethic has changed. I used to work all the time." He also said he will not be going back to Iraq. "I won't say never, but it won't be until things change over there."
Although his buddies were not able to take the trip with him, after all, Moore contacted Nash and she wanted to have an adventure before she settled down to a job. She agreed to go with him.
On their shared journey, the two friends have experienced many interesting places and enjoy meeting people.
They have had some interesting experiences along the way. Like here in North Dakota, they accidentally put diesel fuel in the gas tank of the Honda.
"You are the only state that has diesel fuel right with the regular gas," laughed Princess.
Fortunately, when the motorcycle broke down, a mechanic stopped to help them and gave them a ride to a Honda dealership in Fargo. A few hundred dollars later, they were back on the road heading to the Geographical Center of North America.
(For more information about Peter Moore, use a search engine on the internet and type in his name. For more information about the Honda tour go to Facebook and type Princessandpeter and you can follow the tour.)