On down the road

This is Day 364 of 15 Days to Flatten the Curve. Deb and I are happy, rested and well.

We awoke this morning to another brilliant early-spring day. I sat at the dinette with my coffee and my computer, catching up on messages and listening to the news. Focusing on the latter, it occurred to me that I was hearing more of the same — but important as it is to me to know what’s happening in my country, I consciously tuned it out.

And then I turned it off.

After striking camp in southwest Ohio mid-morning today, we stopped on our way out to deposit trash in the campground dumpster. Our overnight neighbor, who was rolling out at the same time, came over to our idling coach, asked permission to come aboard and proceeded to give me five minutes of sage advice on how best to tackle the mountains ahead of us.

This kind southern gentleman didn’t have to do that. But he knew we were on our maiden voyage, new to wrangling a 16-ton motorhome. He took his time and his wisdom and turned it into a gift, offering guidance that benefited strangers he’d likely never see again.

He’s a perfect example of why Deb and I love this community of American nomads. We hope to pay forward ourselves at every opportunity.

Today we covered a good many more miles than we did yesterday. We dealt with more traffic, more urban areas and more grades. That big-ass diesel behind us never complained and the chassis did everything I asked of it. My education as a driver, of course, continues.

As the song says, “I hope I’m gettin better as I go.”

We made excellent time, by mid-afternoon arriving at our overnight destination in Kentucky. It’s a private commercial campground a mile or so off the Interstate, but the wooded surroundings make it seem a world away.

The trees are in bud. Outside the campground office, daffodils bloom.

Just two days in, it feels like we’re finding a rhythm. So are the dogs, each reacting in their own way to the leaving, the traveling, the arriving and the exploring of a new place.

Our list of shoulda-brought-its and really-don’t-need-its is growing. Every time we do a thing, like making our pitch-camp connections or trying to make sense of the way we’d organized our gear in the driveway at Second Chance Ranch, we learn something. That’s what a shakedown cruise is for.

Part of the rhythm is pace — as in pacing ourselves. There’s no urgency we don’t create, so we resist creating it. Our steps are measured in a very different, very liberating time.

Tonight we checked off another first — our first real home-cooked meal in Ernie. Deb prepared a skillet of black beans and rice with andouille sausage on the gas range inside the coach. We enjoyed it at the cozy dinette, by the glow of the setting sun and the new light fixture she picked out.

We’ll end this day with bourbon. It’s a Kentucky thing.

In the morning we’ll pack up for a three-hour run to Tennessee, where we plan to spend a couple of weeks — a two-night stay at one highly recommended spot, followed by several nights at another and an extended stay at a third before turning back north.

By that time we should have the hang of this. That’s the plan, anyway.

Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath