Local flavor

This is Day 416 of 15 Days to Flatten the Curve. Deb and I are blissin’.

Striking camp went smoothly this morning as we left behind our wooded site above the lake. We retraced the last stretch of Wednesday’s drive and arrived at our next campground — still in Arkansas, still in the Ozarks — well before noon. We’re set up with full hookups once again, a couple of rows back from a scenic river. Tall maples arch over our site.

This’ll do nicely for the next week or so.

Deb’s cousin dropped by our new spot this afternoon, picked us up and drove us around the area. We got to see more of this incredible region — little-known spots, many of them accessible only by rough and rutted gravel roads that twist through the densely wooded mountains.

Buffalo National River. The now-abandoned zinc-mining town of Rush. Even a local street-rod shop with a stunning collection of vehicles on display (including a truck built by Deb’s cousin).

Most memorable, at least for me, was snaking down a narrow county road, fording two creeks (bridges are optional here), to Gray Spring — a natural artesian well, its crystal-clear water erupting from a concrete well head. Besides being visually breathtaking, this well also was strategically significant during the Civil War.

Folks still trek to Gray Spring (if they can find it) to fill jugs and bottles — and it’s not just the locals. While we were there, a fellow driving a pickup with Missouri tags backed up to the well, hoisted a long PVC pipe and directed the water into a large tank in the bed of his truck.

Back in town, we sampled some Ozarks barbecue. I chose something called “The Hawg Dawg” — a huge all-beef hot dog, wrapped in bacon, covered in slow-smoked pulled pork and slaw, topped with spicy BBQ sauce. Served with a side of slaw and sweet tea, of course.

Sound amazing? It was — and it cost just eight bucks.

From there we retired to Deb’s cousin’s home, a humble cabin nestled among tall oaks and cedars on a craggy mountaintop. It brought to mind an Aaron Lewis lyric:

I still live in the sticks where you wouldn’t go
In a town of twelve hundred off an old dirt road
And a Country Boy is all I’ll ever be

Sitting in rocking chairs on his front porch, sipping cold beers and taking in the breathtaking view, we found ourselves wanting to spend more time ’round here.

And maybe we will.

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

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath