Houston…

It’s Day 429 of 15 Days to Flatten the Curve. Deb and I are doing ok.

To tell the story of this day, conventional wisdom wants me to start at the beginning. I’m gonna buck that advice and start at the end — not because it makes chronological sense, but because the end of the day was more significant.

We’re expecting some big storms tonight, and we’ve battened down everything we can. We’ll be fine, of course, and when tomorrow dawns we expect to be driving our rented pickup truck to Little Rock. I can explain.

Over the last two days we’ve noticed that our fridge and freezer haven’t stayed cold. Maybe it was better on LP than on 120VAC, but either way it was clear something was up. We called a mobile RV service tech who came out to the campground, ran some checks and confirmed that the fridge’s cooling unit had shit the bed.

That’s bad news because it requires an expensive replacement part that’s very hard to get (we’re talking weeks, not days), and because it throws a potential wrench into our plans to meet up with friends in Texas the first week of June.

But we need a working fridge. So we authorized the tech to source the part and let us know how long it’d take to bring it in.

After he left, the first thing we did was visit the campground office to see if we could extend our stay beyond Tuesday morning — and our gracious hosts accommodated us, removing that concern. Then I began scouring the Web for the part we need, eventually stumbling across one at a major RV retailer three hours’ drive from here.

We confirmed with our mobile tech that it was the right part and that he’d be cool with installing it. We ordered it online and arranged for pickup. If all goes well, we’ll have a refrigerating fridge by Monday.

Neither of us is panicked. We’re rolling with it, knowing that we’ll resolve this one way or another.


Deb and I did venture out today. Traveling the road between here and Branson several times now, we’d passed a small café and bakery on a side road, off by itself, just east of the highway. It seemed like a good place for a late lunch today.

The place is fronted by a gift shop that smelled like a scented candle — death-by-potpourri, if you will — and was stacked with all sorts of crafty goods made locally. We took time to browse, and to be honest it was all high-quality stuff.

In the café we went with comfort food — Deb ordered a grilled cheese sandwich, I chose a meat loaf sandwich. And sweet tea, naturally.

I mean, this is The South.

Our destination today was the Bass Pro Shops Shooting Academy in Ridgedale, Missouri. It’s where Deb shot clays for the first time a few years ago, and paying a visit was on our must-do list while we’re camped in this area.

The academy sprawls over 1,200 acres, with a rustic reception lodge and more shooting sheds than I could count. I managed to grab a panorama that captures only a sliver of the world-class facility.

(click to enlarge)

The setting, with its sweeping Ozarks vistas, is mind-blowing, and the sheer scale of the place is impressive. We walked through the lodge, visited with the pro shop staff, then lingered on the lawn behind a shooting line, gazing southeast across the plateaus into Arkansas.

No, we didn’t shoot today, but we sure made ourselves a memory.

We logged one last stop, not far down the road from Bass Pro — another gift shop, but this one didn’t smell of bayberry and eucalyptus. It was Outlaw Joe’s Handcrafted Thangs, and we hung out for a while with Outlaw Joe.

Joe lost his job in the midst of the pandemic nonsense. Instead of throwing up his hands and suckling the government teat, he created a business making signs and other objects that appeal to visitors to The Ozarks. He proudly showed off his tidy workshop and his store, which also features other items made in Missouri and Arkansas.

Really good dude. Since we don’t have room for one of Joe’s big wooden signs, I bought a bottle of Missouri bourbon.

Back at the campground, we confronted the fridge issues I described at the top of today’s post. And as I wrap this up, the storms we expected are over us.

But it was a great day anyway. Life is good.

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

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath