This is turning out to be quite the American Life. It’d be cliché to call it a “lifestyle” — I hate that term — but truly, Deb and I have completely shaken up our way of living. And it’s really working for us.
Taking a read on our situation is as easy as checking with the dogs. Scout and Dipstick are pretty damned reliable barometers of conditions in our world, and they’ve proven quick to adjust to changes in circumstance, scenery and company.
They’re the best possible traveling companions, true road warriors.
Yes, we’ve put actual traveling on pause for a time. They’re cool with that, as are we. For different reasons, we’re all very comfortable here in northern Arkansas.
And that leads me to a subject I don’t believe I’ve mentioned in my posts — the possibility that during our travels we’ll find a place where we want to put down roots. It’s not our goal, but Deb and I are open to that happening along the way.
We also made a pact to avoid discussing it until we’ve been on the road for six months.
That said, it’s been impossible for us not to talk explicitly about moving to The Ozarks after we leave the road (whenever that may be). We stuck around northern Arkansas for 25 days during our first visit and now we’re back again for another extended stay. We’ve fallen in love with the people, the culture and the surroundings — it’s the true America we hoped we’d find somewhere out here on the road.
Now if you, dear reader, are enterprising enough to do some digging into what’s been written and said about the area we’re in right now, you’ll see some things — unflattering things, events and history, stuff that may make you wonder why we’d be attracted to the place at all.
The reason is simple: experience. Our first-hand personal experience is that we’ve never been treated better than we have here. We feel at home. We’re among like minds, true Americans. It’s the traditional America neither of us has seen since childhood.
Don’t look for any dog whistles, code words or hidden meanings in what I’ve said, ’cause there aren’t any. I’m being straight-up clear and honest with you — this place simply has a hold on us.
We began this Sunday with our Canadian neighbors, who surprised us with a home-cooked breakfast — bacon, eggs, (real) Canadian bacon and potatoes. By mid-afternoon, much-needed rain showers swept through the campground, heavy enough to do more than settle the dust.
Deb and I made a quick run to Walmart, bringing back items we couldn’t find elsewhere locally. Dinner was black beans and rice with smoked sausage, wedges of Arkansas-grown cukes and fresh-baked whole-wheat bread.
The evening is dry and it’s cool, in the low 70s. Typical of a Sunday, the campground is about half-full tonight.
The last ten weeks have brought us joy beyond what we could’ve imagined. We’re moved by moments and transformed by the experience — and, as a talented friend of ours likes to say, we’re “nowhere near done.”
Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.