Not yet. Not today.

We’ve been parked so long that the grass on our campsite needs mowing. It wasn’t our aim to live up to an aphorism, but here we are. We know that settling for a month and taking care of business was the right thing to do.

The park got pretty full last night, after hours, offering us more to notice. Like the family that rolled in next door and brought a sweet 35-year-old E-Z-GO three-wheeled golf cart. On the other side of the footbridge is a mother and son sleeping in the back of their Toyota 4Runner.

Across the way, a Wyoming couple on a full-dress motorcycle, an Indian Roadmaster, is pulling a pop-up tent trailer (the way I traveled many years ago). Next to them is an odd sight these days — an old-school slide-in camper, a setup I’ve always found appealing (if somewhat ungainly).

Deb’s cousin arrived before noon and set to work troubleshooting Ernie’s trailer wiring. He disassembled the seven-way connector, separated the wires, pulled out a multimeter and ran some checks.

The first thing that became obvious to him was that the connector itself needs replacing. I expected that. What I didn’t expect — and this is why we’re grateful for his help — is that if we want to do this the right (and electrically reliable) way, we’ll need a $15 part.

It’s a three-to-two converter, a box containing diodes that make sense of brake and blinker signals for the seven-way connector. Essentially it takes three wires and brings their functions to two terminals.

So we’re not up and running just yet.

Deb’s cousin knew what we needed and picked it up (along with a new seven-way) on his way home. He wired them on his workbench and he’ll come back here tomorrow to hook it up. With any luck, we’ll be in business by the end of the day.

There’s no pressure. No urgency. A situation like this validates our choice to come back to The Ozarks and create plenty of space for all that has to be done.

We took time this afternoon to plan a couple of weeks’ travel from here. We booked sites at several destinations, three of which are free and one of which is quite inexpensive — a good thing, since the expense of acquiring and equipping our toad put a considerable dent in our travel budget.

The route we’ve chosen to and through South Dakota looks a little different than what we planned in June. Mercy gives us the ability to be more flexible now. Maybe a little more spontaneous. Probably a lot less stuck to a list of things we must see and must do.

We’ve learned that there’s joy in every mile and splendor everywhere we go. Wherever we are, we’re home.


Deb and I love good barbecue, We’ve had the pleasure of sampling quite a bit of this classically American cuisine already over the last couple of months, and we’re not done by a long shot. This afternoon we headed into Harrison to dine at T’s BBQ, a place that came highly recommended.

There’s assembly-line barbecue, and then there’s serious barbecue. T’s is serious, authentic barbecue.

Deb had the brisket plate. I went with the pulled-pork sandwich, topped with slaw, accompanied by fresh-fried pork rinds and a side of baked beans. For dessert we had homemade fried pies and vanilla ice cream.

Magically delicious.

On our way back we stopped at the dealer where we bought Mercy. The salesman had asked us to come by before we left town, just to visit. We had a great chat with the young man.

This truly is Handshake Country.

I believe we’ll end this day with a campfire.

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

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath