Around camp

Certain ordinary tasks, in my experience, are calming. Though they might be routine, necessary or mundane, done right they can take on the character of meditation — tactile, simple, deliberate, rhythmic.

Performing periodic maintenance on an engine — swapping oil, adjusting valves, gapping plugs. Restoring the edge of a favorite knife. Field-stripping and cleaning a familiar firearm.

In a bygone era of shined shoes, I was raised by a compulsive polisher. I didn’t much like the process myself, being a kid and all, and yet I learned it. Now it’s been years since I’ve worn shoes that call for a spit-shine, but all of my finished-leather footwear still gets the regular care it deserves.

Yesterday I brought out the new lace-up boots I bought recently at Bass Pro in Branson, along with a pair of Merrell “Jungle Moc” slip-ons I’d picked up at a Cabela’s in South Dakota. I settled in a camp chair and set to giving these shoes some love, using only one product — Montana Pitch Blend Leather Oil and Conditioner, a mixture of pine pitch and mink oil. I’ve been a fan of the stuff for years.

For my mocs it was a matter of bringing back the leather’s suppleness after three months of regular duty. The boots I’d worn only once so far, so a dose of Pitch Blend would start them out right.

I applied the oil with my hands, working it into the hide only with my fingertips. Once I’d finished with a pair I gave them a brisk rub with a clean microfiber cloth — not to buff or shine, but to remove any excess product left on the surface.

The ritual was relaxing. The results were satisfying. In my world it doesn’t get much better than that.


Ernie’s furnace repair, originally scheduled for today, got moved up. We got a call yesterday morning from the RV shop, saying that their mobile tech preferred to get the work done before today’s predicted rain. Fine by us.

The tech arrived mid-morning and got straight to work, eventually determining that the circuit board controlling the rear furnace was dead and needed replacing. Fortunately the shop had the part in stock, so he’d come back with it later and do the installation.

Around noon I decided to make myself a sandwich. Opening the refrigerator door to grab fixins, I noticed that the interior was dark — the fridge, which sits above the soon-to-be-repaired furnace, had stopped working.

All breakers and fuses checked out fine. We called the shop to let them know that the tech would have one more mystery to solve when he returned to finish the furnace.

To make a long story short, he discovered that someone, at some point, had tapped the wire supplying 12 volts to the rear furnace, stealing power for the refrigerator’s low-voltage circuits. That theft, over time, had taken a toll on the furnace’s control board. When the tech disconnected furnace power yesterday morning (and left it that way, awaiting a replacement part), he unknowingly also robbed the fridge of its 12V feed.

We can’t say for sure who tapped into the furnace wiring, or when. It probably wasn’t the manufacturer 17 years ago. As easy as it’d be to blame the Texas shop that replaced our fridge in June, I seriously doubt that. I suspect it was Ernie’s previous owner, who’d reported chasing power issues with the refrigerator not long before we brought the bus home.

To put things right, the tech grabbed DC from a wire powering a nearby basement light and restored 12 volts to the fridge. Finally he replaced the furnace’s circuit board, then tested his work.

All’s well. Beer’s cold. Heat’s back. Bring on winter.

We ended our Tuesday with a special nosh, bringing to our table items we’ve gathered over the last several months.

Trail Bologna and Amish cheeses from Ohio, plus a jar of home-pickled Brussels sprouts, all gifts from visiting friends. Spicy pickles from Bandera, Texas. A wedge of Galiki Gouda, a Flathead Lake cheese we bought at a farmers market in Polson, Montana. Apples grown right here in Arkansas.

It was a simple meal — probably too simple for some but absolutely perfect for Deb and me, all served on paper plates. That’s how we do things on this bus.


Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that there’s a high-profile criminal trial underway in Wisconsin. As I type this, the case is in the hands of the jury. Local residents and businesses are boarding up, literally and figuratively, preparing for unrest when the verdict is announced.

I haven’t made any predictions about the outcome. On social media I haven’t engaged in posting shallow memes, sympathetic though I may be to some of them — that’s just not my style.

On August 25th, 2020, a 17-year-old white boy exercised questionable judgment, in my opinion, when he toted a rifle into a riot zone, perhaps even by entering the riot zone in the first place. But that observation is wholly irrelevant to the matter at hand.

This case is about self-defense.

I watched a good bit of the trial. The judge was, for the most part, sharp and fair. Defense counsel did a passable job. The prosecution, however, was shockingly incompetent, and if you’ve heard analysis to the contrary it’s coming from drunks and fools. Take your pick — style or substance. strategy or statute, there’s no reason that this trial should produce anything but acquittal on all counts.

If only it were that simple.

An acquittal will reignite riots in Kenosha and beyond. The dishonest Left and complicit media, along with the current occupant of the Oval Office, are doing their best to ensure that happens, too, straining to make this about race (which it can’t possibly be, of course). Lest we forget, the jury isn’t sequestered — we can be certain that it feels the cultural heat.

And so we may get one or more verdicts which attempt to appease The Mob. That’d be futile, and I sure hope it doesn’t happen, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

Wisconsin is the latest front in a pitched battle between defenders of Liberty and the anti-American Left. Our birthright to bear arms in self-defense is at stake. That was crystallized by the prosecution in this case, when the assistant DA advised us to shut up, disarm and “take the beating” we have coming.

No matter the verdict in Kenosha, the enemies of Liberty won’t relent. They’re coming for us. Especially if you’re white, or male, or hold traditional American values, they’re coming for you.

I stand with Kyle Rittenhouse. If you’re an American worth a damn, so do you.

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

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath

#LetsGoBrandon