Working Americans tend to structure their lives around the demands of a job or profession. Parents’ lives revolve around their children. Dog owners like us adjust to the needs of our canine companions.

Deb and I never thought we’d be held captive by a couple of heat pumps on a motorhome, but here we are.

Today got off to a bitter start (13°F, a new low for us) and took its time getting to above freezing. It was after 1pm before we could switch from the gas furnaces, which had been running for the last three days, to Ernie’s more cost-effective electric heat pumps.

There were a couple of places we wanted to go today, and we don’t like to leave the bus ’til we can make that switch. We finally shoved off around 2pm and pointed the Jeep west toward rural Alpena.

Our destination was ten miles away off US 412, down in a hollow on the banks of Long Creek. One of the businesses we’d visited last week had a project underway and the owner invited us to go take a look at what they’d done — with the prospect, of course, of doing work for us on The Mountain.

We were impressed.

We also were reminded that we are, in fact, in The Ozarks, where folks look out for each other. As we were leaving, an elderly man approached from a nearby mobile home to inquire why we were poking around.

“I keep an eye on the place,” he said, leaning on a walking cane.

Deb assured him that we had permission to be there and, noticing his “Vietnam Veteran” hat, thanked him for his service. He nodded, turned and hobbled back toward his trailer.

On our return to town we stopped to thank the business owner, peppering him with questions about what we’d just seen. Before we left we asked him to quote a small, intermediate project that Deb and I had been talking about.

It’s a place to start.

“Freezing drizzle” is forecast for tomorrow morning, according to two of the four weather services we monitor, but we’ve been away from The Mountain for far too long. We intend to brave whatever conditions materialize and make the drive.

Ernie’s heat pumps should release us by 9am or so.

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

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath

#LetsGoBrandon #FJB