If you live anywhere near Second Chance Ranch, the last couple of days there’s a good chance you’ve heard a hissssssss… that’s the sound of Deb and me decompressing, slumping audibly, ever-so-slowly settling into a fixed address for the first time in almost 11 months.
We’re down to living a dual existence again, putting our third life (The Mountain) on the back burner while we take care of business here. A 16-ton motorhome sits in the driveway, for the moment serving as a sort of supply depot — clothes, personal items and lots of food still live out there, and we bounce between house and bus many times each day.
Yesterday afternoon we connected Ernie to 30A shore power, which keeps the fridge running (without burning LP) and float-charges the house batteries. Over the next few weeks we’ll pull out items that need to be washed, cleaned, dried out or otherwise dealt with.
It’ll be a process, not an event.
Looking back now at our three-day run from northern Arkansas to central Ohio, I have to say it was a good trip overall. We benefited from near-ideal conditions, notably light winds and dry skies, validating the decision to shift our launch from Saturday to Tuesday.
Pushing it back any further — or extending it by taking a layover along the way — would’ve put us in colder, rainy and blustery weather more typical of mid-March in the Midwest. We succeeded in hitting the perfect window.
As for the driving itself, aside from necessary urban passages through Springfield, St. Louis, Indy and Columbus it went as well as it could and better than expected. On the open highway I set a pace of 60mph to 65mph. It felt comfortable, reducing stress on both pilot and craft.
When we landed west of St. Louis early Tuesday afternoon, Deb remarked that the day’s 255-mile leg was, to her senses, the best driving I’d done since we left Ohio. I might just agree with that.
Now candidly, it’s been a long time since driving Ernie has been “fun” for me. The task requires deliberate focus and relentless attention, leaving me little room for personal enjoyment. I believe the five-month layoff did me a world of good, however, allowing me to approach this short push with a fresh attitude.
“We should be prepared to pivot and go back to the reinstitution of some of these restrictions regarding indoor masking… we can’t just say, ‘We’re done, now we’re going to move on.'”Anthony “Dr. Doom” Fauci, yesterday
Ohio, viewed from the coasts, must seem like a fairly conservative place. In many ways it is — though the governor is a certified RINO, the legislature boasts a strong GOP majority. Rural areas lean right, mostly, with a dash of old-school Democrats. Major population centers tilt to the left — some, like once-conservative Columbus, farther than others.
It makes for interesting political and cultural tension.
We can’t resist comparing central Ohio, which we’ll leave soon, to northern Arkansas, where we’ll make our home later this year. Things like political correctness (or not), gas prices and reflexive compliance with State decrees.
A gallon of regular gas, based on what we’ve seen since we returned, ranges from $3.999 to $4.099 locally — a quarter below the national average but a quarter higher than the current average price in Boone County, Arkansas.
WuFlu jab rates reported in this part of Ohio are between 57% and 64%, compared to 37% in Boone County (where we spent the last five months) and Marion County (where we’re building).
A leading anti-Second Amendment campaign awards Ohio a grade of D for its gun laws and ranks the Buckeye State 25th. (From our perspective that’s a B and a ranking of 26th.) I suspect its grade will go down (and therefore up) when the recently passed “constitutional carry” law takes effect in June. The same group gives Arkansas an F (which translates to an A) and ranks it 50th (1st).
Arkansas often appears in the top five for personal freedom, while Ohio is reliably mid-pack or lower.
To be fair, there are lots of places in rural Ohio where you’ll never see “COEXIST” on a bumper. Likewise, large urban centers in Arkansas, like Little Rock, are dependably liberal.
Ultimately, if all politics is local then so must be the comparisons. On the political spectrum Fairfield County, Ohio is “moderately conservative.” We’re surrounded by like minds here, an ideological character made more apparent (and more important) given its proximity to progressive Columbus.
Marion County, Arkansas, by contrast, shows up as “very conservative.” It’s so far to the right that it’s at the very edge the scale. (If you’re looking for the equivalent at the other extreme, that’d be… wait for it… San Francisco County, but that leftist enclave is so effing woke that it’s literally off the chart.)
Though I consider myself more libertarian than conservative, the culture in and around Marion County — and, as we know, culture is upstream from politics — makes that patch of north-central Arkansas feel like Home.
None of this means to damn the state of my birth. It’s still a good place to be. Ohio is home to millions of true Americans, many of whom are lifelong friends who love Liberty as much as we do.
At this point in our American Life, however, we’re choosing to take a different path.
Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.