The last day

The campground where we’ve been for the last six nights would make our “recommended” list. It’s not perfect — sites are very narrow, allowing little room for a safe campfire and putting our outdoor sitting area just a couple of feet from the neighbors’ sewer hookup. And the weekender culture ’round here makes the place sketchier (see below) and a bit noisier than we like.

But all the important stuff is solid and the setting is near-ideal. We’d likely come back.

I noticed one feature that reminds me of the Harrison KOA Holiday — a creek that cuts through the middle of the park. While the Arkansas campground has a true dry creek bed that aids in flood control, the run here has standing water (and lily pads) in it. This morning, after three days of rain, it’s full, muddy and flowing.

Deb and I went out yesterday afternoon, just a local run to reprovision. We had lunch at the brewery we’d visited the other day, a pub we’ve truly enjoyed over the years. I had a 20-ounce Shovelhead 2X IPA, and from the Chef Shack next door I ordered a patty melt and fries, along with an unusual fried pickle — a “dill spear wrapped in a wonton with cream cheese, brown mustard and salami.” Delicious.

We just missed the brewery’s annual “Zero K Run,” a whimsical fundraiser held inside the bar. Poking fun at carb-loaders and hashers it goes absolutely nowhere, simply an excuse to drink good beer and collect money for a local charity.

Then, I slept — a lot. After a decent Saturday night I logged three (count ’em) naps yesterday followed by a restful night. I didn’t catch up completely, but I feel better than I did.

Full recovery, I suspect, will have to wait for Arkansas.

Friends had been telling us about a small diner down the road from our campground, urging us to have breakfast there before we leave. Since today would be our last opportunity, we dragged ourselves out of bed and made that the day’s first stop.

The sparse crowd at “Our Lakeside Diner” on this Monday appeared to be mostly locals. The waitstaff looked like they’d survived another weekend crush. The atmosphere was typical and, to us, ideal.

Our breakfast was standard-issue diner fare — large portions, done just right. Deb had an omelet with home fries and I had sausage gravy and biscuits with hashbrowns. It made for a great start to our last full day in Ohio.

We ran over to Second Chance Ranch to pick up a couple of houseplants and stopped at the bank to make a deposit. Then it was back to the campground for a nap. (We catch our much-needed sleep whenever and wherever we can.)

Later, while stowing gear in Ernie’s basement, I opened a bay door to discover a wad of wet clothes — jeans (28×28), t-shirt (S) and underwear. Add that disturbing find to the young black male who opened the door early Thursday morning while Deb and the dogs were up front and I was getting out of the shower.

Scout and Dipstick sounded the alarm and the kid skedaddled.

Benefit of the doubt? No. I’m not inclined toward innocent explanations anymore. My capacity for trust is all but gone. I think it’s time for us to go.

As soon as Deb and I parked Ernie at Second Chance Ranch when we returned in March, the very first thing we did was hop in my truck and drive up to Squeek’s Bar & Grill. It was only fitting, then, that it’d be our last stop on our final day in Ohio.

Squeek was there, as were Kenny and Amy. (We missed seeing Stacey, whose mother had just passed.) These folks, and others we met through this little honky tonk, have become Family to us. They’ve been part of great times, some of the best we’ve had.

As they were the first we greeted, they were the last we bid farewell.

We weren’t there long, really. Deb and I had burgers. We talked a while. When it was time to leave, hugs. It was perfect as could be.

We’re good here. Tomorrow we roll toward the next chapter of our American Life.

We’re moving to The Mountain.

One year ago today, Mercy got a winch.

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

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath

#LetsGoBrandon #FJB