Keepin’ it local

Window tinting, in my view, has always been just a step above curb feelers and fuzzy dice — a fashion statement, seldom more, and a waste of money. I’ve never seen the point in anything darker than whatever the factory provided.

Then again, I’d never spent a summer in The South.

Last week Deb suggested that we might consider tinting the glass in the SilverSilverado. Checking with our friends at the local truck-accessories shop, which does a lot of tinting, their price certainly was right, maybe a third of what the same work would cost in central Ohio.

We dropped the truck off for a couple of hours this morning. They applied 20% tint to the front-door windows, 50% on the rear doors and back glass. (Since the windshield just suffered a rock chip, we left that alone ’til we address repair or replacement.) They’ve asked us not to roll the windows down for a couple of days while the film cures.

I’ll say this — on the five-mile drive from the shop to the campground, the difference was noticeable, and I mean right away. The air conditioning cooled the interior faster and didn’t work as hard. Ok, I’m sold.

We seized the opportunity (being in town, that is) to enjoy a hearty breakfast at the Ranch House — eggs, bacon and potatoes for Deb, stuffed French toast (with blueberries) and pan-fried bologna for me. Nothin’ better.

When we picked up the truck we dropped off the Jeep. Since we returned to Arkansas ten days ago we’d noticed that its handling was, for lack of a better term, squirrelly — all over the road, sloppy and hard to drive. We didn’t know if something was broken or bent, missing or misadjusted. Maybe it was tires, maybe shocks, maybe worn bushings.

Anyway, we asked the shop guys to drive it, then put it up on the lift and give us a report.

I got a call around 4pm — they’d discovered loose hardware on a tie rod, a pitman arm and the aftermarket steering stabilizer. Once cinched up, they said, handling was much improved.

Deb drove Mercy back to the campground and agrees. It’s good to have that taken care of.


We got into RVing two years ago and knew nothing, or at least we didn’t know much. Moving up from a travel trailer to a diesel pusher increased exponentially our ignorance — so many systems and so many procedures, dozens of maintenance rituals, countless things to consider when setting up and breaking camp.

Thing is, we wanted to learn what we didn’t yet know. Both Deb and I studied and practiced, tapping Internet forums and social-media groups to expand our knowledge (and avoid screwups).

We’re not encyclopedic by any means, but I’d say we’ve acquitted ourselves pretty damned well.

I mention all this to set the table for what we observed one of our campground neighbors do when they pulled in a couple of days ago. We couldn’t help noticing that when they’d finished setting up their Class A diesel pusher, the right-rear duals were up in the air, the jack at that corner fully extended.

We learned long ago never to jack the rears that high — the parking brake sets the rear axle, and without contact with terra firma the coach can roll (or at least move). If there’s no alternative, then the other wheels must be chocked securely, and these weren’t. It looked like a problem waiting to happen.

Come this morning when they tried to leave, they couldn’t. The right-rear jack refused to retract (probably because it had been over-extended and perhaps deflected). A mobile RV tech came out and had to remove the jack assembly completely to get the wheels back on the ground — but the suspension system read that as a malfunction (naturally) and the system had to be tricked (using jumper wires) to get the rig on the road.

Repairs will happen later.

We’ve made our share of mistakes, that’s for sure — “there but for grace” and all that. But we like to think that we’ve steered clear of fundamental errors like this one because we went to school on the important stuff.


On the Ohio front, briefly, today the first contract on Second Chance Ranch fell through because the buyers weren’t able to get financing (which allegedly was “pre-approved” before they made their offer). Something about defaulting on student loans.

Think maybe somebody was counting on “forgiveness” from Uncle Sugar? Who knows?

A big part of me doesn’t buy that dodge. Whatever. We’re going with a backup buyer — same offer but a much longer lead time. It sets us back six weeks, from mid-August to early October.

In this market that’s maddening. Now, unexpectedly, we have some juggling to do.


One year ago today, we pulled up stakes and rolled north, headed for the time of our lives.


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

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath

#LetsGoBrandon