Our intrepid Jeep, Mercy, having been ducked many times and “chickened” recently, done got ducked agin last night. This time it was the Texans across the campground road, which can only mean that the small rubber chicken was planted by our Canadian friends.
The park’s been a bit busier lately. By days’ end more sites are occupied — about half the guests are overnighters, most of the rest hang around a few days. It’s been good to see, as our hosts make their way through a tougher-than-necessary season.
We’re not far from the county airport here, and often Deb and I cast our eyes to the skies as light planes come and go. We use the “flightradar24” app to identify, whenever possible, what we’re seeing.
The app itself can be pretty seductive, however. We’ve been known to peek in on other areas (like the Columbus metro we just left) to see what’s in the air there. And last night we watched a fascinating scenario play out over Arkansas.
I happened to notice a large aircraft near Harrison, and it wasn’t flagged with a carrier logo. Clicking on it, I saw that it was a USAF Boeing E-3B (aka AWACS), and it had been circling repeatedly over two areas in the northwest part of the state.
I pointed it out to Deb. Shortly afterward she identified another unflagged aircraft, a USAF Boeing KC-135R Stratotanker (aerial refueling) coming out of the Carolinas and drawing a direct bead on northwest Arkansas. Since that AWACS had been in the air quite some time, I suggested that it might be the tanker’s target.
Sure enough, that’s what happened. The AWACS broke away from its pattern and fell in behind the Stratotanker almost directly over The Mountain. Both flew nose-to-tail for hundreds of miles until the AWACS disappeared from radar — contact.
Maybe we’re the only ones who’d find such a thing intriguing, but for us it was riveting.
Around 11am today we left for The Mountain to meet our site-work guy. The meetup was scheduled for 1pm, but he was delayed and didn’t arrive ’til just before 3pm. We filled the time by riding the Ranger around the property, from the homesite to the summit and back, enjoying a near-perfect summer afternoon.
To make a long story short (and a blog post shorter), his backhoe has begun to turn our dream into reality — starting at the northern entrance of the driveway, trees are coming down, rocks are coming out and dirt is moving.
I’ll let images tell the story of this day. We’re all smiles, knowing it’ll only get better from here.
One year ago today we paid our respects at Little Bighorn Battlefield.
Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.