When we mailed off that notarized power-of-attorney form last week, it authorized the new owner of the Bumper Bunker to do business with the Ohio BMV as if he’s me. Well, we screwed up — Deb’s name is on the trailer’s title, too, and that meant we had to repeat the process today.
She used the same friendly notary, but this time we express-mailed the document from Harrison. The new owner will have what he needs by Thursday.
We follow the old business route through Harrison (as opposed to the “bypass,” which really doesn’t bypass much) about half the time. It takes us into the old downtown, through the square and past dozens of small, independent businesses. That’s how we’ve found cool stores and great dining.
Today, while we were in that neighborhood, we tried a new (to us) restaurant, an eatery called “B’s Spot.” It had been recommended to us in the same breath as Ranch House, which we love, so we figured it was worth a shot.
Sure enough, B’s Spot is a full-menu-all-day joint, its six-panel menu stacked with comfort food. There’s a twist, however — offerings also include avocado toast, lox bagels and poutine, not your typical down-home Southern fare.
The atmosphere was bright and clean, the service pleasant (albeit slow), the prices reasonable and the food excellent. We’ll be back — we’ve heard the burgers are amazing.
Deb and I are burning through a fair amount of gasoline these days, most of it in the SilverSilverado. Prices have come down since we landed here seven weeks ago — the “invisible hand” of market forces has taken what we pay for a gallon of regular from $3.949 to $3.369.
The price in Arkansas averages $3.256 statewide, second only to Texas at $3.252. The national average is $3.779, and our former home state of Ohio sits at $3.623.
The two counties in which we regularly refuel, Boone and Marion, are a good bit higher than the state average — $3.456 and $3.362, respectively. Gas in our old stompin’ grounds averages $3.59, slightly below Ohio’s statewide price.
I remember what it felt like when I moved from southern New England to Ohio 21 years ago, thrilled to see how much lower prices were in the Midwest. I’m having the same experience again — it looks like we’ll be able to save a lot of money on food and other everyday items.
Sales tax is higher here than in it is Ohio. Property taxes are assessed on more stuff in Arkansas but the rates are much lower. For example, annual real-estate taxes on Second Chance Ranch were about $4,000. Here we expect to pay somewhere between $400 and $600 — that’s not a typo — and we’ll apply for a homestead exemption on The Mountain.
Cost-of-living statistics are encouraging, too. Using the national average as a baseline (100.0), Arkansas is the second-most-affordable state in which to live (86.9) and neighboring Missouri comes in fourth (87.1). Our cost of living, by the numbers, will be about 13% below the national average.
Ohio’s still on the affordable side, placing 14th (90.8). But Connecticut, my home for 21 miserable years, has a cost-of-living index of 127.7, making it the eighth-most-expensive state.
We won’t know for a couple of years how it’ll all shake out for us in The Ozarks. I think we’ll be in good shape.
Something that doesn’t lend itself to statistical analysis is the pace of life. It’s slower in this part of The South. That either suits a person or it doesn’t.
It suits me just fine.
Sitting outside with my coffee this morning, I launched my flightradar24 app and pulled up the airspace around HRO (Harrison). Within a few minutes I saw six commercial jetliners, all headed roughly southwest. I clicked on each and discovered that every one of them, from various vectors, was headed for DFW (Dallas).
All six were scheduled to arrive between 6:58am and 7:03am.
That spoke loudly to me about pace. See, I used to operate in that breakneck environment. I know it well. I didn’t like it then and I sure as hell want no part of it now.
I’ve run my last Rat Race.
One year ago today — mountains, huckleberries and “The Best Burger Goin’.”
Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.