Here’s the latest

Excavation will recommence on The Mountain soon, we believe, contingent on closing the sale of Second Chance Ranch. We spoke with our contractor yesterday morning to discuss where, exactly, might be the best place to drop the house kit.

There are no good options. We chose an imperfect spot.

Related to that decision is the type of truck delivering the building materials. Together we’ll try to convince the manufacturer to bring a flatbed truck or an open gooseneck trailer, not a full-on semi. Our site contractor knows firsthand what it’s like to haul a heavy load up The Mountain, so we’re counting on him to be the most persuasive voice.

I remember the day last month when he first towed his backhoe up our road. He stopped abreast of where I was standing next to the homesite, rolled down his window and said, “Man! That was about all it wanted!” His F350 diesel dually was pulling around 17,000 pounds, about a ton more than its rated capacity — and pulling a 17% grade.

The road up The Mountain is relatively short but it’s narrow, rough, slippery (traction can be sketchy even when it’s bone-dry) and steep. From where it leaves the gravel subdivision road it climbs 217 vertical feet, most of that in a quarter-mile.

To put that in perspective, our humble road ascends 50 feet higher than Niagara Falls over a distance shorter than five football fields.

I suppose a properly equipped semi towing a flatbed could do the job — if it backed all the way down The Mountain after dropping its cargo. (I could sell tickets to that.) Hell, maybe an experienced driver would even jump at such a challenge.

But this is a delivery, not a test. We’ll do our best to dissuade the kit manufacturer and the builder from bringing a big rig up our road.

The elevation profile (left) and grade profile (right) for the seven-mile drive from Yellville to The Mountain.

For those of you keeping score, Deb’s been down sick for five days. She’s seen incremental improvement in her symptoms, but not enough to get her out of bed for long. This morning, finally, she made an appointment with an urgent-care clinic to see what they could do for her.

I waited in the truck. The older I get, the less inclined I am to walk into a hospital or clinic unless I’m the one being seen. Nothing to do with WuFlu, I just have no interest in exposure to whatever’s in the air where sick people go.

It’d be a different story, naturally, if Deb was in serious condition.

Diagnosis: food poisoning — or maybe stomach flu. Could be either. They took a kitchen-sink approach to treatment, prescribing four different medications. She started on those this afternoon.

Obviously we haven’t been doing any running around — no dining out, no window shopping and definitely no trips to The Mountain. We’re confined to the campsite ’til Deb gets back on her feet. I spend as much time as I can outside the motorhome, reading and writing and enjoying the fresh air.

We’re having a run of ideal weather — daytime highs at or below 80°F, overnight lows in the 40s and low 50s, blue skies and gentle breezes. There’s no rain in the two-week forecast.

Clear and dry weather comes with a price, however. Farmers are struggling. The entire state is under moderate or high risk of wildfire, and many counties have imposed burn bans. And today one of the canoe-and-kayak outfitters on the Buffalo announced that it’s closing for the season.

“There comes a point where low levels are hard on boats and visitors,” family-owned Crockett’s Canoe Rental said on social media this morning. “For us the river levels are at that point. We look forward to opening back up March 15th, 2023.”

Keep in mind that the Buffalo River usually is floatable into (and often through) November, some sections even later. We canoed a five-mile stretch ourselves a week before Halloween last year.

Drought put a serious hurt on river-dependent businesses this summer, and now it’s ending the season six weeks or more before it should be over.

If you head this way to catch fall foliage (and you really should), know that The Ozarks of northern Arkansas offers more ways to enjoy autumn than floating the Buffalo. The region still has hundreds of miles of hiking trails, overlanding (OHV) routes and a web of well-maintained roads. The incomparable southern hospitality isn’t affected by the lack of rain.

As soon as I get my partner-in-crime back, we’ll be taking advantage of all that.


A brief word about yesterday’s post, “The last stand” — I know it gave some readers pause. Maybe what you read troubled you, causing you to wonder if I’ve crossed over into a sort of barricaded radicalism and joined a constitutionalist commune.

I want you to know that I’m ok with whatever you infer. You may be wildly wrong, but that’s not my problem.

Here’s a thought — instead of trying to discern what I mean, take a hard look at what I say. I’m pretty straightforward here.

I’m an American. I value Liberty, individual Liberty, above all else.

I recognize that America, as it was founded, is being destroyed (arguably it already has been destroyed) by the enemies of Liberty, progressives who seek to unmake The American Ideal and replace it with a totalitarian scheme that bears no resemblance to what the Founders sacrificed to create.

I contend that we’re in the midst of a civil war.

I don’t believe that America can be saved. I believe it must be rebuilt. I envision (and have seen) a revolution of restoration beginning with Patriots gathering, creating communities grounded in Founding Principles and extending their influence.

I predict that will take a generation or longer. And I believe that America’s “last stand” must begin now.

It already has.

I’ve said all of that here before — explicitly. I hide nothing, I cloak nothing, I apologize for nothing.

Take it or leave it.


One year ago today, we pulled into Mitchell, South Dakota and got our now-seriously-ill Dipstick the veterinary care he so desperately needed.


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

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath

#LetsGoBrandon #FJB