Admiration, not aspiration

It’s not unusual to see tent campers in this park. Most often they’re younger folks who haven’t yet tired of sleeping on the ground. (I remember those days.) Quite often they’re bikers, and with a big motorcycle rally happening in northwest Arkansas this week we have quite a few of those here right now.

This morning, however, I spied a first — a pair of bicyclists tented next door to the campground office.

These weren’t kids, either. The man and woman appeared to be vital fifty-somethings, their touring machines equipped with bar bags, over-wheel racks and panniers front and rear. They were packing up to leave when I spotted them.

I used to be a fairly active wheelman myself, logging a few overnighters and rolling a “century” (a hundred miles in a day) several times. In later years I moved on to hybrids and mountain bikes. I found trail riding far more enjoyable than dodging traffic.

Never did I aspire to long-distance bicycle touring, though. I always figured that’s what a motorcycle’s for. But I tipped my hat in admiration as this couple pedaled away.

The Mountain’s whitetails seem to like the pumpkins we put out. Although this new treat hasn’t generated as much trailcam activity as corn did (and I don’t expect it will), it’s been interesting to watch the reaction.

Still no big boys, although we saw a button buck yesterday and a yearling spike today. A gray fox made a brief appearance early this morning, a couple of hours before sunrise. I took the four black-and-white images and made an animated gif (included below — give it time to load.)

The fox wasn’t there to feed on our punkins, only passing through.

Deb and I stayed in Harrison again today. Our Wednesday was occupied with chores we’d neglected, and today was more of the same.

This morning I shot silicone lube on Ernie’s awning tracks and door latch, both of which had become a little balky. It’s still dry and very dusty here, so the Silverado’s and Wrangler’s windows got a thorough (and much-needed) cleaning. I repaired the switch on a rechargeable headlamp that had stopped working.

Little stuff.

That last task, restoring function to a $25 headlamp, was particularly satisfying. The thing’s still under warranty, and I suppose I could’ve taken advantage of that, but I have a penchant for troubleshooting problems and solving them myself. And though I don’t have a full complement of tools on-board the bus, I had what I needed to fix a switch that simply had become displaced inside its housing.

Maybe you get that. Maybe you don’t.

We took the day’s main meal at the Ranch House Restaurant. Deb ordered a club sandwich and fries, while I had a southwestern omelet (with chorizo), buttered wheat toast and cheese grits made with pepper jack. Sweet tea for both of us, naturally.

I love The South.

We stopped by Walmart on our way back to the campground to pick up a small rug for the bus. (Scout, with that injured hind leg, has trouble navigating the slick ceramic tile in the galley.) I visited the optical department and had my eyeglasses adjusted. (No charge.)

We priced deer corn there but didn’t buy. Our next bag will come from a family-owned feed mill in Yellville, I believe.

Little stuff.

We’re firmly planted now in The Ozarks — as I said yesterday, we’ve moved on. We still have great friends back in Ohio, and social media helps us keep up with what’s goin’ on in their lives. We even got a call from one of them the other day, a great surprise that still has us smiling.

Scrolling through my Facebook feed this morning, however, brought news that got me fuming.

Less than a mile from Second Chance Ranch is a seasonal roadside stand that in the fall sells pumpkins, gourds, corn stalks and such. For years this “pumpkin patch” was operated by a local farmer, and after his death it was taken over by a friend of ours. We’ve bought our own harvest décor there for a long time.

Two nights ago the place was vandalized. All of the pumpkins have to sit outdoors, unsecured, and it’s never presented a problem before, but on Tuesday assholes destroyed $400 worth of merchandise.

If you think I’m about to say that this sort of thing wouldn’t happen in northern Arkansas, I can’t. Of course it could.

No, the difference between here and there is that here such bad behavior would come from hooligans, and the community quickly would take care of the matter itself. Back in Ohio the usual suspects are hoodlums and, I’m sorry to predict, the crime probably won’t be properly punished.

When Deb and I settled at Second Chance Ranch 12 years ago, we moved into a near-idyllic Mayberry. Over time we watched the character of the place change, and not for the better. It got worse while we were on the road.

In July, watching it disappear in the rearview mirror, we breathed a sigh of relief. This week’s incident at the pumpkin patch only reinforced that.

Central Ohio can keep its hoodlums. I’ll take my chances down here with beer-fueled country boys.

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

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath

#LetsGoBrandon #FJB