An hour after leaving the campground last Tuesday morning we entered Springfield, Missouri, population 170,000, the first time we’d seen a major city since July. Breakneck pace, aggressive drivers, the sheer volume of traffic, sights and smells — the experience was, in a word, unpleasant.
Over the next two days it got worse. St. Louis. Indianapolis. Columbus. Every time we encountered metro madness, a single thought occurred to me.
This is why I’m moving to the Country.
Our destination, which we reached Wednesday afternoon, was Logan, Ohio, population 7,296. It’s the seat of Hocking County, 30 miles southeast of Second Chance Ranch. The area begs comparison to the place we now call Home.
Hocking County is known best for the scenic Hocking Hills, with recreational opportunities offered by the Wayne National Forest and the Hocking River. It covers 424 square miles and has a population of 28,306, which translates to a population density of 67 people per square mile.
It’s arguably the most beautiful corner of Ohio, woodsy and rural.
Marion County, Arkansas boasts the Ozark National Forest and the Buffalo National River, drawing visitors for many of the same reasons and activities as Hocking County. Because it’s more than 50% larger (640 square miles) and has 42% fewer residents (16,586), however, its population density is just 27.
Deb and I love Hocking County. If we had to stay in Ohio, it (along with neighboring Vinton County) would be on the short list of places we’d consider living. We enjoyed our visit last week.
But there’s no denying it — in Marion County we’ve found the best possible place to call Home.
We’ve needed drought-busting rain ’round here for months, and last night we started seeing some. By dawn today we’d gotten about three inches, producing a moat around Ernie, mud and soft ground everywhere.
This also was the day that building materials for our house would arrive on The Mountain. Given the weather we had our concerns about that.
Our kit was coming from Pocahontas, 120 miles east of The Mountain, aboard two trucks. We were still on our first cup of coffee when one of the drivers called to say that he was an hour out, so we scrambled and got on the road.
We drove through rain the entire way to Yellville, some of it downright torrential. In a coincidence of timing we pulled up behind the trucks on the subdivision road just short of The Mountain.
The next step was to scout the half-mile to where the materials would be dropped. We made room in our truck for the drivers and headed up toward the homesite.
As we expected, the track was a muddy mess. Runoff coursed down The Mountain, in places eroding channels at the edge of the road. Neither driver was confident that the trucks could conquer the 17% grade in slippery conditions. And compounding that was their judgement that the drop spot created yesterday was, shall we say, unsatisfactory.
We drove them back to the base of the road. They returned to their rigs, made a few phone calls and, an hour after they’d arrived, informed us that they wouldn’t be delivering the kit to our site today.
Instead, they’d drop it at the builder, right down the road from our campground in Harrison.
Deb and I are relieved, actually. We didn’t want the delivery trucks getting stuck — or, worse, rolling over — on the road up The Mountain. We also weren’t crazy about attempting to drop materials in a spot that wasn’t ideal.
Delivery will happen another day. We have more site-prep work to do.
So we ended today with street tacos at Carolyn’s Razorback Ribs in Yellville. Halfway to Harrison we passed those delivery trucks, eastbound and empty, headed back to Pocahontas.
Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.