When we rolled away from Chateau on the Lake yesterday afternoon, Deb had driving directions pulled up on Google Maps to help us get where we wanted to go. For some reason I decided to freelance, zigging when I should’ve zagged, and suddenly we found ourselves down on the banks of the White River.

Rising up 250 feet in front of us was the spillway of Table Rock Dam, a massive structure holding back 43,000-acre Table Rock Lake. Completed in 1958 by the US Army Corps of Engineers, the dam is 1.25 miles long overall.

Behind us to the east, the White flows into the older (1913) and much smaller (2,100 acres) Lake Taneycomo, a cold-water body that closely resembles the river it collects. We recalculated, wound our way past the Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery and up to the level of the lake, easing south across the dam.

The topography in and around Branson, Missouri is magnificent and in many places severe. Slopes are steep and hollers are deep, which makes for dramatic views and some challenging driving.

They maintain their roads extremely well up there, but they don’t spend a lot of taxpayer money on guardrails. Yesterday’s eight-mile trip from the Chateau to the highway tickled my acrophobia a bit.

“I’m glad this is close to us,” Deb said as we crested a rise and took in one particularly breathtaking view. It’s a 90-minute drive from The Mountain, ideal for a day trip should we find ourselves craving what the Branson scene has to offer. I’m not sure how often that mood will strike me, but I agree with Deb — as diversions go it’s a pretty good one, nearby.

Considering that we live (for now) in a motorhome, you might wonder how much exercise and attention we possibly could give Smudge, our growing Heeler puppy. Deb and I would be the first to admit that it’s not easy.

We do our best. We’re doing pretty well, actually, and we have proof.

The Tractive gizmo attached to Smudge’s collar not only provides us with her location, it also records her activity. It then gives us a report ranking her against other dogs wearing the device — by breed, locally and around the world. The results have been gratifying.

Globally, for example, Smudge is the 330th-most-active dog wearing Tractive. Among all Heelers she ranks #3. And of the 50 dogs closest to her — which down here may cover a lot of territory — she holds the top spot.

We’re pretty proud of that. She’s a keeper, and we’re definitely doin’ right by her.

The AIM-9 Sidewinder has been around a year longer than I have, and it’s been getting a lot of press lately. As I write this, the USAF now has used the missile to shoot down three “objects” in our airspace and one over Canada. The most recent takedown reportedly happened “over Lake Huron” this afternoon.

Since that “Chinese spy balloon” was dropped into the Atlantic over a week ago, US and Canadian officials have issued carefully crafted statements revealing virtually nothing. Over and over we’ve heard nonsense like, “airborne object of unknown origin” and references to “a cylindrical object” or “an octagonal object.”

Where I come from, “objects” don’t fly. Airfoils fly. Projectiles fly. Lighter-than-air craft fly. An “object” without means of lift, propulsion or suspension doesn’t fly — and neither does the bullshit we’ve been getting from the State.

It’s an exercise in not telling the People what’s going on. The intent of statements and briefings isn’t to inform us — they’re meant to placate us.

If I were in the room, the first question I’d ask is, “Are these ‘objects’ terrestrial?” That seems pretty fundamental and, provided the answer is some version of “yes,” I’d follow with this:

“You’ve been asked repeatedly about the nature and origin of these ‘objects,’ and you’ve declined to answer. My question is straightforward — do you know and, for whatever reason, you’re not saying? Or do you not know?”

I wouldn’t get a straight answer to either inquiry. The People should be presented with unvarnished facts about these threats, and I doubt we’ll ever get them.

I repeat: The State is engaged in placating us, not informing us. Remember that.

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

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath

#LetsGoBrandon #FJB

(Deb captured today’s header image yesterday afternoon from US 65 southbound, approaching the US 62/US 412 west interchange north of Harrison. The Upper Boston Mountains are visible at the horizon.)