River view from Toad Suck campground, Arkansas

My view

Every once in a while I get into a conversation with someone in a campground where the longer we speak, the more I sense them becoming convinced that I’m kind of a flake. Not in the special-snowflake sense, but in the… hmm. You know, some internet research has now convinced me that “flake” is the wrong word. Eccentric is much closer to what I mean. It’s not that I think they begin to believe me unreliable or selfish or scatterbrained, more that I can see the confusion growing in their eyes. In today’s example, it was a conversation at the campground office about my reasons for being here.

I’m not here because I am on my way somewhere. I’m not here because I have family in the area. I’m not here because I am a hiker or a biker or a water sports enthusiast. Nope. It’s just because the place has a really good name: Toad Suck

I think that’s a perfectly sensible reason to visit a place, but the nice older gentleman I was speaking to found it mystifying, I believe. Fortunately for me, it’s also a lovely campground and I have an extremely nice spot in it. I’m right on the river, facing the water.

My usual routine when I get to a new campground is to plug in to the electricity, connect to the water, and then putter around the van for a little while. I check my internet connection, check my email, see what kind of music is within range, get out some of the things that are put away from travel but pleasant to have out, like my essential oil diffuser and my induction cooktop. Maybe I rest for a while from my drive, maybe I take the dog for a walk. At Toad Suck, I immediately got my chair out, set it up under the tree shown at the edge of the picture, and sat and admired the river for a bit while Zelda tried to sniff every blade of grass. I’m hoping that this is going to be a peaceful place to get some writing done.

Also, hoping, I have to admit, for some steady sunshine and warmer temperatures. The more time I spend outside Florida, the more I realize that it’s called the Sunshine State for a reason and that I have been profoundly spoiled by living there for so long. Also, that I like sunshine. Also, that part of the purpose of this extended journey was to figure out where I was going to settle long-term and the longer I’m on the road, the more I like Florida.

Not that I don’t love Arkansas! I definitely do. It’s such a pretty state. My drives have been lovely, and the campgrounds are spoiling me for other states’ parks. Even the grocery store sushi was good (Kroger). But the more cold days I spend in the van — not cool days, but days where the temps go below 35, so COLD days — the more I know that the van is not a cold-weather lifestyle, at least not for me.

In interesting timing, (related to thinking about settling down again), I received an email message about a job possibility today. It’s for a position that I would define as a realistic job, one for which I’m well-qualified (or for which I would have been very well-qualified seven years ago and for which I’m still reasonably well-qualified). Given that I’ve been thinking for several months that I should consider getting a job, I should probably jump on it. But since even the thought makes me want to pull the covers over my head and spend the rest of my life asleep, that will not be happening.

Which means it’s time to write more Grace. Back to work!