JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA – We’re on the road again. 

I’m writing to you from a McDonald’s restaurant in downtown Jacksonville. We were traveling north on Interstate 95 and pulled off on Exit 353D to fill up with gas, water, and cheap food.

Kate and the kids are nearby eating their burgers and nuggets. I’m writing this message by hand. Later Kate will transcribe it to my phone while I drive. 

The sun’s going down. It’s getting cold. Nearby, a trucker shifts down a gear and his engine roars… 

The truck-stop pole signs. The billboards. The 18-wheelers. The industrial parks. The gas stations. The strings of rusty freight cars outside every town. 

This is America. And I love it. 

Here we are…

PhotoWith Dusty, Penny, and Miles at a McDonald’s in Jacksonville

Twelve More Hours

We arrived in Florida from London late last night. Then we hit the road first thing this morning. 

Our “road” today will be Interstate 95. Our destination is Baltimore, Maryland.

As I write this, Baltimore is about 750 miles – and 12 hours of driving – to the north. We’ll drive all night using the method long-haul truckers use when they have an express delivery to make. While I drive, Kate sleeps. While I sleep, Kate drives. 

We’ll get to Baltimore around sunrise if everything goes well. 

Kate’s Parents

We slept at Kate’s parents’ house last night. They weren’t home. They’re on vacation.

I haven’t made peace with them – or even seen them – since divorcing their daughter in 2014 and then taking their grandkids on a crazy trip around the world in 2018.

I wonder how they feel about me. I wonder how they feel about our plan to get married again.

My guess is “anxious.” 

Big Bestseller

I had breakfast with Mark Ford this morning. I was Mark’s publisher in Delray Beach for about four years until I had my mental breakdown.

I loved working with Mark. They were some of the best, most exciting years of my life. And even though it’s been a few years since we worked together, Mark continues to encourage and support me…

“Your book will be a big bestseller,” he told me. 

“But what should the book be about?” I asked. 

“Read A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle,” he advised. “Or reread the essays Bill Bonner wrote when he lived in France 15 years ago. That’s the direction I would go in.”

Long Night Ahead

After I had breakfast with Mark, we went to our storage locker. We’d lost the key along the way and had to break the lock with a pair of bolt cutters.

Penny (7) was the most excited. She hasn’t seen her dolls in two years. She gave them all big hugs, then carried them to the car and arranged them on the backseat for the long journey.

The boys got their Xbox. I took out my office clothes. Kate gathered the materials she uses to homeschool the kids – textbooks, etc. Then we hit the road…

Not much more to report. We have some long hours ahead of us tonight.

As the endless painted white lines on the road pass before my eyes, I’ll be thinking of India… and China… and Africa… and gold… and all the good things that await us on the road ahead…

Until Baltimore…

– Tom Dyson

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Readers ask Tom about interest rates… thank him for sharing his adventures… and comment on his experience with depression

Reader comment: You said prices will increase, inflation, which is good for gold. I see this as inevitable. But how does this happen and allow interest rates to remain low, as there is not a country in the world that can afford more interest on their debt? Interest rates go to 6% (let alone 7, 8, or 9%) and everyone is insolvent.

Tom’s response: Good question. My guess is, the Federal Reserve will suppress the entire yield curve, as the Japanese do today and as the Fed did during World War II. One day they will announce they’re buying every government bond for a yield of 2%, or whatever their desired target yield is.

They call this “curve control.” And like that, the government bond market will become a fake market…

Reader comment: Thank you for sharing your many fascinating adventurous experiences and travels with your readers, along with giving great sound financial advice! We certainly appreciate you for your honesty, and sharing your gift of writing by way of these blogs.

Being married for 55 years, we love hearing about happy endings, as with your family uniting again and giving hope to others in this stressed-out world. We can always choose an alternative lifestyle, as scary as it may be!

Reader comment: Thank you for your writings. I love reading about your travels! Also, you explained the repo crisis where I could understand… most people explain what is going on in government and it goes way over my head. Thanks again. Keep writing.

Reader comment: I enjoy Postcards From the Fringe. Please make sure I am still subscribed to get Tom Dyson’s future emails. Thanks!

Reader comment: I always liked your analysis and particularly the postcards.

Reader comment: I really think you should stop mentioning anything about suicide in your articles, even if it is about your past. Especially words like “…I felt it would be better for Kate and my children…” You know, words have power to linger in life, not just yours but others as well. What you say impacts the lives of everyone around you. Words become part of your thoughts, and so on.

I, too, struggled with thoughts of suicide at times when things were terribly difficult. This is not uncommon among fathers. But, don’t take the easy way out. In other words, don’t be a coward. Let’s just do our best.