It's kind of odd to think of anyone considering life in Mayberry a rat race where people have to work all the time. Most people think of Mayberry as a sleepy little town that is just the type of place people escape to, not from.
In any case, Howard picks up all his belongings (they fit in a suitcase) and moves to an island, already inhabited by island rats like Harry Dean Stanton! His time on the island includes the only dream sequence I can recall in the entire history of the show. It's kind of odd Howard makes this move and there is no reaction from his mother. This is kind of inconsistant with the rest of the series (though in "Howard and Millie" mom is also nowhere to be found). A nice moment comes when Opie visits Howard to get his bike license renewed and asks Howard if he expects to still be in the County Clerk's office in 20 years. In "Return to Mayberry" that's exactly where we find him!