Tips for traveling, camping and hunkering down in a COVID-19 world

5

By Nanci Dixon
We left Arizona just before the surge in COVID-19 cases hit the national news. We stayed so long that even the rattlesnakes were taking cover during the heat of the day. 112 degrees when we left and rising. I know – it is dry heat… but so is my oven.

A lot of campgrounds were still closed due to their state’s lockdown procedures so we had to plan our trip state by opening state. 

Arizona to New Mexico. We waited until the restrictions limiting out-of-state vehicles traveling into New Mexico on weekends was lifted. Colorado state parks had opened, but visitor centers and offices remained closed. We had to reserve and check-in online. Came through Nebraska as Iowa campgrounds were closing.

We maintained social distancing and wore masks. Not many others in the campgrounds or in the grocery stores, shopping malls, bars or restaurants did. Cases have surged. 

We are now hunkered down in the north woods of Wisconsin for three weeks. Hunkering down has required more tenacity and discipline than I had imagined. No visiting museums, looking up popular things to do in the area, no recreational shopping… 

Even though we’re retired we had still managed to fill our days with things to do. Now it looked like an expanse of welcome (and not so welcome) time was upon us. I had to come up with some coping strategies.

  1. Exercise — We have been getting up to bike or walk every day. Not only is it helping to keep the COVID-19 pounds at bay, but it brightens our mood too.
  2. Eating healthy (Or, at least trying to eat healthy) — We are more conscious of healthy foods, nutrients, calories, and taking vitamins, like Zinc and vitamin C. Whether they help or not, it can’t hurt!
  3. Making a To-Do list — Wanting to actually accomplish something productive during this time I started a checklist of all the things we let slide while traveling. Caulk roof, lube slides, clean jacks, wipe down the living area furniture, polish and dust woodwork, change the flickering lights are just some of the things on the list.
  4. Getting rid of stuff — Going through drawer by drawer, bin by bin, hanger by hanger to clear out unused or duplicate items. One year, no use? Out to the next owner. Only two items have I ever regretted getting rid of. I donated my wok spatula and my hand blender. A year or two later bought new ones. The new spatula doesn’t have a wood handle that keeps falling off or catching on fire and the blender is just a better make. 
  5. Talking with each other — This is an uncertain scary time and we have realized that our time together is both precious and not guaranteed. We have opened up about our fears, concerns and “what ifs”. We hold hands when we walk.
  6. Connecting — Zoom meetings with family, friends, church services and different groups have become an essential way to stay connected. FaceTime or Facebook Messenger video calls also keep us close to family while distant. It will be a skill we will keep when traveling again.
  7. Face-to-Face connections — Er, actually mask-to-mask connection. We still see friends and some family from a very safe distance. The conversations are a bit muffled through our masks and can be hilarious with all the misunderstandings!
  8. Planning — While striving to live in the “here and now,” it has been good to look to a future without COVID. Planning our next trip this month and planning for next year gives hope, excitement and a sense of normalcy.

It is one of the hardest, strangest years, but it’s also been the most memorable. Our children will tell their children and their grandchildren about the year of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. We will remember what we were doing, where we were, and those we lost.

##RVT959

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Melody Hillebrand
7 days ago

Our Oregon home is for sale and we were planning to see the USA with the ultimate goal of downsizing to a place on a warm beach. My husband is getting cold feet about traveling and just wants to hole up in our son’s backyard until COVID is over. I feel we can still be safe and travel -just go lots slower, spend time in each place longer… not sure how this is going to turn out. He’s really making me feel selfish and wreck less. I read your new newsletter about traveling in a COVID world, but I’m not easing his fears. Any suggestions?

Egroeg
11 days ago

Interstate travel and camping has been a topic of discussion in our house lately. My wife and I live in Oregon. In our state we are asked to keep our travel to a 50 mile radius from where we live. This is intended to contain Covid exposures and to limit cross-county transmissions. Oregon has a couple of counties that have experienced pretty dramatic spikes in Covid cases and even deaths.

When we visited a nearby county park the other day we surprised at the number of out-of-state plates we saw in the campground. California, Colorado, Texas, and Illinois. Seeing this got us curious about our own use of Oregon State and County parks and if indeed the thought we had that by staying local we were reducing our chances of exposure. We even gave pause to the thought of…“why are they here?”we wouldn’t go there right now.

So I’m bringing this question to the RV Newsletter group to see what the herd thinks.

Is interstate travel advisable at this time?

Thank you in advance,

Tim Slack
12 days ago

Hi Nanci & Jimmy! Karen & Tim here! I didn’t realize you guys were leaving White Tank so late – at least you missed the 118^ Phoenix had yesterday. We went up to Prescott Valley, thought it might have been for the summer, but came across a gig for Idaho SP @ Hells Gate on the ID/WA line. There for two months, during which time we connected w/ an OR park and are sitting outside Eugene right now. We’ll be here for two months (at least) and will try to string together more months since we want to overwinter in Willamette Valley. Will let you know. Are you going back to White Tank next winter? Stay safe, wherever you are!

Ann
12 days ago

Yep. We usually leave home about July 4, and travel for several months. We haven’t left home yet. Last spring when things were first locking down, we spent several weeks in the motorhome because work was being done in the house. Without places to go and things to do, the motorhome gets very small. So we’re waiting, until more stuff is open and the crowds dissipate. We recognize that this year may not be a travel year, and we’re becoming okay with that.

Glenn
12 days ago

Well written! We got back home mid March as our state locked down. Luckily we have property and plenty of wildlife to enjoy. Have been out a few times on our boat during the week. Too crowded on weekends. Basically doing as you are with cleaning and chores. We have no qualms about cutting back and playing for a penny till this thing gets sorted out. We too have been social distancing and wearing a mask any time we go out. Miss happy hours the most at our favorite watering holes. Stay safe and take care!