RV Shrink: Coronavirus presents RV traveling dilemma

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Dear RV Shrink:
I know you are fielding a lot of coronavirus questions. We are not newbies or spring chickens. We have been living the RV Lifestyle for several years. We feel lucky to have traveled all we have.

This pandemic has frightened us. When it first started I wondered how it would impact us in the way we travel. I could not have imagined what has transpired, so we are headed home. We have cancelled our plans for a summer of exploring the Canadian Rockies and a fall of exploring Vancouver Island. We have come to the conclusion that it is “time to go to ground.” We feel sorry for all our friends who have sold their property to become full-timers. They are all having trouble deciding where to go, how to get there, and if they will even be allowed in. RV life seems to be a house of cards tumbling into an abyss. So, here is my question.

Who should we listen to? There is so much confusion and misinformation flying around, we don’t know what to believe anymore. We want to make the right decision in staying put or heading home, but we are just not confident that trying to RV across the country right now is a smart move. Any info and support would be appreciated. —Nervous Nelly in Nevada

Dear Nelly:
Let’s start out with taking a deep breath. I know exactly what you are saying. I am a certified “News Junky.” Many of us are, and today there is a smorgasbord of news options and opinions. To stoop to politics during this time would be irresponsible. But I have to make the point that we all have our individual leanings, and that includes the news we not only listen to, but what news sources we believe. 

I am blind in one eye, and deaf in one ear. They are birth defects that come in very handy during times like this. I believe in Science, I believe in Math, and I have always been interested in Economics. I have always had a bad attitude, and deep suspicion of politicians. When I watch the daily news cycle I continually ask myself why the smartest people in the room are not running the government. I guess it is because they don’t like politics either. But now would be a great time to have them driving the ship.

So, to answer your question – you have to go with your gut. I am in the same boat you are in. In making our plan to head 2,000 miles across the country from Arizona to Michigan, we are taking several things into consideration. So far there are no travel restrictions crossing state borders. If you asked me a week ago whether this would be a possibility I would have said absolutely not. But this pandemic response has surprised me too many times to make a statement like that now. 

So, timing is a factor. Leave now and deal with spring storms or hold out for another month and hope you don’t get evicted from your campsite. 

Oil is at historic lows, so everyone is thinking gas will remain cheap and abundant. Not necessarily so. Refineries are having a hard time making any money as their margins get squeezed. They are shutting refining capacity down because of lack of demand. There could be some fuel surprises we as RVers are not anticipating. 

Travel also depends on your level of comfort in safe harbors, knowledge of areas you are traveling into, and the reception you are likely to experience from businesses you will be forced to deal with. 

If policies change in the middle of your trip you could possibly be stranded somewhere you are unfamiliar with. 

I can’t tell you what to do, but I will tell you what we are doing and why. 

The math and science seems to be pointing to April being the Armageddon month for this pandemic. The month of May will almost guarantee better travel conditions as far as weather is concerned. Economically, the oil and gas situation will most likely have more clarity in 30 days. Since we have not been evicted yet, chances are good we will not be. So we plan to stay put another three to four weeks, and keep our powder dry. If we decide any of these situations are going to change and force a move, we will be ready to rock and roll. 

We have already penned a planned route through areas we know and feel confident we can park overnight safely.

Again, be careful who you listen to. I am a long-distance hiker. I see this same thing play out when hiking long trails. Last year on the Pacific Crest Trail people started fear-mongering about snow and fire danger, talking themselves right off the trail. The reality of a situation is usually less severe than the rampant rumors of doom. 

I think the main thing you need to concentrate on doing is … Keep Smilin’. —Richard Mallery a.k.a. Dr. R.V. Shrink

Can’t get enough of the Shrink? Read his e-books, including Book 2 in his two-book series: Dr. R.V. Shrink: Everything you ever wanted to know about the RV Lifestyle but were afraid to ask or check out his other e-books.

##RVT943

  

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23 Comments
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Donn
5 months ago

Why not actually hear, heed and obey the statements that advise you to take care of yourself
and the rest of us and remain at home until you hear the “all clear” sound? *** For the time being, accept it that freedom to pick a life style divergent with all others, such as RVing, may not be in your interest; and, your freedoms may not be as important to the rest of us as your isolation from us. [Bleeped by Diane.]

Margaret
5 months ago

RV Shrink is my favorite part of this newsletter.

Dan
5 months ago

Chuck. Get your bike out and check out the neighborhood wherever you are. You will see and find neat little interesting places, things, and people you never see otherwise. If you don’t have a bike, go buy one. Create your own adventures with clean air & sunshine for free. Sidewalks are the safest place to ride (if you can) for us young at heart old folks. Subdivision are also great places to ride and you can see everybody’s garage is full of junk like yours. Don’t forget your face mask. Most people are not wearing them and will walk right into your space and start talking. Take care!

Mike Sherman
5 months ago

The RV Shrink is correct. Go for it, don’t let the media hype, doom and gloom cloud your judgement. We just wrapped up a trip from Bakersfield to Oregon along Interstate 5. No problem finding open private campgrounds with space available, by the month or just a night. It pays to travel off-season. Things will be difficult this summer, but not because of any flu bug.

Linda
5 months ago

“The reality of a situation is usually less severe than the rampant rumors of doom.” This is the most common sense and truthful statement I have heard in a long time! We are at home, but are still planning to go on our 4-month cross-country trip beginning 6/15. I believe the country will (mostly) be opened up by then.

Ed D.
5 months ago

“When I watch the daily news cycle I continually ask myself why the smartest people in the room are not running the government. I guess it is because they don’t like politics either. But now would be a great time to have them driving the ship.”

Gary, i am curious…. who are these “smartest people in the room” that you are referring to?
For someone that doesn’t like to be “political”, that is an obvious diss on the President! Unlike you, I DO choose to be political and I happen to think the President is doing the best job that he can, based on the advice he has been given by the so-called “experts”!

Robbie
5 months ago
Reply to  Ed D.

Glad to see there is a minus button and that all of the votes are negative to this comment. If you’re not part of the solution, you are the problem.

Ed D.
5 months ago
Reply to  Robbie

You have your opinion and I have mine. Yet I don’t see an actual counter to my opinion. It is easy and cowardly to hit a check mark. So much harder to present a counter opinion. So, that fairly sums up how I feel about check marks.

Alan Wood
5 months ago
Reply to  Ed D.

The problem with the President is all his “experts” are “Yes” people. They tell him what he wants to hear even if they disagree with his ideas. I’m surprised that Dr. Fauci is still on the coronavirus task force, but I expect that Trump will send him packing soon. He needs to fire the “Yes” people and hire people who are going to give the President true facts and figures (there are too many to list here that he’s missed) about what is really happening in the pandemic so he can make decisions how to best manage the crisis. But this has been his MO during his entire Presidency and his entire life, if he doesn’t like what someone is telling him, he fires them. He thinks he knows more about everything than anyone else, whether the issues be local, national, or global in nature which is typical of an extreme narcissistic person. In short, the buck stops with the President. History will dictate whether he was successful or a failure at managing this pandemic. So far I give him a grade of D, because he doesn’t have the right “experts”. Until he lets go of his ultra ego, this virus will defeat him.

Ed D.
5 months ago
Reply to  Alan Wood

Please tell me how you graded President Obama, for his response to the H1N1 pandemic? I am anxious to hear that.

Alan Wood
5 months ago
Reply to  Ed D.

B-

Alan Wood
5 months ago
Reply to  Alan Wood

George Bush I give a C, He didn’t respond quick enough to the hurricane disasters.

Ed D.
5 months ago
Reply to  Alan Wood

I figured I would see a mark like that from you. Let’s look at a few facts that will show just how flawed your grading is:

1) In 2009, Obama waited 6 months (March to October) from the time of the first deaths, to call a state of emergency over the H1N1 pandemic.
2) There were over 1,000 deaths before he made that announcement.
3) He went golfing on the same day.

And you gave him a B-? Hypocrite much?

Alan Wood
5 months ago
Reply to  Ed D.

Trump is out golfing as well during this crisis

Ed D.
5 months ago
Reply to  Alan Wood

The difference being that Trump made moves to quell the virus and eliminate travel to the USA from other countries almost immediately. Obama couldn’t walk and chew gum at the same time!
The telling thing about your post is that you ONLY addressed the issue of golfing, while completely ignoring the 2 main points I made. If you had a rebuttal to those two points, you would have made it! So obviously you don’t! Thus, I have effectively refuted your B- grade you gave Obama. You just don’t like Trump!

Diane Mc
5 months ago
Reply to  Alan Wood

People forget the Governors manage their states with assistance from the Federal government. President can suggest. He does have some bigger tools, like martial law, but that isn’t going to happen. He has had meetings with all of governors at one time and talks to them daily in meetings with a number of them or one on one on the phone. Believe he talks to Cuomo daily. Two of the biggest leftist govs have had praise for his leadership. I know one thing, if someone told me if we did nothing that 2M people would die and I was watching Europe, specifically Italy & Spain I would listen to the doctors. Who, by the way have both, Dr Fauci & Dr Brixx, worked for every administration, both going back to the AIDS epidemic. Also, once NY, NJ started have “Italy” like spread there left little choice. With that said, once we get thru the next week, 2 at the most, the country has to start opening up, gradually, especially in areas not having major outbreaks. One other thing, I’m glad I’m sitting in my house (where I can surmise what I would do with no consequences) and not the President, the governors or the doctors who have to make decisions, about life and death and/or destroying the economy.

Ed D.
5 months ago
Reply to  Diane Mc

Diane Mc, You are the voice of reason. This President has talked to, listen to, advised and helped each and every Governor in States that have had a high percentage of problems with this. My entire point in my initial comment to the RV Shrink, was that he was directly insulting the job that the President has done to help quell the tide. By insinuating that he wishes that “the smartest people in the room were running the Government”, he was taking a direct swipe at the President and his entire Team! It is my opinion that the President made the “smartest” move when he banned travel from China to the US. When he did that, he was called a Racist and a xenophobe. Titles that were not deserved. Now, even the Drs. he has on his team are saying that was the best thing the President could have done. If I am going to be insulted and discounted by those on this site that do not like the President, I can take that. But I refuse to stand by and allow the President to be insulted (either directly, or indirectly) by those that simply do it for no other reason than they dislike the President.
Last, I like the RV Shrink. I read his articles each week and look forward to them. But I do not agree with his comment here and as long as this is a free country, I will have my say as well.

KellyR
5 months ago
Reply to  Ed D.

Ed, I think you may have read into the Shrinks statement. I did not read it the way you did. I did not take it as a rub against the President. I doubt that any of our elected officials have ever been the smartest in the room, except for running for office. Wasn’t it Henry Ford who said something to effect that he was successful BECAUSE he HIRED the smartest people?

Ed D.
5 months ago
Reply to  KellyR

I do not agree with you on that but just maybe I am wrong on it. Wouldn’t be the first time I was wrong on something.
But looking at his comment he said:
“When I watch the daily news cycle I continually ask myself why the smartest people in the room are not running the government”.

That comment wasn’t saying that the smart people in the room should be in charge of this phase of what we are currently going through. He said they should be in charge of “the Government”!

I just don’t see who he could surround himself with that would make all of the haters give him credit. I am not too happy with the numbers that Fauci and Birx have been presenting as their model and I said from the start that they were wrong! But no matter who Trump puts in their places, all of America will not agree with it. So my advice to the RV Shrink is that he should keep his comments limited to answering peoples questions, without making it political.

Alan Wood
5 months ago
Reply to  Diane Mc

Yes, he talks with the Governors but what he telling us during his cornavirus Task Force in daily press briefings is that the states are getting all the PPE’s that they requested. The hospitals are saying that they only have enough PPE’s for less than a week. Both Republican and Democratic Governors are saying the same thing. Trump is not being honest with the country. About opening up the country gradually after next week, this would probably doom the economy into a recession. There are too many that are infected and don’t know it and would start a second wave of infections that would be bigger than the first wave. The damage to the economy from a second wave would stretch out to the Fall or Winter. The only way to open up the country is to have everyone tested and let those that are negative start to go back to work. The people who test positive would have to quarantine themselves until they tested negative and they could then be able to go to work. For this to work, everyone would have to shelter in place. Unfortunately we know not everyone will voluntarily shelter in place. The only way this could happen is by martial law. But, we do not have enough tests to test everyone over the next 2 months. We physically don’t know the numbers. As my Senator said, ” We need to get this economy going quickly, though it will cost the country 11,000,000 deaths”. That is the dilemma we’re in, how many deaths are acceptable before the economy goes into a deep recession? There are no easy answers, and I for one am glad I don’t have to make any of them except to shelter in place.

KellyR
5 months ago
Reply to  Alan Wood

Whoa! where did 11,000,000 come from? You want to test the guy on the ranch in Idaho, who hasn’t left the ranch in 6 months to be tested? There are people like that in these United States. I’m one of them. Test me if you like, but save the money.

Alan Wood
5 months ago
Reply to  KellyR

That direct quote came from one of my home state Senators. He doesn’t want the public to shelter in place to save the economy at the cost of 11 million dead Americans! Not something I made up.

Ed D.
5 months ago
Reply to  Alan Wood

I only heard Trump say he was “hoping” to open the country for “business as usual” before Easter. What I have since heard from him is that it will open in the first part of May. He said that, based on what Fauci and Birx have been telling him.
What is inaccurate about your comment is that Dem and Rep. Governors are supposedly claiming that the Federal Govt. isn’t doing enough for them.
I heard both Newsome (Ca.) and Cuomo (N.Y.) praise the President for his response to their needs. On March 24th, the Governor of Louisiana said the following and I quote: “In a tweet, Governor John Bel Edwards said, “I am very appreciative of the federal government’s expeditious approval of Louisiana’s request and their support throughout our response.”
Aren’t these a few of the hardest hit areas in the Country?
But let’s look at it from another angle: It is not the sole responsibility of the Federal Government to supply States with basic emergency equipment that they, themselves, should already have in their inventory. Let’s face it, Cuomo, of all Governors, is the biggest failure as a Governor due to the fact that he was specifically told he was going to need to stockpile Face masks and Ventilators for any future disasters (such as 911 and the H1N1 Flu). Yet he completely ignored those suggestions, thus contributing to the slow, inadequate response, he had to his constituents needs! Cuomo thought it was more prudent to make scatter brained investments in Solar Panel, Light Bulb and Computer Chip Companies, which incidentally, all went Belly Up! More kick backs? Say what you will about this President, he is doing the best job that the Government has ever done in helping the States meet their needs. The vague statement that Republican and Dem Governors alike have said he isn’t doing enough, is not enough to prove your point. Give me specifics, like I gave you. I know this comment will get another minus check mark and that’s okay because I don’t think they are coming from you because you are at least Brave enough and have convictions for what you believe to be the situation.
Thanks for having a civil conversation with me and not resorting to name calling. Stay safe!