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
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
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