Travel in the Time of Covid

It all started in February 2020.

“You know, a lot of people think that goes away in April with the heat — as the heat comes in. Typically, that will go away in April.”

 

A tried and true hidey-hole built during the last pandemic. Probably.

So we thought it would be a good idea to just find a hidey-hole and wait it out. However, after a “couple of days” it did not get “down close to zero.” In fact, our one month hide turned into three months. Shutdowns and regulations chased us between 3 RV parks in two states as all full-time RVers tried to find states and counties that could allow them, safely. 

After a couple months of panic we decided to get proactive. We can do this, we said. More importantly, we can do this safely. We can live a modified version of our life while not putting ourselves or anyone else at greater risk.

The emblem on the hood of Matilda, because she is always ready for whatever comes next. Flat tires, roof leak, zombies, assholes, pandemics, etc.

So this is what we came up with, how to be RVers and travel in a pandemic and the steps/tips we thought we’d share with you.

PlanningWe’re not so good at this. We have always preferred the fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants approach to RVing. Under normal circumstances we’ve run into a couple of walls, but it has always been fun. In a pandemic, this is not an option. We plotted destinations more exact, and set time frames.

Planning is easy enough, the “where do we go?” is the harder part. We used two methods to determine where to go.
A. Virus tracking: this tool: https://covid19risk.biosci.gatech.edu/ has been helpful for determining the risk level of a particular area anywhere in the country.
B. Two apps: iOverlander and Park Advisor. These apps have provided all the info we’ve needed in finding the exact spot in which the greatest old RV ever, Matilda, would be parked next.

 

Ol’ crusty Sebastian had it right all along…avoid people and never silence yourself for a dude.

Decide to go where the people aren’t. Listen, Ariel gives bad pandemic advice, I don’t care if she has a talking crab. Thanks to the 2 aforementioned apps, you can find a plethora of BLM, and US forest service land. Dry camping/off-grid in out-of-the-way spots is best. In virtual hunting for these spots we came across many cool things for us to do. Ghost towns, movie filming sites, hot springs, even an old prison featured on a couple of paranormal/ghost hunting shows.

Quarantine isn’t a bad word.

Plan extended stays. If you move a lot like we normally do, you’ve got some work to do here. From groceries at 2 weeks at time instead of one, to staying off grid (and finding where you’re going to dump tanks – Thanks Rving apps!) for longer than usual and having the supplies needed. [Confession: we we’re doing good at this until he started breaking things on the motorhome and we were forced to make town trips several days in a row to repair our house]

Let’s get flexible!

Be flexible! Of course this runs contrary to having everything planned out better, but this was indeed a part of the planning. As we learned more and more about the virus, as numbers and controls worked (and others didn’t) we had to be prepared to change with the ebb and flow of the tide. This is why preparing for longer stretches than usual without store runs and such is important. 

Keep things gassed up. Got a generator? Keep the backup gas can full. Keep the motorhome or towing rig gassed up. Great rule, try to make sure you always have a minimum of ½ a tank on board. A sudden change in shutdown requirements can change how you’re getting your supplies, delay, or extend your current stay

Help the locals. When it comes time to pick up those supplies do everything you can to spend a little money on those still-open small businesses. We try to make this apply even to getting gasoline at smaller regional or local stations. Remember, many small businesses have adopted some form of online ordering and/or curbside pickup. A little internet or a phone call ahead of time will give you all the information you need to keep them and yourself safe. 

Besides visiting wide open spaces and rare locales, we recommend finding new, or reinforcing old, indoor hobbies. His Lego obsession has grown, and her crafting has turned to some painting and sketch work (we’re not that great at our projects, but we’re having fun making them. This is a judge-free artistic zone). 

 

Walks. Hiking, and dog cuddles. Even the CDC recommends getting out and do some walking — avoiding crowds of course — or hiking. It is good for the body, just don’t forget to carry a mask/face covering in case you run into people unexpectedly. 

WEAR A DAMN MASK, wash your nasty hands, and respect each other’s distance. No matter how near or far you choose to travel, these three things, more than any other will keep you and those you come across safe. And remember, it goes over your mouth AND nose. 


For more information:

CDC

iOverlander

ParkAdvisor

 

 

Here we are; four months have been completed as we begin level 5 of the year 2020. What has the glorious year brought us so far?

Happy New Year 2020!!  *write on the road is not responsible for any of the signs of the apocalypse

The whole world has been collectively kicked in the shin. We started off with the 3rd state of emergency being declared for the Australian brush fires (remember them?), then the United States killed the leader of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and we all worried about a war coming. 

In January we first started hearing widespread talk of the novel corona-virus, COVID-19, but we aren’t really there yet…

The royals split up, with Prince Harry and Megan giving the middle finger to the rest of the family. For many (not us) this was big news. Iran retaliated for the killing of its military leader and the White House lied about casualties in Iraq until it couldn’t lie anymore. The world shrugged as it all got lost in the news feeds. Then a plane crashes, turns out Iran accidentally shot it down. Suddenly, Iran dropped some of its war rhetoric.

As China recorded its first Corona-virus death, we began the Impeachment trial for Donald Trump. Of course that ended with his own people saying he did it, but that they don’t care, let him stay in office. Famous people died, mass shootings at a brewery and fast food restaurants happened, and earthquakes hit. Did you even know that Puerto Rico got hit with another earthquake this year?

‘Merica

And then the rest of the world got the epic level smack down from COVID-19. Lockdown after lockdown in countries around the globe. The US joined late, but we had to; had to make sure we would take over the number one slot in all COVID stats as our primary election season was torn to shambles and our stock market nosedived. Then, just as armed dime-store cosplaytriots got all dressed up to storm the castle (capitol buildings) 2020 hit another snag…

“Bye, bye, Boys!”

MURDER HORNETS

Yes, you read that right, just when we thought it couldn’t get more bizarre, we’ve now been alerted to the oncoming assault of hornets that destroy honey bees and can sting and kill you even if you aren’t allergic. Oh, and they’re bigger than normal too. 

Seriously? WTF, 2020? Who even made this?

What does all this mean for RVers? A lot actually. First came the hoarding. We experienced two problems as the toilet-paper-apocalypse set in: 1) We couldn’t understand why toilet paper was the first thing people wanted to hoard and 2) We live in a motorhome! How do you stockpile in a home this size? 

Go, go, go! Operation Asswipe is a GO!

Answer, you don’t. You’re stuck going to 5 different stores in one day just to find a can of tuna, a single package of Kleenex, and a dollar store coloring book.

We didn’t panic until dog food started getting hit by the hoarders. By then, the next nightmare began. Closures. We were in northern Washington when it all began, 40-50 miles from the epicenter. We began to worry as we lost our state park reservation for March, and had to scramble around to find a place. We couldn’t go off-grid, had to stay in contact with family members still working through the first lockdowns just north of Seattle. Around we bounced. We looked like toddlers chasing a superball from the coin machines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We quickly came to realize that pandemics and full-time RVing are not necessarily a good mix. On one hand, you could take your RV and disappear from society only to reemerge after it is over,

WHAT YEAR IS IT? *&%$ this.

or as we did, you find a long term park that can squeeze you in for a couple of months. 

Social distancing, you’d think is easy, but we learned something else that makes it difficult: pantry and fridge space. While we’d love nothing more than to pack a freezer full of stuff and make monuments in homage of the old gods out of our can food pile,  we can’t. Only so much can be stored in an RV-size fridge. Thank goodness our motorhome fridge is bigger than our old Serenity travel trailer, but it still leaves us with store trips 1-2 times per week. And 1 per week is stretching it when it comes to snack foods when you have to binge Tiger King. 

Goddammit!

Don’t mistake this little story for something it is not… are we complaining about our lifestyle? Not at all. Although we are currently stuck, we know that we’ll be back on the road soon enough. In the meantime, we can do some upgrades and redecorating (cue the crafting video binges). We are, however, wondering if we can speak to 2020’s manager, because this is not what we’d call good service, 1 out of 5 stars – would not recommend!

Fembots!!

We ARE complaining about those that fail to understand social distancing and other preventative measures, like wearing a mask. We are in this together, and we need to lean on our humanity first. Think about being kind before we get all dressed up in our second hand tacti-cool gear and threaten scientists and spit on, or even shoot, store staff who risk their lives to serve us. 

2020 is trying hard to kick our global ass. Let’s fight back, by standing tall (6-feet apart) as the human race, and not as some tribalistic, my way or no way, entitled little shits. 

The Earth has spoken, and she wants us to grow up, care about each other, and her.  

Mother Knows Best.