Travel in the Time of Covid
It all started in February 2020.
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.
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.
Planning. We’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.
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.
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]
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.
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