April 14-27, 2020
Our stint in Texas was over. The wonderful management at Santa Ana allowed the volunteers to stay hunkered down when COVID hit even though we were very limited in the amount of telework/remote work we could do. Many volunteers across the country got tossed out immediately and discovered many campgrounds were shuttered and there was no safe place to stay. Thank you Santa Ana!
However, our next volunteer stint was over 2,500 miles away and we decided we’d better get to traveling. We had a job waiting for us, eventually. Our start date kept shifting back but we wanted to be near enough to travel in when they called. There was an additional incentive to leave our safe, happy volunteer village; it was HOT in Texas. We wanted warm. We did not want days over a hundred. Our little AC was working like a fiend to get us down to 80 inside. It was time to head to cooler climes. A friend traveling solo asked to travel with us for safety so we drafted a plan. Yes, any followers now know that I am a planner. I try. I really do. I make what I think are really good plans and those little gremlins get in there and shred them. This time it wasn’t so much gremlins as it was COVID-19. It’s really hard to plan when things are changing by the hour. So, our plan was more a list of “intentions”.
For this trip it was our intention to:
- Stay as safe as possible
- Stick to main roads
- Travel 200-250 miles a day but as quickly as possible
- Avoid shopping as much as possible
- Avoid other humans as much as possible and always mask around others
- Stay in campgrounds (if we could get into any) only as needed to load water, dump tanks, etc.
- Stay in rest areas and Walmart parking lots to avoid people
- Sanitize everything before we touched it and sanitize our hands as much as possible
We ROCKED at this! It took longer than we would have liked but our traveling companion was pulling a trailer that did NOT like the wind (and of course we got a few days of hefty wind we hunkered down to avoid.) She also had animals (Hi Gabby and Hedi!) that required time outside of the truck. When we had to shop we did it at Walmart – watch for slow time, slip in, grab food, roll out. If they weren’t limiting # in store or majority of people weren’t masked, we did not go in. I constantly checked the restrictions in each state to make sure we complied. So, here’s how we rolled:
Texas (3): It took THREE DAYS to get out of Texas. We were seriously south and Texas is big. We stayed at a Cracker Barrel, a rest area and an actual campground with hookups (water in, yuck out).
I’m not sure where we took this picture, but we had a lot of road ahead of us.
New Mexico (3): Our traveling partner was a Harvest Host Member and wanted to try one of those so we joined. We found one but decided it was not far enough down the road so back on the internet. We found a campground by a pretty lake that let us stay two nights so we had a relaxing day off! We got to put out our slides, set out our chairs and chill. Then back to parking lot accommodations at Walmart the next night.
Colorado (1): We only needed to nip the SW corner of the state but SE Utah campgrounds, rest areas AND dispersed campgrounds were locked down so we slept at a very nice Walmart in Cortez. John and I wandered the local trails and high school sidewalks while gazing at the mountains. Mesa Verde was JUST over that ridge.
Utah (3): The KOA up on I-70 was allowed to let travelers stay one night, so we did. Water in, yuck out yet again. Plus there was a take-out restaurant next door and we got ice cream. They hit us with a 15% COVID uplift. This confused me. Instead of thanking people for patronizing them in risky times, they charged us extra for it. Pooh on them! We finally got to check out a Harvest Host Site – Wasatch View Ranch. He let us stay two nights so we had another down day which we spent visiting horses, walking the property and gazing at the mountains. Very nice!
Our Rig at Harvest Host Wasatch View Ranch in Utah
Idaho (1): Walmart… again. We lucked out here. The Governor’s order was that anyone entering the state had to quarantine for 14 days. By reading through the full order we saw that if you were staying less than three days you were exempt from the quarantine so a quick drive through, a night in the parking lot and NO contact with humans in Idaho.
Oregon (1): Also locked down. The only place you could stay was in Rest Areas and that was debatable. So, Walmart yet again.
Washington (1): Harvest Host Paradisos Del Sol. WOW, we enjoyed this one (and bought wine, it was a long drive and a celebration of the successful journey). We visited, at a distance, with the hosts. We played with the vineyard dogs. We said hello to the chickens, pig and other critters. John and Chloe played basketball, badly. We checked out their cool bottle house and we walked the trails just soaking up the views.
Momma Hen and her Chicks
Our Hosts’ Vineyard
This is where we parted company. Our companion headed west to the coast and a volunteer gig at a lighthouse (eventually) and we headed north to our volunteer gig in the mountains (eventually). We made safe passage through way too many miles of cool things we could not stop to visit and spent way too many nights next to the noisy highway. We were all still healthy and where we needed to be for the next life adventure. Mission Accomplished!
H & J