We’re Busting Out of This Joint

We have plans to get on the road!

They’re not immediate, and when we do go we’ll maintain social distancing (heck, no social at all if we can manage it while the virus is still raging), but we are ready to go.

A note about the stay-at-home plan:

I know that traveling has risks, that you could be spreading the virus and that you’re using resources valuable to front-line workers.

But we are a self-isolating unit. If we need to stop while we’re on the road, we can use the bathroom and have lunch in the Airstream. The truck takes diesel, but we plan to stay out of the way of truck drivers and not use their parking or services. And when we’re camped, all we need to go out for is groceries, which is just like anyone else. Laundry will be the only tricky part, but we will sanitize like crazy in the campground laundromats.

The main reason we’re hitting the road is that our campground is opening to overnight and weekend visitors in early June, and from what we hear from the owners and from campgrounds that are opening across the country, it’s gonna be packed right away. We’ll be in a scene like those swarming Florida beaches, but worse because people will be right in our front yard. At this point it’s riskier to stay than to go.


On May 20 our monthly rate at this campground ends (we will have been here for two months!). We could skedaddle then, but Memorial Day weekend is right after and campgrounds everywhere (that are open) are already booked, so we might as well stay here through that weekend.

So our date of departure is May 27.


This is the tricky part. If we head to states that are open for business now, we’re heading into the virus. If we head to closed states, we won’t have anywhere to camp.

As of May 1, the New York Times is showing that we’re surrounded by closed states (yellow), although we may be able to hopscotch west across West Virginia and Indiana to get to Iowa.

Here’s our map of places and people we’d like to visit in the Midwest (once it’s safer, again, really tentatively: yellow and purple icons), so that’s the direction we’d like to go in. Plus we’re working on getting a service appointment at the Airstream factory service center in Ohio (brown) so all the little problems our home came off the factory floor with can be fixed.

If that area gets super sick again though, we’ll turn in another direction.

Also on this map are our tentative bookings through mid-June. The blue line shows our route so far, and the green icons to the immediate west are state parks where we have reservations (with the hope they’ll be open by the time we get there).

Little Beaver State Park is in southern West Virginia and has 20 miles of trails. 20 miles! A few months ago we would not be excited about this, but it is such an improvement over our one-mile-long trail here.

We’ve got reservations at a campsite with water and electric for a week, and this will be our first trial on how long we can live in the Airstream before we have to dump the grey and black tanks. Will we need to secure everything inside, hitch up, and tow to a dump station before the week is up?

North Bend State Park is our next stop, a larger park and two campgrounds.

We’ve reserved a spot along the north fork of the Hughes River (like I know what this is), but we managed to find a photo of the exact campsite, and it does look like it backs up to the river.

I’m super excited about that! I want to sleep with the bedroom window open behind us to the sounds of the flowing river.

We move up to Ohio next (knock on wood) to Shawnee State Park. The DNR website says, “The region is one of the most picturesque in the state, featuring erosion-carved valleys and wooded hills.”

I’m all for that, too!

I am reminding myself that all of these plans are tentative, but then that’s the beauty of this lifestyle: we can move any time we want. We could have been moving already, but we’re trying to be extra safe at the peak of the virus.

So we’re making reservations at state park campgrounds because it’s a good bet we’ll get a refund right away if the campground closes (and because they’re more wooded and private than privately owned campgrounds).

We’ll be hoping from one wooded state park with a river or a lake to another, all in the same region of the country (so basically the same woods)—heck I might have the photos of these parks mixed up. And we’ll be without attractions we’re drawn to or friends and family to meet or breweries to visit or nachos to try. This isn’t ideal, but it’s what we can do.

And I’m excited to do it!

10 thoughts to “We’re Busting Out of This Joint”

  1. I love all the graphics, showing us where you will be! I also love that you will have 20 miles of trails in your next site! Very exciting!

  2. Wow, this is almost like a Steven King novel, outsmarting the predator,, but you can’t make this up! Like living on the road is not enough of a challenge. The proposed sites look great. Enjoy!

  3. A well thought out plan. The challenges add a different level of adventure…. OK, a little dystopian, but an adventure. Be safe out there…

  4. Hi Shell….One of my clients yesterday, mentioned the north bend campground that she has gone to many times. She says it is a great place! Hope your adventure yesterday went well!

    1. Well rats, I cancelled that one since this post so we can try to get to Iowa by July 4. But I’ll remember the suggestion. Yep, it was great seeing Finn on his birthday!