Traveling during a Coronavirus Spike

We routinely check the New York Times virus statistics for each spot we plan to move to (although the best indicator seems to be ICU beds). Still, per-capital cases give us an idea of how rampant the virus is in the county where we’re headed and how careful we need to be.  

I’ve read (like all of you) that cases are exploding across the country, a fact that’s been overlooked because of the nail-biting election.

Being me, I need a story and a face to make a message really sink in.  

And that happened last night, when I saw that a couple I know (and respect) from social media, who’ve been traveling for 14 years—in a class A RV, a van, and a boat, no less—well, they’ve put their travel on pause for the first time to help slow the virus’ spread.  

Hm. Time for a wake-up call. 

Florida Plans

We’ll be here in Florida until April (as long as the Keys stay open to visitors; the border was closed last winter). And right now Florida is looking less terrifying than most other states. 

Nevertheless, we should buckle down again. 

Our Safety Precautions

(These next pics are from our last few days outside Tallahassee, Florida, at Coe’s Landing.)

We have become slightly lax. We still do curbside pickup for our large grocery orders, but every now and then Tracy will duck into a store to grab some small item. Like limes from that sketchy IGA on the Gulf where no one wore masks and it turns out virus numbers are spiking.  No more of that. 

We haven’t eaten at a restaurant outside, much less inside, since early March. But we have been sitting outside in microbrewery beer gardens, maybe once a month.

It’s true, but can control where you sit, but not where others walk when they get up from their tables. And sometimes, one of us (I’m not naming any names here) drinks her two beers rather quickly and then invites the chatty mandolin player to sit at the table with us. No more of that.  

And when we’re traveling between campsites, we’ve been ordering take-out and eating it at parks. That’s always a crap-shoot since you often have to go inside to grab the food, and some places treat you like a freak if you’re wearing a mask. No more of that.

And if we’re in the middle of a long errand day, I’ll sometimes use the bathroom at a place we had to stop. No more of that.  

We still have to go inside to do laundry, but some RV parks have their own laundry room, and my guess is they’re used less often than city ones.  

Finally, we have friends and family speckled about in Florida whom we are gonna see, virus or no virus.  Just not at breweries now.  Not walking side by side while talking (my favorite way to catch up!). We’ll be back to hanging out in front of our trailer or on their porches, more than six feet apart, sharing only words.  

Several friends have invited us to take covid tests so we can visit more closely.  I think that’s a great idea for families getting together for a special event like Thanksgiving.  But we’re on the move. Do we test before every visit with each friend? Do we ask every friend to test (even when we’re not sure when we’ll see them or even that we will)? Do we trust every test, ours and theirs, throughout the next four months? I don’t know. So maybe not with the testing.  

Why We’re Especially Careful

It’s worth repeating why we need to be super careful.

If one of us gets sick, the other will, too.  There’s no spare bedroom or bath here in the trailer. We isolate together. 

If we’re sick, we can’t move. And most campgrounds kick you out after a few days.  This is the crux of the matter. 

In the past when Tracy and I have shared a cold, I tend to bounce back quicker. But can I drive us out of one campsite and park us in another? Not yet.  And no way can one of us even hitch up without the other.  

If we got sick here in this tiny trailer, parked where we have no rights to stay, and if either of us is too sick to tow our only home, we are royally screwed.  So is Banjo.  

Why This Lifestyle Works At All

On the bright side, this lifestyle is sustainable in a virus-laden world. We are indeed isolated in our trailer no matter where we park, and we spend most of our time outside in rural environments.  We don’t have to get close to strangers (lucky us), and our friends are considerate of our circumstances.  

But we are battening down the hatches once again.  We’re keeping our Florida plans, but with a heightened awareness.  

Now Tracy might have to be the one to get out at the shrimp stand, because my arms aren’t long enough to keep me six feet from anyone.   

4 thoughts to “Traveling during a Coronavirus Spike”

  1. There have been so many cases where people have tested negative before doing a social event and then it turns into a superspreader occasion (White House anyone?) that it’s clearly not an effective way of making things safe. Even quarantine for 2 weeks has its limits, as NZ discovered when someone developed the virus after three weeks and they’d left quarantine. I admire you for being so careful!

      1. It’s all quite impossible really, I don’t know how I’d be navigating it all so I can’t tell people how they should! My mum isn’t as careful as I think she should be even though she’s generally very good but then I’m not the one living on my own and needing social interaction to stay sane with Covid surging outside so who am I to judge?