Not just one, but two kind friends have expressed concern recently that we might not be practicing social distancing. They’ve seen photos of us, here on this blog, standing close to people and without masks.
I totally hear you. This post is addressing those concerns, plus several Covid-related topics related to our lifestyle.
It’s true: we’ve begun spending more time with people than we did when we first started out: we’re meeting up with old friends because we happen to be camping near where they live, plus we’re making new friends as we become more comfortable talking with strangers on the road. I think our city fatigue has worn off some, and I, at least, am ready for more socializing. Hell, most of us are.
But we don’t have social distancing or mask fatigue, at this point.
We see people only outside. For example, friends who are kind enough to visit our campsite aren’t allowed in our trailer to use the bathroom, poor peeps—we send them to the campground bathrooms. When we hang around campsites with other campers, we bring our own chairs and food, and we stay apart, even though we’re outside.
Recent pictures I’ve posted of us close to friends have been exceptions and carefully orchestrated ones at that: we zipped together for a very quick photo, and we even held our breath once while I tried to get a better shot. I know that’s not as far apart as we should be, but, again, we’re outside and we’re sharing air very quickly.
Hiking and Biking
We do take our masks with us when go exploring, and if we’re passing someone on a trail, we’ll slip them on quickly or, better yet if there’s room, step aside off the trail to give the other people plenty of room to walk past us.
Biking we haven’t been vigilant about with masks except for in Key West, where outside mask wearing seems to be mandated no matter what. Plus we were hopping on and off our bikes often enough and near people outside that constant mask use made sense.
When we’re on the move, we find a park or even just a parking lot where we can pull over and make a meal in our own kitchen. Ditto with bathroom breaks. Our home is with us all the time.
Let’s see … when do we go indoors? This is a toughie.
We do curbside pickup for groceries and beer. We order other supplies online and have them delivered to friends’ houses when we’re nearby. On the rare days when we’re out and it’s hard to get back to the Airstream to cook lunch, we find food trucks or get take-out and eat it at a park. Lately I’ve lucked out with outdoor or well-ventilated laundry machines at campgrounds.
We have been averaging maybe one beer garden a month, and sometimes we have to walk through the inside of the brewery to get outside to sit. We do that quickly and with a mask on. We have not yet eaten outside at a restaurant where servers bring you food and people walk around willy nilly near you. We scope out the beer garden ahead of even trying to go there to be sure we’ll be the only ones there, if possible.
Tracy does need to go inside sometimes to pay for diesel or propane or the odd thing we just have to have that can’t be ordered for curbside pickup. I had to go into a mall lately to an Apple Store. In these cases we get a crash-course in what it’s like for so many Americans who have to be indoors and wear masks much of the day.
It’s disorienting and scary to me. I make rash decisions, I fiddle with my mask, I leave the store before I’ve finished shopping. I just don’t go indoors enough to be used to this yet.
What If We Get Sick
This bears repeating, since it’s on my mind all the time. If either of us gets sick, the other will too since we live in such close quarters. And if Tracy gets sick, we won’t be able to:
- sit out the illness in one spot, since most campgrounds where we have reservations have a two-week limit,
- hitch the truck to the trailer to leave (this is a two-person job and requires all your wits),
- drive to another campground (so far I have not practiced towing the trailer),
- back into a new campsite and unhitch (ditto on two-person job),
- receive grocery deliveries (campgrounds sometimes accept packages for you, but grocery stores won’t recognize your address),
- deal with an ER visit without much drama, seeing as how I have limited experience driving the truck, and Banjo would need to be left behind in the trailer no matter the temperature, or
- receive support from friends and family, since we’re so far away.
Basically, we’re screwed. So we do stay vigilant about the above circumstances.
Our Chances of Getting Vaccinated
This, too, is dicey.
We have Texas drivers licenses and no plans to return to Texas in the next year (and with the governor’s recent decision to lift the mask requirements, why would we?).
Some states are giving vaccines to people from other states, but with caveats left right and center, including that we’d have to come back to that vaccination location for the second dose (unless we can find the J&J vaccine).
We look each day at local resources as well as the New York Times for Covid rates where we are and where we’re going as well as for vaccination trends. And we’re starting to see a possible path to vaccination for us: as we head north this spring and travel through several states, we may find all the right criteria:
- We may both qualify (although if Tracy can get a shot without me, he should).
- We may be in that state long enough to find appointments and get to them.
- The vaccinations may be the J&J variety so we don’t have to return to that state in a month. Or maybe we’ll work it out so we do return.
- The big impediment is finding a vaccination site that will accept us without local IDs, and according to our daily reading on this, that will be a crapshoot.
I appreciate that so many people, including my smart friends, are spending time every day looking through websites where their criteria might be met so that they can get that magical appointment. You might be wondering why we’re not trying harder. Simply put, when we’re on the road, we face too many variables to be able to commit to an appointment where we’ll most likely be turned away anyway because we’re not a state resident.
A Year In
The header image for this post is from the day we left the house to move into the Airstream, March 20, 2020. We’re getting close to one year gone. Today, even though the country has made headway, the virus is even more contagious with variants, people we meet are even more mask-resistant or mask-weary, and we’re all increasingly desperate to socialize.
But Tracy and I are as committed as we’ve ever been to staying careful.
This is one of the people I’m most looking forward to seeing in May.
Coincidentally, Tracy took this pic of my son and me last May, back when we were camping in quarantine close enough to family that we could consider some to be in our bubble, and my son was in mine. But we still sat apart from each other.
When I see him in May for his college graduation, I really want to hug him. But here’s a difference between then and now: by now I feel like we’ve both been exposed to so many more hazardous situations and we’re both riskier people to hug. His school has been vigilant with protocols though, including frequent testing, and there’s a small chance I’ll have been vaccinated, so you never know. A masked hug might not be too risky. If I can hold my breath for a selfie with new friends, I can mask up and turn my head and hug my kid.
And, of course, there may be accidentally inconsistencies in here, plus I may have forgotten instances when I did stupid things, etc. But in general, this is my story and I’m sticking to it!
If you have any questions about our virus-related habits on the road, please ask! And thank you to my two good friends who did ask and prompted me to reassert to myself and to you guys how careful we need to be.