Avoiding COVID-19 On Our Road Trip

CoronavirusTomorrow morning we’ll leave for our two week stay at Wolf’s Haven. One of the benefits, to me, of our cabin in the mountains is that we are very much off the usual grid of humanity. But the 11 hour drive to get there has caused me to think and plan how we might go about avoiding COVID-19 on our road trip.

After having been isolated at home for the past 2 months the road trip is going to be quite a change, for me especially. Other than walking Bella around our neighborhood and a required one-time trip to the bank on a Saturday morning a couple of weeks ago, I haven’t left the house. Cindy or Amber would make trips to the grocery store or Costco armed with their masks and hand sanitizer while I waited (usually working 12 hour days, until recently) safe and secure at the house.

That’s because I have three chronic (but well-managed) underlying medical conditions coupled with an age factor that make me especially susceptible to COVID-19 and that make COVID-19 possibly fatal for me. So I have maintained strict social-distancing behavior since returning from Puerto Rico 9 weeks ago, even to the point that I haven’t seen my daughter and two oldest grandchildren in person this entire time, even though they live less than two miles from us. Thank goodness for FaceTime, but you know I’d really like to give them a hug. And I’m aware that I’m not alone in that regard, as a lot of grandparents are going through the same thing.

But one thing that the past couple of weeks has shown me is that people, with their everyone-for-themselves response to this pandemic, cannot be depended on to do the right thing when it comes to social distancing and protecting other people. Leaving the house and hitting the road presents a whole new set of behaviors and exposure possibilities that we’ll have to plan for in order to avoid being another statistic in the coronavirus pandemic.

Driving Up

Rest Area Exit SignSo, we’ll leave early Saturday morning and our first stop is usually an hour into the trip at a rest stop so that Bella can use the bathroom. She gets queasy during car trips and it upsets her stomach, especially at the beginning. We’ll pull into a spot away from everyone else and do our best not to get close to others, which is not usually a problem that early in the morning.

Breakfast in a To-Go ContainerAt about the 2 1/2 hour mark we usually stop for breakfast and eat in the dining room. This time we’ll stop, but Cindy will go in and get food to go that we’ll eat in the car in the parking lot after wiping the containers down with sanitizing wipes.

Gas PumpFor re-fueling stops we have a supply of Bella’s doggie bags I can put over my hand before grabbing the gas handle and using the touch-screen, then I can just throw it into the trash can by the pumps before getting back in the car.

For lunch we’ll stop at another rest stop, wipe down the picnic table with sanitizer and break out food we’ve brought for our midday meal, probably a salad and some kind of bread or crackers. This gives Bella another chance to use the bathroom.

When we drive into Maggie Valley we’ll stop at Subway (man, I wish they had a Jersey Mike’s) as usual and get sandwiches to take up to the cabin since we’re only about 10 minutes away at that point.

While We’re There

Once we’re at Wolf’s Haven, it will be like quarantine heaven, lol. Nobody around, relaxing, hiking around the mountain, writing and reading. We might, MIGHT take a drive over to Cade’s Cove to take some photos and videos while maintaining social distancing from anyone else who might be out there doing the same thing.

Heading Back

Then, two weeks later, we’ll reverse course to return to Orlando and follow all the same actions as we head back into The City Beautiful. I’m truly hopeful that by then there will not be a massive resurgence of the coronavirus due to all the relaxing of restrictions to keep people safe. But I worry that there will be.

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