Friday, April 3, 2020

When Shelter-In-Place Becomes Shelter-In-Texas

Hey, all you cool cats and kittens out there!!  (Tiger King reference, because we just can't look away!)  Oh, what a difference a few weeks make!  When we left on our planned three-month “Southern Charm” RV trip with destinations in the Carolinas and Georgia, COVID-19 was a concern, but only a few states were sheltering-in-place, and President Trump was only beginning to communicate the severity and likely length of the situation.  Dr. Fauci wasn't even a superstar yet.


Fast forward, with travel restrictions and shelter-in-place orders expanding exponentially across the country by the minute, our preferred nomadic lifestyle had become stressful and hard-to-maintain.  So for now, we've decided to stay in Fredericksburg, Texas, as good a spot as any other for self-quarantining.  


Fredericksburg is quaint and small, but large enough to have all services and (God forbid) a hospital.   Its spring weather is fabulous ... sunny but cool.  And we've got a gorgeous spot in an RV campground that is only maybe 10% full, for as long as we choose to stay here. 


F'burg is relatively isolated, with only one confirmed case of Covid-19 so far.  All of the cute shops and wine tasting venues are closed, of course, and the streets are empty.  But there are lots of lonely country roads (actually, lots of lonely city roads too!) to walk Sprinkles and bike ride for exercise. 



Elsie the RV is fully self-contained, and we have full utility hookups so we don't need to use anyone's restrooms or showers other than our own.  Even in good times, we don't closely interact with others while on the road, so it's not a problem to stay isolated.  Heck, Philip and I even like spending time with each other!  And, we have the finest fitness equipment money can buy ... dumbbells and a picnic table!


It would have been difficult to shelter-in-place in our old RV, but upgrading last year gave us tons of storage and a full residential-size refrigerator (including an automatic ice maker for the cocktails it is now apparently OK to start drinking at 10 AM!) We have at least 3-4 weeks of food and supplies, and there’s lots to keep us busy.  


We’ve got Dish Network satellite TV activated, unlimited Internet data on Verizon, Kindles stuffed full of things we’ve been wanting to read, at least 100 new DVD movies thanks to friends who donated fresh material to our collection last year, plus campfires, stargazing and anxiously checking our 401K balances.  

HOME SWEET HOME!

When we left Phoenix, which seems like a lifetime ago, our initial stop was supposed to be at the 101st Annual FMCA (Family Motor Coach Association) Rally in Tucson, which of course was cancelled.  (Good call.  With 5,000+ attendees, the majority of whom are in the at-risk age and health categories, coming together in close quarters for a full week, then scattering like the wind to the four corners of the country … what could go wrong there??!)   


Instead, we snagged a last-minute cancellation at Picacho Peak State Park, halfway between Phoenix and Tucson.  The view out our bedroom window was a lot better than at home!


The campground was fully-booked, with every spot taken, but they were widely spaced and people were staying mostly to themselves.  The trails were busy, with everyone trying to stay active and healthy and not lose their minds at home.  People on the trail gave a cautious wave and a weak smile, but stepped widely off the trail when encountering others to let them pass safely.





The last ¼ mile of the trail we chose included the embedded cables which are plentiful on the peak trail, but we didn't know were part of this trail.  We had Sprinkles with us, and doubted she could scramble up the nearly-vertical rock face, but using a tag-team push-and-pull strategy, managed to haul her up and over the saddle with us.  She’s hiked many a mountain peak with us in New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont … but this was her best performance yet!  Way to go, Sprinkles!



Of course, those gorgeous Arizona sunsets never fail to amaze!


Moving on, we left Picacho Peak for Las Cruces, traveling 321 miles and just barely staying within our long-standing, self-imposed “THREE-THIRTY” restriction … we don’t like to travel more than 330 miles in a day, and we like to arrive by 3:30 so as to be set up and ready when cocktail hour rolls around. Traffic on the roads, even for busy I-10, is now light and primarily made up of truckers … no doubt delivering loads of TP to a distribution warehouse near you.


Spring wildflowers are blooming roadside and the blue skies seem even bluer these days.



Another silver lining … gas prices!  Holy moly!  $1.49/gallon … very helpful when you get 8 miles to the gallon.  We can now fill the RV’s 80-gallon gas tank without borrowing from our home equity credit line! 


We continue to follow good practices, including gloved hands at gas stations (recently, we have also started wearing masks outside).  Most campgrounds have asked that we call 5 minutes before arrival, and they leave a packet with our site number and other information in front of the office, so we don’t need to interact with their staff or other campers at all. 


Philip’s development project in the City of North Las Vegas, like most things these days, has been put on ice for at least 30 days, but he still has lots of work to do, now via FaceTime and Zoom.  He is suddenly concerned with lighting angles and asking where I keep the face powder.  But so far anyway, he has yet to confuse his daytime fuzzy socks with his nighttime fuzzy socks.


Rest assured, all residents of this RV are using necessary PPE's and staying safe!


Although we are watching President Trump’s regular addresses to the nation, we much prefer the guidelines issued by the National Park Service.  Keep your social distance, everyone!


I cried real tears at having to let go of all those hard-won and meticulously-planned destinations through the end of April.  Our hope is that we will be geographically and logistically positioned to resume our usual style of exuberant travel by the time the U.S. starts to put COVID-19 in its rear-view mirror, hopefully in May.  If not, we'll just stay put. 


This is not to say that we are taking the COVID-19 situation lightly … in fact, far from it.  But it is our belief that being isolated inside the RV is, for us, the safest and most comfortable way for us to ride out the storm, and Fredericksburg is a fine place to do it.  Someday we'll be able to "live gathered" again but in the meantime we can still "love good."  Elbow hugs to everyone!




11 comments:

  1. Looks like you found a nice spot to hunker down until it's safe to travel again. We've been to Fredericksburg only once and enjoyed it, but then again things were open. Hopefully the blue bonnets are in bloom. Stay safe and healthy and hopefully our wheels will be rolling again soon.

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    1. The bluebonnets are jusssst beginning to pop open, but as all signs point to us staying for "a while" (whatever that may be), chances are high we will get to see them in all their beauty! Yay!

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  2. Tessa, my heart aches for you guys, knowing the amount of planning you invested in this lengthy trip and imagining the level of anticipation for such a great adventure. I have no doubt that you'll make the best of your situation - no matter what it turns out to be. Love the masked Sprinkles!

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  3. Mary - I knew you would be most sad for the planning deconstruction!!!! In response, I'm doubling down on planning a different trip for the future. The ying/yang of RV travel -- cancel a plan, make a plan!!! Hugs!

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  4. Glad you found a spot even if you had to leave the rest of your trip to the unknown. Hopefully we can all be on the road again soon. Stay safe!

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    1. Yes!!!! That is the dream. In the meantime, it is good to practice "being flexible," and knowing better days will return again.

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  5. We are hunkered sown just east of you at Canyon Lake... Had plans to stay in Fred. but cancelled and came here...

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    1. We follow your blog and I said to my husband a few days ago, "look, they have the same roadside photo of the yellow wildflowers that we took!" We even compared the backgrounds to see if it was the exact stretch of road haha. If you're that close to us, it is likely pouring cats and dogs right now there too! Stay dry, stay warm, have a great weekend!

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  6. I just discovered your blog. Your photos are gorgeous...it's fun to see so many of the places we love highlighted in your "Pretty As A Picture" sidebar. This is such a great life, even with the challenges we are all currently facing. So glad you've found a good place to stay for as long as you need to stay put. We really like Fredericksburg, and it's glorious when the wildflowers are in bloom. Stay healthy and keep enjoying! Oh, and Sprinkles is adorable. :-)

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    1. Hi Laurel! It was a thrill to get a message from you, as I've followed your lovely blog for a while now! It was like hearing from Oprah Winfrey, a celebrity in the blogging world! I recently forwarded the poem you published, The Peace of Wild Things, to friends and family to describe our need to get back to nature as the world goes crazy. We love your photography and helpful travel advice. Keep writing, please! Take care!!!

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  7. LOL!!! You are hilarious!! I'm so glad I found you and will happily follow your travels and adventures. So please keep posting. We all need each other, now more than ever. I'm so glad you found The Peace of Wild Things inspiring, it's one of my all-time favorites and especially comforting in these times.

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