Lots of people complain about how boring the drive is through much of Nevada, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico.
Don and I are easily entertained, so we've never minded the flat drives or dusty scenery. But it all does seem more lonely and dreary looking, during these pandemic days. I worried about the hitchhikers, in their masks.
It's good to see, many states had signs and reminders about Covid. But not all signs are very pleasant.
I'm looking forward to post Covid days and post election days, when we no longer have to feel jolted by words and worries. Navajos for Trump? Who is paying for that sign?
Driving through Roswell, I felt a little lift from current worries.
The aliens and spaceships gave me a nice chuckle!
Our very best surprise on our drive, was when we found the Musical Highway, not far from Albuquerque.
We had heard about the odd creation, a few years ago. We knew that rumble strips had been placed, to help create a musical sound.
But I searched the internet and learned that the sign had been removed and the musical road was no longer maintained.
We searched anyway. The sign was gone. (this one is from internet) We found the spot by mileage and slowed to 45. I squealed when I suddenly heard the road humming to us! "Oh Beautiful for spacious skies..." It was there! We turned around and drove it 2 more times!
Our Favorite Squirrel!
The Musical Highway made me giddy, but seeing good old Ms. Pearl the Squirrel made me grin. We were on TX 71 about 2 hours from home, when we drove by Berdoll Pecan & Candy Co.
I took a window photo as we flew by. You go Pearl! Since this pandemic began, our 14-foot lady, has been sporting masks of many colors.
What a nice greeting!
Today is Sunday and we are on the final day of road trip driving. I had lots of time to think about... churches.
How many are doing virtual church still? How many are risking crowds by going to church in person? I'm sad for the elderly who are most at risk and may be missing church more than most.
I thought about the churches I saw during our brief stop in Santa Fe.
Our hotel was across from this beautiful church. We heard the church bells when we dined. It was both comforting and eerie.
We walked over later at night and I read the sign about "Covid-19 Mass Times" How odd these times are. I'm guessing Catholic masses have put a temporary halt to the part of mass that I used to dread as a kid. I was about 11 when we were asked to acknowledge those near us in the pews. "Peace be with you..." As a shy kid I hated shaking hands with strangers.
Last night, we also walked down to see the lovely, Loretto Chapel. The lit up church seemed so safe and peaceful. So I thought about churches, as we drove TX 71, towards Houston. I spotted 2 different church gatherings meeting outside under tents. One was a mostly African American congregation and the other looked Latino.
Twenty minutes later we passed the Cowboy Church. On some Sunday mornings, I've seen cowboy greeters on their horses.
It was 10 am when we passed the large lot and fenced in arena. The lot was packed with trucks, mostly. I saw no horses. I saw no people, because they were all inside, the warehouse-like, church.
I hope that "cowboy congregation" kept safe at their service. I hope they said some extra prayers, that they don't get AND/OR SPREAD Covid-19!.
La Fonda Hotel
We made a change, for the last night of our road trip. After keeping it safe with Marriott owned hotels, we checked on reviews for the historic La Fonda in Santa Fe.
Reviews convinced us that guests with concerns about traveling during a pandemic, felt very happy at La Fonda.
,The chain hotels had been safe, but I was tired of seeing stacked chairs and tired of little bag breakfasts on the way out.
At La Fonda, they went above and beyond, with covid restrictions. The PLEASE sign made me smile. It's not a huge demand. Just put on your shoes and shirt and mask!
I liked the hand sanitizer in the shiny container. And I liked being given a first floor, upgraded room.
I liked the way the hotel handled the closure of their indoor dining space. (pic from 2 years ago)
Instead of stacking chairs and putting up caution tape, they transformed it into a gallery.
Their spacious outdoor restaurant was open.
After checking in, we took a peek and we were so impressed we made reservations. The masked staff was relaxed and welcoming and the tables isolated, without looking odd.
Don and I had our last restaurant meal on March 7. We figured if were going to take a baby step with outdoor dining, this was the perfect place to do it!
Safe and Yummy
Neither of us has had any desire to do more than carryout dining. But suddenly we were craving this dining experience. The guests and staff all looked relaxed and happy. The New Mexican cuisine smelled heavenly.
When a man at a nearby table saw me snapping a photo of Don, he jumped up and insisted on taking a photo of the 2 of us. I was delighted. We toasted and he snapped a photo, before returning my phone.
Oops. I guess I was so relaxed I didn't think that this was the perfect way to get a little covid-contam! Oh well. I grabbed my portable hand sanitizer and cleaned my hands and phone.
We don't have plans to dine out again, anytime soon. But I'm glad we tried it out at a great place!
We had one more hotel stay, last night. Hotels are no fun during a pandemic. The desk staff tried to be pleasant when we checked in, but all felt awkward. It's just hard to understand each other in masks.
Don and I lugged bags to our room and hunkered down with cheese and crackers and wine. We turned on the TV to see the RNC in progress. Why was a convention happening at the White House? Is that appropriate?
And why were so many people crowded together without masks? We had just passed through the hotel lobby, where people were respecting each other by wearing masks. This seems so confusing.
This morning, we turned on the news before checking out.
There is more happening in D.C. today. It's the anniversary of the March on Washington, in 1963.
Even larger crowds were expected at the anniversary March.
But they had rules about masks and temperatures were being taken. Crowds of any kind worry me these days, but I'd rather be in the crowd that wears masks.
Closed Hotel Gyms
We've been staying at Marriott owned hotel chains on this road trip. They have the best ratings for how they're handling the pandemic. We checked into SpringHill Suites in Salt Lake City, last night. It was very new and clean.
Oh how I would have loved to have used their fitness room with new equipment, but hotel gyms are closed. I've totally gotten out of my exercise routine with our trip. And these long drive days, make me crave running.
We had a nice view of the mountains from our room. I also spotted a park, so I decided to have a run before we checked out, this morning.
I don't usually run with a mask, but I took mine, since it looked like a fairly active park. I joined the walkers and runners on the one-way road, around the lake.
I noticed some teenage runners and some ducks, not keeping properly distanced.
I let the coach deal with the boys and I had a talk with the ducks. I waved my mask as a reminder.
Obviously the fresh air went to my brain today.
Restrooms on the Road
One of our biggest issues with our pandemic road trip, has been about restrooms. As we headed out west over two weeks ago, we used this handy list. Don printed out all the rest areas along the interstates, that we planned to travel.
Overthinking things? Not at all. We'd heard horror stories about gas stations not allowing people to use restrooms. Mostly, I worried that gas station restrooms would be more risky for infection.
I even bought a nifty (and sort of creepy) gadget, made for ladies who don't want to squat in the bushes. Ugh... but good to have, I guess.
On our trip out west, we found very decent rest stops. They were cleaned well and the doors were propped open. Most had openings near the ceiling, for more airflow. We were all about NOT picking up Covid on the journey to our family gathering.
I wore my mask and used a tiny disinfectant spray. I waited a minute at most, to make sure I could zip in and out, without anyone else inside. Only one time did we change our minds and drive on to find a better rest stop.
A Different Route
But, now we're heading home on a different route. The handy sheet with the list of rest stops, won't help us on this drive.
I've been looking up rest stops on GPS, but what's with all the rest stop closures in New Mexico?
Masks at the Pump
So, I was forced to use a gas station rest room. I had to walk inside and actually go through a laundry room area... because it was a truck stop!
After hours of blocked off rest stops, I could have used my handy gadget... But, I chose to mask up and be quick about it at the truck stop.
Luckily, we've seen a lot of people wearing masks, when they pump gas. It's surprising, since we're all 6 feet apart. But it just feels good to see other travelers being respectful.
We have a Texas license plate, after all. Don't want people to think Texans are traveling around the country sharing the Covid.
Biggest and most obvious travel tip. Don't drink a lot on the road.
Today we packed up from the Oregon rental house and hit the road for Texas. Luckily our relaxing 2 weeks was not cut short.
We changed our Sacramento route, to avoid possible road closures.
It was odd to see smoky skies, along with some damaged trees, from another year.
We luckily had no real issues, but we could imagine what evacuating might be like. How scary to deal with fire worries, on top of a pandemic.
Before we got on the road, texts started coming in, from friends back home in the Houston area.
What a strange world we're living in right now. Two hurricanes forming at once?
"Laura" was the one that seemed to be more of a threat to our home.
Our next door neighbors let us know that they'd gone to our backyard to move plants and furniture. It will be a few days before we reach home. It's seems so much more predictable than fire. We know the storms will be over by the time we get home. Fingers crossed.
Food for Hunkering Down
We've all gotten so much better at "sheltering in place" this year. I kind of hate knowing that we're not back home, along with our neighbors.
I had to chuckle when I saw this bit of info, that a Texas friend shared.
Toilet paper limits for pandemic. Brisket limits for hurricane!
Posing With Masks
This morning, "the kids" headed back to Portland and Sacramento.
Luckily I have a few photos to remember our 2-week pandemic gathering. We took these on the second evening, that we were together. The masks will always help us mark the year.
I hopped up and set the timer on my Nikon, again. "Okay! One more. Take your masks off this time!"
"One more! Take your sunglasses off and point to the new mama!"
"Okay! Last one! Just regular." And here it is. Just regular.
This will most likely be THE family photo for 2020. No dazzling photos, taken at a wedding reception. No perfect outfits or hairdos or make up. Just a lot of smiles and maybe a little pandemic facial hair.
This is not your perfect family photo and that's why I love it!
I remember seeing photos of crowded beaches last Memorial Day. "Who are those crazy people, going to beaches when there's a pandemic?"
Now it's August and there's still a pandemic and our rental house is near the Pacific. We can walk to this beach! There are no crowds. There's also no sand.
Harris State Park
Less than a 10 minute drive away, we found this beautiful beach.
They had a sign to remind us about the pandemic. But we didn't exactly see anyone wearing masks.
Masks at the Beach
Jamie and Heidi and I visited the beach yesterday. We wore masks, while walking from the car to the beach.
I was glad we were wearing them, when we walked down a tricky path and a (mask-less) woman tumbled, right in front of Heidi. Heidi's instincts were to reach out and help the woman, who found herself sort of wedged in the rocks. She wasn't hurt. It was mostly just awkward. But this is why it's not being overly cautious to wear a mask at the beach.
There was a ton of open space on the beach and lots of people scattered. Our masks came off and Heidi and Jamie went to work trying to get their kite up.
It was sort of comical how the wind teased that little white kite.
There was a lot of laughing and a little grumbling. I took some photos and they finally got the little "announcement" up in the air.
2 Weeks Almost Up
Our "family quarantine vacay" has gone so quickly. I'm so glad I had a little beach time with Jamie and Heidi. They head back to Portland tomorrow.
It's hard being thousands of miles away, in Texas. It's frustrating that Heidi and I can't go to lunch and talk about cravings and cribs together. Phone calls just aren't the same.
Coffee at the Beach
So, it's our last day today. Heidi and I jumped in the car this morning and went through a Dutch Bros drive through. Heidi got a fancy decaf and I had a yummy latte.
We drove back to the Harris Beach and sat in the car and talked. What a treat to look out at that foggy view, with our coffees and no masks. Just Heidi and me, talking about the little girl who is coming to this world in February! The best Covid-Coast memory.
Public Park in Oregon
After days of quarantined family vacation, our gang of 6 packed towels and lunch and headed to a park near Klamath Falls.
Ugh. Other people. I'm used to being in my safe home-bubble, or on walks and hikes, far away from others.
There were limited spots along the lake, but we found one.
We spread the towels on the rocky beach and settled in, to relax. It was entertaining watching families fishing and swimming and boating. You could forget it was the Pandemic Summer of 2020.
We've all been aware of our personal space in past months. Everyone knows about the 6 foot rule, whether they follow it or not. But what about "family space" at a park?
Thanks to some previous park guests, we had a nice little safety fence built up on both sides. A skinny log on the right side and a row of sticks on the left.
It looked sort of funny actually. No one was attempting to walk through, but it was there, marking our special family beach space. Gotta love that.
Remembering April's Quarantine
I've been thinking about all the time Don and I have spent together, since March. We've been a good quarantine team, but I've envied friends who were "stuck" at home with their families.
For the past 10 days, I feel like our family has sort of been "playing quarantine" together. It's as if we are happily trapped on a boat, or an island. I mean that in a good way.
It's been so nice sitting together with no plans. Bundling up on one chilly evening and scalding our feet in spa water, another!
It's been nice being together long enough, that we can also be apart.
Scott spent a couple mornings focused on work. Don kept up with the news, during breakfast. Jamie and Heidi played a little music.
It's been nice listening to the sounds of guitar and piano, floating around the rental house.
Chali did some puzzle work and Heidi actually colored in an old coloring book... at least for a little while.
Chali set up the best meditation spot at the cabin. She's been our garden tender, at the coast house.
It's been nice to also have some one on one time.
Scott and Chali played... with juggling balls and skulls!
The expecting parents looked through Heidi's old baby books. Don and Scott talked on the patio, as the sun set.
I'm realistic enough to know that our quarantine vacation has not been the same as a forced quarantine... with jobs or school stresses.
But I will remember our isolated Oregon getaway, as the highlight of the pandemic!
Two Crazy Kitchens
Our 2 week Quarantine Vacay has involved 2 rental homes. That means, the 6 of us have had to adjust to 2 kitchens. Not really a huge deal.
The 2 homes have been wonderful, but also a little quirky. The kitchens have tested our patience, just a bit.
We've been doing curbside pick up, to keep things as safe as possible. It was over an hour round trip, for the first house. I miss the days of running back to the store for the thing you forgot!
Then where do you put everything? The cabinets and drawers were stuffed. 4 can openers, 3 coffee pots, 10 different designs of eating utensils and about 20 shot glasses. We kept food on the counters, which pleased a tiny mouse who very much liked bagels!
But our focus was on being together. The variety of forks was just amusing. The scenery from the grill, was amazing.
And eating all together for the first time in 10 months, was incredible!
Now we're at the second house and we've been constantly amused by the dated kitchen. It took 3 of us to figure out the ancient convection oven.
There are no cookie sheets or casserole dishes. Oh my.
The trash compactor is comical. I thought it had exploded when Jamie turned it on. And the can opener needs to be thrown away. We made do with a Swiss Army Knife.
Grilling & Carryouts
But kitchen issues really aren't worth ranting over.
We gave ourselves a pizza delivery one night and picked up a seafood feast, another day.
Thanksgiving in August
And since the months ahead are uncertain, we had an August Thanksgiving meal. 6 at a table for 4 was extra cozy!
It's tricky finding things and cooking, in a strange kitchen. It's hard doing curbside shopping for more than 2. But oh how worth it!
I am so THANKFUL to be spending time with this gang!
For the first week of our "pandemic reunion", we didn't even turn on the TV in the rental house.
We didn't want to be reminded of Covid-19 facts... or elections concerns. Actually, one time we did put in an old DVD. Elvis Presley, in King Creole. Oddly entertaining.
Window or TV Screen?
At the second house, it was hard to get excited about the large TV and crazy tall speakers. The views of the Pacific Ocean were much more exciting.
Actually, sometimes there were no views. The fog rolled in... a lot!
We did finally turn the on the TV and it was actually a pretty fun escape.
My daughter-in-law introduced me to the "Modern Love" series! This is not your Hallmark Channel Chick Flick Series. What a delightful, creative, thoughtful escape! This may be my next TV addiction, for stuck at home days.
We did allow ourselves a little bit of reality at one point.
After months of sharing political worries with our kids on the phone and during Zooms, we were able to watch some of the Democratic National Convention together.
Suddenly reality hit, when I saw Kamala Harris in her mask and on a vast empty stage.
It was during our travels that we learned about Harris being Biden's pick. Now things are moving forward rapidly and suddenly November 3rd is not so far away.
I'm glad to get moving with this election, but it felt sad and worrisome watching the screen.
Is this really how this election is going to be in the next couple months? I'm all for keeping things safe, but the empty space was eerie. The big screen with faces looking down, was not quite the same. But the words were positive.
It's going to be an interesting couple of months ahead.
I feel like the whole world has been mysterious and secretive, during the past half year. Many social media posts are vague. People who normally share and brag about dining and traveling, don't want to be judged. I get it.
I'm a faithful keeper of good secrets, but I don't like it. It's hard. I've been keeping a happy secret for 2 months!
In June, Don and I were out by the pool when we got a FaceTime call. This is how we looked when our daughter and son-in-law told us they were expecting! I squealed so loud that my neighbors probably figured out the news... about their neighbors becoming grandparents!
Sharing with Family
On July 31, we Zoomed with the parents-to-be, along with our son & daughter-in-law.
Earlier that day, Heidi had gone for her first prenatal check up. She'd gone alone, because of Covid. But we were all together on Zoom when she and Jamie shared photos! We still needed to keep quiet for another week, until results of the NIPT test.
We were driving to Oregon, when Heidi called with a good report on the test. Did we want to know if it was a boy or girls? I laughed and hollered back, "Not yet! Not on the phone!"
A few days later, Don and I joined the 4 "kids", at the Airbnb.
We gathered around the table in the evening and Heidi and Jamie told us to pick a balloon color, to match our guess.
Don and Scott picked pink. Chali and I picked blue. On the count of 3, we started blowing. I blew so fast and hard that my blue balloon inflated, despite the pin pricks that Heidi had put in the blue balloons. "It's a boy!" I shouted!
Heidi laughed and shook her head. I looked at Don and Scott holding inflated pink balloons. My blue one fizzled slowly. "A Girl???" I screeched!
I grabbed one of the pink balloons and hugged Heidi. I have a history of baby reveal confusion. When Heidi was born the doctor announced, "It's a lovely little lady!" That was too subtle for me. "Boy or Girl?" I demanded.
We celebrated that evening and shared news with more family.
The next day we called my Dad, in Missouri. That call was the most fun of all my daily, Pandemic-Dad-calls, during his 6 months of room confinement.
A few days later, Heidi and Jamie got clever with some kite decorating. It pays to have a lot of silly stuff packed up for quarantine entertainment!
The Baby Hurst kite could be handy for revealing the fun secret, on Facebook!
I wish we all knew the secret about when this pandemic will end! I so hope things are somewhat... or ALL better, by February!
Except During a Pandemic!
We found Paul's Chalet, on the Airbnb website. We were looking for a house, away from people!
We needed a place, somewhere between our kids' homes in Portland and Sacramento. This was our pick! You can barely see it in this photo.
The nearest grocery store that offered curbside pick up, wasn't close. It was an hour round trip to pick up groceries, so that we could do all our own cooking. No restaurants on this trip.
But we were only a 1-minute drive to this hike, on the Pacific Rim Trail.
It was a little further to this location, at the the Mount Ashland Ski Slopes.
We brought masks, but mostly had both trails to ourselves!
Isolation never felt so good!
So Many Travel Worries
For months, we've been considering this road trip, to meet up with our kids in Oregon. There have been lots of things to fret about and figure out. A travel ban was not one of them.
We kept our fingers crossed as we headed off for Oregon on August 7. We hoped we wouldn't be turned away, with our Texas plates.
This was a happy moment when we saw this sign and no barricades!
Heidi and Jamie would have no problem, driving down from Portland. Scott and Chali were planning to leave from Sacramento, two days later. Their CA license plates could be even more unwanted than ours!
Lots of fingers being crossed, leading up to this reunion!
After days of driving, Don and I arrived in Sacramento. We pulled up to the new home of our son and our daughter-in-law. I grinned as we walked towards the house. Don and I haven't hugged anyone else in a half year.
It always feels good to hug our kids when we haven't seen them in a long time. It's been 10 months, but seems longer. Our extra long hugs were in response to the last 6 months. The pandemic has made us all miss each other, so much more.
It felt so good to be inside Scott and Chali's home, after days on the road. We've all been prepping for this no-mask visit.
Scott and Chali even turned down moving help from friends, to limit exposure to others. They still had lots to unpack, but we had a great time enjoying their new home. It also felt wonderful to hug little Lola! I haven't snuggled an animal in all these months.
All 4 Kids
The next day, Don and I drove to Ashland, Oregon. We had booked a mountain-view house for a week. We couldn't wait for all to arrive.
It felt amazing to hug our daughter and son-in-law, after 10 months. Best of all, I got to stand back and watch the 4 kids hug each other.
I'm so, very glad that we decided to make this reunion happen. After months of chatting and laughing and sharing on Zoom meetings, we 6 finally came together in person.
A few months ago, we talked about how to attempt a gathering, during a pandemic. I remember Heidi saying, "We need to plan a way that we can safely get together, without masks." For weeks ahead, we all quarantined, but road travel, a surprise move and a doctor's visit, made things tricky. We did the best we could possibly do and now we're together!
The best hugs, are the ones that come after pandemic isolation!
Don and I rarely stay at chains. We love the fun of "one of kind" historic hotels and "quirky-retro" motels. But on this road trip, we were looking for safety with our stays, not fun.
We made our route as direct as possible and Deming, NM was our first stop. At our Holiday Inn Express, I was glad to see the reminder signs for masks. There were cups for sanitized and dirty pens and there were bottles of hand sanitizer. The added plexiglass seemed a little random... some here, none there. Oh well.
Uncomfortable Check In
Our check in host wasn't very friendly, but maybe that was because her face covering made communication difficult.
Or maybe I was frustrated that she didn't have a first floor room for us, after I'd requested. Or maybe her drooping mask made me nervous.
I really didn't like it in the morning when I spotted 7 people checking out without masks.
I stood way back and approached when they left. The 2 women behind the counter didn't pull up their masks, which hung below their chins. Asthma was the excuse of one. I filed a complaint later, but I'm not encouraged.
In the Room
The second night we were at a Marriott owned hotel in San Bernardino, CA. Marriotts have a good record for Covid protocol.
We got a first floor room, so no awkward dances with others waiting for elevators. I was more skilled at "disinfecting" our room the second day. I tried not to overdo, but still needed to open windows and wait for the fog to lift. Then it was time for our hideous "picnic" feast. So lame! I guess we could have ordered pizza, but we were cutting down on people interaction.
By the third night, we at least knew what to expect. Another Marriott owned hotel, in Sacramento this time. The parking lot was jammed with old cars. We noticed many of the guests seemed to be long term residents. Evicted during pandemic? There was an odd feel to the place and I was glad we were just there for the night.
After 3 nights, I was sort of used to the signs. Seeing masked people in a hotel, no longer seemed so odd. I also no longer assumed every person would comply with the signs. I learned to steer clear.
People are ridiculous. Now I see why I've enjoyed being a hermit for months. It's an unpleasant surprise to realize how many people in the world just do not care about anyone but themselves.
Road Trip Dining
Don and I love the dining adventures when we travel. Roadside diners and small town cafes... Not this trip.
Our Pandemic Road Trip has not been about the journey. The goal is to meet up with our kids. That means we cut down on as many people encounters as possible. That means lots of picnics. Don printed out a list of all the rest stops on our route, from Texas to Oregon.
We wore our masks when we walked by people in the parking lot. I sprayed down the table before laying the cloth. Then of course I snapped a timer pic, to capture the fine memory... before mask removal.
Hot Stop in Arizona
In August, the weather is hot!
We had a few very quick picnics! It was 108 degrees under this shady shelter.
We saw this fine place in California! Great sign, Tudor building and a windmill!
Ordinarily, Don and I would gasp and slam on the brakes for a place like this! An iconic Pea Soup restaurant! It was even open for business! But we aren't taking risks. I put it on the list for post pandemic adventures.
Date Shake Stop!
We had only one treat on our drive to Sacramento! It was another iconic place from the twenties.
Don and I remember indulging in date shakes 4 decades ago, when when we lived in Southern California. Sheilds was open and it even had curb side delivery!
We had a sweet, refreshing, drink-dining adventure after all.
I saved this fortune from months ago, when we enjoyed a feast on Chinese New Year!
I smiled when I read it back in January. It was a good one. Just a few weeks later, things got crazy and people were putting toilet paper high on the priority list.
We are 9 months into 2020. It's been a year of pondering and rethinking priorities. Family (not toilet paper) is probably on the top of most people's lists.
Facebook keeps showing me old posts with family. It seems to know I'm missing our youngins!
For the last few days, FB has bombarded me with these sweet "Memories". I don't mind at all.
Don and I haven't lived in the same town as "the kids" for over a decade. But these posts make us crave time together.
This is actually very odd. I've never had memory posts pop up so consistently, with family pics.
But that's okay! We will see both our kids and their wonderful spouses, very soon! We're sick of being 2,000 miles away from our kids. We are on a road trip headed their way!
Off We Go
This is how the sky looked the morning we got up to leave Texas.
It was nice to ease into the thought of a westward-pandemic-road-trip, by spending our first night at our cabin. It was a peaceful morning. Why we would want to leave this? Because we have been so darn eager to see our kids, during these pandemic months!
Pics From the Car
We knew we had 3 days on the road, to California. Don and I are eager car travelers, but we're not used to feeling so trapped in our car. We like to meander and go off on tangents and stop at quirky roadside diners. None of that.
As we traveled through TX, NM, AZ and CA, I only took photos from inside the car. This trip was never about the journey. We have been on a mission to avoid as many people as possible, as we travel west to be with family.
There were moments when it just felt like one of our many, many road trips. But, when we stopped for gas, it sometimes felt like Twilight Zone. It was odd and surprising and nice, to see how many climbed out of cars and put on masks, before pumping gas.
Signs and billboards, also reminded us. We've been on the road, away from TV and news, but there's no way to forget what's going on in August 2020. The signs aren't attractive and fun, but I'm happy to know everyone is being reminded to be safe.
Cleaning and Health Supplies
I'm not used to this kind of packing.
I've never packed a thermometer or face masks, for a road trip. Actually, I'm not even sure why I packed that thermometer. Oh well, it's small.
This was the fun part of packing. We'll be staying with our kids and their spouses for about 2 weeks.
During all these past quarantine months, I've thought about how different it would have been to have been "trapped" in a home with our family, not just my spouse. Yay! I'm excited to "play quarantine" with our whole family, even if it won't be in our own home. I love playing games with Don, but it will be more fun with all of us!
We don't really have to stay inside, so we have some outside stuff, too! Yay for Kadima!
This pandemic summer has felt like summers of my childhood. As a kid, spent a lot of long, warm days, hanging out at home and in the yard.
I know we 6 will spend most of our time catching up and enjoying adult conversations. There's so much to talk about. But we 6 might need some kid activities, too.
I'm sure we'll avoid news on TV, so we might want some movies.
I packed some old favorites. If the weather is bad, we'll have about 20 movie options.
Pandemic Goodie Bags
Besides packing up tons of food and drink, I made sure to gather some non-essential stuff.
Everybody gets thermal mugs and foot and face spa stuff... a kite making kit ... and some masks and sprays. Actually those are essential.
What didn't I pack? No need for jewelry and dress clothes. Oh well.
This was my last peek at the TV, on August 6.
It looks like a good time to escape the state. Really I'm not worried about being in Texas. Our home is a safe bubble with no worries. I do sort or hate leaving our safe little oasis, but we're missing our kids on the west coast.
Don and I love road trips. Car travel is the only way we are willing to go.
Recently, we both read this book for a little quarantine entertainment. There are fun bits of road trip trivia, but there are no tips for traveling during a pandemic.
This will be interesting.
We no longer have kids in school, but I worry for my neighbors who do. So many unknowns.
It was odd to see our neighborhood newsletter for August. Today, it was strange to drive by my son's old Middle School and see the the signs and tents, ready to hand out laptops to students.
This Back to School Fest in Houston, looks more worrisome than fun. But I guess back to school is always a bit worrisome. I so remember stressing as a kid, when I saw "Back to School" advertisements in store windows. I dreaded the end of summer.
How do kids feel today, with so many unknowns? Our neighborhood schools open in 10 days, with virtual learning. I'm glad for that.
This image was taken by a student on the first day, at a high school in Georgia. Masks were encouraged, but not required. Evidently there are also no plans for keeping 6 feet apart.
I'm feeling sad for these students and the teachers and parents and staff. This just looks plain dangerous. I wish them well.
Finally people are wearing masks, even if they said they never would.
This couple had the nerve to speak up on TV. They refused to wear masks before, along with all their partying friends. Then they became "mask believers" after both became sick. She spent time in the hospital and still has health issues. You have to give them credit for getting on TV, to push people to wear masks. Their masks aren't creepy.
Masks on Commercials
I'm pretty used to seeing masks on TV. We've seen journalists and police and politicians and even the president... about once. We've seen baseball players and tennis ball kids and golf caddies. But, what's really odd is seeing masks being worn on commercials, that have nothing to do with the pandemic.
This image freaked me out! Mattress Mac has been on local commercials selling furniture since we moved to Sugar Land in 1998. Today he did his usual "We'll save you money!!!" bit, behind a mask. Yikes! That threw me to see his big old frozen smile on the mask, while he spoke.
The Creepiest Masks
The worst masks, are the discarded ones that don't make it to the trash can!
I If you are concerned enough to wear a mask, aren't you the kind of person who cares about littering? Ugh. This was spotted on a neighborhood walk. Sad.
Who Cares How they Look?
I guess I don't care what masks look like.
I just hope more and more people start wearing them!
I started this complaining list/blog, in May 2016. I posted 200 gripes about my breast cancer and then I was done.
On March 13, 2020, I started venting all over again, when another disease (starting with a C) interfered with my life. Only this time, it was affecting more than me. I ranted for a year, until I got my vaccine in March 2021.
Coronary Artery Disease was the reason I restarted this blog on September 26, 2021. This time it was Don who was dealing with a worry that started with the letter "C".
Coronavirus and Cancer, Coronary Artery Disease! All are evil, but none can totally get me down... if I vent! I usually end up feeling a little more positive at the end of each post!