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But I searched the internet and learned that the sign had been removed and the musical road was no longer maintained.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.
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. This time it was the invasion of COVID and it affected every person. I ranted for a year, until I got my COVID vaccine in March 2021.
CORONARY Artery Disease was the reason I restarted this blog on September 26, 2021. This time it was my hubby 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!
Navigating This Mess!
The most recent post is at the top, from coronary posts in 2022, back to cancer posts in 2016.
To find past posts, look below the "Archives" section, to find "Categories".