The arrival of March certainly marked a dubious anniversary: we’ve all been doing a pandemic song and dance for an entire year! While this past year was different for everyone, each and every one of us have lost something in this pandemic, with some people losing way more than others of course.
Mark and I have weathered the pandemic with relative ease. We were always in a ‘safe’ place, even at the outset of the pandemic when several state and county panic closures of campgrounds were ordered (all of them reopened weeks later having been deemed ‘essential businesses’). In addition, as we tend to be introverted and like to keep to ourselves, so the forced isolation didn’t weigh too heavily.
We missed being unable to go see our family in Canada–I haven’t seen my beautiful 91-year old mother, who lives in Montreal, since October 2019. The nursing home isolation was hard on her dementia. We call her every day but it has been challenging to stay connected with her fleeting mind.
I was fortunate to get a ‘workamping’ job (working at the campground where one is staying in exchange for a ‘free’ site); this gave me purpose and the opportunity to socialize with a small team of great people. Mark kept busy with online courses and oh yes, cooking magnificent dinners for us every evening!
Most importantly, we’ve had no lasting effects from symptoms following our testing positive with COVID last November; we’re one vaccine done with the second one scheduled in a few weeks. We’re almost good-to-go!
But for us, 6 months is a long time to be in one place. Hiking has been a great way to stay fit and explore the beautiful mountain trails that surround the Coachella Valley. But as most other attractions and activities were either closed or limited due to Covid, trails got super busy!
For better or for worse, pretty much all business sectors have been affected by the continuous lockdown. “Camping” as a general term for escape with house on wheels, is no exception. So, while we are excited and looking forward to be back on the road on April 1, it’s not without some trepidation..
Allow me to expand on that…
In the midst of this collective lockdown, families have discovered that RVing is the safest way to travel. And it is! Data released by the RV Industry Association (RVIA) predict, in 2021, more than 500,000 deliveries of recreational vehicles of all shapes and sizes. The pre-owned and rental RV markets are thriving just as well… ads like this are everywhere.
To be sure, this RV trend had been on the up and up for the past 10-15 years. Thousands of baby boomers like us have sold their earthly possessions to plunge head first into the ‘dream life’ of full time RVing. Others, younger and able to work remotely, have done the same. The pandemic has simply bulldozed through this trend.
What does this all mean? Well, when thousands of people suddenly decide to see the country, visit National Parks or State/Provincial Parks all at once in a limited period in the summer months (thanks to remote schooling, lots of families have been traveling for the past several months), things can go awry. Already seen: appalling driving on the road by nervous newbie drivers (they will learn as we have but they are starting in ‘traffic’!), coupled with not enough campgrounds to accommodate weekend warriors (the industry term for families escaping home every weekend) could be a recipe for disaster. Whether boondocking on BLM spots or state parks or commercial campgrounds, space is at a premium. “Book early, get there early”, is the new conventional wisdom.
And there’s the rub for me… the thought of planning out our every move drives me nuts. That’s not what we signed up for. Our lifestyle has been rich is amazing experiences thus far; I’m just a little wary of what lies ahead is all (!)
SO WHAT’S AHEAD?
The plan is to head East/Northeast for the Spring & Summer months exploring the Northeast – hoping to cross north of the border to Canada to see our family and friends in Toronto and in Montreal sometime in July or August. Our baby granddaughter, Antoinette—whom we were fortunate to briefly hold in our arms last March, before we abruptly had to leave and go ‘home’ to the US—is now a rambunctious toddler at 16 months old! Our other grandkids are teenagers growing too fast as well!
A word about climate change and how it is affecting road travel – Extreme weather patterns—once a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence—are now part of the new-normal. Forest fires in the west, tornados now expanding way beyond the Midwest states, long hurricane season in the southeast and gulf regions, freaky winter storms, floods… Now more than ever before, extreme weather is (or should be) indeed on the mind of traveling RVers as we plan our route.
It means that we need to be prepared with emergency weather radio that warns us when to get those wheels out of harm’s way, praying we escape unscathed. While it’s not stopping RVers “to go boldly”, it has become a constant back-of-the-mind concern.
The way we weather (literally and symbolically) the upcoming months will either renew our enthusiasm for life on the road, or will act as a killjoy. Our full time RVer motto, It’s all part of the adventure has never rang so true!
Meanwhile, only a couple of weeks left to enjoy the Palm Springs sunshine & surrounding mountains before more Redbird adventures come around!