Before I post this, I want to make readers aware that I did not write it to influence anyone else’s decision. Nor did I write it to go viral or generate discussion or condemnation about our decision. As most of the articles I read say, “The decision is a personal one to make.” While considering our impact on the world or our community, there is no definite yes or no. We make the best decision that we can for our situation based upon what we know now. We may wish later that we had done things differently, but that is simply looking back with a different perspective.
As I sit here and listen to John Denver sing about Leaving on a Jet Plane and County Roads, I am 85% sure that our departure date for Big Dogs Road Trip will not be changing. Of course, the situation with Covid-19 changes minute by minute so 72 hours could compel us to make a different decision. And something could happen down the road to force us to come back home.
But, after much discussion, reading of articles, watching a variety of news channels for multiple perspectives, talking to our doctors and calling some of our destinations for the next two weeks to see what the situation is there, we decided that the best thing for us to do is to follow our itinerary. There are no restrictions on travel within the United States right now even though there is only one state that does not have a case of Covid-19 as I write this. One article even said, “Should you travel throughout the United States? The answer is yes, and no.”
Whether the news sources lean toward panic or cool heads, all the advice includes four ways to protect yourself and those around you. Keeping six feet between yourself and others, keeping your hands clean and away from your face, and staying away from crowds. And of course, if you are sick, self-quarantine. Travelling in our truck and trailer means we will not be sleeping in new places or eating in restaurants. We have enough food and water packed for several weeks. We can wear gloves and use pay at the pump for gas and most of our campgrounds are paid for already. Our plans to hike and stay in parks will keep us away from crowds for the most part. We have already altered our travels for a few weeks to avoid large cities. And if we should get sick, we can self-quarantine in our travel trailer.
Glen and I are both in identified populations who could be most susceptible. We are over 60, he has Parkinson’s and I have Multiple Sclerosis and seasonal asthma. But it is those conditions that propel us to leave. Right now, in Florida, the pollen count is so high, that I cannot even open the back door to let the dogs out, much less go outside, without feeling like I am getting sick. I have medications I only pull out in the spring, inhalers and nasal sprays. My allergist told me that I will feel much better if I can get away from the things that make me miserable right now-oak and pine pollen. He added that it takes three seasons of exposure to develop new allergies so a road trip should not be impacted by pollen or dust from other places. I take a monthly infusion for my MS that protects my brain from attack by white blood cells but does not prevent their work in the rest of my body.
Mostly, it is the fact that neither of us knows what tomorrow holds that gives us the courage to set out on our journey. The decision has not been an easy one. What if we do find out we are carriers and we have exposed others, particularly in our age bracket? What if something happens at home to those we love, and we are not there to care for them? What if a ruling is made that we cannot travel domestically?
We may seem headstrong and that we are ignoring those “What ifs?” but they weigh heavily. However, we have said over and over as we planned this trip, “If we don’t go now, we may never go.” So, we go. Some of the museums and visitor centers we want to see may be closed. Some inconveniences may occur, but unless something catastrophic happens in the next few days, we are taking off. John Denver is still singing as I finish this post. Now, he reminds me “Some days are diamonds, some days are stones.” Yep, but we’ll be looking for those diamonds despite the stones.