My daughter and I traveled to San Francisco, California in late February of this year. We went to Stitches West, had dinner with my nephew, and saw several tourist sites.
When we got back we started planning our next trip – a visit to another daughter in the Washington, DC area. In the news, there was mention of a serious virus that was going around but we figured if we were careful, we could still travel.
Needless to say, that trip did not happen. The cruises I had scheduled for spring and summer, a couple shorter trips, and Stitches Midwest in August were all cancelled.
As someone who usually travels a lot, I was going a little stir crazy. I started knitting – and not really doing much else. Knitting is calming, but it didn’t fill the void that the loss of travel presented.
As the days turned to weeks and then to months, I knew something would have to change. I needed to find a way to travel safely.
What would I have to do to travel safely? Where could I go?
I’d love to go to Paris, although I’m not sure I would feel safe flying right now. I would probably be safer in Europe once I arrived, though, since the number of cases is lower there. At this time, however, Europe is closed to Americans, so traveling there is out of the question.
Would a road trip be safer? If I were to drive somewhere, I would likely have to stay in a hotel. Most hotels have instituted new, stricter cleaning protocols.
Maybe I could try a camping trip. I’ve never been much of a camper and I have no equipment, but I’d be willing to try.
First Pandemic Trip
Several members of our family had planned to meet at a cabin in the Smoky Mountains over the Fourth of July. After talking it over, we decided to go ahead with our plans.
I was supposed to fly to Knoxville with the daughter that lives closest to me. A few days before the flight was to happen, we were notified about a schedule change. The new schedule didn’t work well with ours, and since we were a little hesitant about flying, we decided to cancel the flight and drive instead.
We booked a hotel night for during our trip there, but decided to wait with booking on our way home. We figured that the trip would include 8 to 10 hours of drive time. With two drivers, we could do the trip home in one shot.
We left when my daughter finished work, drove until we stopped for supper (drive-thru), and then continued to the hotel. As soon as we entered the hotel room, we got out some disinfecting wipes and wiped it down. The pool was closed, so we just hung out in the room until bed time.
Breakfast the next morning was a little sparse – juice and a muffin. The regular breakfast buffet was closed because of the virus. After breakfast, we were on our way again.
The cabin we rented through Airbnb was great! There was plenty of room for all of us to spread out. Although we didn’t practice complete social distancing (we tried), we were glad for the extra space.
We wiped down the doorknobs, light switches, and other areas with the disinfecting wipes when we arrived. We were careful to wash our hands often.
The cabin had a nice large kitchen so we were able to cook all our own meals. We could stay away from crowds that may have populated the local restaurants.
Several of us are knitters and a couple are spinners. As a family, we watched Hamilton – none of us had seen it yet. We spent most of our evenings enjoying our favorite activities while taking turns in the hot tub.
During the pandemic, outdoor activities are considered some of the safest. We spent two days hiking trails around the park. The first day we split up, exploring three different areas. The second day we all hiked together and then found a place to have a picnic and do a little swimming.
When we hiked, we were usually able to keep our distance from other hikers. When we passed others on the trail, we tried to turn our heads to the side so we did not breathe the same air. We brought our masks with us for the few areas where people congregated.
Although the visitor centers were open when we were there, we did not go inside. We drove the Cades Cove Loop road, stopping to visit churches and cabins along the way.
I’ve only been to the Smokies a couple times, but I’ve seen so much beauty in the mountains. I’m looking forward to planning another trip there.
I have ideas, but no firm plans are made for trips this fall – yet. The next trip I have scheduled is a cruise in January and I’m not sure – although I’m hoping – that it will happen.
I don’t know what it will take for travel to begin again. Will a vaccine be formulated and be available to whoever wants it? Maybe the virus will just run its course.
I have been especially careful throughout the last several months and plan to continue be so, but I also want to travel. Travel in the near future will look different than it has in the past, but I will travel!