Trying to Travel

Wow! It’s been over two months since I’ve written a post for this website. I didn’t plan to wait this long in between posts, but nothing that I’ve planned seems to be happening.

I had decided not to give weekly updates on how the virus is affecting travel like some travel writers are doing. I did not want to re-post old material like others are doing. Instead, I thought I would take a short break until the quarantine and isolation periods were over.

The break lasted longer than any of us would have imagined. Travel as we’ve known it is still a long way off.  However, the urge to travel continues to haunt me.

More Cancellations

Since the last time I wrote, two more of my planned trips have been cancelled. I planned to visit my daughter and son-in-law in Nashville, Tennessee at the beginning of June. During May, however, the city was hit with another big storm (there had been a tornado in early March).

The May storm knocked out power in a third of the city, including that in my daughter and son-in-law’s house. They had no idea when the power would be restored and no place to go. When I suggested they unload their fridge and freezer and drive to Indiana, they took me up on the offer.

They were able to work for my home just as they had been working from their home, but we had plenty of time to visit in the evening. Five days later they  returned to Nashville. We decided to cancel our June trip, since we had been able to spend time together in May – and nothing was open yet in Nashville.

Alaska and Seattle

My cruise to Alaska was also cancelled – I’m supposed to be cruising today. Since my friend and I had planned to spend a week in the Seattle area before the cruise, I had more cancellations to make.

The Norwegian Breakaway

I had booked hotels – all refundable  – and quickly cancelled those. Next, I cancelled my Southwest flight. I got back the points I had paid. They are now waiting in my Southwest account until the next time I fly that airline.

My flight home after the cruise was booked on Alaska Airlines. I have not cancelled it yet, although I definitely will not be on the flight. I’m still hoping that Alaska cancels the flight, although there doesn’t seem to be much chance.

I got an email that the flight was changed, so I called hoping to get a refund. The flight was moved by 50 minutes from the original time. Alaska’s policy is to offer a refund if the flight is changed by an hour or more.  I am waiting to see if the flight is changed again. If it is not, I will have to take credit on Alaska Airlines. Unfortunately, I have no idea when I will fly on that airline.

Travel Still in the Works
“Smoke” in the Smoky Mountains

The next trip I have planned is to travel with my daughter to the Smoky Mountains. My family has rented a cabin for a weekend in July. At this point we are still planning to go.

We originally had tickets on Allegiant Air to fly to Knoxville. One of the other family members would pick us up at the airport on their way to the cabin. With the virus, we were a little hesitant to fly, but we thought we could make it work if we were especially careful.

A couple weeks ago, we received an email saying that our mid-afternoon flight was changed to early morning.  The change would have left us stranded at the Knoxville airport for at least six hours. We decided to cancel our flight and make the drive instead.  Because the change was several hours, we were able to get our ticket price refunded.

Making the Trip

The drive to the cabin will take us ten or eleven hours if the traffic isn’t bad. In order to get to the cabin in late afternoon, we would have to leave very early in the morning. Instead we are planning to stay overnight in a hotel.

If we begin the drive when my daughter finishes work, we can make it about half way. Since she works remotely, she can work from the hotel in the morning before we continue.  The situation isn’t ideal, but this was the best solution we could come up with.

Will We be Safe?

With the virus floating around, we are still concerned about our safety. On our drive we will be stopping for gas and at the hotel. We will have disinfecting wipes for when we have to touch the gas pump and nozzle and for doors that may have been touched by infected people. We can also use these wipes on the hotel room door knobs, light switches, and fixtures.

We will be wearing our masks when we encounter other people. We don’t know what restaurants will be open along the way so we plan to bring our own food for breakfast and possibly other meals.

Hiking

When we get to the cabin, we will continue to use the wipes when necessary. All of my family members have been working from home and limiting their exposure to other people – they are even able to get their groceries delivered – but we will still take precautions.

Most of our time will be spent out of doors, where the virus particles dissipate more quickly. We plan to have our masks with us, but will not wear them on the trails if we can properly social distance.

Is this Overkill?

This may sound a little extreme.  Maybe it is. On the other hand, I’ve watched the numbers increase around the States this week and it makes me pause.  This is not the time to be careless. I’d rather look back and say I was too careful than have the opposite happen.

Future Travel

I’m still hoping to do some additional travel in the fall and winter.  I was thinking about a trip to France and Germany. With the virus, I wondered if I should stay in the States. Maybe I should take a road trip – I’ve never seen the Grand Canyon.

After looking at the numbers this week, though, France and Germany combined have had way fewer new cases than Arizona. Of course, France and Germany may not be welcoming Americans any time soon.

I’ll continue to wait and see.

Have you traveled at all?  Do you have any upcoming plans?

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