Its been 70 days since I rolled into the family compound in southern California. Three hours after I arrived the Governor issued the stay-at-home order. Ten weeks later I am hitting the road.
According to the State of California we are in phase 2 of 4 in the reopening plan. Some counties have gotten permission to move ahead a bit faster but a lot remains closed including camping in State and National parks and forests, tourist attractions, etc. We’re a long way from “normal.”
So what made me stay put and what is making me get going again? Research, risk calculations, and the need to get moving.
Why I Stayed
The biggest reason was because everything is/was closed. I’m not on walkabout to save money or live in a van down by the river; I’m on walkabout to see things! And for the past 10 weeks everything I want to see, at least west of the Continental Divide, has been closed. I was lucky enough to land in a place where I could be off the road for all this time with little effort or expense so I stayed put since there was nowhere better to go.
Living in a van is hard. Not climbing-mount-Everest hard, but hard. I feel like I was just starting to catch my groove and get things figured out when the pandemic hit. So now I have to figure out new ways to do some of the things I just got good at. Ugh!
Access is still very limited. The parks and beaches that are open won’t let you drive in or park so I’m not sure how that is supposed to work (I guess they only want people who live withing walking/biking distance to visit.) National Parks like Sequoia and Yosemite are planning to require access passes to keep occupancy down while keeping shuttles and visitors’ centers closed. So harder to get into and more traffic. All this and we still don’t know if there will be lockdowns on a smaller scale if the infection rates start to rise again.
One of the big things is showering. I know, seems silly but hear me out. I mostly shower at the gym. I have a great deal on memberships at Plant Fitness and Anytime Fitness which basically exist everywhere so that is the easiest place to shower. But gyms are closed for who knows how long. And lots of campgrounds that did manage to stay open closed their bathrooms, so no showering there. Yes, I can shower in the van. I’ve done it twice, its ok. But when you only have 18 gallons of freshwater storage you get limited on showers really fast. So that’s more time in campgrounds with hookups and those hookups cost money. And ladies, can we talk about hair and how much water/time it takes to wash it? As long as gyms and campground bathrooms are closed my shower routine is kind of screwed. I did cut 5” off my hair to try and make it a little easier but still, ugh!!
So What’s My Plan?
Well, I can’t just sit here forever. Its time to go. I’m going to be spending more time on either end of the camping spectrum. Its pretty much either private RV parks with full hookups or boondocking on public land. Maybe that’s how it would have been anyway since the West Coast is a lot more strict on street camping and Wallydocking. Its probably going to cost more and I probably won’t be able to get into the National Parks and may have to settle for the adjacent forest and public lands with fewer visitors and restrictions. I’m going to have to roll with it and see what I can see. I admit I’m not the best at constantly changing plans but it is what it is. The walkabout must go on. The road is calling!
A Note on Getting the Virus
As far as I know I have not gotten COVID-19. I think it is prudent to assume that at some point I will get it. When I get it I will fall somewhere between asymptomatic and hospitalized on a ventilator en route to dead. Given my demographics I think I’ll fall somewhere in the middle, i.e. really sick for a few weeks but not likely to need a hospital or die. So I have to have a plan to deal with that on the road. Plan A is the haul ass back to the family compound where I can easily quarantine while I am sick but still have people nearby to make sure I don’t run out of food or die. Plan B would be to hunker down in a hotel and have a family member come to stay in an adjacent room to make sure I don’t run out of food or die. Neither plan A nor B sound all that fun for me or my relatives but this is the world we live in and I don’t want to be in my van if I get COVID-19.
So that’s it, my should-I-stay-or-should-I-go-now plan for RVing during a pandemic. Wish me luck!