When Shelter-In-Place Becomes Shelter-In-Texas

Hey, all you cool cats and kittens out there!!  (Tiger King reference, because we just can’t look away!)  Oh, what a difference a few weeks make!  When we left on our planned three-month “Southern Charm” RV trip with destinations in the Carolinas
and Georgia, COVID-19 was a concern, but only a few states were sheltering-in-place, and President Trump was only beginning to communicate the severity and likely length of the situation.  Dr. Fauci wasn’t even a superstar yet.

Fast forward, with travel restrictions and shelter-in-place orders expanding exponentially across the country by the minute, our preferred nomadic lifestyle had become stressful and hard-to-maintain.  So for now, we’ve decided to stay in Fredericksburg, Texas, as good a spot as any other for self-quarantining.  

Fredericksburg is quaint and small, but large enough to have all services and (God forbid) a hospital.   Its spring weather is fabulous … sunny but cool.  And we’ve got a gorgeous spot in an RV campground that is only maybe 10% full, for as long as we choose to stay here. 

F’burg is relatively isolated, with only one confirmed case of Covid-19 so far.  All of the cute shops and wine tasting venues are closed, of course, and the streets are empty.  But there are lots of lonely country roads (actually, lots of lonely city roads too!) to walk Sprinkles and bike ride for exercise. 

Elsie the RV is fully self-contained, and we have full utility hookups so we don’t need to use anyone’s restrooms or showers other than our own.  Even in good times, we
don’t closely interact with others while on the road, so it’s not a problem to stay isolated.  Heck, Philip and I even like spending time with each other!  And, we have the finest fitness equipment money can buy … dumbbells and a picnic table!

It would have been difficult to shelter-in-place in our old RV, but upgrading last year gave us
tons of storage and a full residential-size refrigerator (including an automatic ice maker for the cocktails it is now apparently OK to start drinking at 10 AM!) We have at least 3-4 weeks of food and supplies, and there’s lots to keep us busy.  

We’ve got Dish Network satellite TV
activated, unlimited Internet data on Verizon, Kindles stuffed full of things
we’ve been wanting to read, at least 100 new DVD movies thanks to friends who
donated fresh material to our collection last year, plus campfires, stargazing and anxiously checking our 401K balances.  


When we left Phoenix, which seems like a lifetime ago, our initial stop was supposed to be at the 101st
Annual FMCA (Family Motor Coach Association) Rally in Tucson, which of course was
cancelled.  (Good call.  With 5,000+ attendees, the majority of whom
are in the at-risk age and health categories, coming together in close quarters
for a full week, then scattering like the wind to the four corners of the
country … what could go wrong there??!)   

Instead, we snagged a last-minute cancellation at Picacho Peak
State Park, halfway between Phoenix and Tucson.  The view out our bedroom window was a lot better than at home!

The campground was fully-booked, with every spot taken, but
they were widely spaced and people were staying mostly to themselves.  The trails were busy, with everyone trying to stay active and
healthy and not lose their minds at home.  People on
the trail gave a cautious wave and a weak smile, but stepped widely off the trail
when encountering others to let them pass safely.

The last ¼ mile
of the trail we chose included the embedded cables which are plentiful on the peak
trail, but we didn’t know were part of this trail.  We had Sprinkles
with us, and doubted she could scramble up the nearly-vertical rock face, but
using a tag-team push-and-pull strategy, managed to haul her up and over the
saddle with us.  She’s hiked many a
mountain peak with us in New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont … but this was her best performance yet!  Way to go, Sprinkles!

Of course, those gorgeous Arizona sunsets never fail to amaze!

Moving on, we left Picacho Peak for Las Cruces, traveling 321 miles and
just barely staying within our long-standing, self-imposed “THREE-THIRTY
restriction … we don’t like to travel more than 330 miles in a day, and we
like to arrive by 3:30 so as to be set up and ready when cocktail hour rolls
around. Traffic on the roads, even for busy I-10, is now light and primarily made up of truckers … no doubt delivering loads of TP to a distribution warehouse near you.

Spring wildflowers are blooming roadside and the blue skies seem even bluer these days.

Another silver lining … gas
prices!  Holy moly!  $1.49/gallon … very helpful when you get 8
miles to the gallon.  We can now fill the
RV’s 80-gallon gas tank without borrowing from our home equity credit line! 

We continue to follow good practices, including gloved hands
at gas stations (recently, we have also started wearing masks outside).  Most campgrounds have
asked that we call 5 minutes before arrival, and they leave a packet with our
site number and other information in front of the office, so we don’t need to
interact with their staff or other campers at all. 

Philip’s development project in the City of North Las Vegas,
like most things these days, has been put on ice for at least 30 days, but he
still has lots of work to do, now via FaceTime and Zoom.  He is suddenly concerned with lighting angles
and asking where I keep the face powder.  But so far anyway, he has yet to confuse his daytime fuzzy socks with his nighttime fuzzy socks.

Rest assured, all residents of this RV are using necessary PPE’s and staying safe!

Although we are watching President Trump’s regular addresses
to the nation, we much prefer the guidelines issued by the National Park
Service.  Keep your social distance, everyone!

I cried real tears at having to let go of all those hard-won and meticulously-planned destinations through the end of April.  Our hope is that we will be geographically and logistically positioned to resume our usual style of exuberant travel by the time the U.S. starts to put COVID-19 in its rear-view mirror, hopefully in May.  If not, we’ll just stay put. 

This is not to say that we are taking the COVID-19 situation lightly … in fact, far from it.  But it is our belief that being isolated inside the RV is, for us, the safest and most comfortable way for us to ride out the storm, and Fredericksburg is a fine place to do it.  Someday we’ll be able to “live gathered” again but in the meantime we can still “love good.”  Elbow hugs to everyone!

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