Driving across the country in a pandemic

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Excited about touring through the pandemic? Earlier than heading out, there’s loads to consider, together with:

  • Do you will have danger elements for extreme COVID-19, akin to superior age or power medical circumstances?
  • What about your co-travelers’ well being and danger elements? Are your co-travelers a part of your family or tight social circle?
  • Is the virus spreading within the locations you’re going?
  • Who’re you going to see alongside the best way, and what’s their well being danger profile?
  • If you happen to get sick whereas touring, will healthcare be accessible? And do you will have the helps you want in case it’s important to quarantine for 2 weeks whenever you return dwelling — or in a state you’ll be staying in?

Relying in your solutions, you would possibly determine it’s higher to remain dwelling! Or you could determine the dangers are acceptable given some preparation and precautions, as we not too long ago did.

Fly or drive?

“Please watch out whenever you drive out of the airport at the moment, as you start essentially the most harmful a part of your journey.” Ever hear a flight attendant say that when your aircraft lands? It means that driving is riskier than the flight you simply took. And the statistics assist that.

However this is probably not true throughout a pandemic. Tight seating and publicity to plenty of folks whose conduct you possibly can’t management is perhaps riskier than driving between cities. For a lot of, driving could also be safer than flying exactly as a result of you will have extra management over doubtlessly dangerous exposures.

We simply drove from Denver to Boston. We selected to drive slightly than fly as a result of we’d be touring with our giant canine. Sure, he might have traveled within the cargo maintain, however let’s simply say that possibility was vetoed. Having simply made the reverse journey from Boston to Denver in January, proper earlier than the pandemic started, it’s truthful to say the return journey was fairly totally different.

Making ready for the journey

We rigorously deliberate our route, selecting stopping factors that had open inns (some had been reserved for healthcare staff and first responders) and making reservations at a series that had a status for being notably conscientious about COVID-19 security. Happily, many inns are taking quite a few steps to maintain their lodgers secure through the pandemic, as a current article in Forbes notes.

Then we loaded the automobile up with

  • hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, paper towels, and spray disinfectant
  • meals and water, so we might keep away from stopping at eating places
  • provides to permit lavatory breaks within the woods, in case we couldn’t discover appropriate public restrooms
  • masks
  • the canine (after all), alongside together with his meals, toys, and mattress.

Heading out into the world

As we left Denver, we knew some doubtlessly dangerous conditions could be laborious to keep away from. We’d need to cease for gasoline, strolling the canine, strolling me (I wanted to stretch usually), and naturally lavatory breaks.

Mates informed us to “simply go within the woods,” however there aren’t any woods alongside a lot of I-70 in Kansas! We had been happy to search out loads of truck stops, relaxation areas, and gasoline station restrooms that had been clear and simple to make use of with out touching practically something (although we took disinfectant wipes in case a door deal with or cleaning soap dispenser needed to be touched). I additionally used disinfectant wipes to the touch gasoline pumps. As soon as again within the automobile, we used plenty of hand sanitizer earlier than resuming the journey.

We did discover masks had been worn extra in some areas than in others. One mask-free man noticed our masks and requested us, “Do you actually suppose there’s one thing to this virus factor?” I stated sure, I believed there was one thing to it certainly! Clearly, there are a number of views on the seriousness of the pandemic.

The inns we stayed at appeared secure as properly. Numerous wipes and sanitizer within the foyer, a protecting defend on the entrance desk, masks on all the staff, and a two-person restrict within the elevators. As soon as within the room, we wiped every little thing down: lamp switches, surfaces, door handles, lavatory, and naturally, the TV distant. The resort gave us the choice of getting nobody enter the room (akin to for maid service) throughout our keep, and we accepted.

It was simple to socially distance: there was virtually nobody within the resort or in close by streets, so going for a stroll appeared secure.

Seeing household

Midway dwelling, we visited household at an impartial dwelling facility. Waving and speaking by means of a glass door and carrying masks, our hugless greeting was far totally different from regular however significantly better than nothing. At one other gathering of six folks, we sat outdoors six ft aside and questioned if beer might kill viruses. (It may well’t.)

The underside line

After 5 days on the highway, we arrived dwelling weary however, hopefully, uninfected. We appreciated that almost all of our fellow vacationers and all of our hosts took the pandemic severely. Whereas nothing is risk-free, our efforts and people of individuals we encountered made the journey really feel like a low-risk enterprise. If you happen to’re wholesome, symptom-free, and must drive a great distance, I believe there are methods to do it safely, even throughout a pandemic.

Observe me on Twitter @RobShmerling

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