If our beloved Dr. Seuss had lived during the COVID-19 pandemic, I think he would have applied his quirky, cheerful and optimistic spin to our current situation. In fact, he may have ended up with something like this . . .
This year is done. It was not fun. But look, there is another one!
The old year’s dead. Let’s look ahead. Let’s take a breath and clear our heads.
No time to mope – it’s time for hope. Together is the way to cope.
So dream your dreams and plan your schemes and take the time to laugh at memes.
A new year’s ahead and life is good – be thankful as you know you should.
I wish you luck; I wish you well. I wish last year would go to h*ll.
On that note, let’s move along to today’s post . . .
During a recent email conversation about our derailed travel plans, Tessa of The Charming Adventures of the Millers (one of my favorite blogs listed in the column at the right) made reference to the possibility of having five years of itineraries ready to go. I do empathize with that feeling of frustration. For those of us who harbor a passion for travel, the reduction, adaptation and/or elimination of planned adventures for 2020 has left a particular facet of our lives stagnant or, at least, impeded by the pandemic. Certainly, we are not out of the woods yet, and Alan and I remain extremely cautious with health-related risks. However, the arrival of a COVID-19 vaccine has us believing that there may be light at the end of the tunnel – even if we can’t quite see it yet. Yup, our travel plans for the foreseeable future were completely upended; here’s what we’re going to do about it . . .
Even as I’m documenting past travels and posting about other topics related to the RV lifestyle, I’m constantly planning for the next road trip. Why? Because (1) travel, especially RV travel, is one of the highlights of my life; (2) reading is a pleasure for me and a boring chore for Alan, so research on destinations and campgrounds was one of the tasks I gladly embraced early on in our marriage; (3) I consider travel planning an Olympic sport; and (4) I’m always eagerly looking forward to the next great adventure. I spend quite a bit of time reading travel blogs, tourism newsletters from a number of states and plenty of travel guide books. I maintain a log of “trip notes” for future journeys, save destination-related articles and bookmark travel-related sites that appeal to the kind of adventuring that we do. I don’t know whether I should say “sadly” or “happily,” but this obsession of mine often results in a multitude of potential travel destinations and epic journeys with never enough time to fit them all in. When we have a year like this year – whether it’s due to a pandemic or simply major projects at home – I feel like I’m not just treading water, but like the sand in my personal hour glass is falling way too fast and I’m losing some of the best travel years of my life. This, of course, forces me to plan even more and squeeze as many trips in our calendar as possible when Alan isn’t looking. It’s not that he’s opposed to traveling, but his capacity for it is more limited than mine due to other commitments. This requires both of us to shrug into coats of compromise when the chilly winds of someone’s discontent start to blow.
While I don’t have five years of itineraries backed up, I easily could reach that point without too much effort. But the sweet spot for me is two years out with one major trip of five to six weeks each year, a smaller second trip of maybe one to three weeks and various shorter trips to favorite or nearby locales mixed in to keep us hopping.
In the travel loss column for 2020 are a camping trip to the shores of Lake Champlain, the already re-scheduled celebration of our 40th wedding anniversary trip to Alaska and a five to six week trip that was mainly to be spent enjoying the Oregon coast. So, going into 2021, we were backed up by three specific trips.
Since the celebratory event in Alaska was a combination of a one week cruise through the Inside Passage and one week traveling on our own to visit various National and State Parks that were accessible from our base in Anchorage, that trip has been postponed indefinitely. It will be quite some time before we’ll feel comfortable on a cruise ship, and it makes sense to piggyback the two segments of the trip to save on expenses. So, we reluctantly scratched that epic journey entirely for now.
Camping at Lake Champlain has been re-scheduled for 2021. Reservations are in place for a waterfront site directly on this magnificent body of water and, I can assure you, we’re very much looking forward to that.
The extended trip to Oregon proved to be more problematic. Originally, the plan was simply to postpone it until 2021 and pick up where we left off. Included in that trip was an appointment at the Outdoors RV factory in eastern Oregon to have the ladder on our Creek Side travel trailer replaced. Since I know you’re all just itchin’ to ask . . . About a year ago, when Alan was backing the trailer up the driveway and I was directing him so he didn’t back into the shed at the top of it, the battery on my hand-held radio died and poor Alan never heard me yelling, “Stop! Stop!! STOP!!!” Ladder, meet Shed. Shed, this is Ladder. And so they made an unforgettable first impression on each other. Now that you know, please promise me that you’ll never use your hand-held radios in this manner without first checking the battery levels.
Back to Oregon. Well, I wish. Because we enjoy camping in State Parks (and Oregon has some beauties), our plan for Oregon was a combination of State Park and National Forest Service campgrounds. Since Oregon is now only accepting reservations in their State Park campgrounds from one to thirty days out (instead of the usual nine months out), Alan and I agreed that the chances of us getting the sites we wanted were, most likely, slim to none. (I think English is the only language in which “fat chance” and “slim chance” mean the same thing. Go figure. But I digress, yet again.) After much discussion, we decided that we both felt more comfortable holding off on the extended stay along the Oregon coast for an additional year or maybe even two.
Since Alan really wants that ladder repaired, we moved down the bucket list to another destination – Idaho. Knowing that if we were to tour the state of Idaho we’d be staying in a number of National Forest Service campgrounds, we figured it might be a good year to go that route – staying out of highly traveled areas, avoiding popular State Parks and just getting off the grid as much as possible. That way, we could keep our appointment at the ORV factory service department in eastern Oregon and slip back into Idaho for all the sightseeing that we’ve wanted to do there. We’re hoping that the gazillions of people who turned to RVs for their socially distanced vacations during the pandemic will be busy booking stays in our National Parks and at private campgrounds with lots of amenities and activities. While we’re trusting that we’ll not have a major problem getting into campgrounds that may be less popular with the general public, when it comes right down to it, we’re just keeping our fingers crossed that we’ll be able to travel safely in 2021. If not, well, I’m becoming exceptionally adept at canceling reservations!
Still percolating in the coffee pot of future travels are an extended loop around the southern states in which we haven’t yet camped (Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas) and a tour of the southwest that would include exploring the states of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. We’re also planning a return trip to Michigan so we can truly do that state justice. We loved what we saw when we first visited in 2015, but definitely didn’t see enough.
Shorter, “would love to” excursions that haven’t yet made it to the planning stage are camping trips to Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks (we’ve been to both, but haven’t camped in either), a return to the coast of Georgia, a first time visit to Florida State Parks along the panhandle, some serious time in Pennsylvania’s State Parks and another trip to Maine that would include a stay at Schoodic Woods - Acadia National Park’s newest campground.
As I continue to document past trips here in this blog, I’ll also be looking ahead to our future adventures because I’m so very anxious to get back on the road. I hope you’re all blessed with a year full of love, laughter and memorable adventures of your own. I don’t know about you, but I’m opening a big new box of life’s crayons and I plan to color 2021 with the most brilliant colors I can find. First, though, I think I’ll go dig out and dust off my travelin’ shoes. Gotta be ready when the time comes, ya know.