COVID-19 Mad Dash for Home

We were comfortably ensconced in our winter campground in Arizona, with plans to stay until early April, when the corona virus situation began to intensify. Rumors swirled all around us: Canada would soon close the border; Washington or other states would close their borders; some RV parks closed and others were considering it; our current campground would quarantine us and not allow us to leave if a case were found here. Then came stories that were not rumor: our park closed down ALL social functions. European countries began announcing stay at home orders. Case counts began skyrocketing.

Everybody around us began getting antsy, and virtually everyone moved up their departure dates, some by weeks and others by a few days. Nervous that we could get locked out of Washington, we cut our remaining stay from 12 days to 2, frantically preparing for a fast trip home.

Our normal travel schedule is to drive about 200 miles, then stop for 2 nights, meaning we average about 100 miles a day. We were 1400 miles from Spokane, but our main concern was to get inside WA, perhaps a couple of hours from home base, and hunker down there to further assess what was happening.

This trip would take us about 14 days at our normal pace. We chose the most direct path we could, extended travel days, took no rest days, and made it in 5, averaging 260 miles a day and never unhooking the truck and trailer. As you can see from the map below, we made 1 stop in Arizona (including a strange “six foot apart” visit with my sister and her husband), two stops in Nevada, and one in Idaho before coming to rest at a rural campground in Washington, two hours from Spokane.

Not knowing where we could get diesel or groceries, we stopped often to keep our tanks full and supplies stocked. On the second day, we heard a rumor that WA and OR were considering border closures. On the third day, a grocery checker told us we would not be able to leave NV because they had closed the border. It turned out to be just another rumor. On the fourth day, Governor Inslee of WA announced a stay at home quarantine. We were relieved he did not restrict travel, but it was unclear if we would be accepted into our campground. Sure enough, on the fifth day, a mere 20 miles from our target destination, we received a call saying the campground was closing to new guests. We explained that we were full-timers and had no place else to stay. Because the stay at home order was technically not enforced until midnight, we were allowed to continue on, knowing that we might be limited to just a one night stay.

When we got here, they allowed us to register for a week while they sought clarification of the rules. Fortunately, because we are full-timers, the clarification has allowed us to wait out the quarantine here, or at least until we have a place in Spokane.

Because of the pace, we didn’t have much time for pictures, but managed enough to give you a sense of the rugged terrain of Eastern Nevada. The pictures are from Caliente (central NV), the route north, and Wells, a scenic stop just before we crossed into Idaho.

It was a trip to remember…

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