Covid-19 on the Road

Our previous post described one of the awful things that happened to us during 2020…. We survived getting rear-ended in our Jeep, though my back will probably never be the same. Certainly many people have been through much, much worse in the last eighteen months or so.

We’ve spent that time mostly trying to avoid contracting Covid-19. Venturing out to hike in Nevada’s Spring Mountains kept us relatively fit through part of last winter…

…but we were also surprised how many others had discovered this relatively out-of-the-way spot. The last few years we’ve seen the occasional small RV parked out here, but this past winter we saw more than ever. Maybe word has spread through some of the van-camping and boondocking apps…?

Regardless of how they’ve found these spots, a few boondockers seem to think the big outdoors is their personal toilet. I’ll spare you photos of that particular travesty, but the other trash left around what had been nearly pristine desert was maddening.

Some RVers have always used their rigs to advertise businesses or opinions, usually through window decals or bumper stickers. Every now and then, though, somebody goes the next step, showing their true commitment.

Some of the signs on this truck camper read, “America’s Founders Would Be Appalled” and “Don’t Like Our Government? Change It! Like Our Founders Did” and “Patriotism Means Love Of Country NOT Love of Party.”

Unlike the man in the truck camper, this restaurant implied its political stance in the way it asked patrons not to discuss the Presidential election resultso of 2020.

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It reads: “The Election Is NEVER Our Fault. If You Have A Attitude About It Please Never Take It Out On *Us.”

Over the last year and a half, we’ve been in places where masks were mandated and nearly everyone wore them, where they were but almost nobody wore them, where they weren’t mandated and people wore them anyway, but mostly we were in places where masks were sparse, regardless of whether a mandate, a recommendation, or suggestion was in effect.

A restaurant where we like to stop in northern Nevada posted a sign on the door to alert patrons that the state mandated wearing face masks (this was back in November, when many states had mandates in place) unless you have a medical condition. The restaurant was not going to ask anyone to prove such a condition because it’s illegal to do so.

Our server was quick to tell us she had medical reasons for not wearing a mask and if she put one on she would die from it. Hopefully she hasn’t contracted the virus, which we understand can be pretty fatal, too.

Reading all the signs became quite a hobby, so when I saw these signs at the door of a brothel, I had to hop out of the Jeep to read them. Were they requiring masks in there?!? I had to find out.

“For Delivery’s please call xxx-xxx-xxxx and we will let you in,” says the taped sign. Other signs explain that recording equipment, cameras and cell phones are prohibited (top sign on the right) and “No drugs, firearms, or other weapons permitted on the premises” (lower right sign). But masks? Must be optional!

We’re pretty low-tech travelers, making our old-fashioned way without our own wifi hot spot nor satellite dish. In eastern Oregon (as in a few other places) we rely on local libraries to get online (and in non-Covid-19 times, to borrow movies on DVD). During this especially medically tricky time, we’ve been grateful not only for the willingness of many libraries to let us join on a temporary basis but, in this case, to visit during times set aside for “At Risk and Older Patrons”:

Back in April, we were surprised to see this multi-school track meet (photos were taken from the Jeep as we were moving out of the area — as fast as we could). As I write this, we’re in yet another surge, this time with children being affected in higher numbers. Hopefully we won’t see those high mortality rates come back with this Delta Variant.

While the news often makes us believe this country is split — and we are, in many ways — as we travelled this past year, we saw many signs of unity and compassion. This Black Lives Matter sign, loud and proud along Interstate 84 in conservative, eastern Oregon, was just one bit of evidence that there’s more holding us together than tearing us apart.

This bus sported hand-written signs in the back windows, and when I managed to piece them together they told the kind of story that warms us all: a small town high school golf team on its way to compete in the state tournament. “Honk For Good Luck!”

Yeah, we can honk for that!

And we can honk for this, too:

About Ellen

Fiction writer and photographer, I travel the country with my sweetheart of a husband as a "full-time RVer."
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