Vacationing During a Pandemic (Plague, Day 115, June 29, 2020)

With Ian’s school year dying with a whimper rather than a cry (teachers didn’t even bother logging onto the computer for “Q and A time” and no good-byes), we took off to North Carolina to check on Steve’s folks and heal on the beach. Between Ian’s medical issues and both boys’ ruptured school year, we’ve had a tough spring. We all needed to do a whole lotta nothing for a while.

Traveling to remote areas of the country is actually a nice activity now. It’s possible to rent a cabin in Vermont or Montana or Canada and finish off school or work one’s job there. Remote life means mobile life. And the denizens of the former Apt. 11D love going places.

If you keep to the main highways, wear adult diapers, and chug warm Red Bulls, you can make it from our place in Northern New Jersey to the island where Steve’s folks live, which is about a hour south of the Outer Banks, in 9-1/2 hours. Since we like to meander down less traveled roads, try out new restaurants, and use restrooms, it’s a 12-hour drive. This year, we did all the driving in one day to avoid dealing with decontaminating a hotel room.

The next morning, we hit the local supermarket to get some basics and were totally surprised to see people walking around without masks in the store. There were no one-ways lanes in the store or line managers to maintain distancing. By Jersey standards, we were shocked.

We did our best to go to restaurants that had outdoor areas, but not all did. Wait staff didn’t wear masks. We saw packed bars in the evening. I would say that we only saw about 10-20 percent of all people wearing masks in public areas.

The North Carolina beaches are always deserted by Jersey standards, where it’s not unusual to have about six inches from another group on the sand, so it wasn’t difficult to avoid others there. When we had dinner with family, we ate outside, though we sat closer together than was probably smart.

COVID rates in North Carolina are rising so fast, that Govs. Cuomo and Murphy have said that travelers coming from that state have to self-quarantine for two weeks. For us that means keeping up what we’ve been doing, but no backyard gatherings with extended family for two weeks.

That said, it was a great trip. With so much time at home, everybody badly needed a change of scenery. And how lovely was it to have food cooked by others? So, so, so lovely.

More posts coming soon. I have a full plate of mom and work chores today first, but once I make some headway on those chores, I’ll be back.