NOTE: SINCE I WROTE THIS POST, I HAVE CANCELLED MY TRIP. The remote places I was planning to visit have limited resources from gas, to groceries, to hospitals. DO NOT overburden these places. Stay home!
Since I got my little RV, Buffalo Soldier, I’ve been wanting to do an epic trip to Texas. First of all, I love Texas. But most of my travels through the state have been through the panhandle with a couple of trips to San Antonio and Austin. I’ve always wanted to explore more of West Texas, especially down to Big Bend National Park. If you know Texas or the West, you know that organizing a trip between California and the Lone Star State is very tricky. You have to leave California late enough that you can get over a mountain pass without hitting a major snow or wind storm. You have to get to West Texas early enough that you don’t roast once you’re there and you still have a chance to see maybe a vestige of the wildflower bloom. Finding that sweet spot is difficult. For several years now, I’ve missed it with various RV issues. But now that Andy has overhauled Buffalo Soldier with solid marine-grade electronics, batteries and inverter, I’m ready to go.
And BAM! Coronavirus. How does RVing fit into warnings to avoid social contact, keep away from shared facilities and wash hands frequently? Let’s tackle that last point first. Anyone who RVs, or at least RVs in a tiny camper van, knows that conserving water is the name of the game. There is no frequent handwashing, and if there is, it’s in campground, rest stop, or gas station restrooms. Keeping away from social contact? Well, it depends how busy your campground is. I’ve camped where it was just me and tumbleweeds. I’ve camped in campgrounds where I gathered with a few dozen of my new best friends for a shared pot luck.
At least, campers are in the great outdoors rather than in an air-circulated office environment. I’m counting on fresh air and campfire smoke to keep the rates of infection down.
I think you see where I’m headed here. I am not willing to table my Texas trip for yet another year. So, come April 1, Buffalo Soldier and I are facing toward the land West of the Pecos. At least my itinerary is taking me to some of the most isolated spots in the United States. The two centerpieces of my trip — Big Bend National Park and Guadalupe Mountain National Park are two of the least traveled Parks in the whole system. I haven’t plotted out the whole trip but I do have a few other “least traveled” parks on the list, including Organ Pipe Cactus National Park and one of the the newest parks, White Sands National Park. I remember reading that pre-Columbian America was a virtually disease-free environment. Native American populations were so spread out, even the common cold was unknown. I’m banking on getting back to that pristine environment to ensure safe travel.
Then again, I am planning to hit some populated areas like Las Cruces, New Mexico, Sedona, Arizona, Las Vegas and Reno. So, presumably, plenty of time to pick up the virus and bring it back to California. If the hoarders haven’t made off with every industrial sized container of hand sanitizer, I’ll have to score one or two to travel with.
So here I go. Ready to brave a world on the edge of pandemic. I’ll be hoping the Western wind, fierce sun and isolation will keep me safe.
As Ranch Manager Louis helpfully points out: “Don’t worry. Out there, you’ll be killed by a coyote, mountain lion, scorpion or rattlesnake before you get Coronavirus.”