Getting Ready to Roll in the Time of Covid

My Roadtrek

In RV lingo – I am getting ready to roll.  I am going


to be moving back into my sweet little Roadtrek and heading out into the wide-open spaces of the American West.

All good things come to an end. My time “Sheltering in Place” with my friends, Cynthia and Ward is coming to a close. It is time to give them their home back. We have gotten along more than well, not one argument. I will miss them. This three-month adventure has made me realize that community living is definitely possible.

Where am I going?  I am heading north. As I am sitting in the middle of a Santa Ana and things are warming up in San Diego county I realize it is time to head for the coast and the mountains in search of cooler weather. First I will venture to Ventura for a few days to meet up with Dan Neeley of Dan Neeley RV Services who knows all things Roadtrek. It is time to get some work done on my rig. We have been trying to get together since January, without success.

I have good friends in so many places. It makes it easy to travel and feel safe from all those germs out there. A few summers ago Miss Elsie the Cat and I spent most of a summer in Donnelly, Idaho. My good friend Linda and her husband, Steve, offered us the use of their cabin in the mountains. It was a beautiful summer of hiking, biking, and using the lakes, that are generously dispersed throughout this beautiful country. It was also a summer of getting to know Linda and Steve better.

I am returning sans Elsie. I asked Linda if their second home might be available and without hesitation, she said yes. Why not shelter in place there? Why not enjoy the mountains and water? Why not?

My 1st Summer in Idaho

Ooooohh there are so many possibilities.

It is time to clean out my rig and put what is not needed into storage for the next several months. I am spending time cleaning and getting things done while still enjoying the company of my friends. My new bikes are getting excited. I occasionally hear their chains rattle in anticipation.

This will be the first adventure out since Covid 19 arrived on the American scene.

What will I do differently now than when I traveled before?

  • Wash my hands often.
  • Keep hand sanitizer readily available and use it.
  • Wear gloves when I pump gas. It had not occurred to me until Covid that touching a gas pump handle is dirty. Think of all the people who touch a handle on any given day. I have disposable gloves or work gloves that I will use when I pump gas.
  • I have masks, thanks to Cynthia. I will use them when I encounter others and will faithfully wear them.
  • The free tours of my rig are on hold for now. 😕
  • I will eat at home almost exclusively. I have a small but efficient kitchen in my rig and it will be used.
  • I am so thankful for my own bathroom. I will be able to avoid public restrooms. And I can shower at ease in my rig.
  • It will be unique to visit others while socially distancing (6-8 feet away), but at least we can visit.

There will be challenges as well. How do I approach laundromats to wash my clothes? I will have to enter a grocery store. I haven’t seen the inside of one since early March.  Remaining alert and attentive will help me weave my way through the challenges as they arise.

This will be a good getaway for me. I have had a lot to deal with in the past six months. I know this adventure out will not be truly normal, yet I hope I still have the excitement of seeking out new adventures and places. This year I will be on a careful and watchful adventure. Normal times are not here yet.

And if things bottom out again in the next week and a half…..it is not a bad option to remain “Sheltered in Place” with my good friends in San Diego.

Today I am thankful for good friends, my rig and knowing how to safely, move through my world.

 

Family

In 1952 I was blessed to be born into a loving, caring and teaching family. For several years our extended family, two grandmothers, and a grandfather lived in our home. I have been thinking of my birth family often this past month.

Since my early twenties, I have been “on my own”, living far from all of them. I have always been a bit of a wanderer and decided early to use my career, as an RN to travel and live in different parts of the United States. After living for three to five years in each place, I would pick a new place, get a job and move.  I settled in southern California. I obtained my Masters in Holistic Health Education, and at the end of five years, just as I was getting ready to move on, I met Jim, my friend, partner, lover and husband and settled into the San Diego region.

Janet & Jim

Jim died in 2012, and in June of 2013, I bought my RV and my life as a nomad began again. The house is now sold and I live in my RV full time. It is small and comfortable and for right now it is home. I have traveled all over the United States and parts of Canada and have embraced this lifestyle to the best of my ability.

Although I have had curiosity and fondness for everywhere I have visited or traveled, I return again and again to the desert southwest and anywhere from the Rocky Mountains and west. I love the wide-open spaces, the quiet, the stillness and the breathtaking moments of awareness.

Enter the Coronavirus and I am in San Diego. I am staying with good friends. I am recovering from treatment for thyroid cancer. Cynthia is recovering from foot surgery. We are all helping each other. I have stayed in touch with my local San Diego friends thanks to Zoom and Facetime. We have been doing driveway meetups, practicing the art of virtual hugs (not as good as the real thing) and sitting at least six feet apart. It has helped to break the isolation that my solo friends are experiencing. I have a strong and good family of friends.


Since I have been sheltering in place, I miss my birth family. Despite our differences, I miss the family I was born into. My sisters live in different places, one in northern New Jersey, and one in Ohio. I know they do not live close but they seem to be in reaching distance of each other. I am not. The three of us have had one Zoom meetup and that has helped. I want to arrange a Zoom meeting with them on an ongoing basis. It is comforting to see them and just sit and chat and listen. My oldest sister and I call back and forth. I look forward to those times when we talk.Families are a big messy affair even if there are only a few siblings. We can argue, we can disagree, we can laugh, share stories, and enjoy moments in time. Even at our worst times, we are still family.

In mid-March, my one niece (in Ohio) gave birth to a beautiful little girl. My NJ sister and I got to meet her, thanks to Zoom. I would love to embrace and hold that little bundle. I would enjoy a hug from family, actually from anyone. My other niece and her daughter, Quinn, live in New Jersey near my oldest sister.

My Ohio niece, Brittany, loves family. She once said to me that if it was up to her she would have a compound of homes and all of her family would live there. She has been instrumental in drawing me back into the lives of my family. I remain grateful to her, for the ability to do this and include all of us.

 

As I sit here on a gray Sunday morning, my friends are downstairs listening to their church service. One of the hymns I heard wafting upstairs was:

“For the Beauty of the Earth”. The third refrain is the one that struck a chord in me at this moment of time. “For the joy of human love, brother, sister, parent, child, Friends on earth and friends above, For all gentle thoughts and mild. Lord of all to thee we raise, This our hymn of grateful praise.”

Today I am thankful for all my family, friends, strangers and acquaintances. Today I am thankful for recognizing the longing to see and talk to my sisters and nieces. I am glad they are all safe and sheltered in place. I am thankful to be able to reach out over the miles and remind myself to be very thankful for a loving and strong birth family.