Traveling through COVID…the trip of a lifetime

Our journey started on the morning of June, 29th, 2020, fromPittsburgh, Pa Throwing caution to the wind, and the Coronavirus, not knowing what to expect as we traveled over 8, 000 miles across the United States. We loaded the Jeep with 5 cases of wine, plenty of masks, healthy snacks, hand sanitizer and water. Off we went for 32 days of traveling across the beautiful United States. It was a trip of a lifetime!

Our first stop was the Dunes in lake Michigan. It was storming there, but we managed to wait it out to be able to go on a hike up 250 steps and down to the beaches of Lake Michigan..we dipped our toes there and then on to our first stop in Joliet, Illinois.

Second stop was Sioux City Iowa. As most of our stops, it was a one night stays. There we walked along the Missouri River after a nice dinner at the hotel. We were required to wear masks, but able to sit at the bar which was exciting. They separated us by 6 feet, distance from the other customers. Our rooms had a security tape on the door, to let us know that they had been Covid cleaned. We then moved on to Wall South Dakota where we stayed 1 night there.

Wall, South Dakota is know for the Wall Drugstore and the Badlands. Much to our surprise, all of the retail stores were open for business. There were plenty of people visiting from other states and were out and about.

Our fourth night was in Cody, Wyoming. We stayed for 3 nights! It was nice to check in for 3 days. It was a lodge, big lodge. There we did our first load of laundry! Covid restrictions were different here. They served no food, not even breakfast! There was no room service. If you wanted new towels, wash cloths, tooth paste, etc. you had to go to the desk, with mask, and ask for what you needed. We had to put the garbage out in the hallway, and let them know at the desk that it was there.

Cody, Wyoming was a real cool town. There was the Stampede Rodeo in town, we attended the yearly 4th of July parade, and went to Yellow Stone National Park, a 45 minute drive from Cody. We did that twice, while we were there. We saw lots of wildlife, it was amazing. Elk, Grizzly Bear, Bison, Prairie Dogs, and Wild Horses. Pretty awesome place. We only had to wear masks when we were in close spaces with other people. From there we traveled the Bear Tooth Highway, I would recommend to anyone who asks. Its north leaving Yellowstone, with an altitude of almost 11,000 feet. Home to more Bison than you could imagine. It was amazing!!!!

Glacier National Park was our next big stop. So beautiful. There were many travelers, hiking, kayaking, swimming, and driving through this amazing place. We stayed in a cabin here, which was nice. Social distancing was not a problem here. We hiked to the Glacier falls, and also a switchback hike up 3,000 ft. Some of the park was closed because of the Covid, but there was still lots to do. We saw Black bears, Mountain Sheep, and Elk here. The mountains are snowcapped and the lakes were a beautiful blue in color.

Some of our other stops were Mount Rushmore, Mt. Rainier, Death Valley, Seattle Washington, Spokane, Washington, the Giant Redwoods, Crescent City, California, then to Healdsburg, California, where we stayed for 3 nights. We have been there a few times before this, but it is always a lovely place to be. Its located in the Sonoma Valley, near the Russian River. They have top notch wines and vineyards, and many delicious food choices at their restaurants. We golfed there twice! Always fun.

We left Healdsburg to head to Las Vegas. Vegas was very strict about wearing masks and social distancing. But the swimming pools were open! I was shocked! Inside the casino’s they were strict, but outside at the pool, there were no restrictions. It was different everywhere we went. We stayed here for 3 nights. Golfed twice, in 107 degree weather. It was HOT!

Now we are headed to Sun Valley Arizona. We got checked in here at our hotel , and then found a spot for dinner. The Mesa Italian Restaurant. We walked in with our masks on, and the barmaid said, “you don’t have to wear masks here, we are all adults, your choice”! Arizona was a gun toting state, we saw two men packing theirs at the bar! It was quite an experience.

After our stay in Arizona, we went to the Petrified Forest, and then on to New Mexico, stopping in Albuquerque, and then on to Taos. This was absolutely one of my very favorite placed that we visited. Beautiful city center, art, restaurants, architecture…blew my mind!! Most small businesses were open and the farmers market was lots of fun. Not much social distancing, but only had to wear a masks. Fav!

Off to Texas for lunch at the Big Texan, then driving through Arkansas, and to our next stop in Oklahoma. This was a long driving day. About 9 hours! Oklahoma was pretty much on lock down. At our hotel, there was no one even at the desk. You had to call from your room down to the desk to gain information. No dinner and no breakfast, we were on the road again.

Memphis, Tennessee was so cool. There were lots of people out on the streets. We had a lovely dinner at a place called Flight. Then a tour of Beal Street, and a late night horse driven carriage ride, through the city and to a park were we could view the Mississippi River! This was another favorite of mine. The city made me feel like there was no covid, but they did it in a way of going by the rules, but not making it so obvious to visitors. Lovely City!!

Nashville and Kentucky was the last two stops on our trip. We visited family in Nashville, and went to the city center before we left to buy some boots! There were police enforcing masks there, even though we were the only people on the streets. They actually stopped us and told us to put our masks on.

Kentucky was great, we went to a horse show in Shelbyville, and met one of my longtime friends there. I love Kentucky!!

Then homeward bound…….what a great trip! It took our minds off of covid-19 and we had no problems with hotels, or restaurants. Most of the hotels were not serving food, but recommended places for take out or eating in.

Spread your wings and go….’Breathe, and don’t apologize for who you are”!