A need to see something other than the exact same view from my window nudged me out of “shelter in place”, despite my concerns as a high-risk senior.
There had to be a way to maintain a cautious distance and see to my basic safety needs without turning into a hermit. Besides, I was getting out of shape; at 70, the term “Use it or lose it” pertains to the body as well as the mind.
My solution was to gas up my Winnebago, “Roada” (short for “Roadrunner” – a nod to my Mom as well as just being apt) and hit the road. I found myself conflicted (and weeks later, still am) between frustration at knowing I can’t cross the Alaskan border into Canada and beyond … and feeling a strong need to stay close to home – just in case.
So I dipped my feet in the travel pool with an overnight trip (along with Jer, who was equally eager to be away from home, at least briefly) to beautiful Bird Creek campground along Turnagain Arm.
Bird Creek offers lovely forest-framed views of the inlet and well-maintained walking trails for dog walks. Baxter and Rhonda both loved it there. Sadly, it was a bit too chilly and windy on this day in May for the outdoor BBQ Jerry had hoped for. Indoor hamburgers worked just fine!
One weekend seemed to be enough for Jerry, who was happy to return home to TV and computer – but it only wetted my appetite. I stayed home for less than a week, then set wheels in motion again.
Living in the Mat-Su Valley, I have quite a few directions I can choose to travel, depending on how much time is available, and honestly – the weather. If it’s clear and sunny in Palmer, why would I head for rainy Denali Park? 😉
Three days of watching sunshine, storm clouds, rainbows and more playing across the shoulders of the always spectacular Chugach and Matanuska Mountains was soothing to my heart and soul. I slept too late and missed every single [4:00 am] sunrise, but I managed to catch a couple of wonderful sunsets. I really enjoyed my time there and had the park nearly all to myself due to Covid related cancellations.
I had taken only miss Rhonda with me this time, so we enthusiastically hunted bunnies and robins (with an equal lack of success due to Mom being on the other end of the leash), strolled through the lovely and almost brand new campground, met some very big Angus cows (with new calves!) through a fence … and gazed across vast hay fields, bringing back such good memories of years past when we had come to these very fields to load hundreds of bales of fresh summer hay to take home to our [then] herd of Pygmy goats.
But … three days in one place was enough. I wasn’t quite ready to head home, but wanted a new view.
Actually, to be honest, I had headed towards home – but just couldn’t bring myself to turn down Vine Rd. So, I kept driving and spent one last night out, camped along the Lil’ Susitna River in Houston. NOT the smartest choice as it turned out – after nearly a week of rain in Houston followed by sunshine, the river was high and mosquitoes had hatched in droves! Yikes! Still, it was really pretty when viewed from inside the RV. I got a lot accomplished on my puzzle that day.
Even with all of this traveling, I was never more than 40-50 miles away from home and managed to continue taking every possible precaution. I felt safe. I wore throwaway gloves when stopping for gas (and didn’t touch my face) which I tossed in the trash before getting back in my RV, wore a mask if I had to step inside (paying for propane, paying for my RV site, etc), was able to immediately and thoroughly wash my hands in the RV after each stop, and kept a more than safe distance from other people – easy to do in nearly empty campgrounds.
The lessening of stress and anxiety in my body was almost palpable by the time I returned home. Such relief. I don’t think I’d realized I’d been holding my breath for the past three months.
Even so, I had barely set my brake in the driveway before I found myself checking weather reports and planning my next getaway. Maybe Trapper Creek or even Denali? But that, as the saying goes, is another story for another day.
Stay safe and well, my friends – but find ways to LIVE your LIFE. We only have the one.