It’s been a while since we last talked. Sorry about that. Let’s do some catching up!
Last Time on The Wandering Gants
Last time I posted was just as COVID-19 started influencing our lives. I’d updated you on our Tucson experiences at the Desert Museum and the Biosphere. I wrote a little about having diabetes during a pandemic and even a piece about small business loans.
And that was it. Oops!
COVID-19 and Joshua Tree National Park
Brian and I had been battling a terrible bug back in late January that we believe may have been COVID-19. We haven’t done an antibody test, but we’re pretty sure that it was COVID-19. I’m sure you don’t want to hear symptoms and all that. But, I will say that we were really sick for about four weeks plus a cough that lingered for a few more weeks. So, really, nothing happened during that time except having to make a couple of drives with no energy and high fevers. (This was all before anyone really knew it had hit the U.S.)
We finally recovered while we were in the Desert Hot Springs area and had enough energy toward the end of that stop for a scenic drive and a couple of short walks around Joshua Tree National Park.
We moved on to Las Vegas for what was supposed to be five or six weeks of exploring outside of the Strip and hanging with friends. We spent two weeks at the Thousand Trails in town, then a week at Lake Mead (beautiful!) Then we went back for two more weeks at the Thousand Trails.
In the Vegas area, we explored some local hikes and scenic drives, toured Grand Coulee Dam, and took a paddle wheel boat tour of Lake Mead. It was a blast hanging with our friends John and Brenda from GeoAstroRV, Lance and Flo from Wheelin’ with the Wendes, and Scott H. We ate amazing food, danced on Fremont Street, and took in the sights.
While we were at Lake Mead, COVID-19 started really ramping up. I started getting nervous about being in a big city and questioned heading toward Seattle (our original plan.) Once we got back to the Vegas, we started changing our reservations. At this point, states were starting to issue stay at home orders; but the Strip was still going. I believe they closed down the casinos and restaurants around the time we left.
Instead of hanging around the desert a bit longer, we decided to head north toward the Oregon Coast. We thought about the healing salt air and the low population. There are several Thousand Trails RV parks there that we could stay at until it was time for us to head into Washington. We were still sticking with the idea of heading to the Seattle area in May to visit family and friends. Haha.
We did make it to the Oregon Coast and checked into the first Thousand Trails RV park. These membership parks only allow you to stay two to three weeks depending on time of year. But, you can get a week-long extension twice a year (with our plan), so we had 28 days at the first park.
Where Do We Go??
A few days after we arrived, the Northwest really started locking things down and the Oregon Governor was begging people not to go to the coast because they couldn’t handle the extra people. (People were going out for weekend camping trips.) Then the Thousand Trails along the coast stopped accepting new arrivals and reservations were being cancelled. The one we were at couldn’t tell us if they’d let us stay if the shelter-in-place orders extended.
Well, crap. Where were we going to go? We need Internet to do our jobs, so we have to ensure we’re at a park that provides that and electricity for all our equipment. Plus campgrounds were closing down as non-essential businesses. At the time, Governors hadn’t yet declared RV parks essential businesses, so we were very worried. We even called a few friends to see if we could moochdock if it came down to it. That was going to be a last resort since we’re not set up for boondocking more than a few days at a time. Mainly, we just wanted to get into our home state of Washington and sit in the same spot for a few months.
Luckily, a place we stayed at a couple of years ago (Columbia Sun RV Resort) sent an email saying they were accepting long-term reservations and had no plans to close unless the state shut them down. Phew! So we left the Oregon Coast after about a week and drove a day to Kennewick (Southeastern WA) where we stayed from the end of March until the end of June. We highly recommend Columbia Sun if you’re ever in the area!
Southeastern Washington and Early Pandemic Life
Life in Kennewick during the pandemic was typically boring. We stayed home except to go grocery shopping, which was mostly done by Brian, and ordered pick-up dinners now and then from a couple of nearby restaurants just for a change of pace. We walked around the RV park, which got boring pretty quickly and we stopped doing it regularly due to lack of motivation.
When they loosened restrictions a few weeks before we left, we visited the McNary Wildlife Refuge and Bateman Island. And we finally got to visit some of our friends (dinner at their house) the last weekend we were in town. It was so good to get out!
I started working plant medicine again – repurchasing books I’d given away (clearly overthinking when we were downsizing) and creating space so I could make and properly store more tinctures, oils, salves, vinegars, and lotions. Brian also completed some of the renovations we’d been wanting to do for a while.
At the end of June, we left Kennewick for the Olympic Peninsula, stopped overnight to visit a friend in Ellensburg, and are currently on the western side on Hood Canal. This puts us about 1 1/2 to 2 hours from a lot of our friends and family and we hope to responsibly visit with some of them while we’re here.
As we crossed into Western Washington over the Cascades, Brian commented on the green that we’ve missed so much. I said “Yep. I’m home.” There’s something about Western Washington that really does make it “home”. All the years in the military and traveling in the RV, we’ve been to some really amazing places. Some of those have had mountains or water or both. But they just aren’t the same as being in Western Washington. I can’t say what that difference is – but it is.
The Olympic Peninsula
Anyway, we plan to be in the area through early or mid-October then, hopefully, head to Tucson for the winter. We’re doing our best to not move around much while COVID-19 is still a big issue. We might also look at a decent place to stay in Washington through the winter, just in case.
Brian’s birthday was last weekend and the area is in Phase 2 (50% capacity allowed to dine-in at restaurants among other things), so we met our daughter, Chelsea, for a socially-distant walk around Poulbo and an early dinner there. It was really good to see her and hang out for a few hours…and to be outside in the sunshine!
We really love this Northeastern part of the Peninsula. We explored a bit when we lived north of Seattle and are looking forward to exploring even more. In fact, we plan to make this area our home base – hopefully within the next couple of years (once we sell that 5th wheel we bought last year.) We still plan to RV; it’ll just be part-time once we have the home base.
So that catches us up! Thanks for reading and remember to live your journey…