So that’s it. Road Trip X is in the bag. As Wing road trips go, this one was DIFFERENT. Past sojourns have averaged around 45 days, but #10 weighed in at a runty 35 (and we still got home midday on that last day).
Difference #1 was, of course, the fact that our beloved Tarheel men’s basketball team played its last game a week ago. But Difference #2 was the fact that ALL BASKETBALL ended the very next day, thanks to the Coronavirus. So not only did we start heading home 3 days earlier, we spent those days eating up as many miles as possible each day, diverging rarely for scenery, and not at all for friendship.
Need proof? Here’s all I got from crossing the upper east corner of Utah:
A bit further south, hoodoos like these turn into Zion National Park. But along I-80…
We did stop for 90 minutes’ recreation in Twin Falls, Idaho. Twice before we’d been blanked when wishing to ride the Rim Trail of the Snake River’s canyon there, once due to weather and once due to lack of daylight. But third time’s a charm.
Shoshone Falls was even more jaw-dropping than I’d expected.
Can we get a close-up?
After spending the night in Boise (where we LOVE the river trail, but no-no-no, time for only one bike ride and you’ve already had it!), we followed the Oregon Trail route into the Pacific time zone, breathless with joy to be beating the big snowstorm we knew was on its way from the coast.
That was a LONG day’s drive. But it could have been longer; we’d started early enough that we could actually have made it all the way to the Anacortes ferry terminal if we’d so chosen. But we didn’t.
It was our 41st anniversary (the falling-in-love one, not the wedding one. What’s better than two anniversaries?) and we wanted to spend it someplace special before diving back into our daily home routine. So I found us a BnB in North Bend, Washington, and we aimed ourselves there.
But before checking in, we decided to go for a hike. Snow levels being too high up on Snoqualmie Pass, we stopped at Rattlesnake Lake, outside North Bend, a place we know well. “We’ll get some exercise while practicing our Social Distancing,” we told ourselves. And here’s where irony took over.
The parking lot was overflowing. And the trail? Imagine a food court at the mall. Now take all those happy teenagers and arrange them along a hiking trail, laughing & talking loudly as kids do.
Ohhhhhhh. Oh yeah. Schools are closed in Washington. So are malls and movie theaters. So where do all these healthy young Seattleites go? Hiking! The thought made us happy. But it also made us turn around. Social distancing on that trail was just not possible. Not to mention it was kinda noisy.
Instead, we found a perfectly nice walk along the lake, with lots of room between people.
Then on to our trip’s final night. The place advertised itself as being near the Snoqualmie River. It was.
What better homecoming to the Pacific Northwest than tall firs and rushing water?
Our room wasn’t on the actual bluff above the river…
…but a kind of porch swing was, and I took full advantage.
And up on that little outside deck, I used our Coleman stove to cook up the Mate’s and my traditional anniversary meal, Reuben sandwiches.
Next morning we picked up some groceries (as island friends had advised) and drove through eerily light Seattle traffic, back to the ferry terminal. At 150,000 miles, Red Rover mayyyyy have just completed her final cross-country road trip, so I gave her a grateful hug.
And now? The Mate and I have been everywhere and touched a lot of surfaces in the last five weeks. But turns out road-tripping is the best practice for self-quarantining. We’ll be with each other now and almost no one else for the next two. Red Rover will get a bath. Nature will get our full attention. And Wing’s World will morph out of Travel Mode.
How ’bout y’all? Anyone else in self-isolation? How are you passing your time, or changing your work routine? Please share any wit & wisdom from the experience.
So glad you’re home. I appreciate that you’re isolating yourself for a bit. Even if you weren’t, I wouldn’t be able to get together with you for one of your outrageous cakes or pies, or receive a hug, or see your smile, because I’m deep into social distancing, too.
At least we have gorgeous sunshine, and my husband and I are taking daily walks together. I’m spending many hours online, staying up-to-date on this rapidly changing situation so I can be an accurate resource in my role as president of our local hospital district (we fund our local primary care clinic). Not getting much creative writing done, and I have to discipline myself to take deep breaths, read poetry, take more deep breaths, and reach out to others.
The pandemic brings back memories of my days as a communicable disease supervisor at a county health department when we saw early cases of E. coli 017 H7 during the1993 outbreak. That was devastating, as we had 10 cases in our county and a 2-year-old boy died. But that outbreak was nowhere on the scale of the COVID-19 pandemic. My heart goes out to first responders and many other workers going 24-7, as well as people who are sick and those who’ve lost loved ones.
I’m grateful to be where I am, surrounded by beauty and a caring community. I look forward to the day we can resume our hugs, writing together around a table, and washing our hands together. Take good care, my friend.
Thank you, Iris–for this reply and even more for your tireless (though I know you’re tired!) work for the public’s health and security. For others who want to benefit from Iris’s personal experience with scary outbreaks, here’s her post to give a fuller story: https://irisgraville.com/2020/03/14/wash-your-hands-again-and-always/