I feel like this last week should be remembered as the week the world changed.
We had all been following the news about the virus in China, and the cruise ships stuck off shore in California. Airline flights were being cancelled. We were beginning to think maybe travel plans would have to get adjusted. But we already had plans to spend a week at the Elk’s lodge in Visalia, and even had pre-purchased tickets to a Pre-St. Patrick’s Day Pub Crawl on the 14th, so we continued with our plans.
This was to be the last week we’d be camped together with our friends Mark and Patsi, who we have been traveling with since early November. The plan was to split up after this and re-unite at the annual Escapade in Wyoming in June. Like I’ve mentioned before, we had our travel plans lined out for six months in advance – a first for us!
Then the news of the Corona Virus started hitting closer to home. The convalescent home where my mom was in rehab after surgery was going on lockdown. So we got to Visalia a day sooner than planned and “broke her out” of there and got her set up back in her home.
It seems like such a whirlwind of new information was coming at us that first weekend we were there. When it was time to go downtown to our pub-crawl, we were conflicted, but the event was still on and we didn’t want to take our business away from the local bars and restaurants due to mass hysteria. So we dressed up in green and headed downtown – armed with plenty of home-made hand sanitizer – and we all had lots of fun.
We didn’t realize at the time what a bad example we were setting – not until we made the front page of the local newspapers as “poster children” for what senior citizens should NOT be doing. (I’m still sore at having been labeled a senior!) We were even quoted as saying “Alcohol is a disinfectant too.”!
Of all the people in the restaurant, the photographer targeted the oldest people he could find. He walked in, snapped our photo, and walked out without mentioning what the picture was for! Anyhow, we got a big laugh out of it the next day, but it left me wondering if we had done the right thing.
The next day the governor ordered the shutdown of all bars, and a day or two later, the restaurants were shuttered.
I’m not sure of the exact order of things, because everything was changing so quickly, but within that one week we learned that everything we had planned on attending (except the Escapade) had been cancelled. Our next destination was an Xscapers convergence in Bishop – it was cancelled. We were going to do a vendor fair in Fresno while we were in the area and that got cancelled. Schools were shutting down. Jessica’s college graduation – and her last dances that we had tickets for – were cancelled. My heart was breaking for all the young people that were missing out on important milestones. Our granddaughter, Alexis, will not get her eighth grade graduation or her scheduled high school freshman orientation.
We were able to visit with her while in Visalia, so that was a plus, having take-out pizza with Tom’s daughter Jenna and family. We also got to spend another evening of pizza at my son Eric’s, and had a lively game of Catan with him and Jordyn – giving us all a couple of hours of Corona-free thinking.
We had a lot of visiting with hometown friends and family scheduled while we were there. On Sunday, our friend Robert brought his new girlfriend to meet us.
Ernie and Sherrie stopped by too, but our mid-week dinner plans with them, as well as going out to eat with other friends, got pushed aside in the quest for toilet paper.
Not exactly, but it was a concern for us. I still can’t imagine what propelled people to go on a buying frenzy of TP and paper towels. We can’t just buy any ol’ toilet paper because of our sewer system, so we went to Camping World where they still had some RV TP in stock. We didn’t go overboard because we don’t have the storage room, (and we’re sane) but we’re now stockpiled – at eight rolls.
Things seemed to be getting crazier by the day. Now grocery shelves were barren of all beans, rice and canned goods. National and State Parks were being closed. Travel bans were being issued. We all felt like it was time to get out of California. Mark and Patsi headed back to Arizona, but I had to stay another day to finish helping my Mom get stocked up and settled in. I even played hairstylist by giving her a new hair cut.
The things that we’re capable of when the situation demands!
We’re not entirely sure where we’re headed to wait this thing out. But I was certain that we weren’t leaving the state without seeing my daughter and her family first. So that is where we’re headed now for a few days before heading to. . . we-don’t-know-where.
These are certainly uncertain times for all of us.
Happy Travels Stay Safe!
Peace & Love, Joy