Why We Are NOT RVing During COVID19

Now that’s a headline I never expected to write. But as the pandemic spreads like wildfire, we’ve slowly come to terms with the fact that this summer, we are not RVing during COVID19. 

The Benefits of Staying Parked During a Pandemic

Westfir Railroad Tracks

Taming my inner hobo takes work during this pandemic.

The virus is closing in. As of today, COVID has sickened three extended family members of mine in three different U.S. states. Shit’s getting real. The virus is not going anywhere. And neither are we, for now.

Jim and I are fortunate to be parked in a mountain paradise with a great little pod of three awesome people. We also don’t need to travel for work right now, and we are grateful for that. We are parked in the kind of place that we would have chosen before COVID, much like our many workamping summers at workamping Vickers Ranch. I have no idea how we will ever begin to repay our friends who invited us.

But wanderlust is a rude bastard that likes to linger. Recently I contracted a bad case of hitch itch when I opened up a social media app. That’s when I saw that many full-time RVers are still roaming from state to state. They’re filling their social media feeds with RV porn and glam shots of happy people on the move. “We’re still traveling!” wrote one Millenial. “We’re not going to live our lives in fear!” 

NOT RVing During COVID-19

Lake City, Colorado, we miss you!

And for a minute, I bought into it. I wanted to move along, to get to the Rockies, to enjoy this lifestyle as it’s meant to be enjoyed. I envisioned myself convincing Jim that we should throw caution to the wind and get moving.

But then I remembered: I’m not a sheep, and neither is he. We are not conformists. We color outside the lines, take pride in going against the flow and blazing a trail for everything we do. And it’s a sad state of affairs when going against the flow means doing exactly what virus experts advise: wear a mask, stay put and avoid crowds. So that’s what we’re doing.

I accept that this shitty situation is the boss, but I still needed some convincing that the stationary life is a good idea. So I came up with this list of ten reasons why we are not RV during COVID19:

Ten Reasons Why We are NOT RVing During COVID

1. Staying put is one of the best ways to avoid the virus.

Eugene Oregon COVID-19

We don’t linger anywhere longer than necessary in town.

RV travel is one of the safest means of traveling, but I cringe when I think about touching gas pumps and dump stations, spending time in laundromats and other public facilities. If we got sick, we are hosed since Texas the only state where our crappy HMO health insurance is any good. As much as we love RVing across Texas, we would rather avoid that coronavirus hotspot.

2. Staying put in a state with a mask mandate feels good.

We believe it’s wise to follow the recommendations of people much smarter than we are. So we wear masks in public to stay safe. Last week when the state of Oregon laid down the law and made mask wearing in public compulsory, shopping trips suddenly became less terrifying. It feels safer here.

Oakridge Oregon Greenwaters Park

Relentless gray skies, all summer long.

3. Staying put saves us money.

Yeah, that’s a big motivator for debt-free RVers like us. Each summer we spend a nice chunk of change on fuel and rent, but not this time. That money is being put to better use in our rainy day emergency fund. We hope to not need it, but you never know right now.

4. Staying put is bringing my friend and I closer together.

When my friend of 27 years offered this parking space on her family property, we hadn’t had the opportunity to spend this much time together since our ’90s GenX heyday, when we shared a gritty, funky San Francisco house with three other roommates. I’m treasuring the time we get to spend together now.

5. Staying put lets Jim and I focus on work goals.

The full-time RVing routines of driving days, setting up and tearing down campsites takes a toll on our business productivity. We’ve always enjoyed those days off and accepted that it’s a lifestyle trade-off, but sometimes found it difficult to manage when we needed to meet certain deadlines or goals. Now, we have no excuses not to hit our wish list at every opportunity. 

6. Staying put keeps us in shape, physically and mentally.

If it wasn’t for the endless roads and trails at our doorstep, I would go insane. Running is helping me blow off steam and take a mental vacation for one to four hours at a stretch, six days a week. Jim and I are averaging about 35-40 weekly miles. We have never been more ready to run our first DIY ultra marathon in August, the first of many to come.

Westfir Oregon running trails

The local running trails keep me sane.

7. Staying put in the Oregon mountains means a cooler summer for us.

I’m a sun worshipper and I love heat, but Jim and Wyatt do not. Our “Camp COVID” sits on a river at about 1800′ elevation, which means cooler summer temperatures for my two favorite guys. The relentlessly dreary Pacific Northwest weather bums me out, but I’ve come to accept the benefits: constantly overcast skies keep us cool on runs, and the forest stays healthy and green. 

8. Staying put is allowing us to experience this area’s subtle, but beautiful changes in plants and wildlife.

Westfir, Oregon Ghost Plant

This “ghost plant” or “Corpse Plant” made an appearance the other day.

Speaking of green forests . . . we’ve become well-acquainted with the region’s wildlife, flowers, plants, and trees. Many have bloomed and already faded into the forest floor. It’s a cycle we rarely get to experience because we move around so often. 

9. Staying put is kinder to the planet.

Sure, RV life is generally kinder to the planet than the impact of a sticks-and-bricks dwelling. But the fuel costs of full-time RVing impact so much more than our wallet. All that diesel exhaust we are not throwing into the environment means we are doing our part to slow down climate change. 

10. Staying put means if WE don’t get sick, YOU don’t get sick.

We are doing everything possible to avoid COVID19. We wear masks when we go to town, and when we do, it’s strictly business. We don’t eat at restaurants, get haircuts in salons or linger any longer than necessary. If we do this we can stay healthy, which means YOU and everyone else stays healthy.

Why we are NOT RVing During COVID19

Wear your damn masks people!

Clearly, not RVing during COVID19 has some upsides. I never thought I’d say it, but I’m glad we are staying put this summer. The costs of repeatedly roaming from state-to-state are just too high this year. I hope next summer is a totally different situation but right now, we are taking things day by day.

Wear your damn masks, people!

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23 Responses to “Why We Are NOT RVing During COVID19”

  1. It is interesting reading both your post and the comments from fellow RVers. We live in Alaska, and things have been a little different here. In general, summers mean packed campgrounds, filled largely by tourists either in their own rigs or those they rent from places up here. Revenue from tourism is critical to our economy, but I’d be lying if I said this summer isn’t rather nice. The fluctuation in open/closed border status between the US and Canada has had a huge impact. The phrase “Alaska for Alaskans” is used to encourage locals to get out this summer and enjoy the outside. Since we are able to do laundry at home and load up our freezer meals or home-canned meals, we don’t have the worries that you full-timers have with regards to shopping or laundromats. We have found that national and state park campgrounds and private places are not filling anywhere close to capacity, making social distancing easy. We have avoided busy subsistence fishing spots, deciding that an empty fish freezer is a financial hit we will weather in order to be responsible citizens. We also stay home on weekends like Memorial Day and July 4th. As a people, Alaskans tend to be very outdoorsy, but even so, we have camped and hiked places where we saw either nobody or at most a handful of people all day—the latter in Denali National Park, no less.

    I applaud your choice to keep each other safe in the more populated Lower 48. If I might offer a suggestion, though, to help out some of your favorite places encountered during your travels? Go online or call them and order gifts or shelf stable food items from them via mail order. Many family run small tourist businesses up here are praying to weather the economic crisis of COVID-19 and not lose their livelihoods by amping up secondary income streams via mail order. My guess is that the situation is the same all over the world right now.

    • Care, thanks for sharing your experience in Alaska. We are SO jealous! Yes I’ve heard about the situation up there. We have friends from Denver who winter in Alaska with their 20-dog mushing team. The pandemic hit, they couldn’t leave and now they are “stuck” spending summer in Willow. For the first time ever they’re getting to experience summer in AK, without tourist hordes, and loving it! I can’t even imagine how nice that must be for y’all. Plus, with Alaskans being so independent and rugged anyways, it’s clear that you guys can handle this pandemic way better than anyone down here. If a pandemic has to happen I can’t think of a better place to spend the time, wish we were there. P.S. I love your idea about shopping online with the small tourist businesses. I wonder if the Braeburn Lodge will ship us some of those epic cinnamon rolls? YUM! Stay safe.

  2. We have a small business that is usually concidered a hobby for our taxes.Well, guess what, not this year! People have stayed home and created business for us. We don’t allow them beyond from door to drop off and pick up with a mask. Would have loved to travel to national parks this year but it will wait till Covid calms down.Enjoy what you have.

    • Ginnie that is AWESOME! What’s your business? Can we support your efforts online? Thanks for sharing.

    • Same for us. We’ve had to change our business model since the lockdown, and have gotten into all sorts of things we never would have expected. My husband is loving the variety, though.

  3. Very smart. We are making plans to move in September because Florida being a hotspot is scary. Until then we continue to hide under a rock. Hoping for Colorado or New Mexico this fall, which will likely feel safer.

    • Thanks Jamie! Yeah I read your blog post and applaud you for all your efforts to stay safe in such a crazy hotspot. You and Ross are doing it right. CO or NM would be nice in fall, do it! Thanks for reading.

  4. Thanks, Rene. We never took the full-time RVer plunge so just by the luck of that decision we have a home base where we can shelter from the storm. Not the Oregon mountains, but we are on five acres on a private dead-end dirt road, so lots of distance from our neighbors and very little outside traffic. Still, we are close to three cities with decent shopping and are making extensive use of curb-side pickup for groceries. We cut our winter travels short and got home around mid-March. While wanting to avoid catching the virus in the first place, part of that decision was to be close to the doctors and health care facilities that we have relied on for the last 44 years if needed. We have close friends who are full-time RVers that we traveled with the last two winters. Like your friends, we were able to offer them a place to shelter, so they have been here since early May. We are all virus free and being careful, which means we are able to socialize. That includes planning, preparing, and sharing our evening meal every night. They plan to leave in October as they do not want to spend the winter in Michigan in their RV, but they are also a bit nervous about traveling. We currently have plans to travel again for the 2020-21 snowbird season, but with each passing day that looks less and less likely. Better safe than sorry. The roads, attractions, and people will still be there when it’s finally safe to travel again.

    • Bruce, thanks for sharing your story. That was super smart of you to get home early and be prepared. It sounds like an ideal set up/location and your friends are so fortunate to have you in their lives. And yeah I agree, we can plan all we want but in the end, if the virus is going to keep raging in the coming snowbird season, the safe and smart thing to do is hunker down. Keep doing what you’re doing and stay healthy! Glad to know there’s good people like you out there doing the right thing.

  5. I love your article, thank you.
    Please note, that masks with Exhalation Vents, do NOT filter the OUTGOING air, and anything less than a well-fitted n95 isn’t super effective in filtering most incoming air. My mask protects You, and your mask protects ME, but not if your mask has those vents…

    • Nicole, THANK YOU for bringing that to our attention. DUH! A friend of ours gave us that mask, we had no idea and will no longer wear it. Stay safe!

  6. We too are staying home. We had an epic trip planned for this year but being in our early 70’s (which we have learned is old according to the media) we are being cautious. We order groceries on line then pick them up. We go for bike rides, walk our dog and for some reason there is always a yard or house project!i enjoyed your article and love your comment, “Wear your damn masks people!”. I get so frustrated with those who think this is a joke! Take care and stay healthy!

    • Thanks for sharing Barbara. I agree it’s better to stay safe and hold off on the epic road trip until the coast is clear. And we also think that the early 70s is NOT “old”! Stay safe and healthy yourself, enjoy your staycation.

  7. Not traveling doesn’t mean you can enjoy life, you just have to do it a little differently. I’m feeling pretty safe at CORA, less than 30 Covid cases in Park County, CO, zero deaths. Many stores here have signs “NO SHIRT, NO SHOES, NO MASK, NO SERVICE” which seems so easy. Just like you, going to town is all business, all masked up, hand sanitizer, and not on weekends, when the city folk come up. Fly fishing has always been a social distancing sport. I am doing some volunteering with Trout Unlimited, but they asked people to wear masks and of course we are outdoors. Happy Hour with a couple of friends is 6 ft apart and outdoors. I had planned to travel in the fall, but am now making plans to get a lot at the Original Ranch in Lakewood, NM. Three lots will be coming available and I am # 3 now on the waiting list. Until the recent pandemic news, I was only going to get a lot based on some personal criteria. Now I’ll take any lot, just to make sure I have a safe Haven in October. If the pandemic ends, which I doubt, by then, I can still travel. In the mean time, I am trying to dodge the wind, which is the fly fishers nemesis and stay Covid free.. You guys are being smart. The world will be there, albeit with less people it seems, when this is over. You have many years ahead to fulfill the wanderlust.

    Be safe

    • Hey Larry, I think that being on the road for so long has prepared us for this unexpected “detour” in life, don’t you agree? I mean nobody likes what’s happening but I think as RVers we just accept that it is what it is, and deal. You are making the most of your time at CORA it sounds like. Smart of you to stay away from town on the weekends. Didn’t health experts advise people to stay close to home? What the heck?

      Glad you’re in a safe spot, and you will also be in NM this fall. It’s a nice park, good people.

  8. I live here in Oregon and am questioning the wisdom of camping with my RV’ing Women buddies when they gather informally (as rallies are canceled in Oregon) and also to winter in the desert SW and CA which is what I have done for the last three years, or not?. All of what you are putting forth here is what I’m thinking and makes sense and also, should I get sick on the road, what would the medical establishment be like in whatever small town I’m likely to be staying near??? For these reasons and for now, I’ve decided to stay put.

    • Karen, that’s smart of you. I know it’s so tough to reach that decision though. Jim and I also wondered, what if we were in one of our favorite remote areas and we both got sick? The medical care in those places is not the kind of care you’d want with anything so dangerous to your health. Like Larry said (see above), our favorite places will be waiting for us when this thing is over. Stay safe and see you on the road eventually.

  9. We have stayed home. We have a great excuse in our 9 month old granddaughter but this disease is the true reason. We don’t want to take any chances. We have been wearing masks since the shutdown was announced in March.
    That didn’t stop us from spending this week at a local lake…enjoying the view and the breeze on this hot day. The campground is pretty empty and people are staying apart.
    I’m glad you have a safe place. I’m sure many fulltimers are sheltering as you are.
    Take care

    • Can’t blame you Patti. Make the most of the lovely spot you chose and enjoy your family. We’ll meet up somewhere between Whitehorse and FOY again some day!

  10. Understandable, but really bummed to hear this….you will be missed in August (also known as most-likely-last-time-we-are-all-together-again vacation).

    Stay safe

    • I’m sorry Paula! I know we are so bummed we can’t be there. And why is it the most likely last vacation together? You’ll have to fill me in. xoxo

  11. I’m with you on staying in place. Another reason is that many states, including my own, have a 14-day quarantine rule for visitors from out of state. That would limit one’s ability to explore.

    • Judy, yeah, we don’t love the idea of quarantining again and again. I’m glad you are staying safe, we need a whole country full of people like you!

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