Spoiler Alert – We are well and have been well all year.
WHAT A YEAR! For the past 276 days since Ananda Village went into “Self Isolation” due to the COVID19 pandemic it has been a bit of “rinse and repeat”. I began to keep a brief daily log on my iPad with some personal notes and task list, with some quotes I find and also stats of the pandemic. We have been doing the 5 safe practices when out in Public and our community, so far, has been spared…So far.
We did not let the pandemic stop us from traveling since we have our “travel-pod”. The Wonder van with self contained with toilet and shower so we were able to remain isolated and safe. Whenever we go shopping for groceries we wear the protective mask, glasses and gloves. It has allowed us to be out and feel safe. I spent much of the spring doing short videos of the Crystal Hermitage Gardens.
We made several trips this year in our “travel pod” called Mightee Wonder Van (MTV). Big Sur in January, Arizona in February then the COVID hit and all our plans for rest of year was cancelled! By mid March, our small community here is in self isolation. All programs cancelled, the guest retreats shut down, and a “New Normal” begins to take shape. We limit our trips only essential needs and wonder how long this will last.
We had campground reservations for about 11 weeks of travel all over the western US from SoCal to Utah to Idaho and Washington. All cancelled by the state and national parks.
The one which really bummed us out was our favorite spot up in Truckee. The Corps of Engineers decided to not open the campground at all! We had booked several trips there since we only live 90 minutes away. Well, there goes the summer! Well, we did get one long weekend camping trip up in the Sierra for some hiking.
We planted a garden. Initially, due to our travel plans, we were not going to do that but with the pandemic, we opened up the beds and have enjoyed a bounty all summer.
Chomping at the bit and tired of cabin fever we looked at the COVID map of the USA and determined we could make a trip out to Teddy Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota via a diagonal route across Nevada, Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana then down thru South Dakota Badlands and back thru Colorado Rockies and Utah safely arriving home by end of June. We found some wonderful places to stay from Tetons National park to a little city park in North Dakota. We spoke only to 8 people the whole trip. A few campground hosts and neighbors and a couple grocery employees where we shopped. Most people were not yet wearing masks out in these areas, however we were very careful to keep our distance and wear masks. What a delightful trip.
July found us wondering when the next wildfire would begin. We didn’t have to wait long as California erupted in fire and smoke. We hunkered down thinking maybe we could escape in August back to the Rockies which we did. Except that we got seduced by a couple web cams in Ouray and Telluride which showed pretty clear air. So we headed east thinking we could find places to camp.
Not so fast! After spending a couple nights packed into an RV park with AC on for the heat and dodging people on the trails, we decided to pick up stakes and head north right thru the heavy smoke of central Colorado fires then into Wyoming where we spent 18 days in the Tetons. We delayed our return until the pending snow storm forced our hand at the end of Labor Day weekend and we headed home back to wildfire country.
Upon return we knew we had 3 months remaining in wildfire season. Our van became our “go bag”. We always had it stocked with our important papers, backup hard drives, food, water, fuel, ready on a moments notice to evacuate if needed. Our village had created and emergency radio system for alerts which i had spear headed. The radio sat next to our bedside at night in case of emergency. We had our generator ready to run when the Planned Power Shutoffs happen (and they did). Wildfire season officially was over late November this year here where we live. Still, the van serves as our backup overflow food storage and stands ready to head out on short notice.
We did one more trip in the fall, heading over to Bodega bay for a few days of cool ocean breezes and walking on the beach. What a welcome relief. We had planned a trip to Arizona for late October/November but again cancelled due to the pandemic. Still we managed to put 16,000 miles on the van since taking delivery last November back in Atlanta.
Now we enjoy the cooler, wetter days, remaining fairly quiet around the house, while active around our community, helping others in need of assistance. I cycle 60-80 miles per week to keep fit and we pray for rain and snow. Sraddha is back to cooking and baking so i have to keep cycling. Being introverts, we both enjoy the solitude and have found interesting books and streaming videos as part of our life. I wear my Seahawks jersey on Sundays in support of my team. Go Hawks!
We plan out next venture, knowing full well it may get cancelled, postponed, delayed and/or changed yet again. We have learned a lot about being flexible, understanding and respectful of others. It may be a while before we can again roam freely as we have in the past. Who knows?