Covid Car Trip? Be Safe and Have a Blast.

WooHoo!

Are you tired of looking at the same four walls? While you can’t exactly hop a plane to Paris these days, no one says you can’t go on a drive. Maybe even a long drive – say 6 days? That’s what we did in October, and during that time we visited the Black Hills, Mount Rushmore, Devils Tower, Little Bighorn Battlefield and Yellowstone Park, to name just a few.


You may be thinking, how do I see these amazing sites during a international pandemic? VERY CAREFULLY – but it’s doable. Just like life in general these days. Here’s how. Get together with some good friends who are also being careful about Covid exposure. Do a lot of research, map out a route, and make your plan. If you’re aware of the risks and how to avoid them, you can have a good time, be safe, and see the world (or whatever part of it you’re currently allowed to inhabit).

Here’s a Few Helpful Hints

GETTING THERE – On the plus side, road tripping is safer than travelling by plane or other methods of public transport – namely because you don’t have to share the air with crowds of questionable people. It’s also much less complicated. Does anyone else break out in a cold sweat at the thought of booking a plane ticket online? I once did it backwards and ended up with a ticket from the place I was going, to the place I already was. It cost a lot of money to fix it. With a road trip it’s simple. Gas up your car, kick the tires and hit the road.

Did I mention road tripping is cheaper than flying? You can, of course pretend to fly while you’re driving, but that may result in a speeding ticket which will not be cheaper.

LODGINGS – Choose high quality hotels and ask ahead of time what their policies are for cleaning and sanitizing. Next – don’t believe them. While we’d like to think everyone is as concerned with our health as we are, it’s probably not true. We brought our own cleaning supplies and sanitized everything – doorknobs, countertops, bathrooms etc. – as soon as we entered the room. Once you’ve done a thorough job, you can relax and enjoy the space.

Germs Beware! Sanitizer and cleaning supplies are required for Covid road trips.

SLEEPING – Bring your own pillow and blankets if you have room. I actually thought about bringing a sleeping bag but realized if there were germs on the bedding it would just get on the sleeping bag and then on me, so decided not to stress over this one. Most hotels have removed the bedspreads and wash their linens in super-hot water.


yellow bagel 2FOOD – Pack a cooler with sandwich supplies and treats to avoid having to stop at restaurants. We brought Bagels, cream cheese and lunchmeat, apples, bottled water, beef jerky, chips, licorice, and much much more. One of our party insisted on bringing carrots and humus. I wasn’t excited about this blatantly healthy snack, but it grew on me. When your supplies run out or you just can’t bring yourself to eat another bagel, there’s always the drive up window at McDonalds. 

Do not, I repeat, do not buy elk dogs from the convenience store when you stop to buy gas. These may look tasty, but they aren’t . . . possible secret ingredient of sawdust. (Thanks anyway Ed. It seemed like a good idea.)

Not as good as you think.

REST STOPS – Eeeew. No way around it, you’re going to have to use public restrooms. The best advice – basically, try not to touch anything. You can turn on faucets with your elbows and its O.K. to carefully flush the toilet with your foot. Do not stomp on it and break the handle though or you’ll be in for a flood of trouble.

Also NOT recommended, the previously unheard of option of squatting on the toilet seat. Wait . . . what? I’d never even heard of this practice until I saw the sign in a restroom at Yellowstone.

Why would anyone want to squat on the toilet seat? It’s a seat – for sitting. Do you squat on your couch and chairs at home? Someone help me with this . . .

yellow gumbyApparently, many people think squatting on the toilet seat is a good idea, so many in fact, that the park service had to make a sign discouraging the practice. If you’re concerned about germs – and who isn’t these days – use the disposable seat covers available in every public restroom. Honestly dear readers, while actual physical contact with a public toilet seat is not recommended, neither is squatting.

IN CLOSING – As always, wear a mask, carry plenty of hand sanitizer and wipes, and socially distance from those outside your immediate group. While there’s still a chance of getting sick, this can also happen on a trip to the grocery store, and frankly, I’d rather be struck down doing something fun. If you follow these tips and use a little common sense you can still get out and leave those four walls behind.

I’d love to hear about your road trip. Keep in touch!

Authors Note: I know, some of you may still be in lockdown and travel of any kind is not possible . . . sigh, my thoughts are with you. Hang in there though, your time will come.

****

Itinerary For Our 6-day Road Trip

Day 1. Drive 440 miles (61/2 hours) from Salt Lake City, Utah to Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Day 2. Drive 98 miles (2 hours) to visit Fort Laramie National Historic site.
This was a significant trading post and military installation in the 1900’s. Much more than we expected – with a restored town square and private homes filled with clothing and furniture of the time.
Drive 175 miles – 3 hours to Crazy Horse Monument in South Dakota.
This is a memorial in progress. Work has been underway since 1948 and it still has a long way to go. For now you can see the head of the Lakota tribe leader who led his people during the battle of the Little Bighorn, rising from the stones of the Black HIlls. Visitors Center and Village.
Drive 17 miles – (30 minutes) to Mount Rushmore Memorial.
Amazing sculpture of four US Presidents carved into the Black HIlls of Keystone, South Dakota. Here you can hike, visit the museum, and sample Thomas Jefferson’s famous ice cream recipe.
Drive 24 miles – (35 minutes) through the Black Hills National Forest To Rapid City, South Dakota.

Day 3. Drive 76 miles / 1 hour to Minuteman Missile National Park.
Here you can take a 45 minute ranger-guided tour of the grounds and missile silos. This once secret facility contained 10 nuclear missiles. On regular days (non-Covid), visitors are taken underground to areas the soldiers once lived and worked.
Drive 4 miles -(6 minutes) to Badlands National Park. Ben Reifel Visitors Center on the Sioux Reservation.
Then drive the Badlands Loop (HWY 240) 1-2 hours for spectacular scenery and glimpses of wildlife and gorgeous sunsets.
Wall Drug, a collection of cowboy themed shops, restaurants and tourist shops is a fun stop along the way.
Drive 80 miles (1 hour) back to Rapid City.

Day 4. Drive 106 miles (1 hour 40 minutes) to Devils Tower National Monument near Moorcroft, Wyoming
Visitors Center and hiking. Weird and interesting prehistoric monolith, featured in the movie Close Encounters of the third kind.
Drive 64 miles – 1 hour to Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument.
This is where the Lakota and Cheyenne Indians faced the US Army’s 7th Calvary and fought the famous battle of the Little Bighorn. There’s not much to see here, but for history buffs who know the story, this is a treasure. Site features a 4 1/2 mile audio driving tour with multiple stops. Visitors Center and Custer National Cemetery.
Drive 65 miles – 1 hour to Billings Montana.

Day 5. Drive 204 miles (4 hours) to Yellowstone Park.
Spend the day enjoying the spectacular scenery and wildlife. It was very cold the night we arrived (in October) and we froze but enjoyed the Old Faithful Geyser.

Day 6. Second day of Yellowstone Park
Drive 70 miles (1 1/2 hours) to Jackson Hole Wyoming. Through Grand Teton National Park.

Day 7. 288 miles (5 hours) from Wyoming to Salt Lake City.

31 thoughts on “Covid Car Trip? Be Safe and Have a Blast.

  1. Travelling is very much needed because it heals our mind and makes us get rid of toxic memories to some extent. A road trip with friends is a lifetime achievement. So in order to travel with uttermost safety, one must keep in mind that ultimate cleanliness is important. Tools likes brushes, paper towels, etc are essentials. To avail of the best quality cleaning supplies, check thus amazing platform: https://www.databazaar.com/collections/cleaning-supplies

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  3. That is so cool that you got to do this. We have been thinking about a long road trip. So many states I haven’t seen in this country. Looks like you guys had a lot of fun too. I have also never heard of squatting on a toilet…ew.

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  4. looks like you did this fun and with safety in mind
    we have had a few outings – all safely done
    and I like how you encouraged others who are waiting for the chance to get out there and go

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  5. I love these posts Geanie, you always make me smile. I agree, you can do this safely if that is what you want to do. I have only done day trips, so no worry about staying overnight yet. These are all great trips even if told in a humorous way. I am glad I have never tried an Elk dog, but it does sound like it should have been good. My family and I did that trip years ago and saw all those things when the kids were young enough to want to go away with mom and dad. They even got Junior Ranger Badges when we went to Yellowstone.

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    • Great to hear from you Carla We got junior Ranger badges at bunker hill in Boston, even though we were anything but juniors. Also did Yellowstone long ago with kids. It was fun but kind of nerve wracking w/ little ones and hot pots etc. I agree, day trips are easier right now. Thanks for checking in.

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  6. Please don’t stop writing about your trips. Our time will come again. Soon. Most people will have had the vaccine soon and life will get easier.
    I’ve just read all the other comments. Holes in the ground are definitely the worst. All over the east and Africa. But I was delighted when I had managed to get to the top of a small mountain in Uganda there was a little hut there. Thatched. Littleford door with a heart carved out. And inside. A proper sitting down lavatory. With toilet paper! I’m not sure how it flushed. But it wasn’t dreadful !

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    • Thanks Basia, your comments are always so intriguing – just enough on the surface to hint at the Great stories underneath. I’ll think about what you said about travel stories. One friend said she loves to read about travel all the more because she can’t go anywhere right now. Hang in there my friend.

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      • Yes, do too. I watch televisiion now too a lot ore than I used to – and the most unlikely programmes, but mainly because i like looking at the views! Things like Top Gear. I have absolutely no interest in cars, but they go to some marvellous places!

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  7. I really dislike using public toilets. They are always horrible. XD It’s really nice to see you were able to have a road trip though. They are always fun. 😀 As to the squatting: I think I remember a friend of mine telling me that it’s typical for Asia because they only have like a toilet pan or bowl that’s set in the ground? So people have to squat in order to well… you know. *lol* So maybe some tourists from Asian countries will do the same on western toilets which are not made for it?

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    • I hope so. Hopefully, Covid will be a lot less problematic. Our numbers in Utah have been dropping significantly. I’m assuming that’s due to the vaccinations finally getting out there. Thank goodness for the national parks and outdoor activities. Good to hear from you.

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  8. Road trips are definitely the way to go during a pandemic, especially to visit outdoor sites like national parks. I’m glad you mentioned bringing your own pillow. I went to NH this summer and my mother thought I was crazy for bringing my own pillow. Considering the virus enters our body thru our face there is no way my face is laying on something that other people have had their face on. And the advantage to driving is having the room in the car to bring extra stuff like pillows

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    • Exactly. Like I said, I was considering a sleeping bag, but we didn’t have room for that. We’re totally converted to car trips now. There are so many things to see in the US, and the National Parks are amazing. Thanks for reading. (I always bring my own pillow if at all possible. Even before Covid.)

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  9. Dear Library Lady.
    I loved reading this. I would do love to go on a road trip. 6 days! Sounds like a life time. Three friends. A major party. Yes. This is the greenest voice of envy. Here in London we are just about allowed to go for a walk alone or with one member of ones household. Locally! No where to stop to eat. No hotels open. No where to have a cup of tea or coffee. And worst of all no where salubrious to go to the loo. Very hard on elderly in continents like me! I have to plan every sortie from the house most carefully. Or pass the local railway station where they do let me use the facilities. We’re not even allowed to pop into friends’ houses in case of emegency. So, a long car trip would be fabulous. I long to stay in a hotel. Eat breakfast in a dining room. Go out for dinner and dress up.
    Soon soon. Vaccines are rapidly being injected into my generation so I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. A nice piece of writing.

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    • Librarylady on February 6, 2021 at 3:14 pm said:Edit
      Hi Bazia,
      Thanks for giving me the lowdown about London. I knew things were tight there but didn’t realize the extent of it. I feel so bad for you. It’s one thing to have all restaurants and stores closed, but if I knew there were no facilities out there, I’d never leave the house. Our travel companions tease me about this issue and say I should write a book called Public Restrooms of the World, since I’ve visited most of them.
      I seem to be focusing on toilet humor today. I’ll stop now. As for the rest of your comment, it’s made me think about my plan for future posts. I was going to continue talking about our trip and feature some of the places we went, but now wonder if this is really appropriate when so many people are still in lockdown. We have a few states that are seriously restricted, but for the most part people can go out but have to wear masks and use common sense. Anyway, it’s good to hear from you. Wishing this will go away soon.

      Liked by 1 person

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