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Old 09-18-2020, 02:00 PM   #1
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Default How Safe is travel in COVID era?

As retired folks, we love to travel in our custom class B. We've been sheltering in place in Branson, MO since March, but really itching to get out there again! With all the new RV purchases, apparently, a lot of other folks really want to travel, too! In fact, it took a whole week just to plan a leisurely trip to the east coast to see some relatives. State parks and national campgrounds mostly full,even a month in advance!

I did manage to make 8 different reservations for the journey in October. We like to spend 2-3 days per park bicycling and hiking. It will be so great to have some new scenery as we exercise! But now I'm feeling conflicted...is it too dangerous to travel with COVID cases rising all over the country? We have our share in Branson, too, so we are planning to continue with compulsive hand washing, face masks, social distancing, and using our own bathroom. We're in pretty good health, but most everyone who is of retirement age has a few "underlying conditions". Obviously, the number of reservations indicate that lots of folks think it is safe enough to go camping, but I am interested in what our fellow forum members think about the advisability of non-essential travel in these times. Thanks for your help!
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Old 09-18-2020, 02:19 PM   #2
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I have been on the road recently, and we feel perfectly safe during B-van travel. As I said in the thread I started at the beginning of this debacle, I feel grateful to be skilled at one of the very few near-perfectly safe travel-related activities left.

Carry enough food for the trip. Use nitrile gloves when filling the tanks (gas or fresh water). Take the same precautions dumping that you should be taking anyway. Learn to avoid chatty, gregarious folks at the campground. Get over any "we only use our toilet for #1" ideas you may have. End of story. The only time I feel nervous is when interacting with the often-overly-friendly folks at the check-in station. Prepay and you can avoid most of that.

I don't know what folks are talking about when they report "state parks full weeks in advance". At least east of the Mississippi, everywhere we have looked, this is ONLY true on weekends this time of year, and even that just requires a little extra effort to find what you need. As I reported in another thread, on weeknights, we didn't even bother making reservations.

Go for it!
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Old 09-18-2020, 02:27 PM   #3
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We had a week reserved at Fort Wilkins state park in the U.P. right after labor day, and did decide to cancel it when we saw it totally sold out the whole time. We would be hiking and most of the trialheads have very little parking and the poplular ones can get quite busy when the campground is full. At the time, the county around the area, which includes Michigan Tech fairly close by showed very high covid rates/100K which kind of confirmed it all for us.


The traveling in itself didn't worry us as the gas stops and such are pretty easy to be safe, but the crowded campground was a worry as well as the places to go would also be very busy.
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Old 09-18-2020, 02:31 PM   #4
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The traveling in itself didn't worry us as the gas stops and such are pretty easy to be safe, but the crowded campground was a worry as well as the places to go would also be very busy.
I agree with the "places to go" part. We resist all temptations to frequent tourist activities. Under the circumstances, just getting out is good enough for us.
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Old 09-18-2020, 05:55 PM   #5
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Thanks for the input, Avanti and Booster. I won't cancel our reservations yet. You are right about the weekends being the most worrisome. We are used to avoiding crowded days and times with our activities in Branson, and will continue to go out during the less busy periods. I haven't figured out how to avoid weekends entirely, though, on a 3-week adventure

COEs and city parks are often not full on weekends, but they are not to be found just everywhere.
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Old 09-18-2020, 06:40 PM   #6
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Thanks for the input, Avanti and Booster. I won't cancel our reservations yet. You are right about the weekends being the most worrisome. We are used to avoiding crowded days and times with our activities in Branson, and will continue to go out during the less busy periods. I haven't figured out how to avoid weekends entirely, though, on a 3-week adventure

COEs and city parks are often not full on weekends, but they are not to be found just everywhere.
I'm wondering if parks are not quite as crowded now that school has started. A lot of kiddo's are not physically at schools, but parents have to keep them at home so it's sort of like any other school year in that regard. It keeps folks from non-retirees and those with young childeren from venturing out as much in the Fall & Spring (our preferred traveling seasons).
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Old 09-18-2020, 06:44 PM   #7
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I'm wondering if parks are not quite as crowded now that school has started. A lot of kiddo's are not physically at schools, but parents have to keep them at home so it's sort of like any other school year in that regard. It keeps folks from non-retirees and those with young childeren from venturing out as much in the Fall & Spring (our preferred traveling seasons).

Minnesota parks are basically full all the time per a news story a couple of days ago, except for the ones nobody wants to go to.



The state campground in the U.P. we were going to stay in is still booked totally full on weekends and nearly full during the week. This place is hundreds of miles from any major population areas, and it is off season, so things are radically different from what we have seen there past years.
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Old 09-18-2020, 07:25 PM   #8
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ENJOY THE GREAT OUTDOORS THE USA OFFERS AT THE TURN OF A KEY - GO ANYWHERE, ANYTIME FOR AS LONG AS YOUR HEART DESIRES ..."

This is still true, on September 18th 2020, & I trust, will continue for at least the next few years.

First as a Physiologist & as both a Military Contractor & now a Quasi Civilian, the greatest threat to your Health is being in a less than Optimal State of Health.

Let me repeat this with more Emphasis; "THE GREATEST THREAT TO YOUR HEALTH IS BEING IN LESS THAN AN OPTIMAL STATE OF HEALTH ..."

After that, you pick your Risk Factors & when there is more than one of you, its all about Self Managed Care as an entire Unit.

From my experiences overseas, my work here & the verified info I receive from active peers in the Military, Government & Medicine, my understanding of the Risk Factors is much different than most & I also understand where the unseen hands are attempting to force changes.

Except for when I am needed at the Ranch in Mendocino, I limit my travel presently to California & States that have Firearm Reciprocity Laws/DOD commonsense. Otherwise I limit my risk to the opportunity of Tick Bites, Poison Oak & Ivy, Crowds, Lines AND, Downtown areas.

I cannot do anything about Earthquakes though.

If you own a Class B & up (or even a Mini Cooper with a Porta Potti), and are wiling to use all the features there is no reason to stay in crowded Campgrounds.

The only time to access such an environment woukd only be to dump dispose of whatever & take on fresh water.

In 9 years I have stayed in Campgrounds on only 3 singular nightly occasions, each time while interviewing new girlfriends until I found the right one.

There is the potential for huge, seismic rules to the incredible freedons we presently enjoy, in all Western Countries but these are presently "what is..."

And vacationing would be much further down the list of priorities.

At the same time, in Japan for instance (great country, great people on the precipice of huge cultural changes), there is a new form of camping that is taking off, Japanese Style; INDOOR CAMPING!

In large meeting halls, etc as well as an energing cottage industry of purpose built campgrounds under a solid roof & surrounded by four walls with all the normal indoor amenities but no hiking, no weather, no bugs.

Complete with Annual Memberships.

Think of your local Bloomingdale's, Neiman Marcus & Big 5 Stores 5 years from now ...
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Old 09-18-2020, 07:26 PM   #9
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https://www.timeout.com/tokyo/news/t...indoors-013119

https://www.google.com/search?q=indo...obile&ie=UTF-8
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Old 09-18-2020, 07:58 PM   #10
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Minnesota parks are basically full all the time per a news story a couple of days ago, except for the ones nobody wants to go to.
I am really starting to suspect an echo-chamber effect here.

I just randomly searched for availability next week at several of my favorite MN State Parks, and the ALL had plenty of availability Sunday through Thursday, which scattered availability on Friday. I would have had no trouble at all booking a 5-night stay next week (and, I suspect, most any other week). This is completely consistent with my recent experience in several other states. Weekends will take a bit more work, but there are alternatives there, too.

Get out there and camp, folks.
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Old 09-18-2020, 08:25 PM   #11
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I am really starting to suspect an echo-chamber effect here.

I just randomly searched for availability next week at several of my favorite MN State Parks, and the ALL had plenty of availability Sunday through Thursday, which scattered availability on Friday. I would have had no trouble at all booking a 5-night stay next week (and, I suspect, most any other week). This is completely consistent with my recent experience in several other states. Weekends will take a bit more work, but there are alternatives there, too.


Get out there and camp, folks.

I am was going by what the parks service stated this last week on a TV interview. Busiest year ever, hard to get a site in the popular parks.



I just checked for a 4 day shot next Mon-Thurs and the entire north shore is booked from Jay Cooke south of Duluth to the Canadian border, but I did not check single days. Itasca had I think 3 sites in one campground only. A few of the others similar 5ish openings on the nicer parks that we have stayed in. When you get to 90+% or more, what they have are probably the late cancelers we have talked about, and the parks will be very busy and crowded. The park in Copper Harbor was similar as we watched the reservation site over time. Cancellations and then booked again later in many cases. Plus some orphan singles here and there between reservations. All depends on comfort level, and those densities even without Covid are not all the fun for us. Personal choice, I think, as we prefer a bit less commotion.
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Old 09-18-2020, 08:50 PM   #12
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I am was going by what the parks service stated this last week on a TV interview. Busiest year ever, hard to get a site in the popular parks.



I just checked for a 4 day shot next Mon-Thurs and the entire north shore is booked from Jay Cooke south of Duluth to the Canadian border, but I did not check single days. Itasca had I think 3 sites in one campground only. A few of the others similar 5ish openings on the nicer parks that we have stayed in. When you get to 90+% or more, what they have are probably the late cancelers we have talked about, and the parks will be very busy and crowded. The park in Copper Harbor was similar as we watched the reservation site over time. Cancellations and then booked again later in many cases. Plus some orphan singles here and there between reservations. All depends on comfort level, and those densities even without Covid are not all the fun for us. Personal choice, I think, as we prefer a bit less commotion.
First of all, let me say that I am not pursuing this question to try to win an argument or any other kind of one-upmanship. But, I really think that there is a big gap between perception and reality on this issue (mostly due to hyperbolic press coverage), and I think it is important for us collectively to do our best to figure out and share the truth.

Booster is absolutely right about the north shore of MI. You can't camp there next week. But, I just did a search for a 4 night stay across MN in an RV site starting Sunday Sept 20. Here is what I found:

MN campsite avail.png

As far as I can tell, one would find a similar pattern in most other Eastern states. Don't know about the West.
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Old 09-18-2020, 10:00 PM   #13
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No question that it's more crowded now but we find that it's true in the more popular campgrounds and on weekends.......as mentioned by the posters above. We go to a remote area in Northern AZ (where it's cooler than PHX) and, even then, choose a campground that's not popular. We've gone up there several times since covid. Once when we were there during the week, it was completely booked with kids running around everywhere and people walking the loops without masks. That was in the summer. Last time we were there the 35 spot loop that you can reserve had only us and 3 others. On the upcoming weekend (and it was labor day) every site was booked.

We were trying to get into Southern Utah at the beginning of October. That looks near impossible. Devil's Garden booked until walkin starts in November. Kodachrome Canyon has some spots but not many. I'm thinking that we might try western/central-to-northern New Mexico. Experiences in that area and recommendations welcome!

BTW, we did camp at Aspen campground at Woods Canyon Lake recently. You have to go through a check-in booth there. The attendant was gloved and masked. We still had her put the post tag/car hanger under a windshield wiper. Hiked a popular trail around the lake the next morning. Hardly a spot to get off the trail to distance from another hiker. The campground was crowded but we hiked at 7:00am. Didn't cross paths with another hiker.
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Old 09-18-2020, 11:52 PM   #14
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We just spent 3 nights at the Alley Spring CG in the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. The only CG loop that was close to full was the 28 campsite electrical loop because I suspect from our social of 15 or so RVs. The adjacent non-electrical RV loop was empty. They were all reserved for the weekend. Still warm enough for canoeing which we did. Going down we stayed in a Harvest Host winery in Missouri. Coming back we are staying in another winery in Iowa. We are the only RV nestled in the vineyard as the sun is setting. Most restaurants have outdoor patios which so far we have been taking advantage. Today we stopped in a restaurant on the in the middle of nowhere, Edina, MO but we were the only customers in a 100 seat restaurant at 2:30 PM so we ate inside though the had a makeshift patio.
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Old 09-19-2020, 03:29 AM   #15
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Just after Labor Day, we stayed at a state park campground in RI for 3 days. There were many open sites available. The park manager told us it was booked to capacity all summer. There are over 700 sites in this park. We didn't feel like using the shower in our Roadtrek, so we opted for the campground showers. No one was using them, which was interesting as there were many tent campers.

Here's my campsite. A lot of the picture was cropped out to keep the file size down.
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Old 09-19-2020, 04:17 AM   #16
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“We were trying to get into Southern Utah at the beginning of October.“

Try Moab off grid in October. If you don’t have enough power I can plug you in.
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Old 09-19-2020, 04:19 AM   #17
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Just after Labor Day, we stayed at a state park campground in RI for 3 days. There were many open sites available. The park manager told us it was booked to capacity all summer. There are over 700 sites in this park. We didn't feel like using the shower in our Roadtrek, so we opted for the campground showers. No one was using them, which was interesting as there were many tent campers.

Here's my campsite. A lot of the picture was cropped out to keep the file size down.
Beautiful, peaceful...
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Old 09-19-2020, 01:36 PM   #18
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We recently completed a California and back 3-week trip and found that we could be comfortable in a variety of campground situations. At some we had free reign of the park/grounds; at others we had to keep more to ourselves. Either way, it beat the tar out of staying at home in isolation for 3 weeks! I'm sure you'll be able to make the best of whatever you encounter.
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Old 09-19-2020, 02:03 PM   #19
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"I'm thinking that we might try western/central-to-northern New Mexico. "

As of now, NM parks have no camping and are limited to NM residents.
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Old 09-19-2020, 08:10 PM   #20
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One Covid-safety trick:

Many grocery chains now offer curbside pickup, in which you order and pay for your stuff via their app. They text you when your order is ready, at which point you pull up to a special area in the parking lot and they bring out your order, place it in your vehicle, and bid you a good day and be safe. Works great. We haven't been inside a supermarket in months.

No reason you can't do this on the road. Only takes a few minutes to download the local app and sign up.
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