Our name says it all, One Road at a Time. It’s always been our travel mantra and lately we’ve been finding ourselves wanting to get back on the road. But in this time of Covid-19, is it safe to travel? No way we’d board a flight, but are daycations, road trips, Airbnb stays, glamping, camping and RV travel the best way to travel for the foreseeable future? We decided to take a test run daycation to Middleburg, VA to see if we could make it work; to hit the road safely.
An Epic Failure of Response
I don’t think anyone could argue the point that the very concept of travel has and will continue to change dramatically. At the time of this writing The New York Times is reporting the EU plans to bar US citizens from entering as countries reopen their borders. This should come as no surprise to anyone. Due to an epic failure of response to the virus, the US has the highest number of cases in the world. And, just like everything else in the Divided States of America, wearing a mask has become a partisan debate. As such, the decision of the EU is, in our opinion, right on the mark.
100 Days & Counting
Our 100th day of isolation has come and gone as we count on indefinitely. From time-to-time, we find isolation brings on bouts of stir-craziness. Unless you’ve been living off the grid for the past few months, you well-understand the notion. We are fortunate in that from day one we’ve been able to be outside. We’ve logged miles and miles of walking surrounding neighborhoods and park trails, but we haven’t gone anywhere. Not even to the grocery store.
Around day 90, we were feeling as if it was time to break out. It was time to make a test run. A quick Google search for nearby country drives led us to the town of Middleburg, VA. It did not disappoint. Once off of the highway we followed Route 50, formerly known as the Ashby Gap Trading Route. The drive through the country was just what we needed. Exactly the kind of drive one wants to take when escaping the realities of isolation.
Logistics in the Time of Covid-19
Before Covid-19 ravaged the world, we would not have thought twice about getting in the car and taking off for the day. It sounds simple enough, right? But, we asked ourselves multiple times, is it actually safe?
Can we hit the road and still protect ourselves? There are serious logistics to consider in the time of Covid-19. Our primary concern was the use of public restrooms. Before, we’d just pop in to a store, or gas station or visitors center, or wherever to use the restroom. These days? Not so fast.
A Well-Supplied Pack
To put it nicely, public restrooms are not always hygienic. I’ve been known to walk in, turn around and walk right back out. Unless one’s super power is not having to use the restroom for 8 to 10 hours at a time, one has to go. What to do when one is on the road? After spending several hours researching the topic of how to use public restrooms during the pandemic, I came up with a game plan.
We now have a well-supplied hygiene pack that we keep in the car while on the road. I’ll spare you the TMI details, but there are both male and female PUD’s, gloves, masks, disinfectant wipes, disposable paper seat covers, and hand sanitizer in the bag. This is an all-purpose bag which can be used in a public restroom or as a last resort in the great outdoors. Even in the best public restroom scenario though, a hygiene pack is still a good idea.
With all that being said, our outing to Middleburg, VA was our test run. Could we drive for 100+ miles, be away from home for several hours, and still maintain social distancing? Turns out, with our hygiene supplies and a cooler packed with food and water the answer was, yes, it can work.
Just 50 miles outside of Washington, DC, Middleburg makes for a great day trip. The historic town, with a population of less than 1,000, cozies up to the Blue Ridge Mountains. As such it is beautifully green and the vistas offer fields of pasture grass as far as the eye can see.
Fox & Hound Country
Middleburg is known as fox and hound country, as in let the fox loose, the hounds give chase, and the horse and rider pursue. Elite equestrian competitions are also held in and around Middleburg. Actually, for a very small town it seemingly boasts several grand traditions, including The Middleburg Hunt, and very expensive real estate.
All About the Horses
When we arrived in Middleburg I noticed several adolescent girls wearing black breeches with colorful knee socks. The socks were pulled up to the knee, on the outside of the pants. Odd, I thought. Then I remembered, oh right, equestrian riders. Practice clothing. Yep, Middleburg is all about the horses.
We parked the car at one end of town, on Main Street, and we strolled up one side of the street and back down the other side. Shops, eateries, public buildings and accommodations line both sides. We came across a cute little ice cream shop with walk-up service. Unfortunately, neither of the scoopers were wearing masks or gloves, so sadly, no ice cream for us.
Although we did not wear our masks while strolling, we did carry them with us. There were so few people on the sidewalks we were able to easily navigate social distancing.
As I said, Middleburg did not disappoint. We’d gladly return one day in the furture and stop at one or two of the multiple wineries, dine in one of the eateries, order that ice cream and explore more of the surrounding area. Maybe even take in an equestrian event. That would be a first. Wait. When I was a little girl my father took me to the Santa Anita race track in California. Does that count? Anyway, for this trip, the purpose of a test run daycation proved successful.