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.
To Learn More
How to Road Trip Safely During a Pandemic
I keeping hearing the words,” …by July/August it could just wash through”. UGH. I’m glad the US has been blocked from EU travel. I’m also happy to hear that Canada has also extended their blocked on US travel till the end of August. EU did the work/sacrificed to get their numbers under control. It was hard and miserable to live under such strict conditions. Towards the end of the lock down in Spain, people got tired but they took to their balconies with pots and pans to protest ( but the hour before that, they took to the balconies to applaud the first responders and everyone that made the extensions possible). This whole US situation is just so painful and disheartening Patti. Everyday seems to bring another level of crazy. Love hearing about your “backyard” adventures!
spanky recently posted…The Incredible Stained Glass of León Cathedral (Spain)
It’s not going to wash through, Spanky. Not in the US. Abi and I see no end to living in a bubble. We won’t even consider getting on a flight to EU (even if we could) before there is a vaccine and that isn’t going to be an instant magic cure, so who knows? Truthfully, we think every country in the world should ban US travelers. The problem though, is the “president” isn’t interested in resolving the issue so it has no real impact. He could care less. You’re right, it’s disheartening and incredibly painful.
Patti, such a shame about the travel ban for US citizens. But I can certainly understand why Europe would take such measures. My home country of Brazil is not doing much better, so they are also banned from Europe. The UK has also been very bad at handling the virus outbreak, the worst country in Europe, but surprisingly we are being welcomed back into Spain, Italy, etc. go figure. Keep on exploring your beautiful backyard.
It is a shame, Gilda because it didn’t need to happen. The US administration has chosen a path of turning a blind eye and looking to herd immunity. It’s shocking the level of callousness being displayed. We’ve been watching the UK as well and Brazil. Leaders that are birds of a feather so-to-speak.
I agree with the EU. And I do travel with my own toilet. Seems like a good day trip/test run. I’m guessing there’s more places nearby.
Gaelyn recently posted…Settling into a still changing routine at Bryce Canyon
You’ve got a great set up with your home on wheels, Gaelyn, it goes with you wherever you may roam. Yes, there are a lot of back roads in Maryland and Virginia that are easily accessible and within 100 miles or so. We’re looking forward to the exploration.
Well, it’s now official. Americans barred from the EU until it can get it’s act together. China is on the same barred list but that’s a more political thing – it’ll be lifted if the Chinese allow entry to EU citizens. Wouldn’t it be ironic that the Chinese can enter Europe before Americans ever do?
We’ll be back in Canada next week, another country that won’t let Americans in.
Really, it’s inconceivable isn’t it? I don’t know if it’s sunk in what a huge indictment the above are of American’s response to the virus. Of course people want Americans back travelling in their countries and if the response was at least a bit below average I think exceptions would be made. Americans have money and are generous travellers. But jeez, I don’t think an administration could screw up more than they had even if they wanted to.
Nice to see you getting away. But it’s just not the same having to worry about every little thing, even having an ice cream…
Frank recently posted…12 Surprising Places to See (that you may never have heard of)
Thanks, Frank. There aren’t enough words to describe what’s happening in the US. One of these days the 4 of us will have to sit down and have that dinner and conversation.
It was nice to break away for a day, even without the ice cream. But, it is a very different experience when one has to be so cautious. We saw several people get ice cream and they were probably all just fine. For us, though, it just wasn’t worth the risk. We’ve adopted the wisdom of Dr. Fauci… if you feel as if you’re overreacting, you’re probably doing the right things. It’s a balancing act.
Ah, lovely, green Virginia. Your photos are gorgeous! I have to agree with Peta’s comment above about the US, masks, etc. and it is sad to see the country I love become the pariah of the world due to the mismanagement of the Covid-19 virus (as well as many other reasons). In Portugal, masks and social distancing are required and there are no questions of complying with a new normal that shows consideration for the people around you. Like you, I’m mostly sticking close to home except for an errand here and there or lunch outside with 2 or 3 friends. And, of course, I’m glued to the news and counting the days until November. Hugs and keep well!
Thank you for the feedback about the photos. There’s so many beautiful historic towns in Virginia and Maryland. We’ll be exploring a lot more of them.
It shouldn’t be a partisan issue Anita, but then the country is more divided than ever before. At least of what I’ve experienced in my lifetime. No shirt, no shoes, no service, what’s the big deal about adding masks to the list? But, when the “president” refuses to wear a mask…
Say hello to Portugal for us. We miss being there.
Having what I call a teacher’s bladder, I can go quite a distance without facilities, but your little pack idea is great. I will put one together and leave it in the car. We have done a couple hours from home and actually stayed at a rental in Capitola, CA. They did a nice job of making us feel safe, but I sterilized with wipes the minute we arrived. We brought all our own food so as not to have to shop. Went walking in the early morning when no one was around. During the mid day rush, there were way too many people on the sidewalks to distance and few were wearing masks. Check with the town council before you go if you are staying any length of time. Do they require masks ?(our Governor says we do need them). I would also check the county health records to see if Covid numbers are high in the area. Enjoyed a windy beach with few people around.
I remember when this all started and Dr. Fauci said, if you’re feeling as if you’re doing too much, you’re probably doing all the right things. We adapted his philosophy. Thanks for sharing your tips. p.s. My teacher bladder retired when I did.
Totally agree that it make sense that the U.S. would be barred from Europe until the number of high cases reduces significantly. It’s really crazy how political the wearing of masks has become in the U.S. And ONLY in the U.S. Makes me think of the topic of climate change and how the U.S. is the only country in the world where there is debate about its reality!
Nice to read you had a successful first day trip and that therefore you will be able to have some more good ones. We are heading to the next coastal village today for a change of scenery – even though it’s just ten minutes away.
Stay safe and healthy
It is crazy, Peta, there is no logic behind any of it. The driving force is that the “president” refuses to wear a mask and too many are following his lead. I’d like to believe there are more people wearing masks and practicing social distancing than not, but the “nots” make a lot more noise about it. Unfortunately, this is going to be a long haul in the US because so many do refuse and so many have said they will not vaccinate, making it all that much worse for the rest of us. Where is the shaking my head emoji?
I love your beach pictures and I’d love to take a very long walk on your beach.