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Safety concerns in a road trip - what are you doing differently?

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Safety concerns in a road trip - what are you doing differently?

Old Jun 11th, 2020, 02:03 PM
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We've been on the road since right after the Memorial Day holiday mainly in Wyoming, Montana and now Idaho as each state lifted their quarantine requirements and reopened national parks. We wanted to go early for fewer crowds and that's indeed what we've experienced. We take the same precautions we would at home and follow local ordinances. I booked accommodations with kitchens where available except inside the parks where there weren't any. We brought a microwave with us for in park meals. We've also gotten takeout and dined outdoors a few times in Jackson WY and Ketchum ID. Those are really the only two towns of any size we've been in. Each restaurant had tables spaced far apart with staff wearing mask and gloves and hand sanitizer available. Some offered extra precautions such as disposable menus and placing everything on a separate tray for you to place on the table yourself (to keep staff farther distanced from diners). Retail and grocery stores in both towns had sanitizer at the entrance. They also request that you wear a mask though compliance varies (more mask use in Ketchum vs Jackson). We spend most of our time outdoors hiking, taking photos, scenic drives and like to get out early anyway so rarely run into other hikers. We checked into the Old Faithful Snow Lodge the first day they reopened (only individual cabins are open). The most crowded indoor space we've been in was the general store at Old Faithful where unlike other places there didn't seem to be a limit on the number of people who could enter. We walked in and quickly left. Even at Old Faitthful Geyser it was very easy to distance as there aren't that many people out yet and in the early morning before the day trippers arrived we were the only people in front of it. We arrived in Ketchum yesterday and it's very quiet here. Last night at dinner there were two outdoor tables occupied where we ate (the restaurant closed their indoor seating). This morning we hiked from Pettit Lake and didn't see anyone until we returned to the trail head.
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Old Jun 11th, 2020, 02:24 PM
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Exciting to read! Thanks for posting (for Patty).
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Old Jun 11th, 2020, 03:33 PM
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I don't do a lot of things people on here do, though.

Sounds like you do a helluva lot more than some of us. Me included.
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Old Jun 11th, 2020, 07:43 PM
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I would skip Moab. Utah is experiencing statewide spikes in Covid cases. (I live in Salt Lake City and work in healthcare) Those small local hospitals don't have ICU beds. Just steer clear.
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Old Jun 12th, 2020, 05:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Christina View Post
I'm doing a trip by car this summer instead of flying. So that's safe enough. I don't think getting coronavirus from a gas pump handle is very likely. I don't do a lot of things people on here do, though. FOr one thing, I just wear gloves when going shopping or actually pumping gas, then remove them stripping inside out and put them in a paper bag. I have several pair I rotate so I don't wear the same pair unless a few days have passed. I used to wear winter thin stretchy gloves but now that it's hot, I wear those real thin white cotton medical gloves you can buy in CVS (you can get two in a box and they call them dermatological gloves or something). I prefer that to constantly using hand sanitizer and you can't wash your hands immediately a lot of the time anyway. I do not wear vinyl gloves as some suggest as I don't like them and also anything like viruses sticks to slick surfaces more than fabric/cloth, I know from all the info out.

For activities, I'm mainly doing outdoors stuff and will see how many people are around -- light hiking, kayaking, etc. Then road trips in some park areas for scenery (like Blue Ridge parkway). There are a few museums I have on my list or similar things, I'll see if they are open when I go in July. These are not huge things where I'm going (not like the NY MET), they are very small and I suspect there won't be a lot of people in them. I'll see what the situation is like when I go.

Of course I'll take my own PPE, masks, etc. I plan to stay in hotels, will just sanitize (wipes or whatever, at least when driving you can pack a lot more stuff easily in the trunk) main handles, bathroom fixtures, TV remote, etc upon arrival and then will request (with emphasis) that I want no one in my room my entire stay, absolutely no housekeeping, etc. Sometimes even when you request that they mess up, so I'll stress it. I figure sure I may talk to someone when checking in (and I'll wear mask and keep distance), but that should be it and hopefully I can avoid people in the hallways/elevators the few times I'm coming/going.

I'm not an Airbnb person, just not into that and it's too much trouble. I also am not a fan of that company in general. I could see the point if you had a large family, but not for 1-2 people. If I were going to do that, I don't think it would be risky at all if they told you the place had been empty for one week before your arrival. The virus doesn't live that long, only a few days. That may not be likely to get, however.

I imagine I'll eat takeout, all the hotels I've booked have frigs and microwaves, so I could buy simple stuff at a grocery store or something easily enough. I wish I could find a hotel that didn't book people into the same room for several days, I've read some hotels are considering doing that. That would be great, but I picked out my hotels based on my route and hotel itself (and I'm not going places with a lot of choices), so can't discriminate by that. But if you had several choices, you could call and ask about that, what procedures they are doing in that regard.

I'm not going for another month or so, will see how I feel at the time, but since this is road trip, I can wing it. I can always cut my trip short if I'm getting stressed and just drive home, I'm not going farther than a one days drive the entire trip. I already got my National Parks Pass a couple years ago (lifetime), when you could get a senior lifetime pass for about $10, just before the fee went up to $80. Seemed like a good idea at the time.

oh, I also forget to mention, I"m mainly going to a state with a very low rate of infection, and what they do have is mainly in the urban areas, of course, not in the rural parts.
Christina, thank you for a detailed reply. Appreciate all the great planning tips. We bought the National Park pass online and taking the receipt with us.
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Old Jun 12th, 2020, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by StantonHyde View Post
I would skip Moab. Utah is experiencing statewide spikes in Covid cases. (I live in Salt Lake City and work in healthcare) Those small local hospitals don't have ICU beds. Just steer clear.
We’re skipping Moab. Rising cases and the sun. Thank you for mentioning.
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Old Jun 12th, 2020, 09:00 AM
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no problem, hope it's some help, not sure. Some things people may not have thought of, I guess (like no housekeeping, asking about policies re room turnover, etc.). I think I read some travel article in some newspaper (Wash Post or NYT) claiming some hotels were not booking rooms back to back. I can't find the article now but here's one about some various hotel initiatives in this matter which is kind of interesting

https://www.businessinsider.com/hote...service-2020-5
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Old Jun 12th, 2020, 10:00 AM
  #28  
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I know there is a hotel is a mountain town near us that is advertising how they are handling the cleaning process. When a guest checks out, that room is not entered for 48 hours. The cleaning person then goes and cleans it, and then a minimum of 24 hours of it being empty before they will allow the next guest in there. They also discontinued their breakfasts. I think this is a great start and it would be a place that I would feel comfortable staying at.

I do keep disposable gloves in our vehicles and we use those when we pump gas. I use them at the grocery store as well. Masks always, unless at home or on a walk in our neighborhood. We take the masks hiking with us and use them if anyone else is on the trail and try to distance.

We are headed to a cabin in the mountains next month, and thankfully it is close enough that we don't need to stop for anything along the way. We are also planning to go to my parents in August for an 80th birthday, and we are anxious about that. I will need to stop for the bathroom, and frankly I am dreading the thought of that. Then at my parents, I know they have been really good, but my brother and his wife have not and that makes me anxious. Dad is very high risk, so I will need to have a chat with my brother now, but have a feeling that is going to fall on deaf ears.
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Old Jun 12th, 2020, 11:52 AM
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Don't be surprised if you see people not wearing masks outdoors on narrow trails, and even indoors.

I'm reluctant to take even an overnight trip, but there is plenty to see within a few hours drive from home.

Last edited by Moderator1; Jun 12th, 2020 at 01:21 PM. Reason: deleted political comment
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Old Jun 12th, 2020, 05:34 PM
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The cabins where we stayed in Cooke City weren't booking back to back guests and we haven't stayed any place that has been close to full except for the Old Faithful Snow Lodge where we were the first guests in our cabin for the season. We're at a Holiday Inn Express tonight and there are only a handful of cars in the parking lot. There's hand sanitizer inside the elevator which we took once to bring our luggage up. Other than that we've been using the stairs. On the plus side because the place is practically empty we got upgraded to a jacuzzi suite which is helping with the low back pain I developed from sitting in the car. We were told breakfast is now table service.

We're also noticing more wildlife on rural roads (even more than usual). On our 2 hour drive from Ketchum to Lowman, we had pronghorn, deer and a marmot cross the road and we had to come to a complete stop for 3 adult mountain goats and a kid licking salt off the road.
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Old Jun 12th, 2020, 07:57 PM
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I will repeat here my mini-break road trip from another thread on California.

This was last week's first trip since the outbreak from Los Angeles to Paso Robles (a three hour drive). We left Saturday morning, and returned Sunday afternoon.

The preparations for this trip (and the amount of stuff brought up) for one night was more like planning a 3 week trip abroad. One bag for "on the road" toilet/gas stops, consisting of disposable gloves, sanitizing wipes, toilet paper, and sanitizing spray. One bag for the motel: pillow, blanket, and duvet cover, which was like having a sheet sleeping bag, as well as more sanitizing wipes and spray, A third, very small bag with a change of clothes. 4 masks. Yeah, I over-did it, but it made me feel safer.

I would not and will not stay at AirBnBs for most of the reasons stated above by those who won't. But let me also add the fact that hotels and motels in California (and I assume elsewhere) are heavily regulated right now on sanitation. I must assume that private residences are not. Think about how hard it's been to get a quart of bleach, and home sharing people unless they are of a certain age don't even know how to use the bleach slot in the washing machine, much less use the hot water selection. Do you really think they wash and sanitize the bedspread or duvet or blankets after each use? I'm telling you, if you brought a UV flashlight with you (yes, we have one. No, we didn't take it), and lit stuff up, you'd probably walk right out of the AirBnB!

We stayed at The Adelaide Motor Inn, which has been open all along for first responders. For that reason, they had a lot of practice in sanitizing and practicing all of the rules. Every employee wore masks at all times, and housekeeping also wore gloves. The room itself was absolutely spotless. The bedding looked brand new. No blankets, no scary bedspreads, no throw pillows (I've always tossed the decorative pillows into a corner of every hotel I've ever been in. They are a hot bed of germs!). Instead, there were white sheets, white pillow cases, and a heavy white cotton duvet, all of which if not brand new had to have been washed and sanitized in bleach. The room smelled as though everything had been sanitized.


Despite all of that, I still used sanitizing wipes on all counters, door handles, table tops, tv remote, light switches, chairs and chair handles before putting anything on them or touching them. You never know!

In short, I did a LOT differently than before, I guess because before I wasn't the germaphobe I am now. Well, I still think germs are good and help with the immune system, so I'll probably go back to normal when this is all over.

I was really, really afraid to use a public toilet, but it worked out well. It had to, because I drink a lot of water, so I'm constantly needing to find a loo. Used a gas station bathroom in Isla Vista on the way up . . . made sure before I gassed up the car that the toilet facilities were available and clean, which they were. I still brought in and used my wipes, wore gloves, and papered everything. Stopped at the same gas station on our return, since I knew it was a good one.

The really interesting thing to me is that after such a long period of confinement, it was like seeing the world whilst on the road in a whole different, enhanced light. Like seeing the sun and the sky and the ocean after being imprisoned for a period of time. It was so beautiful. I found beauty in big things, like the landscape and seascape, and little things like a flower that just bloomed.
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Old Jun 13th, 2020, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Surfergirl View Post
I will repeat here my mini-break road trip from another thread on California.

This was last week's first trip since the outbreak from Los Angeles to Paso Robles (a three hour drive). We left Saturday morning, and returned Sunday afternoon.

The preparations for this trip (and the amount of stuff brought up) for one night was more like planning a 3 week trip abroad. One bag for "on the road" toilet/gas stops, consisting of disposable gloves, sanitizing wipes, toilet paper, and sanitizing spray. One bag for the motel: pillow, blanket, and duvet cover, which was like having a sheet sleeping bag, as well as more sanitizing wipes and spray, A third, very small bag with a change of clothes. 4 masks. Yeah, I over-did it, but it made me feel safer.

I would not and will not stay at AirBnBs for most of the reasons stated above by those who won't. But let me also add the fact that hotels and motels in California (and I assume elsewhere) are heavily regulated right now on sanitation. I must assume that private residences are not. Think about how hard it's been to get a quart of bleach, and home sharing people unless they are of a certain age don't even know how to use the bleach slot in the washing machine, much less use the hot water selection. Do you really think they wash and sanitize the bedspread or duvet or blankets after each use? I'm telling you, if you brought a UV flashlight with you (yes, we have one. No, we didn't take it), and lit stuff up, you'd probably walk right out of the AirBnB!

We stayed at The Adelaide Motor Inn, which has been open all along for first responders. For that reason, they had a lot of practice in sanitizing and practicing all of the rules. Every employee wore masks at all times, and housekeeping also wore gloves. The room itself was absolutely spotless. The bedding looked brand new. No blankets, no scary bedspreads, no throw pillows (I've always tossed the decorative pillows into a corner of every hotel I've ever been in. They are a hot bed of germs!). Instead, there were white sheets, white pillow cases, and a heavy white cotton duvet, all of which if not brand new had to have been washed and sanitized in bleach. The room smelled as though everything had been sanitized.


Despite all of that, I still used sanitizing wipes on all counters, door handles, table tops, tv remote, light switches, chairs and chair handles before putting anything on them or touching them. You never know!

In short, I did a LOT differently than before, I guess because before I wasn't the germaphobe I am now. Well, I still think germs are good and help with the immune system, so I'll probably go back to normal when this is all over.

I was really, really afraid to use a public toilet, but it worked out well. It had to, because I drink a lot of water, so I'm constantly needing to find a loo. Used a gas station bathroom in Isla Vista on the way up . . . made sure before I gassed up the car that the toilet facilities were available and clean, which they were. I still brought in and used my wipes, wore gloves, and papered everything. Stopped at the same gas station on our return, since I knew it was a good one.

The really interesting thing to me is that after such a long period of confinement, it was like seeing the world whilst on the road in a whole different, enhanced light. Like seeing the sun and the sky and the ocean after being imprisoned for a period of time. It was so beautiful. I found beauty in big things, like the landscape and seascape, and little things like a flower that just bloomed.
surfergirl, thank you for sharing your experience. Very detailed and informative. Helped me plan and I’m sure others who wants to travel will be helped as well. We reached Taos today and you are absolutely right, we are looking at the world with a very different eye. More respect and appreciation for sure. Most people are being careful and keeping distance. We stopped at gas stations and noticed less crowd. Roads are relatively empty as well.
on our part, wiping and wiping again. Check in is done differently as well. Will update more when we travel more.
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Old Jun 13th, 2020, 02:54 PM
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We just planned a road trip today for a week in August. We will only stay in hotels 3 nights and then backpack the other nights. I booked two of the hotels today, but not the 3rd one just yet. One of the hotels is quite small and they are only allowing 2 guest rooms to be booked for any given stay, due to Covid. Normally I am fine with shared baths, but not during this time, so we opted for a room with a private bath. Since we will be backpacking, we will have our wipes and hand sanitizer with us anyway. I will be more comfortable when we are backpacking as we will be away from people and no actual restroom to deal with. We will eat two dinners and two breakfasts at the hotels, but that is it. Otherwise it will be stuff that we make. It is a good way for us to get back to normal a bit, but with precautions. It is a really remote area anyway, so this should be perfect!
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Old Jun 15th, 2020, 11:15 AM
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Friends had to drive cross country. They planned their route to stay in hotels in counties with zero to low numbers of Covid19 cases. Plus they used antiseptic wipes on whatever they needed to touch.
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Old Jun 18th, 2020, 01:52 PM
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We are part way through a road trip in similar areas to the OP. We have a bottle of hand sanitizer in the car for using at every opportunity, getting gas, using doors, after getting food, before eating, if no washing facilities available, and anywhere else someone may have touched the surface you touched. We have masks that go on before we leave the car, if there is even one other person around. Keep distance of at least 6feet or more from anyone else. Safe and enjoyable travels.
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Old Jun 19th, 2020, 12:14 PM
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Please report more on your trip. We are doing something similar at the end of July/August. Driving to Crested Butte because we can't get there otherwise. and taking the opportunity to maybe explore New Mexico and other parts of Colorado along the way. I'm still waiting to find out when school starts again to plan definitely. I do know that we don't have to be in Crested Butte for the Arts Festival because that's canceled.
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Old Jun 19th, 2020, 01:22 PM
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I can't wait for this virus to go away and give us a little travel freedom.
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Old Jun 20th, 2020, 02:47 AM
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It isn't going away--ever. We are going to be in some state of limbo for AT LEAST another year. And then hopefully a vaccine will be able to control the yearly breakouts, as we do with the flu.
If the people who have been in states of reopening would be reasonable it would be more manageable sooner.
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Old Jun 20th, 2020, 10:19 AM
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I haven't been farther than about a two hour drive from home, and I'm finding that nearly any outdoor venue with hiking trails, beaches, etc is extremely crowded. It's almost impossible to social distance and trails, trash bins, and restrooms are overflowing. Please pack your litter out. And expect to need to use a mask (at least in those states were there is an increasing spread of Corona, which now seems to be many if not most of them.
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Old Jun 20th, 2020, 12:43 PM
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Not exactly a road trip (this trip is to get from Point A to Point B) but we will be on the road in our RV for 8 days starting tomorrow. We have enough food that we don’t have to go into any stores. We’ll have to get gas of course, and will wear gloves, stay away from people and wash hands repeatedly. We dont have to use public restrooms because the RV is fully outfitted (we’ll be staying in full-service TV parks - water, electricity and sewer available at each site - again, little or no human contact.)

the end of this will be COVID testing, waiting out the results and then assuming they’re negative, “moving in” with our kids and grandkids in DC for who knows how long.
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