Packing for a Pandemic Road Trip.

I never expected to be writing about packing for a pandemic road trip. I consider packing to be a highly subjective and personal topic. Everyone has different preferences and techniques for packing based on their needs.

So, here I am, mid pandemic, packing for our annual cross country road trip.

Below are 5 ways that Covid 19 is changing our trip.

1. Food. Much More Food.

We cook nearly all of our meals at the van and have been surprised how many beautiful and out of the way spots we have found only because we wanted to cook lunch.

With that being said, we also love fresh fruits, local food, and finding reasons to get out of the van mid-road trip. Over the years, I have learned to pack less food and stop more often. We enjoy checking out fruit stands and local grocery stores. We stretch our legs, soak up the culture, and buy food often during our trips.

This time, however, I have been stock piling food. Costco, Safeway, and homemade cookie baking have supplied enough food to live in our van for weeks. To CD’s dismay, I have even resorted to 54 single serving bags of chips, granola bars, drink boxes, and even a few bottles of water. I basically made my own convenience store in the back of our Sprinter. We will see how far it gets us!

2. Clorox Wipes and Hand Sanitizer.

While I like to keep things clean, I am not prone to wiping things down all day long. We use water with a spigot and a bar of soap to wash our hands before we eat. I typically carry one tiny bottle of hand sanitizer for emergencies. This time I packed two containers of Clorox wipes, two large bottles and three small bottles of hand sanitizer. I still have the bar of soap but that just didn’t seem like it would cut it. We will see.

3. Masks.

I didn’t see this one coming. I have two adult makes with ties, two adult masks with elastic, two kids masks with ties, two adult N95s, two kids N95s, and a bit of anxiety. As a health care provider, I hope that we don’t get into a situation that seems like it requires a N95. Wish us luck.

4. Luggable Loo And Extra Accessories.

The Luggable Loo is our potty of choice. I use biodegradable bags and poo powder. I have not typically bought extras. This time I did.

5. Guitar.

Okay, this isn’t new but it seems like a good idea when faced with a socially distant pandemic road trip. I can already hear the music.

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Fresh food. This time it may look more like empty chip bags and mac and cheese but we shouldn’t be hungry.

A dead van battery and relief from social distancing.

Its 2020 and CD has been working on the van while social distancing. It was half taken apart but still put together enough for a day trip. I decided that today was the day that we would break out of isolation.

I woke up and quickly packed snacks, jackets, and even travel games. CD put the head liner back in the van and used the shop vac to touch up the interior. The kids were buckled in and I was choosing our road music . Then, our battery was dead.

We don’t know why it was dead. The interior lights had been disconnected while CD was working. Does anyone know if the electric step could drain the battery over time? In any case, we don’t know why it was dead. We tried to jump it with our mini van but didn’t have any luck.

Mary’s Peak social distancing.

We changed our plan, put everything in the Sienna and headed to Mary’s Peak. We were sure it was closed and it was. The road was gated 5 miles or so from the peak. There were 4 or 5 cars parked at the trail head near the gate. We felt good about going for a walk here in terms of social responsibility in the face of the pandemic and opted to avoid the trail and duck the gate.

It was a great choice. The road was empty. We walked for a couple of hours. The kids smiled more than they have in weeks. They kicked rocks, raced imaginary dogs, built pretend fires, and fetched sticks for each other.

social distancing. Mary’s Peak, Oregon

This was a day like I used to have when I was running fifty miles per week. There were endless things to see that I never noticed from my car. Everything was interesting and new. An owl seemed to be hiking with us. We didn’t see it but its calls were unmistakable. The trees were greener, the sun was warmer, and even gun shots from the shooting range sounded nice.

We started our hike on the road at about noon. When we returned at nearly 3:00, the parking area was overflowing with cars. As a health care worker, I immediately felt guilty about going out during these times. Then I remembered that we haven’t gone out since this March 12, 2020 when we went skiing.

Today, we only saw one other family walking on the road and we hugged our respective edges when we passed. We didn’t get near anyone in the parking lot. We ate snacks in our car. I would have felt horrible if we had been on a single track trail walking past all of the people that arrived in all of those cars.

We were lucky. Walking the road was a great choice for us and we were able to enjoy it while still feeling like we were doing the right thing.

social distancing

Back to working on the Van.

Tonight, as I write this, the Sprinter battery is charged and all is well. We had been trying to jump it using 12 gauge cables and we needed more power. When we got home from Mary’s Peak, our neighbor tossed us his jumper cables from a socially responsible distance while standing on his homemade pickle ball court. By the time the kids and I sat down for dinner, CD was busy drilling holes in 80/20.

I look forward to taking the Sprinter the next time time we break out of home isolation.

Social distancing and disconnecting.

The insulation is mostly installed but the paneling has not been put back. It was March 2020 and we were early in our time of social distancing.

I requested the day off. The kids are out of school and today is “Thrifty Thursday” at our nearest ski area. I really needed to clear my mind and couldn’t think of a better way than heading over the pass and making some turns.

I am happy to report that despite the exposed insulation and last minute packing, the Sprinter’s first ski trip was a huge success!

Social distancing via Sprinter

Not only do we use the Sprinter as a dressing room for changing our clothes but we also use it as a gym for stretching, a cafeteria for snacking, a restroom for washing our hands, a laundromat for drying our gloves, and an apres ski lodge for putting up our feet.

Bluebird days with spring snow conditions are some of my favorite days. Today did not disappoint!

For five hours, I didn’t have a cell signal. I didn’t get phone calls, emails, or see the news. As a health care provider, I feel that we acted responsibly in the face of the Covid-19.

This was social distancing at its best! We didn’t get closer than six feet to anyone; we wore PPE (gloves and googles as eye shields) the entire time! My kids washed their hands like they have a million times before and they didn’t mention scary rumors from school or tales of a virus.

I wish them clear minds and minds that are free from fear and anxiety that is even difficult for adults to process.

I hope our next few weeks are filled more Sprinter assisted social distancing.

We made it! Hoo Doo, Oregon. – and a great parking spot! Sprinter DIY
The insulation progress. Sprinter DIY
Spring conditions at Hoo Doo. A bluebird day.