2020 started off so normally, with Jeff and I spending the holidays with family in Indiana. We were enjoying our winter in a great Florida RV resort. January saw us putting the final touches on our newly restored Gatlinburg cabin which had been damaged in a June 2019 dryer-fire. It took longer than expected to complete repairs, but by the end of January it was back on the rental program, better than new! In early February, we embarked on a fabulous Southern Caribbean cruise with my sister and had an absolutely fantastic time.
Then … COVID. The pandemic threw our plans into disarray (as it did with everyone). We paused our travels, hunkering down in our cabin for a few weeks to see what was going to happen. By the end of May, we resumed our planned Northeast loop, albeit in a limited fashion. We made the most of our planned stops, and did what we could at each, considering pandemic closures and risks.
For me, the Northeast was just …. meh. Maybe it would have been different in a non-COVID year. There were certainly highlights ….. walking the Boston Freedom Trail, delicious fresh seafood (lobster!) from the Portland fish market, the beauty of Acadia National Park, ascending Mt. Washington on a narrow winding road, visiting a maple syrup farm, touring the Lancaster Amish area … to name a few. But, on the whole, we found campgrounds to be older and not so big-rig friendly and the roads confusing and expensive (tolls). There are some cities I’d like to re-visit, but I wouldn’t do it in the RV. It would be far easier to just stay in a hotel near the tourist areas.
The most challenging aspect of 2020 for me was the feeling of social isolation. Our lifestyle tends to be isolating anyway (because we’re constantly on the move), but we found we could compensate by staying at resorts with planned social activities. This year, that strategy didn’t work out so well. My family began holding weekly Zoom calls, which helped greatly, but just wasn’t the same as that in-person connection.
On the other hand, we have so much to be grateful for. Our family members have stayed healthy throughout this pandemic. Financially, we’re all doing fine. We stayed safe during our travels this year and didn’t experience any major issues or breakdowns. We tried to make the best of our situation …. just like everyone else.
I made the (controversial) decision to fly home from Tucson for the holidays. I mitigated the risk as best I could by self-isolating for 10 days prior to travel and obtaining a negative COVID test. I flew on an off-peak day (Christmas Day), and even sprung for a first-class Delta ticket to facilitate social distancing. Hopefully, that will prove to be good enough. So now, I’ve come full circle, celebrating the holidays with my family, looking toward the New Year.
And, there are many things to look forward to in 2021. Vaccines are being deployed, promising an eventual return to normalcy. We have made friends in our current winter spot, so can enjoy some limited socializing the remainder of this season. We have an interesting West Coast loop planned, including visits with family and friends. We have TWO cruises booked, one to Alaska in the summer and one back to the Southern Caribbean after Thanksgiving.
And the biggest joy of all is that our son is getting married! He finally popped the question last May to his long-time girlfriend and they are planning an October wedding near the Smoky Mountains. I couldn’t be more delighted! We love her, and I already think of her as my daughter. They are planning an intimate destination wedding, with essentially just her family and my family. The prospect of a joyous weekend event spent with loved ones, and WITHOUT the spectre of COVID, just makes my heart sing.
2020 — good riddance! Bring on 2021!
Happy New Year everyone!