The Biloxi Mississippi Lighthouse at sunset on November 10, 2021. © Susan Alton, 2021

The Biloxi Mississippi Lighthouse at sunset on November 10, 2021. © Susan Alton, 2021
The Biloxi Mississippi Lighthouse at sunset on November 10, 2021. © Susan Alton, 2021

Monday, July 6, 2020

Trip Cut Short and Beeline for Home - Sunday, July 5, 2020

Well, that was rude. We had six days left on our one-month vacation, but that came to a screeching halt today. Storm clouds have been brewing on the horizon, so to speak, because of coronavirus. Here is a brief recap of what transpired. (Longer blogs will recount more of our trip.)

While it's true that a couple of campgrounds canceled our reservations (Curt Gowdy State Park in Wyoming and Cochiti Lake Corps of Engineers Park in New Mexico), we were able to make reservations at private parks and complete most of our plans. 

The Black Hills of South Dakota was wonderful. The town of Custer was open and welcoming. (We wore masks.) The trails were open and places of business were happy to have us spend our tourist dollars. Crazy Horse National Monument was open for business and we were happy to go there as well. 

Custer Skywalk Nature Trail
Observation Deck.

Devils Tower National Monument was open for hiking (Visitor Center was closed, though) and we stayed at the KOA at the park entrance. That was a delightful experience.
Devils Tower Red Beds Trail.

We continued into Montana where the state capital was open and Bob, my friend Diane, and I were able to take a self-guided tour. The next day, we went on the Gates of the Mountains Boat Tour which was beautiful and informative.

Helena, Montana capital with Diane.
Diane on Gates of the Mountains Boat Tour.

Then we traveled to Wyoming. As I said above, Curt Gowdy State Park canceled our reservations and told us Wyoming State Parks were only for Wyoming residents in the 2020 season. We made new reservations at private parks. When we got to Wyoming, reader boards on the freeway announced that Wyoming State Parks were open, but you had to have reservations. Grr! No way were we going to stay with them now!

From there, we went to Cheyenne, Wyoming, and did a self-guided tour of the newly renovated capital. We also went to Vedauwoo and did the Turtle Rock Trail. No problems.
Turtle Rock Trail at Vedauwoo. 

Bob in front of Cheyenne, WY, capital.

We spent one night in Lathrop State Park in Colorado where we hiked the three-mile loop trail around the lake. Masks were required in the Visitor Center, and we wore them. 
Lathrop State Park, Colorado.

Next stop, Santa Fe, New Mexico. We arrived on July 1. 

Here's where we encountered more caution on the part of the state. I can't say I blame them, but it got ridiculous today, July 5. We met my brother and his wife at a private RV park in Santa Fe and stayed four nights. By day, we walked all over Santa Fe (with masks on because they were required and you could be fined $100 if you did not have them on). We played pinochle every night. We did not turn on the TV or hear news during our stay.

Bob, Frank, and Gina (and me)
played pinochle after Los Alamos.


Our plans included going to Los Alamos to see the Bradbury Museum and the Los Alamos History Museum, Bandelier National Monument, Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, and a few museums in Santa Fe. All of those places were closed, except Bandelier (but the trails we wanted to hike at Bandelier were closed for refurbishment). We did take a scenic drive up to Los Alamos and did a short walking tour around the city.

This morning, Frank made a pancake, egg, and bacon breakfast for us on his outside grill. Oh my goodness, that was so good. We enjoyed spending time with Frank and Gina, but we had to say our goodbyes. They will leave Santa Fe tomorrow and plan to spend a couple of nights in Albuquerque with Jeremy (my nephew). Their plans had included Monument Valley and Moab, but they found out today that the Navajo Nation is on lockdown and they won't be able to go to Monument Valley. They, too, are cutting their trip short and will hightail it back to Washington state after they visit Jeremy and their grandkids.

Today, we left as planned for Las Cruces where we had reservations for two nights. On the way out of Santa Fe, we saw a reader board on the side of the road. It said New Mexico was enforcing a mandatory 14-day quarantine. I immediately looked up information on this quarantine. What I read online said that if you were in New Mexico, you were subject to a 14-day quarantine stay. If you stayed even one night in a motel or RV park, you had to stay 14 days. Say what?

We decided to cancel our reservations in Las Cruces and get out of New Mexico ASAP. The manager at the Las Cruces RV park said the way she understood it was we did not have to stay 14 days, but we did have to wear masks and social distance. We told her we made up our minds to just pass through and to cancel our reservations. It seems people in New Mexico are very confused about this new mandate. We certainly are!

Frank & Gina's "girls,"
Pepper and Hannah.

Pepper & Hannah asking
for "pupcakes" (pancakes).


New Mexico scenery.
New Mexico.

Rio Salado Sand Dunes
Rest Area.

Rio Salado Sand Dunes.

We are out of New Mexico!!

And into Texas. Yay!

We are now in Texas on our way home. We will arrive in San Antonio, Monday instead of Saturday. Tonight, we are in Ft. Stockton, Texas. The lightning show was awesome around 9:30 p.m., but we only had a little bit of rain.

East Texas scenery.

Fort Stockton's "Head East" sculpture.

We will be happy to be home. 

10 comments:

  1. Crazy times to be traveling with every thing in flux. I'm surprised you got to see as much as you did. In May when we traveled north AR wasn't open to out of state overnight stays. Wonder what October will look like.

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    1. You're right, it's crazy. When we were in New Mexico, we didn't watch TV, didn't see the news about the 14-day quarantine. The first we heard of it was when we were leaving our campsite on Sunday morning. That's when we decided we were canceling our reservations in Las Cruces and getting out of New Mexico ASAP. We will be home now until late September when we have a Volksmarch walking weekend in Big Bend/Terlingua area. We'll see how that plays out. It's still as of now.

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  2. Well that’s a bummer. I guess the silver lining is that you did get to do quite a bit. We were thinking about a road trip through a couple of states, but have since decided to stick to our Colorado-only travel plans. The spikes are downright scary.

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    1. Sorry we missed you on this trip. We plan to go back to New Mexico and Colorado in the next couple of years to see more of the places on our list. Where will you guys be staying at Lathrop State Park? It's very pretty there and the paved trail around the lake is gorgeous in the evening.

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  3. Too many states are panicking over the Coronavirus outbreaks and rightfully so but they have to make the rules so everyone is on the same page.
    Be Safe and Enjoy Texas.

    It's about time.

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    1. States are arbitrarily making rules, but they aren't getting the word out to everyone. We were camping in an RV park, weren't watching TV or listening to the news. We spent a lot of our time walking in Los Alamos or Santa Fe. We followed the rules in Santa Fe and wore our masks everywhere, but didn't hear a work about a quarantine until we were leaving our campground and saw it on a reader board near the freeway. Our campground never told us we were required to stay 14 days. Good grief. At that point, we couldn't wait to get out of New Mexico!

      We are happy to be home (except it's super hot, muggy, and oppressive). That was no fun yesterday and today to move all our stuff from the 5th wheel into our manufactured home. At least we were able to park our 5th wheel directly across the interior RV park road from our home!! I still think we walked at least a mile going back and forth.

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  4. It's a very challenging time to travel anywhere. At least you did manage to visit some beautiful places. I'm concerned about October and what things will look like when we head back to Phoenix cause I don't see it getting better anytime soon.

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    1. Hi Ingrid, We were very fortunate to go the places we did. The end of the trip was a bummer, though.

      We, too, plan to travel in late September/early October to Big Bend for a Volksmarching weekend. And then late October into November, we're hoping to go to Daytona Beach, Florida for a walking weekend there. Plans made in Jello, but we hope these Jell-o plans solidify!

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  5. We've been in NM since late June. Spent time in several RV parks and one boondocking location. Saw the info signs about the quarantine, but since it is basically non-enforceable we just acknowledged it and continued on as usual. The parks and other businesses we have patronized certainly don't want to chase us off, especially Camping World and WalMart LOL

    Very glad the governor ordered masks in public/businesses. Should really knock the numbers down in short order.

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    1. I agree with your approach. We had limited facts when we made our decision to leave. It all works out well in the end, though. We'll go back to New Mexico another time when the temperature is cooler.

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