Friday, October 16, 2020

Fall road trips offer peaceful time, uncrowded parks, spectacular scenery (10-30)

Whether you're headed east of west, it's freeing to be off and driving. Some safety pointers below.

While our American goldfinches have
fled Montana, we found this one in
a rest stop farther south in Nevada.


WITH THE THREAT of Covid keeping us away from air travel, many of us are braving the highways this autumn and winter.
 Road trips are on the agenda for hundreds, including the two of us humans and our 15-year old Yorkshire terrier, our faithful companion, Nick.
Like many readers and fellow travelers, we're avoiding air travel. We find road trips to be a safer way to deal with the hazards of the virus. Museums and parks are not crowded, many restaurants offer delivery to the hotels, temperatures are chilly, but the air is fresh.  
Bruce Keller and Christene "Cookie" Meyers hit the road.

Road trips are on the agenda for many vacationers this as 2020 winds to a close. Those of us who usually hop on a plane to faraway destinations are staying closer to home, driving so we can enjoy "outdoor" stops. 
Off-season travel offers uncrowded parks and museums,
 here at Bozeman's Museum of the Rockies.

A recent survey conducted by the U.S. Travel Association found that 68 percent of travelers  feel safest when traveling by personal vehicle and when visiting outdoor destinations such as parks and the beach.
 Nearly half -- 45 percent -- of the respondents said they are likely to travel more by car.
THE DECISION to travel with family and friends limits contact with others, and those travel companions are likely to be the same people you’ve quarantined with over the past few months.
If any of your passengers have had outside contact, however, it is a good idea to wear masks inside the vehicle. Experts caution against wearing a mask when driving alone because of a potential reduction in oxygen and possible lightheadedness.
Nicky, our 15-year old Yorkshire terrier, at
a rest stop in Idaho on our current road trip. 

In the era of coronavirus, avoiding public transportation, crowded waiting areas, and strangers is considered a safer way to go. For overnight stops, we plan ahead, so we can choose a property by price as well as
by published cleanliness standards.
We're big fans of the Hilton brand when it comes to cleanliness and comfort.
Hotels listed on AAA's guide offer clean, comfortable stays at our favorite Hiltons, and others.  We recently enjoyed a pleasant kitchen suite at Winnemucca's Best Western Plus. Sparkling clean room, friendly check-in, top hygiene and a tasty "grab and go" breakfast. The kitchen in the suite allowed us to prepare a simple tasty safe meal without venturing out. Ask about a suite upgrade. For a few dollars more, you can book a small kitchen or add a microwave and frig.
We noticed, too, another option: at our hotel in Tahoe both the pizza parlor and Chinese restaurant near the hotel both delivered.
Low gas prices are another benefit of this year’s road trips, with per gallon averages just under $2, the lowest it’s been in the last five years.  We use the Gas Buddy app and a AAA Triptik to help  with fuel prices, routes, and budget planning. Overall travel costs can be managed more easily on a driving trip, too. We stock the cooler and a grocery bag with water, soft drinks and snacks: cheese, fruit, chips, crackers, protein bar and nuts.
NOT ONLY do we avoid extra stops, but we  have healthy food prepared by ourselves.
Nicky the terrier and our great-niece Penelope
take a break from masking on a walk.
(Her mask is handy, on her neck, though.)
When it’s time for to stop for a meal and a rest, we look for a pleasant park or roadside complex where we can walk Nicky and stretch our legs.
Cracker Barrel, Subway and pilot Flying J all have high safety and hygiene practices.
We keep masks in the glove compartment, in my purse and in our carry-on, so we have them at the ready at all times. Even when we walk, we keep our masks handy. Our family in the Bay Area always masks, even on a walk to the post box on the corner.

An uncrowded bird's eye view from a perch above the Pacific,
near scenic Point Arena, in northern California.

UP NEXT: Roadside attractions.  We've assembled some of our favorite scenic shots from this current road trip. Come enjoy the lakes, woods, beaches and off-road wonders that can be yours on a safety-minded, short or long driving trip.  As we avoid the virus through healthy, cautious living, remember to explore, learn and live and catch us each Friday for a fresh look at travel, the arts, nature, family and more:



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