Thursday, June 24, 2021

Road trip as Covid is conquered: vaccinated and hitting the road again

At a California vaccination center, masking is required to enter. More than 60 per cent of Californians are vaccinated now -- over 23 million people -- so people are feeling more confident to stop masking and distancing. The CDC recommends continued masking and safety protocol for the non-vaccinated.


All across California and into Nevada, we found hand-made signs for
vaccine centers.  Masking, we noted, is still happening in some areas,
but in more rural areas and small towns, masking is disappearing.

long road trip as the world  recovers from months of pandemic and isolation, we found mixed reactions and a clear division of thinking on masking, distancing and the Covid vaccine itself.
In cities with high-end hotels and shops, people are still masking. At the Monterey Aquarium, for instance, masking is essential to enter and masks must be worn throughout the visit.  A couple places still took temperature checks. 
BUT IN RURAL areas and less populated places -- where people don't travel much -- masking has all but disappeared.
At a small cafe near Rexburg, Idaho, a waitress told us, "We don't much go for that vaccine business here."
This upscale Asian restaurant in the Bay Area still
honors safety cubicles and masking for servers.
IN A POST-Covid nutshell, we found a marked division between believers and skeptics regarding the vaccines.  As we approach 700,000 people dead in the U.S. and nearly four million casualties worldwide, Covid is still very much on many peoples' minds while others seem to have forgotten about it and are blissfully moving on.
We're gratefully "double Pfizered." We awaited the vaccine eagerly. Because of Keller's severely compromised post-transplant immune system, our doctors got us in the first wave of vaccinated people. We masked all the way to Montana.  
IN TRAVELING through five states, we found fewer and fewer people are masking. Yet only about half of the U.S. population has been vaccinated (only 22 per cent worldwide and less than one percent in low-income countries.) We noticed that foreign visitors tended to be masked in hotels, shops and when entering restaurants. 
But a computer repairman we met told us he is not yet vaccinated but intends to be. "I'm not worried," he said, when I told him we were fully vaccinated.
The Cody, Wyoming, gunfight participants were
not masked, nor were most of the onlookers
In a northern California eatery, both entering customers and servers were masked and distancing and safety-conscious cubicles were still in place.
AT OUR HOTELS in Lake Tahoe, California, and Elko, Nevada, the ladies who checked us in wore masks, and masking signs were still posted on the hotel doors. But about half of the people we encountered were maskless. (There's no way to tell, of course, who is vaccinated and who is not.) 
Hilton brand properties continue
excellent hygiene policies, here a
 "clean stay" sealer on a pristine room. 
In our hotel in Pocatello, Idaho,  our receptionist was not masked, and the breakfast buffet had been restored and was packed. Most hotels did away with buffets early on in the pandemic, going instead with "grab and go" pre-prepared breakfast packages. Two of our six hotels still offered the bagged breakfast, but slowly the popular breakfast buffets are being restored.
WE ARE loyal to the Hilton brand, and were happy to see that the hygiene practices Hilton pioneered are still in place: safety stickers on the doors -- to be broken only by the guest -- alcohol rubs around "high use" areas such as door handles, TV controls, etc. Cups and glasses in the bathroom and beside coffee machines are still wrapped in plastic. 
At the Monterey Bay Aquarium, masks are 
mandatory. (Cookie cheated for a few seconds,
 and Keller kept his mask half-on for the selfie.)

If you need towels, call housekeeping, which is still by request only. Room service orders are carefully wrapped and left outside the door so there is no human contact.
ACCORDING to new guidance from the CDC, fully vaccinated people can now participate in indoor and outdoor activities without a mask and without physical distancing.
However, for people who are not fully vaccinated, the CDC continues to recommend mask wearing and other preventive measures in outdoor settings and in most indoor settings. All a work in progress.

Here in Stockholm, some residents believe Sweden should
have taken a more serious stance on the pandemic in the
early stages. The country had one of Europe's highest 
infection rates and is still struggling to contain Covid.
As the delta variant raises new concerns about the spread of the virus, we're checking with our friends in Sweden, Israel, Australia and the UK, to see how they're coping with the new threat.  The pandemic is far from controlled and countries are clamping down and revising rules, imposing new testing procedures and requirements. We take a look at recent changes and interview our friends around the globe. Meanwhile, remember to explore, learn and live and catch us each week for a fresh look at travel, health, the arts, nature, family and more: 


  1. Very interesting story. We are big maskers and of course are vaccinated. Thank you for this thorough and thoughtful report.

  2. San Francisco GalsJune 24, 2021 at 9:06 PM

    Fun look at life on the road in these strange times.

  3. What a wonderful life you two have worked to establish.