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  1. #1
    jumper007 Guest

    Default Cross Country Travel during COVID

    Hi everyone--

    I'm brand new to the forum and am hoping some folks can give me clear-eyed advice as I'm debating back and forth traveling from Alabama to Utah in June. Assuming the shelter-in-place orders have been lifted (they have in many of the states I'd need to drive through), I am giving serious thought to throwing my camping gear in the back of the car and going out to Moab. I'll be eating with food from home (and the occasional drive thru) and camping most of the way. I have a house in Moab that will be cleaned assiduously. Finally, I have disposable gloves, face masks, and disinfectant wipes. That said, I do take the CDC guidelines seriously and have been more or less keeping distance from folks and don't want to endanger my family and others. I am truly torn, but also truly going up the walls. Can I make this work, or do I need to just stay put? If I can get out, do people have recs of good scenic back-route routes for Northern Texas, the panhandle of OK, and/or lower Colorado. Thanks so much, J.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I can tell you that I'm not making any plans to make a major trip in June. I'm hopeful that maybe by July or August things will be in a more stable place, however, even there I'm not making any firm plans.

    Yes, states are starting to open back up, and while some are taking slow incremental steps, assessing the situation as they go, you've got others (particularly in the area where you live and will be traveling through) that aren't factoring in science into their decisions and in fact are doing so in direct contradiction of the CDC guidelines of how things should reopen. At this point, there's no way of knowing how that will pan out, and I personally don't think we will have a good handle on it in June. At best, I'd say the traveling portion will be easier, but the ease of contracting and/or spreading the virus will also be higher.

    I would also suggest that "going up the walls" is not a valid issue to consider at this time, because that's true for everyone right now. If everyone considered that to be a valid reason to travel, then no one would be staying at home.

    You stated that you take the CDC guidelines seriously, and right now, they are still recommending that people stay home as much as possible and doing a cross country leisure trip would not qualify as that. Maybe that will change within the next month, but I think that's pretty unlikely. Even if things do continue to relax in terms of a restriction perspective, the safer thing would be to use this as an opportunity to do a more in-depth exploration of your own state, which would reduce you and your families exposure, as well as your ability to spread the virus if you become infected.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Central Missouri


    Welcome to RTA!

    I totally understand your conflict, I really do, as we also have a planned vacation in place that we are trying to decide what to do about. I won't tell you go or don't go, because I'm in the same we go or do we not? We too are ready to get out and travel. Right now, our reservations in Yellowstone are, at best, iffy. The lodge canceled us then rescinded the cancellation saying they'd put us in a CDC-guidelines accommodation.

    What you also need to think about....are you willing to eat "camping style" for your entire trip? Restaurants are pretty well all take-out only. Also, if you were planning to utilize state and national forest or park campgrounds, right now they are sitting CLOSED. You'd be relegated to staying at private parks, many of whom (in our state anyway) have had to shut down their public shower buildings.

    You said you have a house in Moab. That's a good thing, because the town said no visitors will be staying in hotels or campgrounds in Moab. They did that because of the hospital facilities there.

    I do "hear" you, and understand your pain. You may not be able to make a better decision until just before your intended departure date. That's my opinion, anyway, and the one we're going with at this point. A lot can happen in two months.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Is it worth the risk?

    Why not find something more productive to do at home, to stop from going up the wall. You're not alone. We're all in the same boat.

    On average one infected person infects three others. How would you feel should you be unlucky to get infected from an unknown source, that within one week you could be responsible for more than two thousand others geting infected.

    We've all had to cancel trips. Stick with the CDC guidelines. Stay close to home, or at home.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Unfortunately....

    As others have pointed out above, everyone you're asking advice from on this forum has also had to cancel trips. And these are people who travel as an avocation (at least!) Personally, I have already canceled two trips scheduled for this spring and early summer and have NO plans to travel this year at all.

    It is also unfortunately true that we are getting no useful guidance from the federal government. Indeed, the President has announced that the current social distancing 'guidelines' will not be extended past today, even though the virus is still rampant in many areas of the country with both the number of cases and number of deaths still increasing. As you yourself point out, this means that every state has to make its own decisions, often based on little more than hope and politics.

    As a travel advice website, we are not here to give you medical advice which is what you need. For that you'll have to go to the CDC website and read their guidelines carefully and make your own decisions. For what it's worth, and this is NOT medical advice, I worked in hospital laboratories for a dozen years, and there is simply NO way I will be traveling this year, or at all until a vaccine AND a treatment regimen are in place.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default These are very weird days for all of us.

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    I worked in hospital laboratories for a dozen years, and there is simply NO way I will be traveling this year, or at all until a vaccine AND a treatment regimen are in place.
    Megan and I have cancelled thousands of dollars worth of trips this year and we still have a couple of major trips on our calendar

    But that's pretty much our criteria as well. No significant travel without a verifiable vaccine (that we have access to) and a treatment regimen followed by jurisdictions around the world.

    These are very weird days for all of us.


  7. #7


    There are so many great route options from OK/TX towards Moab, camping as well, but as others noted campsites may not be open and rest areas or restroom access may be very limited. My major road trip planned for the July/Aug timeframe through the Upper MidWest and Northern Plains states is very much a 50/50 proposition as this time.

    I have much better odds in getting down to the Outer Banks in early-June, but am thinking long and hard about restroom options. I have no idea about the public rest areas along I-95 and I-64, much less the highways from Tidewater and into Hatteras Island. Yes, maybe a Costco around Newport News... The return route is usually up the Eastern Shore of Virginia and Maryland which will likely present even larger challenges. Oh, to be young again!!!

  8. Default

    Let’s calm down and think about this.

    How many, if any, risk factors do you have? I have 5 and will take reasonable precautions on my two day drive back to my permanent Michigan residence in several weeks. I won’t be eating in any restaurants, and will take many precautions with my one hotel night. Other than that, I really won’t have more public contact than in Tampa; Basically getting gas and I have lots of gloves, wipes and sanitizer.

    Yours is a three day trip but with camping I think you’ll have it made. Just make sure you can get a campsite.

    Now, the bigger question is what you plan to do in Utah? Will you be staying put or what? Is this going to be an extended relocation or a mini vacation?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default More to Take into Account

    The CDC classifies the United States as having "widespread ongoing transmission" of the coronavirus responsible for COVID-19 disease. This is the highest "Country Transmission Level" that CDC lists. In fact, everywhere in the world is currently listed this way by the CDC. That's why it's classified as a pandemic ("prevalent over a whole country or the world.") The only distinction made on the CDC's global map is whether travelers to/from those countries will face "restrictions on entry to the United States."

    Again, the choice is yours, but the best information available says travel for 'pleasure' is simply unwise at this point. Especially when you consider that you do not know where or when there will be a flair-up along your roughly 1,600 mile route to Moab, the multi-week incubation period, and the fact that there ARE asymptomatic carriers of the disease. Also note that, if you plan to eat at ANY restaurant, or buy any meat that has been processed in the last couple of weeks, that the rash of coronavirus outbreaks at dozens of meat packing plants across the nation is far more extensive than previously thought, according to a review of cases by the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting, and that more than 150 of America’s largest meat processing plants operate in counties where the rate of coronavirus infection is already among the nation’s highest.

    If you have any of the risk factors for developing a more serious illness if exposed, including age, obesity, asthma, HIV, compromised cardiopulmonary function, etc you should weigh your own risk as much greater than average. Also note that if you get sick in Moab, Moab Regional Hospital has only 17 beds and is a Level IV trauma center. Such centers are ranked from I (1: highest level of care) to V (5: lowest ranking on the scale).


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Masks

    One other point that needs to be made. Masks do not protect the user from contracting the virus. They protect others from being infected by the user of the mask. Most viruses vary in diameter from 20 nanometers (0.0000008 inch) to 400 nm (0.000016 inch) at most. If you can breath through your mask, the virus can get in. The point of the mask is to stop spit, phlegm, mucus, and other nasopharyngeal fluids escaping from the user/carrier - NOT to filter out an airborne virus.


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