Kathy & I have been a little surprised by the questions and comments we’ve gotten from people since we returned from our western road trip. Questions like, “did you have any trouble finding places to stay?” “Where did you eat?” “Are there a lot of people on the road?” And comments that begin with phrases such as “One of these days…” and “When this is all over…” and “If it’s ever safe to travel again…” Yeesh. Of course we’ve gotten our share of “Good For You’s” and “That’s Great.” and we really appreciate that.
When we tell people that we were in Oregon, we sometimes get a shocked look and some kind of question about “how bad was it?” The News would have you conjure up images of us driving down some rural highway with flaming trees falling across the road as we passed. Yes, there were fires nearby. “Nearby” as in 40-50 miles and in another valley and over a ridge or two. Yes, there was sometimes a lot of smoke and at times it got stinky. The fires have been devastating for a lot of people, but for those of us just passing through it was just an inconvenience. Mostly it was like driving in the fog. Yes, in some towns the restaurants and wineries with outdoor seating had decided to close. Who wants to eat or taste wine in the smoke? But there was plenty to see and do and we just had to adjust a bit. There is nothing like a road trip to teach you to be flexible!
My message is that the world is still out there. It’s a big country, and you don’t have to sit at home and watch The News telling you how bad things are. Everything – or just about everything – is open. We stayed away from the “famous” places like Yellowstone and Glacier, mostly because this trip was not about seeing those places. This trip was specifically intended to take us off the beaten path. We’ll get to those famous places at another time.
Restaurants on the road are operating just like they are at home. We carried a cooler with breakfast and lunch, to give us the flexibility to not have to go in search of food in the middle of nowhere. Hotels have scaled back their services a bit but they welcomed us everywhere. Gas is readily available everywhere and we had very little trouble finding a restroom when we needed one.
Not everybody has the travel bug but we do. And if you do, this is really not a bad time to travel by car. Trains, buses, planes and cruise ships? Not yet. But car? No big deal. It’s fall color time – get out there! Figure out how you can travel in a way that makes you comfortable and go. Try an overnight, a weekend or a week. But go! Someday is today, and times a-wastin’!