A Routine Tuesday

Tuesday March 31st 2020

It was a cloudy day today. The sun never found a gap in the cloud cover, but it still managed to raise the temperature into the high seventies. It was a comfortable day and dull at the same time.

Today’s wildflower blossom.

Today was very much a representative case of my new routine. Breakfast is slow and unfocused with the TV news playing in the background. Most of the morning news seems to be a restating of the yesterday’s COVID-19 news as if it had just happened. The state of Arizona releases its latest virus numbers in the 9AM hour, so the news people keep reminding the viewers the new numbers are coming. That makes the news program a combination of old news and hype for new morbidity statistics interspersed with cuts to the meteorologists doing the weather from their living rooms. Somehow having the weather forecasts done remotely is a way for the TV stations to encourage work from home.

The rest of my daily routine begins with a walk around the RV park around noon followed by another walk before dark. Between the walks its more TV, some reading and a little cooking. Today it even included a brief nap. I need to add a little variety and a few more elements to this routine.

I’m afraid these blog entries are going to get even more boring as the days and weeks go by, but I’m going to continue to write them. They are one thing in my current routine that is also part of my normal routine.

More Restrictions Coming

Monday March 30th 2020

The beautiful Arizona spring weather continued today. The high temperature was a degree or two above Sunday, but was still very comfortable in the seventies.

Wildflower blossoms of the day.

The state of Arizona issued a “Stay at Home” order today. It starts tomorrow evening. It seems to only close a few more business than those that were already closed. I think the order is more of a public perception issue than a serious step up in restrictions. The state was starting to get coverage for not having a “Stay at Home” order in the national press and the mayors of Phoenix and Tucson were calling on the Governor to implement stricter controls. On paper, there is more shutdown here than in a lot of states, but the mayors still want more controls.

This new restriction doesn’t impact me significantly. It does not cause the RV park to close. That is my biggest concern with the current pandemic countermeasures. I continue to worry about being without a place to park my RV home. As long as I’m parked in a safe place with some access to power and water, I’m fine. Social isolation is pretty much my way of life.

Closing RV parks and campgrounds is seen by officials as a way to discourage tourists from coming into an area. They not only represent a potential virus carrier, but also a potential burden on the local health care system. A compromise solution, in place in other areas, is to close the RV park to new arrivals. All of the big RV groups are currently reaching out to government officials across the country on the issues of full time RV travelers. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

My Second Slow Sunday in the Desert

Sunday March 29th 2020

The temperature made it a little above seventy five today. That’s still about five degrees below the average for the date, but I’m not complaining. The forecast is for a few degrees increase each day this week. Most of the day was sunny and calm. Near sunset a line of wind came through and blew the dust around for a few minutes. It has been calm again since.

Train heading west outside the RV park.

Another routine day in the travel holding pattern. After a slow breakfast accompanied by some TV and internet reading, I took my first walk of the day. This time I ventured a little further out the front gate of the RV park compound. The area has some nice desert wildflowers and a better view of the passing trains. There are two parallel tracks along the route between the Phoenix area and Tucson. Most of the trains are very long with four engines. The tracks in this area are fairly flat. East of Tucson is probably the nearest mountainous area along these tracks.

My second walk of the day was near evening. There are more people out at that time walking their dogs. The dog people in this park all seem to have more than one small to tiny dog. It is rare to see someone walking a single dog or a bigger dog.

Any perch in a storm.

Week One of Waiting it Out Complete

Saturday March 28th 2020

Today’s weather was a slightly less windy version of Friday’s. It was a mostly sunny day with a high temperature around seventy. Tomorrow is forecast to begin a warming trend that will have the temperature in the nineties by the end of the week.

Fruit trees in the RV park with the mountains to the north.

This is the end of my first week of waiting out the COVID-19 pandemic. During the week three of my next four stops have been closed, so the decision is looking pretty good right now. The campgrounds at the Grand Canyon and Glen Canyon have closed. The Grand Canyon National Park is still open to day use visitors, but the local authorities are complaining about the danger associated with the high number of visitors. Monument Valley in the Navajo Nation is also closed to visitors. The private campground I was planning to stay at is currently closed. As I anticipated pretty much my entire month of April has fallen apart. I’m glad I made the decision to come here.

Arizona still hasn’t shutdown the state to the extent that some locations have. I read an article that ranked the states by reaction to the crises. Arizona was in the middle of the pack, but I expect it to change at any time. As the number of cases climb, the pressure to apply more stringent measures will increase. It is hard to know what the appropriate level of restrictions should be. When life is in the equation, the decision needs to be weighted heavily in favor of preserving it. I intend to stay as isolated as possible over the next few weeks.

Taking it One Day at a Time

Friday March 27th 2020

Wind was the operative word in today’s weather. It blew hard and gusted even harder. Although the sun was out most of the day, the temperature only got into the high sixties.

Mountains on the north side of the valley.

As the end of the month gets closer, many of the snowbirds in the RV park have packed up and headed home. These are the folks that are keeping to their schedule despite all of the issues with travel associated with the COVID-19 virus. I learned when I arrived last week that others had departed early and some had extended rather than heading into potentially worse areas of the country. There are also many RVs with Texas and South Dakota license plates which usually means they are full timers like me.

Today was another day in my new routine of a couple of walks around the park during the day with reading and TV in between. I will probably do a little touring of the area from the inside of my car over the next few days and weeks as a diversion. I might even find an area to hike that allows for “social distancing” while hiking. Also on my list during this period of forced downtime are a few maintenance tasks around the RV. I’m taking it one day at a time.

A Slow Day with a Little Exercise

Thursday March 26th 2020

The forecast drop in temperature finally arrived today. The mostly cloudy day only allowed the temperature to reach seventy. Late in the day the cloud cover broke for a little while. It allowed for a pretty desert sunset.

Tonight’s sunset

Today wasn’t a very exciting day. I lingered over breakfast with a second cup of coffee with the TV on. It was almost noon before it was warm enough to open the door to the outside. Even then I didn’t leave my RV home until much later.

Today was a two walk around the park day. Going up and down each of the roads and around the perimeter I get more than a mile of exercise, but it isn’t very interesting. I ventured out the main gate for hundred feet or so. That is a walk for another day. It is a very sparsely settled neighborhood.

Wildflowers along the entrance road to the RV park.

Grocery Shopping in a Pandemic

Wednesday March 25th 2020

Today began sunny and calm. It got windy during the middle of the day and ended with cloud cover. The temperature made it to the upper half of the seventies. Tomorrow is forecast to be up to ten degrees cooler.

Interesting afternoon cloud cover.

With the exception of my move on Saturday, I’ve been pretty much staying around my RV home for the last two weeks. There isn’t a stay at home order in Arizona yet, but it only makes sense to isolate as much as possible. On my last trip out for groceries fifteen days ago, I stocked up on food fairly heavily. Since then I’ve only used up the things that have a short life. I was out of bread, milk and Orange Juice. Today was the day to replenish and extend my supplies before a more restrictive edict is established.

The experience was not what I expected. From the news broadcasts I expected to find ghost towns in some areas and waiting lines in other areas. Traffic on the interstate was a level I’d judge as normal. On the surface streets of Casa Grande traffic was light, but many businesses seemed to be open. On the surface Walmart appeared very normal. The parking lot had a normal level of cars and nothing appeared different as you entered the store. The produce and bakery sections of the store were fully stocked and had an expected level of customers roaming around. It wasn’t until you started to work deeper into the store that differences became visible.

The meat section had been well picked over. I found meat to buy, but not in the size packages I would normally purchase. For example, instead of a pound of ground beef I had to buy a two and a half pound package. As a positive consequence my freezer will get filled with a few more days of food so I can stay isolated longer.

The can goods, pasta and baking supply aisles were in bad shape. There were a few odd items in the middle of long empty shelves. Surprisingly I found some things I could use in those odd items. An unknown brand of bow tie pasta found it’s way into my shopping cart along with a jar of Prego spaghetti sauce. Neither would be my choice in normal times.

The dairy section had plenty of milk and eggs. The butter substitutes were a bit picked over, but I managed to find a large container of my favorite brand. In the Orange Juice section I had to buy the good stuff. They were out of the Walmart generic OJ I’ve been buying lately.

Overall the selection of food wasn’t bad. I got some form of everything I had on my mental list. The store was busy with people of all ages. There really wasn’t much obvious concern about the virus. Most, but not all, of the Walmart employees were wearing plastic gloves. Concern about maintaining distance was not apparent. I was in the checkout line behind one multiple family shopping party with about four mothers and half a dozen or more kids. It was a mob that I kept my distance from, but the poor checkout person was surrounded. Later, in the parking lot, I saw them all climbing into one van. Maybe they don’t have a choice, but probably they just don’t get it.

Top down view of a cactus in bloom.

I think I’m through with big stores for a few weeks. The convenience store at the intestate on-ramp near my RV park seems like a better choice for the few things I’ll need during this period of isolation.