Thursday December 31st 2020
Happy New Year
What a year! The best characterization for this year on Rob’s Rambling Road Trip is “It was different”. As we all know the pandemic put a wrench in everyone’s year. This blog entry, while acknowledging the negative, will attempt to highlight the positive aspects of my travel in 2020.
At this time last year I was in the middle of a four month winter stay in Las Vegas. I was planning a heavy travel year with stops at old favorite locations along with many new ones too. By the time I left Las Vegas at the end of February, I had reservations out to the end of July as well as November and December. Little did I know that most of those plans were going to change in a big way.
I set out on my 2020 journey February 25th with a move from Las Vegas to Arizona. The desert was starting to bloom. It was turning the dirty browns and muted greens into yellows, purples and reds. The days were comfortable in the seventies and the nights were cool for sleeping. Overall it was a nice place to be. I was in the Phoenix area to see spring training baseball game. I saw four spring training games before spring training got shutdown. The whole world was shutting down.
All of my travel plans started to dissolve in March. The uncertainty of travel caused me to pause and go to a safer place. I booked a two month stay at familiar place in Eloy AZ between Phoenix and Tuscon. During my stay at the Silverado RV Resort my daily routine was mostly a walk around the park in the morning before it got too warm followed by some TV and reading before taking another walk around the park at sunset. As the days waiting for travel conditions to improve went by, the temperature climbed. Arizona in May has temperatures in the one hundreds.
By the end of May I understood the travel conditions and restrictions in Arizona. New Mexico to the east and Utah to the north were still murky. Any chance of catching up with all my carefully laid travel plans were gone. I started moving north within Arizona to gain altitude and cooler temperatures. I spent five weeks until the end of June at various places in Arizona before moving east to New Mexico.
The changing rules of travel came into play during my stay in New Mexico. I made plans based on relaxed New Mexico travel requirements. The plan was to spend the week of July 4th in Grants New Mexico followed by a week in the Albuquerque area. While I was in Grants the rules changed. All out of state visitors were expected to quarantine for two weeks. The good news was they didn’t know how to enforce it. The bad news was that my presence in the state wasn’t really wanted. When my week in Grant was up I got out of the state with a long travel day east to Amarillo Texas home of the famous roadside attraction Cadillac Ranch.
Next on my journey east was Oklahoma. It was the only new state this year. I spent time in three locations along Interstate 40 as I moved east. Most of my touring was restricted to driving around with an occasional stop at a roadside attraction or a park. Indoor attractions and museums were either closed or severely restricted. I did get an opportunity to visit the Fort Smith National Historic Site in western Arkansas on my journey. Not everything was open, but it was interesting and informative.
In Arkansas I spent two weeks beside the Arkansas River in the Little Rock area. I spent most of my time at the campground watching the activity on the river. The activity along the Mississippi River later in the month was more interesting. From Arkansas just west of Memphis Tennessee, I picked up the pace and crossed, Tennessee, and Georgia on my return to Florida with one and two night stops.
The end of August was a little too early in the year to be back in Florida. Hurricane season was still in full swing. During September, October and early November tropical weather systems played a role in my travels. In September I needed to evacuate the Eastbank campground northwest of Tallahassee because of flooding caused by hurricane Sally. The two day disruption wasn’t particularly dangerous or difficult. It was just unexpected and hurried.
Tropical storms in the Gulf of Mexico continued to cause rain and wind across the Florida peninsular as I moved south toward the Keys during October. I thought the Keys would be safe from the weather by November. I was wrong. My first week plus in the keys was mostly nice weather with a lot of wind. The pandemic made indoor attractions a high risk activity, but I found outside activities to keep me busy. Toward the end of my two week stay, hurricane Eta decided to head for the Florida Keys. I packed and departed the keys a day early as the outer waves of the storm were already buffeting the islands. Over the next five days the storm danced around Florida and chased me up the east coast.
Since the middle of November I’ve been in winter mode moving about the state of Florida from one park to another staying a couple of weeks at each park. I saw a Falcon rocket launch during my stay at Jetty Park in Port Canaveral and my stay at Myakka River State Park during the middle of December was a lot of fun. All of the birds and alligators kept me well entertained.
Overall I traveled less this year than any other year on my Rambling Road Trip. Even though I crossed the country from Las Vegas, I only traveled five thousand miles in the motorhome. As the calendar turns the page to 2021, I need to figure out what is next on Rob’s Rambling Road Trip.