On October 22, 2018, Pat and I departed from our cozy cabin home in Grand Marais, MN, for a 6-month tour in our RV (a 24-Foot Unity model by Leisure Travel Vans of Winkler, Manitoba, Canada). That trip was a bucket list item for us, and we thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it, as documented in a 12-part series of posts on this intrepid blog entitled, with minimal hyperbole, “Pat and Dave’s Excellent Adventure.” My final summary in Part 12 of that series was as follows:
- From October 22, 2018 through April 22, 2019, we travelled 10,200 miles in the RV, plus several hundred more (not tracked) in three rental cars and our own car.
- We visited 11 states, 9 National Parks, 2 National Monuments, 1 National Recreation Area, and 12 or more State Parks in Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California.
After this truly Excellent Adventure, we were ready for a repeat performance during the winter of 2019-2020, tentatively dubbed “Pat and Dave’s Eastern Extravaganza,” intended to focus on the eastern US in much the same way that we’d covered the western states the first time. Unfortunately, I had some annoying but not serious health issues involving multiple doctor visits, leading us to abandon the plan.
To make up for missing out on the Eastern Extravaganza, we decided to take several non-RV trips during the winter and spring of 2020. In January, we flew to Miami, rented a car, and drove to Key West for a program sponsored by the Road Scholars group. In March, Pat booked a second Road Scholars trip, this time to Hilton Head, SC, for a pickleball clinic. I passed on pickleball but went along anyway to play golf. We enjoyed both trips immensely – here are a few photos:
Before returning from Hilton Head, we were supposed to spend three days in Savannah, GA, celebrating our 41st wedding anniversary. However, as everyone is well aware, Covid-19 reared its ugly head at that time, so we hightailed it back to our condo in Minneapolis to hunker down.
The third planned RV substitute was a Viking River Cruise starting on the Rhine and ending in Paris, planned for late April and early May. Alas, that dream was also shattered by Covid-19 as Viking cancelled all of their excursions. (We did receive a full refund and have rebooked the trip for May of 2021. Perhaps it will actually happen.)
We eventually returned to Grand Marais and spent what turned out to be a very nice summer at the cabin, properly social distancing and happily wearing our masks as required (initially by the town’s merchants and eventually by the Governor). Luckily for us, our favorite recreations are outdoor activities that can still be done safely during the pandemic – golf for me and pickleball and pop tennis for Pat.
But we still had the itch to get out in the RV, so we took it for a couple of trips – to test RV safety in the Covid-infected waters, so to speak. In July, we ventured down the Lake Superior shore to Gooseberry State Park, and in September we went a bit farther, to Lake Itasca State Park.
It felt good to be travelling again, and we were pleased to find that our fellow travelers were taking the pandemic seriously – maintaining distance and wearing masks in the limited number of open buildings and everywhere that people congregated, whether indoor or out. At night, as we sat together inside the RV, we asked ourselves the all-important question: Does this feel safe enough to try another big RV excursion?
The answer was yes, though we won’t do it quite the same way this time. We expect to stay at fewer places for longer durations, and if we feel uncomfortable anywhere, we’ll pull up stakes and find someplace more to our liking. But yes, yes, yes – we’re going to do it.
Stay tuned for more blog posts about our coming winter travels. Beginning in early October and lasting (we hope) until April 2021, you can follow us again as we embark on …
The Saaris’ (Sorta) Safe Sojourn!!!