Learning to Road Trip Again
Taking kiddo back to California was not our first post-COVID road trip. That honor belongs to popping up to Chattanooga to see Lula Falls. This was an interesting ‘first trip’ because, even though it’s less than 2-hours away, we ended up crossing over eight state lines that day. Still, all we did was hiking in the woods, so it was super mellow.
Our second trip was with the Cahaba Lily Society to canoe and to see Cahaba Lilies. We felt a bit like goobers because we didn’t bring our masks for the put in. That trip was fun because we met a kick-ass drone pilot, as well as a top-notch paddler who trained with Chris Jonason, who taught Jenn swift water rescue back in her whitewater days in Washington State. It felt great finding our peeps in the deeps of the south.
We were feeling pretty good by our third trip, a romantic getaway to the Smokies for waterfalls and biking Cades Cove. However, Gatlinburg during COVID didn’t feel like a getaway. It was super crowded with very poor mask etiquette. That was probably just the universe’s way of kicking us in the butt for not bringing our masks to see Cahaba Lilies. To put these trips on the timeline of house guests, we picked Dreya up at the Nashville Airport on the way home from Gatlinburg.
We picked up a fifth trip to Detroit for my son’s wedding in late May during a lull in Wayne County cases. The first night was a bit scary, to say the least. He lives in the Bagley District on 7-mile, and we visit Ferndale on 9-mile all the time. I figured a MAJOR chain hotel on 8-mile shouldn’t be a stretch.
Let’s just say there’s a reason Eminem wrote, “Man, fuck this shit, yo, I’m goin’ the fuck home. World on my shoulders as I run back to this 8 Mile Road.” At least we made it through the wedding and the first time seeing my ex-wife since she left Tucson without the police getting called. We also made it off 8 Mile with all our hubcaps and kidneys.
We were the teachers for our next trip with Janiel and Ashley to Panama City Beach for diving. This was the first post-COVID trip for each of them, and an early opening state is a heck of an inaugural voyage. Mask etiquette was exactly as you’d expect at the grocery store, so we stocked up on essentials and hunkered down. I don’t think Ashley left the hotel room again except to go diving.
The added stress level affected the dives too. We all had trouble with dive basics that we should have known by heart, and this experience was enough for Ashley to get her advanced dive certification and Janiel to get her own dive computer. We had peeps. We had friends, only now begins the summer of our discontent.