My Socially Distanced Summer

What does a travel bug do in the era of COVID? She agrees to a road trip, roof-top tent, and activity once strictly off-limits: camping.

These are desperate times.

I wouldn’t get on a plane; hotels made me squeamish and the prospect of another twelve weeks cooped up at home was not an option. What do you do?  Exactly.

Herb grew up on a farm so I had confidence in him; not so much our twenty-year-old Jeep. With nearly 343,000 miles on it, I insisted it is inspected and reinspected before we left town.

“What if this damn thing blows-up on us while we’re on the road?”  I implored.

“Well,” Herb sighs, “if it does, I guess we’ll get another one.”

This was our first such adventure and we learned lots of lessons.  We stuffed the Jeep so full we couldn’t find anything when we needed it. This led to some laughter but mostly cussing.  The Clampetts. 

We learned other good things… like:

  • Teamwork, (tent set-up in seven minutes including inflating the three air mattresses I required beneath our 2-inch memory foam pad);
  • Efficiency, (no need to change clothes when you’re already dirty);
  • Resilience, (who knew Herb could swing an ax like that!); and
  • Gratitude, (for the stars, wildlife, backroads, friends, blankets, and morning coffee).

We had a few hiccups (a broken axel, oil changes, a leaking boot, whatever that is), but the Golden Goat held up for our 7000-mile journey. 

Just short of the 350,000-mile mark as we drove into Fairway, we joked about driving back to Topeka to make it official. I’ve got a lot of gratitude and respect for that damn Jeep.

This was the first time in my life that I didn’t have a timeline, schedule, or plan.

If you know me at all, you know the import of this. This trip wasn’t only an amazing adventure, it was a miracle.

But pictures tell the story better than I can.  Thanks for letting me share.

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