Pandemic Reflections #9

The Road Trip

I want to be done with these Pandemic Reflections, but here we are, late August 2021, and Covid is almost everywhere. We are in the midst of a road trip (we cancelled a flight to Kodiak and opted for a car trip across the Canadian Border for a few days on Vancouver Island). Weather here is cool for late August, but just right for eating outside and taking walks. Skies have been clear most days.

We have a friend who lives here (fully vaccinated), so we are enjoying dinner with her each evening with a short after dinner walk. She loves burgers and brews, so she does the research and we meet up at the pub of her choice. Our friend has shown us around on previous visits, so we can pretty much get around on our own now. She’s free to enjoy her daughter and granddaughter during the day.

Is Canada Expensive?

I freaked out at the hotel prices when I began making plans for this trip. We buckled under and paid the going rate because we really wanted to go somewhere. At some point, I realized that prices are in Canadian dollars, but today I remembered that we’re also traveling during peak summer rates. We haven’t done this before. We used to go fishing or clamming in the summer, but that involved camping more than hotel stays. In other years, we were off on our boat either at anchor or at a marina – definitely not paying hotel prices. So this is truly one of our first trips ever where we’re paying peak summer hotel rates. Yikes! How do families do this? The good news: meals and other goodies are not that much more expensive than what we’re used to.

Is There Covid in Canada?

Oh, yes. The Delta variant is definitely in Canada. They’ve allowed US visitors since August 9th if people are fully vaccinated and have a negative Covid test within 72 hours of crossing the border. Victoria claims to be in Stage 3 of re-opening. That seems to translate into wearing masks indoors. The downtown area isn’t super crowded with tourists, and most people are eating outside. We’ve been in a few shops, but we’ve avoided crowds. Our hotel is not cleaning the room each day, and signs in the elevator say “two people or one family;” staff are masked and guests are respecting the elevator rule.

Our friend says schools were open last year. That’s interesting. Canada doesn’t seem any worse off than we are, so this is a nice natural experiment to see how much kids in the US have lost by comparison to kids up here. Another nice note: on the BC ferry, an announcement at the start of the voyage said masks are adviced, but if someone is not wearing a mask, please leave them alone. Most people were wearing masks unless they were eating.

Is This Trip a Good Idea?

If we get home without contracting Covid, we’ll know it was a good idea. If we catch Covid, then it’s definitely a bad idea. We’ve only eaten outdoors, we’ve avoided crowds and unvaccinated people if we’ve known their status. (One shop had a sign saying their employees were not all vaccinated, so I avoided it.) There’s also the little detail that our retirement home has suspended all actives and closed the dining room due to half a dozen Covid cases among staff, so being here is for sure a more pleasant experience than being home right now.

A road trip seems like the least risky travel option right now. We’re in our own car or outdoors, a hotel room is not that risky since there’s minimal interaction with anyone. We get to visit a friend who has a very entertaining new kitty. We’re not doing any touristy activities in places that might be crowded. Other than camping, which seems really safe, this sort of road trip feels OK. We’ll let you know how we fare after we get home.

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