Our Quarantine Adventure

View of rainclouds to the north, from the Beacon Bridge over the Hudson River


Our first meal on the road: a stop at Rein’s Deli in Vernon, CT. They had very safe procedures

My husband Rich and I have a granddaughter living in Indiana. Her mom is an R.N. working at the Indiana University Hospital in Bloomington. When the Covid-19 emergency shut down schools and businesses, Liana was able to work from home, with Olivia finishing up her third-grade schoolwork at home. The hospital recently ordered that all available nurses must come to care for patients on-site. We decided that the safest place for Olivia to be was with us here in Bedford.

We got ourselves tested on Tuesday the 5th of May. We rented a “Four Winds” RV that had beds, a bathroom, and a kitchen—so that we could be self-sufficient on the road. We would only have to get out for gas along the way—masked & gloved!

We hit the road on Saturday morning, the 9th of May. Traffic was light through Massachusetts and Connecticut, but then after we got into New York on Route 84 the weather turned interesting! The forecast was for snow flurries—but these were big winds and snow-squalls! The electronic signs along the highway near Scranton PA warned about whiteouts! Tough driving; quite a lot more traffic.

When we were finally on Route 80, the signs said, “stay home / limit travel / practice social distance” – so we knew we were safe!

Which reminds me—the entertaining highway signs in different states

  •  Massachusetts: “stay wicked fah apaht”  and  “practice vehicular distance”
  •  Connecticut: “please don’t speed / help our heroes”
  • New York: “cover your face in public / we are ny tough”
  • Ohio (on Mother’s Day): “do what your mother says / wash your hands / watch your speed”
  •  Indiana was silent, electronically

We spent the first night at one of those huge truck stops. Parked in the back; our little RV with over 100 of those interstate behemoths! We made dinner and turned in. This was the first time I slept in a vibrating bedroom (not like the mattress you can put a quarter in; this was the whole vehicle!) It was, of course, the 18-wheelers all around us with their generators running. We were also unprepared blanket-wise for 36° outside temperature, in May!

Traffic was still pretty light on the rest of Route 80. The skies were pretty gray, but the countryside in that area is spectacular. In the highest elevations, Spring hadn’t really quite shown up as yet. Buds were still tiny and colorless. Then as we came down towards Youngstown, Ohio, the buds had burst and trees were showing off their blossoms.

In Ohio, when we moved over to Route 270, the traffic was noticeably heavier. It stayed that way all the way into Indiana and the area around Indianapolis. Just before we crossed the state line, the gray skies opened up!  I think it was the heaviest rainfall in my driving experience! Like someone was squirting hoses* at the windshields!

* If you know Rich, you may know he has a collection of pithy farm expressions for various occasions. For this he would say, “Whoa, it’s rainin’ like a cow pissin’ on a flat rock!”

By the time we had stopped outside of Indy at Rich’s brother’s house, we had gassed-up twice. In PA the price was $1.80/gallon; in OH it was $1.89.

We spent the night at Tom & Linda’s house, in their driveway. Spent the longest time outside of the RV when we had dinner with them at the end of one table in their garage! It was a nice visit, except for the part about no hugging.  In the morning, we drove south to Bloomington and met old friends who are living in a retirement village. As they do at Carleton-Willard, meals are delivered to each living space (our friends are in a separate house; others are in apartments); the dining halls are closed. We had coffee with our friends on a bench (in the sun; another cold night) and two camp chairs, until it was time to go fetch our granddaughter.

We had to maintain the “social distance” even with our daughter! Weird. It did fall apart when our granddaughter threw herself into our arms…

We loaded up suitcases, extra blankets (prepared for the cold, finally), stuffed animals that could never have gone with our granddaughter on an airplane, and toys. And a bicycle. It was pretty much an uneventful trip back—except for the overnight truck stop.

We were again parked among the big boys, but in the middle of the night, the carbon monoxide alarm started beeping. Nothing would stop it. We figured it must be all the “exhalations” of the trucks around us: so we moved on at 1:30 in the morning. Rich drove us to a Rest Area in Pennsylvania… apparently with better air quality!

The social-distancing in Indiana and Ohio seemed to be less important to the general population than what we’re used to here. More parking lots were crowded—admittedly that was around the big grocery stores and Walmart stores. Along the whole way, it was a little sad to see the empty and dark hotels and motels which would normally be busy at this time of the year. 

We arrived safely back home—having survived those speed-demons we’d been warned about, taking advantage of the lessened traffic to go very fast—on Tuesday evening, the 12th of May. Olivia has been tested for the virus: she’s negative. Rich & I have also been tested, and are awaiting the results. We’re still safe!

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Olivia Daugherty
2 years ago

This article is amazing!I love the pictures! I would love to go on that trip again!It was so fun! Olivia D.


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