Alaska 2021 Trip Planning; Post Covid-19...

Discussion in 'Americas' started by black 8, Apr 13, 2020.

  1. black 8

    black 8 motographer

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    ~ 13 Apr 2020

    OK... The last thing I want to do is start another planning thread to Alaska. However, it just seems prudent to start one given that COVID-19 is a Black Swan event which is still wreaking havoc on 185 countries and regions globally. Currently the US/Canadian border is closed to non-essential travel with both governments issuing a joint statement:
    HERE (Updated Travel Restriction dated 30 June 2020 HERE.) Moreover, 42 states in the U.S. have issued "stay at home orders" with seven states; AR, IA, NE, ND, SD, UT, and WY being the last hold outs... Nationally the "social distancing" guidelines are in effect until the end of April to stem the infection rate and will be evaluated at the beginning of May.

    Latest COVID-19 Stats: HERE

    Untitled.jpg

    2.jpeg

    As for me... I rode to Alaska in 2017 and I've been planning a "redo" for the past two years... but effen Murphy keeps getting in the way and screwing up my plans. I've been set to go with my waypoints, gas stops, and campgrounds plotted in Basecamp but family issues in 2019 and now this COVID-19 Pandemic have precluded my plans yet again. I've already written-off riding to Alaska for 2020 given that we are in uncharted territory and there are a lot of unknowns at this point. Rather than crossing my fingers and hope that things will get better by summer's end, I've just accepted the fact that things are screwed up and I will try again next year so that:

    ~A. I can continue to save money and have one hell of a trip in 2021...
    ~B. A new bike should be in the works for 2021... (maybe)
    ~C. My personal gear and camping gear should be well sorted out by then... ever changing in the hopes of getting lighter...
    ~D. Procedures to prevent community spread should be in place for both personal and establishments (lodging, restaurants, and other properties) TTPs to help mitigate cross border travel to/from Alaska...
    ~E. Remote services (gas and lodging) through British Columbia and the Yukon should be stabilized by then... I don't know at this point if these remote services are currently open since most are seasonal and the lack of patronage is probably causing them to close altogether. Perhaps an inmate from Canada can provide info...

    The intent of this thread is to gather and share info about planning a trip to Alaska post COVID-19 Pandemic; basically the 5Ws (who, what, where, when, why, [and how])... Like I said, we are in uncharted territory and no one knows if this novel-corona virus is seasonal or a one-off thing. A couple of things for sure; 1. COVID-19 is a game changer as far as dining and lodging on the road goes, 2. the vaccine is still months if not a year from trails, FDA approval, and manufacturing enough for everyone...

    Just some food for thought for those that will make the trek next year...
    #1
  2. black 8

    black 8 motographer

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    here are some of the waypoints I have plotted on Basecamp... the gpx file is attached...

    Alaska.jpg

    Attached Files:

    #2
  3. rickj

    rickj Been here awhile Supporter

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    Hi Rudy,

    I think a 2021 planning thread is a great idea, as it's looking like 2020 will be a bust for most riders. I'm very positive about the outlook though, and confident that things will be back to normal by the summer of 2021, although it will likely be a new normal. There will likely be a lot more riders than usual heading up north in 2021, and I've even given it some thought. However, we're in "RV mode" right now so I think it's more likely that we'll pull the trailer up there so Marilyn can see what the fuss is all about.

    I had started a planing thread before my 2018 trip (HERE), and it was very helpful. I gathered some significant intel that really added to the enjoyment of the ride.

    I'll be following along...

    Rick
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  4. black 8

    black 8 motographer

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    Hey Rick... you're probably right about 2020 being a bust for most riders. With all this time we've had under the lockdown (going on the 4th week now) I've been doing a lot of reading in other threads where riders are postponing their travel plans for a later date or bumping to next year.

    One inmate (squonker) is reporting that the road leading to Tuk is barricaded just outside of town and if you're not providing essential services, the residents don't want you there... post #50 Here... I'm guessing those remote communities in the Northwest Territories don't want COVID-19 ravaging their town. Moreover, I've read examples where an inmate was prevented by LEO from entering the town that he did not reside in and roads being blocked by jersey barriers. When I find those threads I'll include the link...

    I'm optimistic about 2021 as well. That's why I'm planning for a ride next year.

    I'm glad that you'll be able to show Marilyn the reason we ride our bikes to those remote locations...
    #4
  5. KKORO

    KKORO Been here awhile

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    I've started my plans for a return trip in 2021. I'll be starting the first week in June from Northern Michigan. I'm going to make big miles up to Tok and take my time from there. I'll be able to stay as long as I like, so I'll explore a lot of Alaska at my leisure.

    You and I were both on KLR's in 2017. I've got a V-Strom 1000 now. What did you end up with?
    #5
  6. black 8

    black 8 motographer

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    Hey John, glad that you'll be making the trip back to Alaska for 2021...

    I haven't decided what bike I'll be taking next year but whatever it is will be sub-401cc. I want to take the slow lane up to Alaska this time. During my 2017 trip, I was doing almost 500 mile days on the KLR... next year I'm shooting for no more than 350 miles per day to enjoy the scenery and may even stay a couple of days at some places.

    :beer,
    Rudy
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  7. oneway

    oneway Tehachapi CA

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    I’m a bit more pessimistic at this point. I just think it’s too early after seeing the news recently about what the new “normal” is gonna look like. I’m afraid of making specific plans even though I’m hopeful. Since I’m not a planner (I mean, seriously....how’s your plans working out?) I can sit back and just make a determination next year. I just follow the front wheel anyway.
    #7
  8. travlr_45

    travlr_45 Long timer

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    Couple of us here had been planning a trip into the northwest this summer but with all the hoopla going on right now everything is on hold. Unless things start to open back up and services start coming back on line I’ll probably just stick to the day rides and use the vacation time on the boat this year. Just a wait and see thing right now.
    #8
  9. black 8

    black 8 motographer

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    While I generally have an optimistic view about everything; the other part of me is a realist where I accept any given situation and finds ways to mitigate/minimize my risks...

    Hear me out for a minute or two Gary, this maybe long...

    At some point, both domestic and foreign states WILL be forced to proceed forward with daily life. I say forced because leaders can't be expected to keep doling out stimulus checks while their economy tanks as people stay at home unproductive. Moreover, people WILL need to get back to work IOT support themselves and their families to put food on the table. With that said, individual states will make the call to get their citizens back to work to restart their economies... That leads us to a "new normal" until a vaccine is created... when... I don't know.

    I have some HazMat and decontamination experience from my former employer and those skills can be readily applied to COVID-19. Given the training that I've had, there are some gnawing questions that I have should I proceed with a cross country ride next year within this new normal where the virus is spread by personal and surface contact and by airborne transmission from a cough or sneeze:


    ~ Hotel Industry...

    How will these establishments ensure their properties are properly sanitized after turning over a room to another guest? Previously, I pulled bed sheets back to see if they've been changed once I got in the room; some good and some not so good...
    What about the toilet and bathtub? how well have they been sanitized by someone making a little over minimum wage? the rug... you're tracking in possible contamination from the outside...
    What about the free breakfast? what precautions are they taking? are their employees properly trained so as not to cross contaminate what they're serving?

    ~ Restaurant Industry...


    Again, how will these establishments ensure their dining areas are properly sanitized?
    How are dinnerware and silverware settings sanitized to prevent contamination?
    How well is the wait staff trained to prevent community spread? they make less than minimum wage and rely on tips...
    What PPE will the staff use? What about the the line cooks in the back? are the restrooms being properly sanitized? door handles?

    ~ Gas stations...


    Will the service stations sanitize the pump handle after each use? probably not...
    Are their employees trained or just told to wear mask and gloves, if that? What about those quick foods you buy on the go?
    What about the restrooms? door handles?

    ~ Airline Industry...


    Same questions applies for a fly and ride or if a rider has a get-off and has to fly home...

    ~ Vector Transmission... (mosquitos...etc)


    Alaska's state bird is the mosquito... :lol3 can they transmit COVID-19 after biting someone that is infected????

    ---Break---

    As we speak today, I mitigate getting contaminated by wearing my PPE when out; I make sure to wear a long sleeve shirt, pants, a hat, a neck warmer that acts as a mask, nitrile work gloves when I touch grocery carts or door handles, and carry hand sanitizer whenever I go out to replenish groceries, fill up the gas, and other supplies...

    Am I getting too carried away with this or am I being prudent? My instinct and training says no given how infectious COVID-19 is and how the virus has demonstrated itself spreading like wildfire...

    This is the reason I created this thread. To ask those common sense question that we may face while riding our bikes on some adventure... I'm hoping someone smarter than me can shed some light or mention things that I have missed.

    To those reading this thread, please keep it apolitical. I would like a sensible exchange of ideas as to how we stay safe while out riding our bikes... There are more appropriate threads in the basement for rants. Keep it civil...

    BTW, as I write this, the news is reporting that certain states; TX, FL, NC, RI are setting up COVID-19 check points.... HERE


    stay safe out there...

    :beer
    #9
  10. travlr_45

    travlr_45 Long timer

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    I did some reading on the mosquito thing. According to what I can find and talking with a friend who actually teaches nursing at Baylor the virus is unable to survive the digestive system of a mosquito. That was a major concern I had a few weeks ago when the weather here started warming up. As for the hotels, restaurants, gas stations etc I have no answer to that. I am convinced however that regardless of how this thing shakes out our day to day lives will become increasingly more expensive as this thing progresses... as of today a big portion of the meat packing industry is shut down at least for the short term.
    #10
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  11. black 8

    black 8 motographer

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    I read up on it just now from the American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA)... I didn't even know such an organization existed.

    "For a virus to pass to a person through a mosquito or tick bite, the virus must be able to replicate inside the mosquito or tick." HERE

    Below is a slide from the WHO. The link can be found in the AMCA article. Key take away from me "no information nor evidence..."


    mb-mosquito-bite.png
    #11
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  12. oneway

    oneway Tehachapi CA

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    All good points Rudy. My last trip to AK I camped when the weather was good unless it was late or I was worn out.Im not one to take down or put up a tent in the rain. And for the most part I just snacked until I could hit a restaurant. Those dynamics might have to change along with some of the things you mentioned.
    At some point on a longer trip I think it would become burdensome and there’s a value trade off that is up to each individual to decide the worth.
    I really enjoyed D2D, but while social distancing is recommended I don’t see attending that again.
    Again, what’s the value trade off. I was having a discussion about this very thing yesterday with my long time riding buddy. The reason we do rides together while not completely gone is certainly diminished.
    #12
  13. black 8

    black 8 motographer

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    Gary, you're right... there will be a value trade-off that adventure riders will have to make going forward. But I will not allow this situation to stop my wanderlust. I have a limited shelf life remaining and I want to enjoy what little time I have left. I know there will be pitfalls along the way in the post corona virus new normal. You just have to know what the danger areas look like and mitigate it. As for me, there is little to none with regards to a value trade-off. I'm used to austere conditions, I'm used to riding solo, and living off the bike/tent is luxury to me...

    EDIT: I'm gonna' get specific and won't pull any punches in the following paragraphs... My HazMat experience comes from the military. I'm not talking about your basic HazMat training that the majority of service members receive but detailed training on decontamination procedures. We covered personal decon in great detail during a two week course. Those skills were reinforced over the years through repetitive training.

    Here's what I would do:

    1. Let's talk anti-virus PPE...

    this is the gear that I take whenever I leave the confines of my house when I get groceries or execute essential business these days... 21.JPG

    You're pretty safe wearing all your motorcycle related PPE. All you have to do is follow social distancing rules to remain safe... The probability of getting contaminated increases when you start removing your helmet, jacket, and gloves since the corona virus is transmitted from personal and surface contact or airborne droplets i.e. handshake, touching a surface that has been contaminated (door knobs/handles, faucets, tables... etc), talking to someone directly and breathing in their halitosis, walking in front of someone that just sneezed or cough. There are more examples... basically you have to treat everything you touch or come in contact with as if it were contaminated.


    2. Actions at gas stops and snack breaks...

    ~ I always wear my neck gaiter when riding the bike, I usually pull it over my nose as it helps to keep my face from getting sunburned. When off the bike it acts as a mask. I'll probably carry a hospital mask to Alaska just in case.
    ~ Leave your leather gloves on the bike! Don't touch anything with it other than your stuff. If a contaminant gets in the leather from refueling or touching door handles and then you touch your face, you've just contaminated yourself. When you dismount the bike, leave the leather gloves on the bike and put on the nitrile gloves. Then you can touchy feely all the fuel handles, doors, and handles all you want. Just not your stuff or face. After conducting your business, sanitize your hands...
    ~ Going to the bathroom, be careful of the surfaces you touch to do your business... number 2 will be more complicated... :lol3
    ~ If I get a soda or fountain drink, remember someone else touched those items so be careful.
    ~ If you sit down, sanitize the chair or bench. If a contaminant gets on your gortex pants it'll stay there for a while and if you happen to touch that same spot with your bare hands you've contaminated yourself... HERE
    ~ Wear a long sleeve shirt or keep your jacket on if you want to take a break. It acts as a secondary layer should someone careless sneezes or coughs in your direction. If that happens just sanitize the affected area.
    ~ Wear a hat to protect your noggin'... a sneeze can travel up to 6 feet according to the CDC and the droplets can stay suspended for a while... Here
    ~ When someone sneezes or coughs it'll eventually end up on the ground and you may walk on it so don't touch the sole of your boots and don't bring it in the tent with you at night...


    3. Lodging vs. camping...

    ~ I'm cheap and don't want to waste money on a hotel. Plus I'm used to austere sleeping conditions. Having a tent is like living in the Taj Mahal for me... I'd rather spend $20.00+ Canadian for a campground than an expensive hotel.
    ~ Staying in a hotel is gonna have issues in itself; who stayed there previously? were they contagious? and how well was the room sanitized by the hotel maids that make close to minimum wage? :hmmmmm
    ~ No thanks... I'll stay in a campground away from heavily trafficked areas by other people...
    ~ I'll be using a Catoma Falcon Speedome 2 man tent. I've had it for a couple of years now. It literally sets up in less than 30 secs.
    ~ I have an insulated XL Klymit sleeping pad along with an oversized Klymit 0 degree sleeping bag so I'll be nice and toasty... I bought the XL models so I don't feel confined in the sleeping bag or feel like I'm rolling off the pad.
    ~ I'll cook dehydrated meals at camp and will just snack while on the go... plastic sealed snacks only or ones that I retrieve myself... definitely no burger joints where someone is touching the food to assemble it...

    Catoma Falcon Speedome... it's already assembled and all you have to do is pop it open... used mostly by the Forest Service when they fight fires... easy peasy...
    1.jpg

    plenty of room for me and my gear...
    3.jpg

    4. Slow down and smell the rose...

    ~ In 2017 I was an adventure n00b and went to Alaska on a KLR-650 for my 50th birthday. I was riding close to 500 miles a day. Even though I was covering a lot of ground, I made time to take photos often and fly the drone I brought along.
    ~ Long story short, I had a blast and rode the Denali Highway, made it to the Arctic Circle, Anchorage, Homer Spit, rode the TOTWH, and to the 25th Anniversary of D2D. I got complacent on the way back, hit some loose gravel (no dirt experience at all), had a tank slapper, and a get-off in Teslin. I was OK but the bike needed repairs so I flew home and waited till repairs were completed. I ended up trailering the bike back home since repairs ran past September...
    ~ Since then I have gained experience riding in off-road conditions and even completed the CABDR solo on a vintage 1981 Yamaha XT-250.
    ~ When I do make the trek back to Alaska, I'll be on a smaller displacement bike, </= 400cc so I won't get myself into trouble. That and I have gained an appreciation for smaller bikes as I get older in my retired years.
    ~ The most I'll ride will probably be 350 miles or less per day.
    ~ Here's the moral of the story; "slow the fuck down and smell the roses..." In this new normal you can't afford a get-off lest you want to end up flying home in a confined space with air that's being re-circulated in the cabin or worse yet, end up in the hospital with other COVID-19 patients...


    solo on the Southern California BDR...
    31.jpg

    Are the steps I outlined a bit too much or over the top? Maybe, maybe not... but how many times have you witnessed a guy use the restroom at a Loves, Pilot, or Flying J and afterwards they just walk out without washing their hands! and you have to touch the same door handle to get out :hmmmmm... Seems trivial but that's how viruses are spread. For me these steps will work to mitigate some of the corona virus pitfalls in this age of new normal until they develop a vaccine. Did I forget to mention that I have a mild case of OCD... :loco


    Note: I'll continue to edit this page as things come to mind...

    :beer

    #13
  14. oneway

    oneway Tehachapi CA

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    Your logic and suggestions are spot on in my book. Thanks for sharing the wisdom of your training. That helps think thru some of the procedures more thoroughly.
    What are you gonna do about showers?
    #14
  15. black 8

    black 8 motographer

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    Field Hygiene... again little to no value trade-off since I have been practicing this for decades...

    I use my canteen cup and stove for hot water to take field showers... one canteen cup for your head/face and another cup for you body using a micro fleece washcloth...
    stove.jpeg

    I cut my own hair with a trimmer using a #1 guide before I leave and it stays short for about two weeks or so. For longer trips I carry a portable battery operated trimmer and use a #2 guide to cut my hair. This makes it easier for washing my head; little hair to wash, mostly skin. I have no one to impress while out on a wanderlust plus I wear my baseball cap anyway. I can get away with using one canteen cup to wash my head and face (get your head and face wet, wash with soap and micro fleece washcloth thoroughly, use a little water and rinse off, wash again, and use remaining water for final rinse) As for the the body, another canteen cup and use your same washcloth to wipe down the body in a certain order; cleanest to dirtiest... arm, body, legs then underarm... as for the crotch and feet - baby wipes... I've gone weeks using field hygiene and you'll be surprised how refreshed you feel afterwards. I'll go to an RV campground, FamCamp, or KOA for a full shower every third day and do laundry. If you travel in highly populated areas, wash your riding jacket and pants at reasonable times to wash contaminants off. If you practice social distancing and avoid populated areas, you're Ok and won't need to wash as often, or you can just wait for the rain to wash that crap off.

    sanitize the crap out of your surroundings in the shower... I bought these at the Dollar Store and oh BTW I dowsed them with 70% isopropyl alcohol just in case... or bring small spray bottle filled with straight up isopropyl alcohol and apply liberally...
    DSC01729.JPG

    For a full on shower, I use a Fieldsheer collapsable helmet bag to carry my shower gear. Sanitize the crap out of your surroundings that you are likely to touch; the hook and surrounding wall area when you hang the bag, sanitize the chair when you lay down your clothes, and wear crocs or shower shoes while in the shower. At this point your doing personal decontamination but try not to touch the shower walls... It's OK to move the shower curtain momentarily, you'll be rinsing in the shower anyway. Afterwards use your washcloth to move the shower curtain, you can rinse that in the sink later.

    my Fieldsheer helmet bag... about the size of a water bottle when I roll it up...
    DSC02136.JPG

    After it's all said and done, get dressed carefully. Wash/sanitize anything you think may have been contaminated during the process and carry on...

    :beer
    #15
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  16. Bigbob1

    Bigbob1 Rain Rider Supporter

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    Rudy, Rudy, Rudy Any one of your fleet of bikes would be just fine for a slow trip north :D

    Seriously, looking forward to following along with your planning.
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  17. black 8

    black 8 motographer

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    That's what the wife keeps telling me... :lol3

    About the thread, not so much about planning. Take the pandemic out of the equation and we wouldn't be having this conversation today. We'd just ride to our heart's content...

    But in today's environment, we have to think about what precautions to take so we don't get the virus unknowingly while out on a wanderlust.

    In fact while formulating my response to you, this question just popped up in my head: "are we suppose to self quarantine for two weeks after a cross country/cross border ride so we don't bring that crap home to the family?"

    Before all we had to bring home was dirty laundry, it's more complicated now...
    #17
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  18. Bigbob1

    Bigbob1 Rain Rider Supporter

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    Sorry to report the border is closed for another 30 days
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  19. CavReconSGT

    CavReconSGT Just the right amount of evil.

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    What to say? Originally planned on taking the trip I had planned for 5 years to Deadhorse and also to Tuk. Was supposed to go last year but that didn't happen because of events out of my control. This was the year I was prepping for. So what now? Still don't know. As of this moment, I am thinking that instead of leaving on May 1st which was my original plan, I may leave on May 15th with the thought that I will take parts of the TAT west across the country hoping that when I get to Oregon the border will be open and I will go across and do my trip. As I get closer to the 15th I will be reevaluating this every day. I still don't know what I am going to do but this looks less and less promising. If I have to wait another year I will but I am prepping my bike like I am leaving still on the 1st.

    I spent 3 years in the army as a scout in an infantry battalion. Some of that time as assistant NBC officer. Also did over 10 years as an EMT on the local fire department. Still maintain my certification. Was Fit tested for my N-95 as well as NBC in the army and on the fire department. Had certification as hazmat aware. We did several classes over the years on how a pandemic would be handled. The plan was that the EMT's and other healthcare workers would be vaccinated first and then we would give out vaccines to the general population. Production line type of immunization. The first thing you learn in the PNCOC (NCO school in the Army) is to make and always have a plan. The second thing they teach you is that nothing ever goes to plan. Apparently the same thing can be said about medical plans.

    Not to get political but I don't listen to ANY politicians about this at all. Not one. I don't listen to their briefings, I don't read what they write. Don't care. I pay attention to the CDC and the DPH. Being that I am in the database as a certified EMT I sometimes get emails from the DPH in CT. I find these useful. I would expect any professional in CDC or DPH who thought that anything that they had to write was incorrect or misleading to refuse to do so. If they were forced, I truly would expect that they would quit before they would do that. The profession they choose wouldn't allow them to do less. In a perfect world. I know that the world isn't perfect but there are enough good men and women that I think we will be able to tell the difference.

    And in a democracy, you are allowed to believe whatever you wish. Your thoughts may differ, and I have no problem with that.

    KR
    #19
  20. black 8

    black 8 motographer

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    Thanks for your service... sounds like you have a good grasp on how to circumvent the COVID-19 dilemma even though the vaccine won't be ready anytime soon.

    I'd like to pick your brain to see what TTPs you would use to avoid the virus as you travel cross country and even cross border once the travel restrictions are lifted.

    I know there's more than one way to skin a cat and I'd like to hear how others will cope with the situation? Your input would be appreciated...

    ~ What would you take with you for virus protection?
    ~ What would you do at gas stops with hundreds of people utilizing the facilities?
    ~ Camping or hoteling it?
    ~ What about food and water? Even if you bring your own you'd run out at some point. Would you feel safe eating at a restaurant or just get something on the go?

    thanks in advance...
    :beer
    #20