TRAVELING DURING A PANDEMIC

This past week we took a short vacation and traveled to Norfolk Nebraska and Wichita Kansas. My wife and I debated for weeks whether we should be traveling during a serious pandemic. We finally came to the conclusion that if we wore masks, and washed our hands and did social distancing we would be okay. Plus, the CDC has not banned travel in their guidelines. So off we went on our little adventure during a pandemic.

I must say it was quite different traveling this time, my wife is much more concerned than me about COVID-19. She packed hand sanitizer, hand wipes, and Lysol wipes all in the front seat of our vehicle. I do appreciate her efforts in trying to protect us from getting COVID. I did feel like we were doing the best we could on our trip to not pick up germs.

I do find it interesting how people and businesses have responded to this pandemic. Some are very strict in their behavior and some are going about their business like before COVID. Our first stop after leaving Madison was Sioux Falls, South Dakota. At one point during the pandemic Sioux Falls was the epicenter of the pandemic because of the meat packing plant. I had to stop at a men’s clothing store off 41st street to buy a couple of summer shirts. Both Roxie and I masked up and entered the store, only to be greeted by a large man who was wearing a mask and gloves. He welcomed us and asked if he could help us. I picked out four shirts to try on to make sure they fit. He followed me to the changing room and said I only could take one item in at a time, which I did. To my surprise, he told me any shirt I don’t buy has to remain in the back room for 48 hours before he can put it back on the shelf to sell. I bought three of the shirts. We practiced social distancing the whole time I was in the store. When Roxie and I got back into our car, she reminded me not to touch my face and gave me a squirt of hand sanitizer and then I wiped with a hand wipe. I cleaned my steering wheel with the wipe as well. I finally got to take my mask off. Next stop, Norfolk Nebraska.

Roxie’s sister, Shelly lives in Norfolk with her husband Steve, they are both retired. About a year ago Shelly and Steve moved from Stanton, NE to Norfolk. We hadn’t been to their new house yet. While planning our trip we made sure it was alright with them that we come and stay, and they both said yes. We had a great visit and stayed overnight. While leaving Saturday morning for Wichita we had to fill up with gas. At the gas station, everyone was wearing a mask, including me. The lady pumping gas next to me actually had a plastic bag wrapped around her hand as she grabbed the gas nozzle to put gas into her car. I thought that strange, but she was really protecting herself, then that got me thinking, maybe I should do the same and maybe I shouldn’t touch the nozzle handle with my bare hand! I was getting paranoid. I went into the convenience store to go to the bathroom, and noticed once again everyone in the store was wearing a mask. That was the first time that I have seen everyone in a store masked up. Once I got back into the car Roxie and I repeated the same process of sanitizing ourselves.

We arrived in Wichita, Kansas, or really should say Derby, Kansas which is a suburb of Wichita. Our son, Jeremy and his wife, Jennifer along with our grandchildren Broc and Callie have lived in Wichita for the last eleven years after moving from Dawson. It was great to see them, because it had been about two years. Jen, my daughter-in-law is in the Army Reserves and is currently going to school on the east coast, so we weren’t able to see her this trip. The state of Kansas is pretty strict when it comes to the pandemic. You have to wear a mask everywhere you go. We spent four days with them and only went out of the house twice, once to get ice cream and the other to the mall. The mall was about the size of Ridgedale. When you entered the mall, you saw large arrows on the floor telling you what direction to walk. Everyone was masked up and I saw a few people wearing gloves.

On our way home, we made a few stops just to gas up and eat. The routine was the same, mask up, don’t touch anything unnecessary and when you get back into your car, you sanitize your hands thoroughly. After being gone almost a week, I got used to wearing a mask everywhere I went. I purchased a Minnesota Vikings mask and a Gophers mask to look cool. I was very aware of social distancing and washed my hands often. When we got back to Madison, I noticed not a lot of people wearing masks or social distancing like I noticed in Nebraska and Kansas. I think this will be our new normal, wearing a mask everywhere we go. It was a great trip and really different with the pandemic going on.

Tony Ourada State Farm Ad