It has now been a full year since we had a blog post, leaving you with the thought that we would not return to Winter Garden RV Resort again. (Spoiler, we do!) The CoVID-19 pandemic has changed many lives and created new routines for many including those that are digital nomads on the road.
In early March 2020, Jason was re-tasked from his IT job at the university to leading the university’s emergency management team through the spring 2020 pandemic response. Then he was asked to lead a special task force to plan for the fall semester and execute the opening of the university with pandemic safety protocols in place. And then again, finally, was asked to oversee the CoVID-19 testing for students, faculty, and staff at the university which he is still doing today.
Jason’s extra time and mental capacity were short on availability outside of work so we stayed put for most of the spring, summer and then headed out as soon as we could in the fall once the fall semester was purring along on its way. Barb had lots of extra time over the summer to include Cece and family in our close pod of contacts. We built an RV parking pad on Barb’s family farm so that we can call that our home base when we are in the area. Many full-time RVers either bought land or stopped full-timing RV all together during the pandemic.
As a way to document for ourselves, and hopefully to catch you up on our 2020, we present you this photo roll blog post to document the historical year.
We were positioned in Montogomery, Alabama, at the Woods RV Park when Jason made the decision that he should be physically on campus. In three years of our RV full-timing, this was always a possible decision to be made and it had finally come that it was needed.
The tensions around the pandemic were increasing and travel was being restricted in portions of the country. The county and city had decided to not open the campground at the normal time and we were there as the lone RV. We were getting questions from people walking and driving by as to why we were there. In April our cooktop failed and we had to replace it.
In May we all started to understand that creating social pods, social distancing and masks were important to prevent the spread of the virus. We extended our pod to include the grand-daughter and family, ensuring that otherwise, maintaining the best that we could. We built an RV parking space at Barb’s family farm and moved from Hoffman Park in River Falls out to there for most of the summer. We did transition back and forth occasionally depending on Jason’s construction projects and CoVID-19 team efforts.
The grand-daughter celebrates her 1st birthday and Oma Barb was excited to be able to share that with her.
The spring was over, CoVID-19 response at the university was slowing as little new information was gained. There was a lull for Jason at work so we seized the opportunity to head North to the Washburn, Wisconsin, area to spend some time in northern Michigan and Northern Minnesota. We got some mud on the tires of the Jeep in the Chequamegon National Forest, but it was really just driving around in the woods nothing Jeepy about it.
Jason tries to electrocute himself while installing the Pepwave modem in the pantry and the antenna on the roof. We celebrate the end of summer with the family. We had to replace the water pump in the motorhome because it had died.
In late August and early September 2020, Jason had many extra hours on campus. He utilized an empty office space on campus to work full-time for the CoVID-19 response. He put in many long hours early and late. Once the semester was off to a successful start, and he transitioned back to a telecommuting 100% gig, we got underway for our 2020-2021 winter travels on September 26th.
Our first stop was in Cincinnati as we made our way toward seeing friends in the Washington DC area later in the fall. We stayed at the FMCA headquarters campground for free and decided to extend for a few nights paying for the option. Getting to the RV park from the West was a bit of a nightmare, it is actually much easier to go around Cincinnati and then come in from the Northeast to avoid the tight 1800’s built residential areas. There Jason continued to work but had to take one of his monthly furlough days so we snagged a reservation at the zoo to see the blue fairy penguins.
Early in October we did 10-day isolation and made our way to the Virginia / DC area to see friends in Manassas, Virginia. During this isolation time, we were very isolated with a couple of campgrounds that seemed like a good idea but ultimately had some issues. We moved from the Goose Bay Marina to Harbor View and ultimately to Pohick Bay. Our favorite campground was the Pohick Bay regional recreation area, situated south of the DC beltline but nestled in the established woods. October was a great time to be there for the fall leaf-peeping season. Blue Ridge Seafood restaurant was one of our first dine-out experiences with CoVID and it was fresh seafood since we were within a stone’s throw of the ocean.
Last spring we booked four months at Winter Garden RV Resort, returning to the same campground we have been at for a few years now. We felt it would be good to plan to be put during CoVID somewhere where we feel comfortable, know what our health care options are, and would be in one spot should a “lockdown” happen again.
November brought some frustration when we woke to the refrigerator beeping. The coolant in the ammonia leaked out of the cooling tower on the refrigerator. After looking all over for refrigerators at Lowe’s, Home Depot, and the RV dealer searching the country for a new RV unit, it was clear buying a refrigerator during a pandemic was not happening. This led to just replacing the cooling tower later on.
Christmas in Orlando has many options with new opportunities due to the pandemic to see lights. We did go to Disney a couple of times but really avoided it with the busy times. Our refrigerator was repaired finally. Christmas day we spread the Jeep Duck fun by visiting all of the hospital parking lots in the Orlando metro ducking Jeeps.