Challenge,  Misc

A Science Fiction World

I Just Finished a Long Drive…

From Las Vegas, Nevada, up through Idaho and then completely across Oregon to the Oregon Coast. About twenty hours of driving or so one way, ten hours each day for four days.

In the past I have loved to just get out and drive. All my friends know that about me. And sometimes I take back roads and head for places in the wilderness Kris will never go with me to again. Ever.

But this time the driving and the travel was different and not fun. In the old days I would stop every hour to see something, get out and get a snack, just stretch. Maybe find a strange diner or antique store. Talk to people, meet people.

This time I would go three and four hours without stopping, or if I did stop it was often just in a wide spot along the road, since I stayed on back roads more than anything. And at gas stations it wasn’t fun. Everyone was afraid of everyone, and justifiably so. I didn’t get within ten feet of anyone at a truck stop or gas station. And besides saying thank you to a clerk, never talked with anyone except a clerk in one antique store I stopped at because I couldn’t keep my eyes open, and stayed twenty feet away from her.

The hotels I stayed in had everything closed like the pools and spas and such, and shields between me and the person behind the counter. You sort of snuck your way to your room and then left without talking to a soul and I was happy for that.

For days ahead I worried about the drive, something I had never done in the past. The operative feeling was fear. Not of the road or an accident, but of making a mistake and catching this virus. 40 hours of driving in fear. Not fun.

So if you are thinking that a road trip right about now would feel good, trust me, it will not. Not if you are sane and respectful of this virus. It will be a drive made in fear.

And that just ain’t fun.


  • Philip

    The timing of your post is just right for me. The last week, now that summer is in full swing, I’ve suddenly been hit with a lot of covid depression. I look at pics from last summer of fun things I did with my kids, and we literally cannot do any of those things now.

    My company, thankfully, has said we’re going to be working from home forever. As a result, I see no reason to repair the busted AC in my car. I use my car maybe twice a week now, once to pick up/drop off my kids at their moms and once to go grocery shopping less than a mile down the road.

    It’s a new world, truly.

  • Pat

    Wow, Dean, you know what is scary to me about this whole situation? It feels like we are living in the Twilight Zone and somehow aliens have taken over our planet and have us all under their control.

    • dwsmith

      Felt more zombie-like, everyone at the gas stations and stops moving slowly, avoiding everyone else, solid fear of other people. Very Twilight Zone.

  • Teri Babcock

    I saw an article recently about 3 Canadian long-haul truck drivers, one of whom had decided to quit doing runs into the US. All 3 said that they were concerned and fearful for their health because of the behavior of people they witnessed in the states – large numbers everywhere they went, taking no precautions and behaving as if nothing had changed.

    Glad you’re home safe, Dean.

  • Deb Miller

    I completely understand, Dean. Like you I love road trips–normally. My husband and I did a shorter road trip last week, driving about 7 hours each way to see my 91-year-old dad. He still lives alone and mows his own grass, but I worry, especially since I hadn’t seen him since last October. I’ve seen almost no one other than my husband for months, so I felt ok from my side. However my dad only watches FN, so naturally he doesn’t think there’s any issue. He goes to church, restaurants and friends’ houses as if all is normal (and ignores the state-wide mask requirement). Admittedly there are only 4 cases in the rural county he lives in, but there’s a busy interstate highway which worried me. I took food for several meals, but still had to do pick up or drive through for lunches. McDonald’s was great (which I can’t believe I would ever say). Their employees wore gloves and masks and stayed distant. In other places no one (staff or customers) wore masks and in several cases I had to lean away from their #$@#* faces. I had to go to a crowded Subway because it was the only place that served something my husband could eat (major mistake on my part in not taking more food for him). The employees had masks, but almost none of the customers, most of whom glared at me (I assume because I was wearing a mask). I felt more afraid of those idiots (and not just because of the virus) than of anyone else on the trip. I came home completely stressed out. Took a long run to calm down the anger in my body. I won’t do that again, even if it means I never see my dad again.

    • dwsmith

      Oh, wow, Deb, that’s scary. I just had to take care of myself and avoid the idiots. Your trip sounds much worse.

      Just not worth the fear traveling at this point in time. I look forward to the day when I can just take a road trip again and not be fearful or angry at everyone I see. It will come.