Friday, September 17, 2021

A Worrywart Goes on a Road Trip

I’ve felt fear, I’ve felt angst, I’ve felt panic, I’ve worried. I’ve been a scared little rabbit, a scaredy cat, and a wimp. I’ve even detailed the finer points between fear and worry in a blog called “Not a scaredy-cat – a worrywart.”

Yes, I’m occasionally brave, land on my feet, am tough as nails. But not right now. Right now, I’m planning a road trip into Covid Land USA: the Lower 48. (Well, actually, Alaska is a worse Covid Land. The whole U.S. is Covid Land.)

Tim and I just returned from a 3-day ferry ride on the Alaska Marine Highway’s Tustumena to Dutch Harbor. The trip had been canceled on us for the last two attempts over the years, so this was Our Chance. We were also going to spend an additional three days in Dutch Harbor.

These were my pre-trip planning concerns:

  • Will I barf for three days of seasickness?
  • Will the Scopolamine patch behind my ear be enough to not barf? Do I need (as advised by friends) anti-nausea drugs given to chemotherapy patients?
  • Where will I barf if we don’t have a private bathroom in the stateroom?
  • What about traveling in a state with only 50+% vaccination rate … and an assertive non-masking contingent? And what about tourists?
  • What’s the hospital capacity if I get sick?
  • Oh, no – we’re coming back on a small plane?!? How will I keep from barfing on a small plane?

Okay, that IS a lot about barfing. I have, in my life, been known as the Barf Queen. I have barfed on many a ship, so it’s not some idle fantasy. But – amazingly and wonderfully – the ocean was calm and peaceful, the weather glorious, and the plane ride smooth. No cell coverage and no wi-fi just increased the relaxation. The landscapes were beautiful, the hikes through World War II sites fascinating, and the burger at Norwegian Rats Saloon the best in my life. Hooray!

The passengers: unmasked, unconcerned, and too close for comfort. Oddly, I hadn’t worried about Covid onboard the ferry because these were the published rules: AMHS currently requires passengers and employees to wear masks inside, but the CDC order makes refusal to wear a face covering a violation of federal law. But there was NO enforcement at all, even when four people had to be put off at King Cove for testing positive. The seating deck where many hung out in close quarters was a frightening petri dish I never entered. They advertised a safe environment and then didn't deliver.

That was the trial run for Barbara Takes a Road Trip. Obviously, barfing is no longer a concern, but Covid is. As in:
  • The Delta variant is running amok!
  • Hospital ICUs are full! If anything else goes wrong, we can’t get in.
  • What if everything around us closes down and seeing new stuff – the reason we’re headed to the Lower 48 at all – becomes impossible?
  • There are 170,000 NEW cases!
  • What if we get a positive test and are stuck in some hotel somewhere for ten days? Ordering in pizza?
  • Even being vaccinated, we could still be spreaders.
  • And almost on a par misery-wise: It’s 90° down there! Yikes, it’s more than 90°! How do people live???

Okay, I can really worry myself into a corner, but I’ve already had one trip fall apart around me when Philadelphia closed down. So packing for this trip became a stop-and-go activity; we’re going, we’re not, we’re going, we’re not.

But then Connie told me the New Mexico State Fair was happening in Albuquerque. I love state fairs! When I checked, I saw that they require full vaccination or a recent test to enter! Hooray! New Mexico, here we come!

But yes, I still have a Plan B. Wherever we are, we can just come home. We have no reservations, no commitments – just the open road.

Hello, open road.


  1. Replies
    1. And a plus: we left a state with a Covid rate of 101/100,000 (3rd worst) to spend time in a state with only 33/100,000 (10th best). Doctors have told us to delay returning....

  2. Tian was a master barfer. Planes, trains, automobiles. I had a motion sick kit I took whenever we travelled. Quesy pops, ginger candy, homeopathic stuff and barf bags. As soon as we sat down on the plane my family would gather all the barf bags and give them to me. I was in charge of barfing.

    1. Judith, this had me in stitches: "I was in charge of barfing." I've never heard of Queasy Pops, and they seem to be just sugar, but I'm going out to buy some because I'm having trouble in the car now, too. Or else it's just the 95°+ heat... and motion.


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