After so many months of sheltering at home it's surreal to be out on a motorcycle trip. A for-real trip, not just a day ride or a work project.
Until we arrived at the Mountain Lake Lodge this evening it just seemed like another day ride, a loop out from the safety of home and back. Even during times of local lockdown we've been able to get out and escape confinement by riding. There was no risk of contamination winding through the backroads of the Blue Ridge Mountains alone on our motorcycles. We felt fortunate to have the opportunity to enjoy it and you always came back to the security of home.
The trips planned for early this year were cancelled, a real disappointment after all the work that went in to organizing them over the winter. When the lockdown came we couldn't leave the county for more than 3 days without a 14 day quarantine on return. Nor were there any places to stay or eat, they were all closed.
Even this trip is a compromise. It was originally a visit to New England much more extensive and ambitious. We hoped and waited to see if things would open up for us to do it but Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts still remain closed to out-of-state visitors, and New York is making noise about closing again. Scrambling to salvage what could be made from the wreckage of that earlier trip, RONA RIDE 2020 evolved and here we are.
The ride up was as many rides, pleasant, fun, some challenges, a few moments of excitement. But now we look at a situation we have not had to deal with either while riding or at home, putting ourselves in public places with a public that only half embraces this pandemic truly exists. It was quiet when we pulled up to registration at the Lodge, more so than I'd seen in the past. That was encouraging. Donning our masks we made our way inside to check in.
Hotel staff are all masked, that's becoming pretty common at most competent businesses and the now normal plexiglass curtain separates the front line desk workers from the unwashed masses. Blue "Masks are Required" signs are posted on the door as we'd seen at the gas station where we'd stopped for a break on entering Virginia. The apparent order and precautions were fleeting.
Coming inside our Rona radar quickly alerted us to several people just ignoring the mask mandates. It quickly became apparent this was the norm, not the exception. Alas, it was the same here as it was at home, and we weren't going out at home. Now we are amongst the potential plaguers and we'll have to do the best we can.
Arriving at our room the window was already open insuring no stale nor lingering air. I still left the door open for a bit to insure it all flushed away before removing my mask. Once that transpired and all our baggage had been carted to the room we could relax in our sanctuary. We have a safety spot. Dinner reservations were made, our next challenge.
Going out to snap a few photos some guests were covering their faces. The majority just went about their activities oblivious to any potential consequence.
It was our first sit down dinner in a restaurant is many months. Overall I think was just fine. The room was open to air, there was good airflow, and the nearest table to us was at least 40 feet away. While it was a novel experience to be out in a public setting bare faced once we sat down to eat, we felt mostly comfortable with it. First hurdle cleared.
Tomorrow we repeat the experience for breakfast then head out on the road. Rona Ride Day 1 is done.
I went out for a 3 day ride with two friends. We camped, which was great distancing during the week. Campgrounds were empty. Last night was Friday, and when we arrived back after a long day of riding trails, the near empty campground was packed to the limit. Dirty bathrooms, roaming kids, full beach, no masks. The pandemic ‘is over’ for most these folks, I think. My lesson - enjoy the weekdays and nights, stay home on the weekends.
It's hit and miss.