Strange Times Indeed

NOTICE – read at your own risk, just some general ramblings from a bord and worried traveler.

People are getting restless, understandably so.  Nearing the end of April and we have basically been staying home since around March 9th.   Besides the grocery store, and a couple of scenic drives we have stayed home.  Not really a huge change for us except we are staying in one place and exploring scenic drives has declined dramatically.  But you have to remember that we are not normal!!!

Over 27 MILLION people have filed for unemployment in the last 5 weeks!!!  Think about that, these are the people who could get thru to file.  Can not imagine the tremendous stress this must be having on pay-check to pay-check people, single married one child or four.  This is everyone, almost.  Most people do not have more than a couple of months of savings if any.  Been there done that says 99% of us.

I do believe that WE (Randy and I) have always had a safety net via family or friends.  We have never felt completely helpless, can not imagine how this must feel to so many people these days, not only financially, but emotionally with loved ones being sick.

From what we understand if you are sick enough to go to a hospital, you must be in really bad shape.  Once dropped off you can not have family visitors etc. and I can only wonder how often the family at home gets an update on their family member??  No disrespect to medical providers it is not their primary job to do this.  Disrespect to this virus being so contagious that you may likely spend your dying days alone if you get really sick…  I don’t want to be sitting at home alone for possibly weeks not even able to reach out and touch friends and family for support while my loved one is alone in a hospital possibly dying?!?!?  Such a very sad situation this must be for so many…  Thanking lucky stars and butterflies that we to date don’t have anyone close infected.

So given the grave economic situation, and medical for those infected.  The question still remains is it really that bad?  These two different situations may very well look at the virus in different ways.  Obviously, people are getting sick and unfortunately dying.  But many can’t feed their family and don’t know what the future may hold for them.  They are most likely also having to navigate the concept of home schooling or at least on line which may be more difficult.  This could easily get out of control.

Not to mention the mental health issues that this situation is more than likely causing or intensifying.  Depression, drug and alcohol abuse, child or spousal abuse, loneliness, anxiety, the list is endless.

The experts think it is serious, and as I said people are dying, over 54,000 to date (4/26/20).  There is still a lack of testing in the US (whether number, access, supplies or reliability is all up for debate right now), so don’t believe that we really know the extend of the problem yet.  Personally, I don’t understand how we can move forward with out knowing the extent of the problem…  Again, just my opinion.

As I said I don’t personally know anyone who has been infected by this virus and out of the entire US population is 54,000 a lot?  Families are being torn apart, the economy is falling apart, most of the country is closed except for what is considered essential workers; I can understand the extreme urge to want to go back to work and return to the way things used to be “normal.”  But transmission is occurring in asymptomatic people!!  You or they have no idea who is infected and who is not…  This is a very contagious virus, and you can be asymptomatic for up to 14 days before getting sick or you may never show symptoms at all??  So, the precautions we are all taking (including closing businesses) are to protect others.  Young healthy people MAY not be seriously affected by this virus, but for older people or people with pre–existing conditions it COULD be a death sentence…

For once, I agreed with President Trump and his philosophy for reopening our country.  In stages, starting after first proving that there had been a reduction in cases for 14 days straight in a specific area then certain restrictions could be lifted.  Fourteen days after the first restriction are lifted if cases are still going down more restrictions could be lifted, etc.  To me this sounds like a reasonable approach.

But instead of following this approach, some states are choosing to begin opening beaches, parks, businesses, etc with no evidence of a downward trend in their states.  Georgia has become famous for being one of the first to allow businesses to open and get this list of eligible businesses, salons, hair dressers, barbershops, bowling alleys, gyms, nail salons and tattoo parlors…    It is being said that allowing the businesses to open prevents them for continuing to collect unemployment.  If you are allowed to open and you choose not to the benefits are not there.  There by reducing the states unemployment burden.  Leaving some of the most vulnerable even more defenseless.

There have also been demonstrations in many state capitols calling to open the states.  Most seem to be skin head types carrying long guns, and our esteemed president says that he understands and they are very good people.  Almost makes me sorry I agreed with his reopening plan…

Trump loves to divert dodge and deflect all responsibility at any cost.  This is not new, but given the dire straights the country is currently experiencing it is very dangerous.  As a country we basically wasted most of January and all of February before reacting to this threat.  Over and over they said it was “under control” and would vanish with warm weather in April, or would one day just disappear…  but it hasn’t.  Then it became China’s fault for not telling anyone, and now the World Health Organization is at fault for not acting …  The latest Trump during one of his briefings started asking questions about injecting light or disinfectant in to the body to kill the virus.  As I said this is getting dangerous…

I don’t know where I am going with all of this, or what the answers are.  I just know that this is a very scary time in America, with little direction and even less leadership.  I personally would just like to wake up from this dream and continue our adventures!!!

Peace and Love out…

 

Coronado National Monument, AZ

Much if not all of the national forests in SE Arizona is considered Coronado National Forest, BLM, Etc., But Just south of Sierra Vista on the Mexico Border is a small national monument.  It is named after the Spanish conquistador Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, although they don’t think he crossed these mountains.

There was a pretty nice narrow dirt road up to Montezuma pass.  Not sure why this pass is here because this is one of those Sky Islands.  Where there is flat or hilly land on all sides, so why cross the mountains, go around!!!  Anyway, here is the road and pass info.

This road crosses the pass and goes to Parker Canyon Lake. We thought about it and even when down the mountain (probably the hardest part) but decided to head back and grocery shop on the way home since the stay at home order went into effect that day at 5pm 4/1/2020.  Do the right thing right…

Heres the view west San Rafael valley

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And east San Pedro Valley…. Notice the prevalent features in the valley, the San Pedro river running north to south you can see the brighter green and the east to west dark line it the WALL separating the US and Mexico.  Can you believe it, first don’t think it is necessary and second if you really wanted to get in don’t think it would stop many people?  But there are lots of border petrol stops and their trucks around???  If the WALL doesn’t stop you, they will…

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Things were just getting started on April 1, prior post was after that so refer to that.  The National Monument was worth the drive.

Peace and Love

Covid 19 thoughts. AZ

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From Benson, AZ we moved another 45 minutes or so south west to Tombstone Territories RV Park.  We are about 10 miles from Tombstone to the east which has about 1,200 residence, about 45 minutes from Benson to the north which has about 5,000 residence and about 25 miles from Sierra Vista to the south with about 25,000 residence. Look back at Parker Canyon Lake post to see what is to the west.  Far enough away and yet close enough.

We moved on March 17th and will probably be here until the end of April at least.  The prior couple of posts were day trips from here, all before Arizona issued at stay home order (5pm March 30, 2020). We were pretty much staying at home anyway as you can see from our posts, not much activity.

This whole situation has been kind of bizarre…  We believe that our government has not taken this matter as seriously as we have.  We of course are not speaking for everyone, but we certainly did not want to catch a rogue virus at this stage of our lives.  So, we have been staying home for some time now.  Personally it has not been too bad, but we have worked on a washer/dryer that has not worked for over a year (no success yet), defrosted the freezer (both sides), cleaned  and decluttered the refrigerator and pantry (small as it may be), cleaned parts of the bathroom that haven’t been touched in 3 years, filed our taxes for 2019, participated in the census, read several books, cooked and eaten a lot, did laundry, we may have to leave the house soon.  But only if we are self-contained, picnic lunch and sufficient water to not have to stop around people.

So now to some issues.

  • Our national government somehow thinks that it is the states responsibility to be prepared for a pandemic. The federal government is our “back up plan”.  If there are not enough supplies the states have messed-up they alone should have predicted and ordered appropriately.
  • Now believe it or not there are 50 states biding against each other for the same supplies (PPE, ventilators, hospital beds) and the Federal Govt steps in and redirects the items purchased by the states.
  • Testing is still not being performed like it should. If we don’t know how many people are infected how in the world can we know the infection rates or fatality rates.  True story, a friend has a mother in a VA nursing home, her nurse called out with symptoms.  It took over 2 weeks for the family to know if the nurse had covid-19!!! The results were obtained this week so right now this is still the situation. (4/4/20)
  • The numbers are currently (possibly) going down??? We can only hope.  But it still appears that there are going to be a lot of dead Americans.   This is April 11, 2020 and last I heard over 18,000 people dead with projections of 60k or more.  That is good news a couple of days ago it was 100,000 to 240,000 just in the USA.  April 13, 2020 over 23,000 dead and over 580,000 infecteded.
  • New buzz word besides “social distancing” is “flatten the curve.” This refers to the curve of time and known cases or deaths.  If it all hits at once then the curve will be a spike overwhelming medical facility and put larger demands on supplies.  But if the infection is spread out over time it may take longer but will lessen the sick having to be treated at the same time, reducing need.  This will also reduce cases, based on early mitigation.  Best case scenario is flattening the curve… Social distancing is 6 feet and as early as January shaking hands was taboo…
  • Our trustworthy federal government has moved navy hospital ships to NYC and LA, CA with over 1,000 beds each to date NYC has used 50 beds and there is nothing being reported for LA (that we have seen)… They may be needed; I have no idea but right now I believe that NYC could have used a different kind of help???  They are the current epicenter, but surrounding NJ and Conn are close, Louisiana specifically New Orleans is close, Michigan and Florida, it is all over.  So far AZ is not too bad, our best thing is that Cochise Co is very large and only has 11 cases.  Update, Naval ships in either port have not been fully utilized thank goodness.  AZ currently has 3,500 confirmed cases and 115 deaths.  Cochise Co less than 20 cases and a pretty bid county so feeling ok yet staying home
  • National Parks, State Parks, some county and city parks are all closed. Many cities/counties are not allowing short term rentals (such as us – short term usually defined as 90 days) Mostly within cities which we are not near, but still.  Earlier we thought about moving north, but glad we didn’t may end up with nowhere to go?? We will probably hang out until at least the end of April.
  • The best we have seen grocery stores stocked was in early March maybe the 10th. But even then, there was no TP.  Since then, usually packed, most staples – rice, pasta, canned goods, frozen food, etc. have been mostly bare.  TP section is always bare.  The only time since before we met Anne and Ron, we found TP was March 18 and they were rationing it one pack per customer.  Update Randy went shopping 4/9/20 still no TP and most staple shelves empty or slim pickings went to 2 stores.
  • Restaurants bars all entertainment has basically closed. It is based on essential businesses and non-essential, AZ considers golf courses essential, FL considers churches essential, pawn shops are essential, but hair salons are not?!?!   Some restaurants are open for drive thru or pickup/delivery.  Guess people are learning to cook or driving thru a lot which may explain the lack of TP?
  • Hospitals, pharmacies, grocery stores, gas stations, pawn shops, I assume check cashing, farmers markets etc. are all essential businesses.
  • Gas is cheap, they are having a pricing war (Russia and Middle East) I don’t really understand all of this, but gas is really cheap. On the other hand, if you care you are not driving anywhere unless you are essential?
  • People are getting restless, but without extensive testing (since carriers are sometimes asymptomatic) I don’t really understand how we move forward??? We may be on the downside on some fronts (lets hope) but if we try to start over too early it could resurface in a second wave.  Again, over reaction, exaggeration, at this point who knows???  Not willing to take the bet.
  • There have been 3 stimulus packages passed. Wish I knew more about all details, but here are some.  Unemployment payments would be increased $600 per recipient per week if the paperwork could be processed thru the states.  Last two weeks of unemployment numbers from March and the first from April show almost 17 million people applying (about 10% of the country is unemployed), and these are the people who could get thru and navigate the system.  No system could handle this kind of increase, but our leader and chiefs say that the states are incompetent???  This is over a 500% (conservative estimate) increase in filing since last year.  Shouldn’t we work together…
  • Stimulus is also supposed to provide small business loans that could convert to grants if the business continues to pay and has the same level of employment 90 days later. Think restaurant, bar, band, bowling alley, etc. how can they guarantee to be back up to original activity when they don’t know when they can open.  I don’t know the answer, I just don’t like how its going right now.  As good as it may sound, little to no money has been distributed yet.
  • President Trump has not been able to have rallies so he has decided to do press conferences EVERY DAY for over an hour, many times 2 or more. They have been embarrassing, and within the last couple of days are no longer being broadcast by national networks or even CNN.  Fact when CNN quit airing the briefings, taskforce members were not allowed to appear on the network. To their credit, CNN did show the “expert witness” statements just not the spewing rhetoric.  Excuse the disdain.
  • We are watching too much news and have taken to be a little nasty with some FB people. I am ashamed and yet not…  We have to do something to change where we are today.  Our current administration run by Donald Trump is dangerous and very embarrassing.  Worse than that Bush guy was.  We must demand change in November.
  • We could go on and on with deficiencies from our government and their response to this situation, but really just wanted to document how it affects us (vanity and all). We are fine, a little bored, but not much different that the last couple of years.  Main difference is we are not going exploring since the state has asked us to stay in place.  We probably will get out again, if not congregating (10 or more) then it shouldn’t be a problem.

We had planned on staying in AZ until Millie came out the end of April so it has not really changed our plans, just means that we have not explored and jumped around as much as normal, could be much worse, just wish I had a small hobby that would help pass some time, getting too much sun reading outside.  Seems like I use to have lots of hobbies, not sure if I need to recreate one or start on a new one.  Or …

Anyways just some rambling thoughts.  This is indeed a strange time.  Peace and Love be with all in these strange days, normal is not so bad if that even exists…

Fairbanks, AZ

If you have looked us up you may have seen that we are very near Fairbanks.  Fairbanks is about 2.5 miles down the road and is currently a ghost town.  Fairbanks was founded in 1881 along the San Pedro River, and was the closest rail road stop to Tombstone when it was built.  During the Tombstone silver boom it was a bustling town.  By the mid 1970s, Fairbanks was a dieing town and the final residence left and businesses including a post office closed.

The San Pedro River is the last free running river in the south west, meaning that it has not been dammed to date.   It is also oddly a northerly flowing river.  Not sure if this feature has anything to do with it never being dammed???  It is also a very short river only 140 miles long running from just south of Sierra Vista in Mexico to the Gila River.  It is protected as a National Conservation Area and is known world wide for bird watchers during the winter migration.

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There is not a lot left of the town, the under protection, they have restored some buildings and have very nice walking trails.  The old school is one of the buildings that has been restored and is open to the public except during the Coronavirus epidemic.

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We obviously walked to the river and also around to the cemetery.  The cemetery is located up a small hill with a nice view of the area.  The graves are not marked and most seem to be in disrepair so not sure how old or new they may be.

Below is a nice picture of a site you see often in the desert areas.  Notice the green row of trees in the middle of the darker landscape.  The are the large cottonwood and other trees that line the riverside.  When driving thru a desert landscape if you see a row of green trees, you know there is a river.  Just a little something we noticed on our travels.

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Peace Love and for heavens sake wash your hands.

 

Parker Canyon Lake, AZ

We were getting a little stir crazy and needed to get out for the day.  Note that this was March 26, 2020 before Arizona put a stay at home order in place.  We had been “social distancing” (i.e. staying at home) pretty much since March 9th, and it was getting a little old.  We were still on the look out for spring flowers so we headed west.

Just across the mountains we see to the west from the campground the landscape opens up to hilly grass lands.  Lots of cattle ranches and not much else.  No flowers in sight.  Decision time north to a mountain canyon or south to a lake, thank goodness for google maps so we knew the options.  The lake was about 30 miles and seemed like a good option for flowers.  The drive was twisty curvy and mostly 40 mph or less so it took a while.

It climbed up into the hills on the west side of Huachuca mountains.  Snaking around to a very pretty lake.  It was a windy and cool day, but we walked around the lake to the stream that fed it and enjoyed a nice little picnic.  Nellie loved it…

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There was a campground at the lake, but it was closed due to the Coronavirus.  We wonder how often we will see these signs, and for how long…

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Interesting how if you drive the same road in both directions how different it can be.  We usually try to make a loop but sometimes that is not possible (in this case we could but it would have meant ~30 miles on a dirt road??).  The ride in was just the foot hill landscape and was pretty nice, but the ride back and the views of the mountains and valleys were really spectacular!!!

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Peace love and here’s to not always finding a loop!!!

Ramsey Canyon, AZ

Just south of Sierra Vista, AZ are several “Canyon” roads.  Carr Canyon looked like the most interesting one, with “Carr” house, a waterfall overlook, a campground and walking trails; it also was a much longer road than the others so we assumed we would get higher for a better view.  So off we headed to check out Carr Canyon.

When we arrived, there was a road closed sign…  Bummer!!!  But with several other canyon roads we would see what we could find.  We decided on Ramsey Canyon.  It was not a very long road and was mostly residential with some seasonal cabins for rent.  We did notice a trail head and parking area at the beginning of the canyon so we got Nellie (and ourselves) out for a nice little walk.

The landscape is varied nestled up next to the mountains.  Starting with golden grass lands.  I assume that they turn green during rainier times of the year, but really don’t know.

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Here are some of last years left overs, century plant or agave, and some sort of yucca I presume???  I actually looked it up the other is a common sotol or desert spoon??  Never heard of them, but have seen a lot…

And there were actual trees, biggest we had seen since Chiricahua, and before that I’m not sure… Maybe Utah???

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Of course, there was a canyon on the other side.  We could see the Carr Canyon waterfall in this view, but only with binoculars.  But shows what elevation can do, we were probably high 70s on this day and there is still snow at the top.  Hope that Carr Canyon Rd opens back up before we leave, would love to drive to the top…

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Peace love and very thankful for the Blue Skies watching over us!!!

 

Benson, AZ

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Anne and Ron returned to NC on March 9, 2020.  Coronavirus was a worry, but really a little more than a persistent afterthought.  We knew a few other folks traveling that week and we all wished each other well.  Thankfully they all made it to destinations safely and I believe are all now “staying at home” under state mandates.  We (most of us) were mostly doing the stay at home long before it was mandated.  I believe that at that time (March 9th) the cases were in the hundreds and deaths very low.  Today a very different story.

We made the big leap to Benson about an hour west of Sandys in Sunizona, Arizona (fun name to say), mainly to have access to supplies and more rain was coming, not so sure of Sandy’s or the surrounding roads with more rain.

Planning on stocking up on regular weekly and a little more, not knowing what was coming.  They were well stocked when we got there but the one thing unavailable was TP (on March 9).  No problem for several days, but we looked pretty regularly and it was never stocked – what the heck…  of all things…  who knew????  To date (4/3/20) we have only found TP once, amazing how little you can use.

The week in Benson was kind of weird.  How much stuff do we need, with our limited space?  How long will it be, we are on such a tight schedule (right?!?!).  Is this really happening, is it an overreaction, exaggeration, will probably amount to nothing, but there is NO ToiletPaper…  Do they know something I don’t???  We have alternatives for the TP really not scared, but weird.

We really didn’t do much there, except stock up for a week used it all up and have to stock up again…  Oh yeah read a lot and did laundry, just the joys of normal life not every day is a party…  Social distancing was a new term, and the recommended distance was 3 feet and wash your hands.  We were cautiously optimistic, not willing to believe that it would take thousands of lives (and realistically a few thousand would not be THAT bad??  Cruel, but true.  Lots of people die everyday, it’s reality, disease, recklessness, bad health, bad luck, bad hygiene (haha), bad medicine, bad people, you get the point.

Just a little bit about our state of mind at that point.  The virus situation has progressed, news is rampant but it is very conflicting some rejecting as not so bad and others calling for the end of life as we know it.   Really wish I had kept a diary of feelings during this THING.  But we really didn’t think that it would inhibit our travels that much, just hunker down for a couple of weeks and this to shall pass.  Heck we had been already doing just that since last November, with some movement and gatherings, but mostly hanging thru winter so it wouldn’t be so bad.

Social Distancing meant an excuse for being lazy….  Anyway the only real exploration we took during our Benson visit was to Texas Canyon.

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We (I) thought there were more roads we could explore in that area, but when we arrived, they were all gated.  Bet it’s really pretty on their private property!!!  We did drive thru Arimarand museum parking and picnic area; it was very nice as I am sure the museum was, but too pricey for our tastes.

Nice ride thru Dragoon and a nice distant view of Texas Canyon.

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Named Texas Canyon because some Texans settled here in the 1880s.  Very unique place right on interstate highway 10 even has a rest area so you can check out the rocks!!!

Still on the lookout for flowers, saw some on the side of the highway so took off in that direction.  North on hwy *****  some bright yellow ground cover and distant hills covered with color.  Still wanting more…

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Peace Love and hope we all make it thru this!!!