The past two weeks of the pandemic shutdown in Estero have brought some new challenges, surprises, and accommodations. First, the challenges. Last time I mentioned the record-breaking heat that we were experiencing the week of April 13. We wanted to have our air-conditioner checked because the heat was really oppressive and we were running it nearly all day and into the night. We had made an appointment months ago for our annual Airstream service, but that was off since the factory in Ohio was on shutdown.
Our friends had used a mobile RV repair guy and we called him to check out both the AC and the water heater. He came on April 21 and things were going along swimmingly. The next day, one of the neighborhoods experienced a water main break which caused some confusion until the repairs could be made and short of a 24-hour boil-water notice, things came back on line pretty quickly. Then on April 23, the AC stopped worked. When I turned it on, you could hear the motor turn over but the compressor never kicked in. We called the mobile RV repair guy back and he put us on the list for sometime later that day.
Meantime, we brainstormed whether a power-outage may have occurred since the power grid had to be under tremendous strain in the heat and with everyone hunkered down at home. The neighbor electrician came over and checked out our power post and it seemed fine. Our landlord offered us a portable room AC for the interim. We watched the indoor temp rise in our little T2 and waited. The repair guy finally showed up and after climbing up on the roof and checking out the AC, he determined the capacitor had suddenly failed. The new part was installed and we are once again in comfort heaven.
Then, the surprises. On April 24 we got an email from Airstream Service in Ohio saying they would be able to honor our original date for service on May 8. Ohio was opening up and that one email changed everything for us. It meant with some tenacity, some careful planning and lots of research, we now had a destination in place for our departure from Florida. The first part of the planning for our departure began.
Peter was able to re-schedule his ENT appointments and I got to work finding out where we could camp on our way 1,100 miles up to Ohio. I wanted to avoid Atlanta which was experiencing high COVID-19 outbreaks, and as much of Georgia as we could. We found a route that would get us to Ohio comfortably in four nights. The KOA in Florida would allow full-timers, essential workers, and truckers so we could book a night there. In South Carolina we found a great private campground with no-contact check-in, which we loved. You can book ahead, pay in advance and when you arrive, there will be a map to the site posted on the outside of the office. No personal interaction needed, unless in an emergency. In Kentucky another private campground also offered no-contact check-in. From there it’s onto Ohio and we go directly to Airstream and camp there.
The second part of the planning for departure was to determine where we could go once we left Ohio. Wandering and leisure travel is not recommended at all anywhere right now. We needed a destination and contacted the private RV place in Las Cruces, New Mexico. We had reserved a spot there starting September 1 and thought if they could take us now, we could make a straight line there. It is 1,500 miles and once again, the private campgrounds were open only for full-timers, along with the essential workers. We decided we were ready to do this once the folks in Las Cruces said they could take us in mid-May.
And now for the accommodations. Once every four weeks, I get a haircut and last week I was way beyond that four week window. How does one get a haircut these days? This is when I showed up at Chez Pete. With electric clippers in hand, and the #4 attachment that the pros use, Peter took a shot at helping to tame the beast which is my very curly and often unruly hair. The short version is he did a fine job. Gel is an enormous help as the picture below reveals, and the most challenging of the “oops” spots will grow out. This is an example of what my younger sister might call the provision, and not the perfection, of daily living during the pandemic shutdown.
All in all, we are aware of the grace we have experienced during this time. We headed out of Estero today, May 3, and took to the highway on an exquisitely beautiful day. There’s more to come soon as our adventure continues. Come on along after checking out the results from my inaugural visit to the local clip joint. As long as there’s plenty of gel, I’m most likely good to go.
Peter and Liz have left Estero after nearly five months and are now on their way to Airstream and then to New Mexico as their pilgrimage continues.