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Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Putting Together Your Coronavirus Road Trip Kit

While a lot of people won't be traveling at all right now, I know plenty are dying to get out of their house and just see something new. Road trips and RV rentals are popular right now, so let's talk about making it safe, because Coronavirus is still out there y'all. In addition to your regular road trip items, you're going to need a safety kit. 

You probably have a lot of these things already, and in your bag or your car, but just in case, let's go over the necessities. Being safe right now and not spreading Covid should be our number 1 priorities, no matter where we are. 


There are a lot places that have mandatory mask laws in place. Make sure you bring a handful for everyone. I am still doing my part for the environment, so I've invested in washable masks that I can put filters in (two coffee filters folded in half work just as well as a regular mask-grade filter). Eric and I probably have about 6-8 masks apiece, and I would bring all of those with me on a trip, so I always have a back-up, even when I am washing worn ones. *Also, remember that social distancing is still a thing even when wearing a mask. 

Antibacterial wipes 

I always keep some of these wipes from Savvy Travelers in my bag, but any wipes are good. I generally travel with a tub of Clorox Wipes. These can be used to wipe down your car interior and outside handles, ATM buttons, hotel bathrooms and remotes, rest area toilets, gas pumps, and also clean up spills. 

Hand sanitizer

I have a variety of sanitizers, including this fantastic spray sanitizer I picked up at Target from Olivia Care. Anytime we go anywhere and aren't going directly home, we spray both sides of our hands. I also spray anything I touch, so I'm not tracking germs places, like wearing gloves can do. Plus I'm not constantly throwing gloves away. Sanitizer is also great for when you go into a public restroom and there isn't any soap available.


When you're frequently using hand sanitizer and washing your hands a bunch, your hands are going to get super dry, so make sure to keep a good moisturizing lotion on hand. Maybe bring a couple, so you can keep one in the back seat area, so everyone has access. 

Toilet paper

You never know what might happen when you travel and finding that the rest area you just walked into is out of toilet paper is not a fun thing at all. Bring a few rolls for emergencies. Also, people touch toilet paper and other surfaces, so bringing your own just makes good sense right now.

Paper towels

You probably already keep a roll of these in your car. I do, because accidents happen. I've also been in a lot of public restrooms and rest area bathrooms that had no paper products of any kind. Having gross wet hands is not...great. And using your pants as a paper towel is garbage. We've all been there though. You probably want to keep one with you any time you get out of the car, so you don't have to touch suspect surfaces, like sink taps, bathroom doors, etc.

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Bottled water

I either bring a gallon or 2-liter bottle full of water. It can be used to clean up messes, to clean hands, for hydration (don't forget about your pup if they're along for the ride), and any number of other situations.

Seat covers

I hate public restrooms, and right now they are higher up on the list of danger zones than eating inside a restaurant. If you're worried about cleanliness, especially at rest areas, you might want to carry a pack of seat covers when none are available in the stall for you. I highly recommend FannyPac. They are affordable, large, and come in a small package, so they aren't going to take up much room. 

So, my suggestion for those of you heading out on the road is to have an in-car pack and a "go bag" for anytime you get out to use a restroom. That way you don't have to run in and scope things out before you decide if you need stuff or not, especially if you really gotta go. Be prepared, be safe, and have fun.

Will you be taking a road trip this summer?

Saturday, July 4, 2020

How I'm Spending My Fourth of July

Happy Independence Day, Everyone! Today's a day I'm taking off to do some me things and also to do some good. With gatherings discouraged and Covid becoming more of a problem than not, we'll be staying home and doing some reflecting of what this day should mean.

If you're also looking for ways to finish out your weekend, I've got some ideas for you. Yesterday we spent some time watching Hamilton on Disney+ (I've been waiting for the perfect time to subscribe, and this was it). We had watched a bootleg recording right when the pandemic and stay-at-home started, which was actually very good, and I was glad I was able to see both, because I saw things in that recording than in this official recording, but this sound was much better and I could see facial expressions.

I'll also be watching some other things that feature POC and give me a bit of a history lesson (I say bit, because even large things in our history only seem to be a drop in the bucket). Some things you might want to view:
  • Just Mercy (iTunes, Amazon Prime, Vudu, FandangoNow, OnDemand)
  • Selma (iTunes, FandangoNow)
  • Antwone Fisher (FandangoNow)
  • The Hate U Give (iTunes, Amazon Prime, FandangoNow)
  • Strong Island (Netflix, YouTube)

“We’ll never be free until we end slavery.” -Lin-Manuel Miranda as Alexander Hamilton

I'll be donating more to Black Lives Matter and other social justice organizations. If you can, here are some to choose from:
If you don't have money to donate, you can still make a difference by playing games and streaming music. Check out the links on BLM Carrd.

I wanted to help the protesters and people who are fighting the best way they know how, so I donated money to Philando Castile's cousin who owns a vegan restaurant in Minneapolis and hands out free meals to protesters. VegNews has a great article and link to the restaurant where you can donate on Paypal. Make sure you send it as a gift, so he gets the full amount of your donation.

    We didn't forget about LGBT folx during Pride Month, plus we're always fighting for their equality as well. If you'd like to focus some of your money that way, here are some wonderful organizations:
    I encourage you to learn more Black and LGBTQ history, because we have been severely mislead by whitewashed and cis-gendered history books. I realized all my education ended in this manner "...and then the Civil Rights' movement happened and everyone was equal with voting rights, etc." or "...and then slavery ended!" Nobody thought to tell us all the gory details that happened after that, because racism and modern slavery are still being fought against. 

    If you have children, now's the perfect time to fill in some gaps of their education. Create a book "club" where you each buy a different book, read it and talk about it with your family/kids, then pass it on to another family, until you've read all the books, and you haven't spent a fortune on them. At the end, you can pass them on to others to spread the knowledge.

    I'd also like to end with this, because I'm hearing so many people crying about statues being pulled down, removed by the city, or vandalized. I never once learned anything from a statue that I remembered after I walked away. Also, books and museums exist for us to learn history. In fact, if these statues were removed and we replaced them with tiny historical libraries/museums, I think we'd learn a lot more. 

    I hope everyone had a great 4th and doing their best to stay happy and healthy. Remember, we're still in a pandemic. Wear a mask to keep others safe, wash your hands, and keep your parties small and physically distanced or online. We already have been banned from the UK and Europe, and several states have quarantine orders for visitors, so if you want to travel anytime soon, we need to do our best to get our numbers under control and prove that we care about everyone, not just that we can go eat in a restaurant.

    How are you spending your weekend?

    Wednesday, July 1, 2020

    What Travelers Are Doing In the Wake of Covid

    With news changing daily regarding Covid-19 and travel, I won't be traveling at all this year. As someone who loves to travel, you'd think this would be distressing to me, but I'm looking at it as an excuse to stay near home and enjoy all the outdoor things that Portland has to offer: food trucks, outdoor art, and green spaces (not hiking, because I am not a fan, but we have some great places to do that, too). 

    The European Union has banned American travelers now that they've reopened borders today. Canada will close its borders to us as well. Some states will require visitors from others to quarantine for 2 weeks. Some states are re-quarantining. Until we actually get the virus under control, we should be sticking closer to home or traveling to unpopulated places. Camping and RVing is becoming more popular right now, as have self-catered getaways. Here are some stats on what others are thinking about 2020 travel and Covid.

    infographic credit

    I've seen the new stat that only 44% of Americans are considering leisure travel in 2020, and over 70% of those traveling are planning to do so via road trip. 78% of travelers will limit their trip to 4 nights or less, and around half of them will be traveling for a family event, including holiday travel. 

    Please stay safe and don't forget to pack a selection of masks if you do travel, so you have ones when you're washing others to wear again. And don't forget to wash your hands, and then wash them again, and also wash them again.

    Have you planned or cancelled any travel for 2020?

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