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After arriving at the Joint Base Charleston in South Carolina 22 days ago, the COVID-19 situation in the USA got a lot more serious. After only a few days of arriving, we got word that the RV Park was closing. Soon, other military campgrounds, state parks, and federal campgrounds were announcing that they were also closed. This sent our heads spinning. Since we live in our motor home, we needed some place to stay. We don't have a traditional "sticks and bricks" house to retreat to. Basically, any place safe would work for us, as long we had access to a "dump station" for our waste/sewer water and a source of clean, potable drinking water to fill our water tank with. We have 1000watts of solar power and a 10KW generator for electrical needs. With rationing our resources, we know we can survive for up to 21 days without needing to "dump and fill".
We contemplated staying at JB Charleston for the week then slowly move north as originally planned. But the campgrounds we were planning to stay at were closing. More importantly, the government was recommending to "shelter in place", "stay at home", practice "social distancing", and "isolate" yourselves. The responsible thing to do was stop moving and stay still. Luckily, when JB Charleston RV Park closed, they were allowing campers already here to stay. The RV Park closure is initially until May 17th. Somewhat reluctantly, we elected the smart route and are staying here until either 1) they kick us out, or 2) it's safe to start traveling again.
Our small RV Park has about 20 campers still here. After the closing, several RV's left, but none have arrived. They've closed the facilities, but we still have water, electric, and sewer. If needed, we even have free WiFi Internet access (although ours works just fine). We're on a secure US Air Force base with a commissary, base exchange, and gas station.
All in all, we were pretty well setup. That was until a week later when the base went into a "Health Protection Level Charlie" (Delta is the worst). Basically, only "critically essential" personnel are allowed on base. Retired personnel were not being allowed, except for Saturday and Sunday (they could have said not at all). Our heads went spinning again. Now what are we going to do! Again, we got lucky and read the description of the security level closely. There was an exemption to the base access restrictions for those staying in the campground. Whew! We could still stay.
For the past 20 days (or so), we've been staying home. We've cleaned the motor home inside and out, even giving the roof a good scrubbing. Connie's gone through every cabinet, tossing out some accumulated junk. We've gone through our clothes closet and donated about 33% of our old and unused clothes to Goodwill. We play games several times a day. Connie loves to cook and has made some wonderful dishes. We go for walks. Connie spends hours a day learning German online (she started 3 months ago), and Larry's been watching lots of YouTube and Netflix videos.
While we've stayed home almost everyday, we have made a few trips out to go to the post office, Walmart, the base commissary/exchange and one trip to the laundromat. But these trips are very limited and take place about once a week, though another trip to the laundromat will be made this week.
A few weeks ago, when the COVID-19 situation got a lot more serious, we made a trip to the commissary (with everyone else) for some groceries. I couldn't believe the "hoarding" that was going on. I'm sure this was the case everywhere, but it still took me by surprise. I still don't understand the hoarding of toilet paper and bottled water. Is this virus going to contaminate our water supply? Is the public water system going to shut down? Are we all going to get diarrhea? The store was out of all the essentials. Milk, eggs, fresh chicken, and almost all meat, but we did score some toilet paper. The check-out line in the commissary wrapped around to the back of the store. People had to wait in the check-out line for over 2 hours! Again, we got lucky. A store clerk opened an impromptu check-out at the back of the store. We only had about 20 items to purchase and nothing that needed to be weighed and they checked us out quickly. We got lots of stares from others as we walked out of the store past the long line.
Last week, we went to the commissary again and it's returned almost to normal, though they started checking the military IDs. There's not many empty shelves, lots of chicken, milk, eggs, meat, and even toilet paper! There were only a few shoppers in the store this time. However, we were going to stop by the commissary a couple days ago to get a few items. Remember I mentioned earlier that the base is closed to retirees during the week, but open to them on the weekends? On Saturday, there was a long line of people waiting to get into the store. We didn't stop to find out the details. Perhaps the commissary is only allowing a certain amount of shoppers in the store at a time, or retirees weren't allowed in until an hour or so after opening to allow active duty to shop first. We just kept driving by.
So what are our future plans? We don't know. We're going to play it by ear based on the situation. Many of our upcoming reservations have been cancelled. We'll cancel the rest of our reservations about a month in advance, as they get nearer. I'm pretty sure we're not going to the Canadian Maritime this summer as we originally planned. We have a couple of international trips planned (and paid for) for this Fall. I'll talk about them later. We're hoping we'll be able to keep these trips as planned, but have accepted they too will probably be postponed. I then hope we can get a refund for them. Like all other plans, we'll just have to wait and see. For now, we're staying here. We'll decide what and where to next, once we know we're allowed (and it's safe) to start moving again.
I read your posts every time you send them out. Glad you and Connie are safe and in a good area so you have access to everything you need. Here in Arizona every store is closed except for groceries, pharmacies, and home repair. We don’t go out, preferring to do pickup for groceries at Walmart. We sanitize everything that comes into the house(including mail). Dean is very serious about not getting this virus. Our only outing is a Jeep trip once a week. Stay safe and hopefully your travels will start up again soon.
Good to hear from you Judy. Glad you two are doing well. I'm sure you're a little more comfortable at your house than you would be in the motorhome, other than you could be someplace with a little less snow. Stay well.
Stay safe guys, I was worried what they would do with campers. Glad they decided to let people there stay. Makes sense for full timers.
Enjoyed reading your blog, glad you are keeping busy and safe. We had planned to visit our daughter and son-in-law and stay at the Little Rock air force base campground when that base closed down to essential personnel only. We are glad we did not get stuck somewhere with 2 of our grandchildren but regret not being able to see her as she is suppose to deploy overseas soon. Oh, well God is in control, not us. Best wishes for you both. I dream of doing what you are doing some day, we will see.
That's a shame you can't visit with your daughter before she deploys. I'm so thankful we do live in this world of technology now where you can see everyone through video chats. Stay well.
Glad you have found a comfortable campground to shelter in place. Really does throw us for a loop when things happen unexpectedly. Keep telling myself to be flexible. Hang in there and keep us posted. We, too, have plans to go to Europe in August but not sure that will happen.
We are in Japan on an AF base and the commissary is empty of meat, and has been for weeks. Frozen chicken breasts are the only chicken available.
There are little limit signs everywhere telling you how many of items you can buy. I could only buy 2 bags of frozen fruit so I had to decide which ones (my kids wanted smoothies). They did have bread though.
We don´t do video chats but at this point she calls every couple of days. A lot different and better than when my husband was in the submarine service. best wishes
Hi Goodness, what memories we are all making during this time. So very glad you are in a safe place. I enjoy hearing about your adventures and all the other info you include. We took our first RV trip last Aug-Nov, that was an adventure. Traveled from NW corner of Washington state to Kingsbay GE to visit our sub son and fam. Had hoped to be on the road now, but, well.....you know.
Keep up the communication, it is great to hear about the military places. We did use several on our trip last year, so thankful for them.
Blessing upon you. Keep safe, keep blogging. Katie
We were the ones in the Vilano next to the rest room... we were there 3/16- 7/14/20 hated to leave. But hopefully it will re-open when we get back late October.
Enjoying your “ happy-wanderers.com”
Thanks! We enjoyed our stay at JB Charleston and thought about staying longer. But we were "itching" to get moving. We were there February - May.