A year of traveling while facing a coronavirus pandemic: June-September, 2020

Covid-19 continued its march across Utah, the US, and the world. We relaxed in Logan, gardening, reading, running, and (Caroline) playing ukulele. I retired officially from USU on 1 July, after 29 years. That milestone certainly was a casualty of the novel coronavirus. No goodbyes, no celebration, no congratulations. No mingling with colleagues, and no opportunity to reminisce. Not even a card! 
Luckily, I have a thoughtful family, who brought balloons, chocolate cake, and a bottle of wine. Then, we went to feed the ducks! It gave me a better sense of what was being missed across the world... graduations, marriage celebrations, reunions, and even funerals attended by more than close family. In my case, there will be no "make-up" retirement party. At USU, I was there one day, and not the next. Close out the lab and the office, and my 29-year history passed into oblivion. Remember the adage, nobody on his deathbed ever said, "I wish I had spent more time at the office." 

A couple of days later, Wes, Elan and I rode in the Cache Gran Fondo, perhaps the ONLY bike race occurring that day in the country. Staggered starts over 2 days, bottled water, and spacing in the start chute were all parts of organizer Troy Oldman's plans for a safe race.

Cache Gran Fondo Race Organizer Troy Oldham near the end of an exhausting 2 days!

I spent a lot of time in July and August training for the Logan marathon (September). That's the "problem" with being a long-distance runner. Training takes time. But, with both retirement and the novel coronavirus, I had nothing but time, so I hit the roads and trails accessible from home. I was always wearing a neck gaiter, so I could pull it up when I passed (or was passed) by a mountain biker, another runner, or a hiker on the trail. No, I really don't believe that a quick pass outside had even the remotest chance of infecting me (and remember, masks really protect other people, not the wearer). But it was part of my philosophy that, in all cases, mask wearing was a symbol of respect and compassion for the health of others.

On August 13th, it was time to return to DC. The kids had moved into a larger home, and we were coming to help them with the move. The new house wasn't in great shape, so Caroline pulled out the paint brush and had at it.  The result was night and day, going from a dirty building with maybe 5 bedroom apartments to a... spacious home. Floors and ceilings needed TLC, the kitchen needed cleaning for the first time in years, ceiling fans and lights needed to be replaced, and everything needed to be painted.

The District of Columbia, of course, is not Logan, UT. Everything is different... population density, attitude toward Covid-19, racial demographics, mask-wearing, homelessness, politics, and restaurants. The National Zoo was within walking distance, but it was the only Smithsonian Museum open in the District. Oh, and did I mention the politics?

Standing in Black Lives Matter Plaza.

Wesley and I got to know Rock Creek Park pretty well, as we prepared for our respective marathons with long runs every weekend.

On September 15, we left DC to return to Utah. We still had one more trip before the end of the year, following the presidential election. The airport and the plane were still lightly populated, and masks abounded. CDC was reporting that "indicators that track COVID-19 activity continued to decline or remain stable." The indicators may have led to an assumption that the pandemic had turned the tide. Wrong. 

Covid-19. The Black Lives Matter movement. Trump versus Biden. This was an extraordinary summer.


Popular posts from this blog

The one, the only... Chobe National Park, Botswana!

The Tale of the Maui Mystery Cat

Cougars killing and eating people. Why?