WINTERHAVEN, CA—The World Health Organization declared the coronavirus/COVID-19 a pandemic a couple days ago and it looks like my hope for it to fizzle like so many previous scares is in vain. At the very least, this one will affect my travel plans unlike any previous disease (swine flu, etc.). The 31st is still my launch date but now I’m thinking hard about my route options. Avoiding larger cities and metropolitan areas is a must, of course, but what about the possibility of smaller communities getting quarantined like New Rochelle, NY?
Having the National Guard move in and blockade the access roads while I’m refueling and grocery shopping is unlikely (isn’t it?) and there’s not anything I can do other than keep an eye out for online news of disease hotspots and try to avoid them. I just spent some money I hadn’t planned on spending to buy a 1.5 gal FuelPax & mount for my bike’s rear rack. That extends my range maybe 90 miles, if I ride efficiently, so that if I encounter a detour around my planned fueling stop I have a chance of making it to the next one.
It could be worse. I’ve been reading posts by would-be moto touring folks in Europe where it seems like half the countries have closed their borders or are likely to, potentially trapping a traveler within for who knows how long. 2020 will not be a good year for such people. At least I have the huge expanse of western states to move around in. I am grateful for that and feel sorry for my fellow moto travelers who have to cancel their plans entirely.
I’ll be playing it by ear and hoping for the best.