September 30, 2020
The weekend before last, I left Idaho for the first time since the pandemic began. Mr. K and I loaded up the car, including items like Lysol multi-purpose cleaner (“EPA approved to kill SARS-CoV-2 on hard, non-porous surfaces in 2 minutes”) that were not on my packing list in the Before Time. The reason for our journey was wanting to take advantage of Joan’s assisted living home offering outside visits before a) the weather got too cold or b) they had to stop the program if the county slipped back to an earlier phase.
When we left, there was still some wildfire smoke hanging around the mountain, though visibility was much improved from the days prior. The smoke was worse in the valley and all across eastern Washington; we kept the car’s climate control on recirc and should probably get the cabin air filter replaced sooner rather than later after that drive. We grabbed our meals on the go, not willing to risk dining in even where it was allowed. Because the room we usually sleep in at Kathy’s house is the same place as she needs to be in while she works from home, we decided to stay in a hotel, which was another thing I hadn’t done in months and months. It being western Washington where they take the virus more seriously, I felt pretty comfortable doing that. Masks were required in the public areas, and they had the front desk workers shielded behind Plexiglas with only a few small slots to slide paperwork through. They were apparently still serving breakfast, but what changes took place there we never saw as it ended too early for our schedule.
The next day, Saturday, we hung out at Kathy’s place until it was time to go see Joan. Because Kathy has been approved as an essential worker to help with Joan’s care, she was able to go up to Joan’s room and bring her down to where we were sitting outside, which made things easier. While Mr. K and I waited, I admired the hydrangeas and other blooms in the landscaping around the area we were sitting in. We had a nice visit with Joan; there weren’t too many other visitors so we were able to have a long leisurely chat. It was good to see her in person after only having a few Zoom calls in the past six months.
Sunday unfolded pretty much the same as Saturday, though we were back at Kathy’s house in time to see the sunset from her back deck, something we hadn’t managed the day before.
Monday we drove home, lunching at a Mexican food truck that happened to be at the gas station where we stopped to refuel and eating a take out dinner at a favorite cafe which had cow-themed physical distancing stickers. The smoke had pretty much cleared by this time, which was a relief.
Much as I enjoyed seeing family, I was also glad to get back home to my bubble where I didn’t have to be on alert like I had on the road.
There are more photos from the trip in this album on Flickr, as I’ve yet to find a replacement for the Gallery software I was using to group photos way back in the day.