Member Spotlight

ROAD TRIP: An August Adventure with Laurel Chiat and Mark

By: Heather Williams

 

In the middle of August Laurel and her beau Mark Erwin took a mini road trip to Assateague Island for a little “R&R” and a test drive for a longer cross country trip in September to Arizona. Both Laurel and Mark are avid travelers and experienced campers but the trip to Arizona would be different, COVID different.

The couple is planning to visit Laurel’s father early fall and flying was out of the question. The “goal is not to have to quarantine when we arrive” Laurel told me. “I want to arrive and head straight in to see Dad”. In order to ensure they could make a cross country trip, they chose to test the theory by a shorter closer destination. The “test drive” if you will, would allow them to iron out any kinks before the BIG trek. Here’s a little of what Laurel shared about her trip:

Heather: How did you choose the test drive location?

Laurel: We wanted somewhere we would have to car camp and that would provide similar challenges with managing food, personal care and sleeping arrangements.  We would like to have as little access to people, limiting the potential of exposure.

Heather: How many nights did you camp?

Laurel: Two nights. We camped out for one night; we could only get a one day/night reservation at the campsite. It was great. We were able to swim in the ocean and sight see. Our second evening was spent at a Historic Inn.

Heather: How did you prepare for the trip?

Laurel: Oh, that was one of the easiest things. Each time we travel, I keep a packing list and I refer back to the list to ensure I do not forget anything. We also made sure we were prepared to many of our meals and used web sources to help us find places to carry out food and pick up any items we may have needed. We didn’t have a large umbrella for the beach but we were able to locate one locally.

Heather: What was the most challenging thing on your trip.

Laurel: My night routine!

Heather: As in your “beauty routine”?

Laurel: YES! I am not 21 and my routine is necessary.

Heather: (Chuckle) I hear you, I wouldn’t even want to think about trying to duplicate mine on a car camping trip. I thought you were going to say sleeping,

Laurel: Not at all, Mark had plenty of equipment and necessities. We have a great two person tent and I purchased a great Therma Rest Inflatable Mattress. I bought the most comfortable one for about $100.

Heather: Outside of the necessary “potions”, what else did you pack?

Laurel: I actually packed pretty light. My bag was about the size of the average gym bag. I had swimsuit, light weight easy to wash pants, rain coat and other beach items. My bag to Arizona won’t be much bigger; I keep a lot of items at my Dad’s. In the event there was an emergency, I don’t want to have to think about packing or what to carry,

Heather: But you have your lists. Did the test trip change your mind about driving to Arizona?

Laurel: Not at all. I know that we can make the trip. The challenge will be in the route we choose. COVID-19 is the reason we are taking the trip, it will also dictate our route. We want to make sure we are not travelling through “hot spots”. Other than that I am confident we can do it.

Heather: Laurel, thank you for doing this with me. Like I said, when you told me about your trip, I think many of our readers will consider doing a car camping/road trip. Before we wrap up, do you have any advice for those considering driving instead of flying or using other public means of transportation?

Laurel: Yes, plan your trip by using online resources and travel guides for the areas you may be visiting or using on route. Pack light and smart, know the environment. Assateague is known for it’s mosquitos. We had plenty of “heavy duty” bug spray, it lessened the effect.

Heather: So the trip was a thumbs up?

Laurel: It was. Yes, it was

Note from Heather: We had planned to run this article last month. As we prepared for the October newsletter, I am happy to report Laurel and Mark have started on their cross country trek. We wish them Godspeed.