The combination of our getaway property and RV was a godsend this Summer of Covid.
Our 13 acres in Wisconsin’s North Kettle Moraine area always provide a peaceful respite from Chicago’s urban density.
Our first challenge was getting the RV to Moraine Elaine from winter storage in Southern Indiana.
Starting in mid-March, Wisconsin told Illinois residents to stay away – unless they planned to move to their summer homes and remain long term. (Not us.)
We carefully watched the situation develop through April. Finally, in May we decided, travel advisories or not, it was time to move the RV. We arrived at Moraine Elaine May 20, a month later than normal.
How pleasant to wake up in the morning and check if Luke, our friendly barn cat, was waiting for us on the steps to the RV – ready to tell the first person out the door he’d like a serving of canned food. This year we were joined by the neighbors' two young cats.
How pleasant to check the bird feeder for the arrival of a new species, some just stopping by on a northerly migration, others hanging around for the summer: Indigo buntings, various woodpeckers, blue jays, cardinals.
How pleasant to once again bicycle our favorite county roads, walk familiar routes and, for Elaine, bird favorite spots.
How pleasant to light logs in the fire pit and watch the skies darken, revealing bright stars.
Once in Wisconsin, we took steps to minimize risk. At our favorite restaurant, we found the patio open with appropriately distanced tables, but were disappointed to discover servers were not wearing masks. (At the time Wisconsin was one of four states that did not require waitstaff to wear facial covering.) We did not go back.
The local Pick n’ Save (a Kroger property) enforced a corporate mask mandate. We took satisfaction watching an employee turn away a couple who refused to wear ones. Walking away the husband grumbled, “I guess we’ll go hungry tonight.” We thanked the young woman for standing up to them. Over the summer customers got the message, and Elaine compared compliance in line with our local Jewel-Osco.
In contrast, the local Fleet Farm also had a corporate mask mandate posted on every door, but no enforcement and wide disregard by customers and employees alike. We tried very hard to avoid the place and to plan ahead and buy supplies at our local Menards, where a mask mandate was vigorously enforced.
With infections trending down, we felt comfortable inviting a group of socially responsible friends to join us over the Labor Day weekend. They brought their own sleeping accommodations -- two tents and a pop-up trailer. We spaced out around the firepit. For our friends it was it was a welcome “mini-vacation” from the city.
(Kris, who took these pictures, brought along Soji to keep an eye on us.)
When they headed south toward Chicago, we headed north toward Upper Michigan and the Arrowhead Country of Minnesota.
By the time we returned to Moraine Elaine, the fall surge in infections was well underway in rural Wisconsin (and wide swaths of the Upper Midwest). We still traveled to Moraine Elaine, but now made a point of avoiding contact with local residents.
We were not all that upset that, due to a commitment that had nothing to do with the pandemic, we left out getaway property for the season two weeks earlier than planned. We hugged Luke one last time (he will be in good hands over the winter) and fired up the RV.
During this Summer of Covid, we were at Moraine Elaine 50 days over a 150-day (five month) span. It was so pleasant. Helped us keep our sanity.