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  • Ngoc X Doan

Traveling Across The US During The Pandemic

Updated: May 21

We are either playing a pandemic game or we are in a pandemic game. We have been trying to avoid coronavirus by visiting remote places. We, however, have to go back to civilization to recharge and restock supplies. How long we are going to last? When will we give up the race and head home?


We are not sure what to do at this point since the country is mostly going to have an outbreak everywhere. Two of our most important resources, gyms and restaurants, are shutting down left and right. We will have to cut our trip short and turn back soon. In the meantime, we are doing our best to prevent ourselves from getting infected and potentially infecting others.


Map of Week 7

Week 7 - We are trying to Avoid Covid-19


We camped away from civilization whenever possible.


We stocked up 1 week worth of supplies from Costco and Albertsons.


We distanced ourselves from others by camping outside of Joshua Tree National Park.


We did our laundry in the middle of nowhere.


We cooked our meals.


We learned how to make a campfire.


We cooked/burned yam with our campfire.


We ate in isolation.


We used a tripod to take photos or we take our own photos.



The Struggles


Before we left Boston, we were excited to go camping with our trailer. We had a list of things we wanted to try for the first time. At the beginning, it was fun to try new things such as starting a campfire or doing laundry in the middle of nowhere. Eventually, it became labor intensive! Nonetheless, it was worth the time and effort.



Laundry in the middle of nowhere


We set up 3 stations to do laundry. Station 1 starts with the washing machine. We did 4 loads. We used all of our water - 5 gallons. In the end, we still had a full basket of dirty laundry left. Station 2 is dedicated for rinsing. We turned our truck on to power our spin machine. We got the idea from thermal bath houses in Budapest. It worked great. After doing laundry by hand half of the time in Europe for 2 months, we knew the rinse machine would be a good investment. Station 3 has a small drying rack (borrowed from my sister). I set the rack on top of low groundcover planting just in case if the wind picks up. And it certainly did. Clothes kept falling off the rack. It felt as if we were chasing animals in the yard. They kept running away. Eventually the whole rack fell on the ground. Luckily, no sand or dirt got on our clothes. I only got a few dried flowers on my towel. It was still better than dirty and smelly laundry!



Cooking at a dispersed campground


Multitasking can be fun and useful. We started prepping lunch while doing laundry. We wanted to make sure we gave ourselves enough time to dry our clothes. At the same time, we also wanted to eat lunch at a reasonable time. We set up station #4 to cook Thai curry with our leftover rotisserie chicken from Costco. While Mark was getting wood and gas, I used Mark's axe to open a can of coconut milk. I looked up ways to open a can without a can opener, but none of the options was possible for me. I cracked open 2 holes. I learned from my grandfather, ong ngoai, who also made 2 holes for condensed milk can. I probably did not need to create an airway to let the milk flow faster with two holes, but it was a good practice to use Mark's axe. I considered it was a success since I did not hurt myself. I also popped a pill of turmeric supplement to add extra curry flavor. Curry chicken tasted good, surprisingly. Mark approved. We wrapped chicken with mixed greens in rice papers. Mark added Cape Cod chips. Everything tasted delicious.


It was nice eating and watching our clothes dry at the same time. As we were about to finish lunch, we started prepping our first campfire before sunset! I'm thankful for Youtube videos. Mark also had experiences with splitting wood. He surprises me everyday. Everything went smoothly. I am not going to lie. There were a few hangry moments. Sometimes, it's hard not to get emotional living on the road in a 6x12' trailer. Social distancing is making is harder for us to connect with other travelers. For now, we are going to do our best to remain calm and enjoy the journey.


Week 7 - Most Beautiful Landscapes

1. Valley of Fire


My friend, Keith, recommended Valley of Fire State Park. We were thrilled to see colorful red rocks. We saw no more than 30 cars in the park. The scenic drive only took about 30 minutes. One of the most popular places to visit is the Fire Wave. I did a little hike in my white sandals. I thought it was going to be a short and easy walk! It turned out I needed my hiking shoes.

I took a self-portrait shadow before I left.



2. Hoover Dam


I had always wanted to visit Hoover Dam. We were turned away at a checkpoint because of our enclosed trailer. Eventually, we decided to park at a nearby viewpoint parking lot. We hiked about 1 mile to see Hoover Dam. It started raining during the hike. I am starting to think it rains whenever we hike on this trip. There were a lot of people at Hoover Dam despite the rain. We tried to keep a distance as much as possible.

We also stopped asking people to take pictures for us - social distancing is no fun but necessary.



3. Joshua Tree National Park


We have always wanted to visit Joshua Tree. We liked Joshua Tree NP because of their beautiful large boulders, great for rock climbers. We could see ourselves climbing here if we lived closer. Unfortunately, we were not able to climb any of the boulders. Hopefully, we will be back and stay at one of their campgrounds. We would like to stay at Jumbo Rock and/or Hidden Valley campgrounds in the future.



Week 7 - Memorable Restaurants


1. Viva Chicken in St. George, UT

Healthy Peruvian meals. Very good and pretty cheap for what you get.


2. Nielsen Frozen Custard in St. George, UT

Smooth caramel cashew concrete was delicious!


3. Lotus of Siam in Las Vegas, NV

Fancy Thai restaurant.


4. Chengdu Taste in Las Vegas, NV

Mark was craving some cumin lamb. They gave us huge portions.


5. Pho Bosa in Las Vegas, NV

Delicious com tam (rice plate)! Thanks Pauline and her mom for recommending it.


6. Taco El Gordo in Las Vegas

Wow. Their tacos are good and cheap. What's not to love?



Week 7 - Random Tidbits


1. It rained 3/4 days were were in Las Vegas. Statistics listed 21 days of rain in Las Vegas. How lucky were we? 3/21 days! It was pouring. We slept two nights in the rain - very noisy.


2. Everywhere we go, people are panicking because of Covid-19.


3. Highest gas price so far is about $5.11 near Joshua Tree National Park.



If all Planet Fitness locations shut down, we are going to head home...Or we will have dreadlocks...Hippie style 100%.



love,


Ngoc


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