March 2020 – Wichita, Kansas

Once we decided to move to Wichita to hunker down during the pandemic, we were anxious to get there.  Our biggest concern was they would restrict travel if we waited any longer.  Instead of waiting until Monday, we decided to take off on Friday as soon as the weather cleared.  We had a reservation at All Seasons RV Park which is between Goddard and Wichita, just a few miles from where Kal grew up.  When we got a call from them while we were on the road I was afraid they were having to cancel our reservation for some reason.  However, their call was to confirm our reservation and to inform us that they could extend it to two months.  It was a very welcome call, indeed.  They also informed us that they would tape our receipt and map on the screen door of the office so we could limit contact.  The drive north to Wichita was uneventful since it was nearly all along interstate highways (I40 and I35).  Just short of the Kansas border we exited I-35 since it became a turnpike and we did not want to deal with paying tolls with the RV.  This is not a problem as there are US highways that parallel the interstate and are nearly as fast.  The trip was long, taking nearly 7 hours, so we were tired when we pulled into the park around 4:00 in the afternoon.  The sites in the park may all be pull-thrus, but that did not mean they were easy to get into.  Kal initially pulled the RV into our site in good shape except the wheels sunk into a soft spot on the edge of the site.  After checking with the owners about the site, I pulled the RV on out and circled around to try to come in from the other direction.  However, a tree on the corner of the site made this impossible, so I pulled back around to come in from the original direction positioning the RV on the other side of the site.  After backing the RV up a couple of times to straighten it up, we were set for the foreseeable future.  The sites in the park are very narrow and we shared a 6 foot wide “front yard” and picnic table with our neighbor.  Our neighbors work on a pipeline so are gone most of the day unless it rains.  They are nice young men and we should get along fine.  Most of the sites in the park are filled with seasonals and long term workers in the area with only about 6 sites for overnights.  Over the next couple of weeks these sites would fill up most nights with snowbirds trying to get home before the pandemic shuts them down.

Campsite

When we got to Wichita, there were just a few confirmed cases in the state and only 1 in Wichita itself.  However, testing was still nearly non-existent so they had no real idea of how many were infected.  Within the next few days, Wichita put in place a “stay at home” order except for groceries, pharmacies, and essential businesses.  By the following Sunday the order became state wide.  Positive cases continued to rise steadily but without the explosion other locations such as New York and New Orleans were experiencing.  As ordered we stayed at the RV as much as possible, although in the first week we did meet with Floyce, a high school friend for lunch and a walk in Sedgwick County Park.  We also took a couple of hikes in the trails at the park, which is interesting.  For hiking trails in their red cedar field, they have moved a number of interconnecting paths.  You can get in a mile hike easily without repeating any of the paths.  Except for this and trips to Walmart, Dillons, or Walgreens we stayed at home.  Thankfully the free WiFi in the park is excellent and the TV reception had over 40 channels available.  We really had a good place to spend the next couple of months.  Unfortunately we can not visit our many friends and family in the area until this pandemic is over.

Through the rest of March the pandemic continued to worsen throughout the country, including Kansas.  By the end of the month the situation in Wichita was not too bad yet with less than 50 cases.  However, it is likely to get much worse.  Unfortunately, President Trump was not being much help.  Except for an opportunity to let off some steam yelling at him, I don’t see that he has done anything to help the situation.  Regardless of all the ass kissers he has surrounding him, his actions and policies have all be reactive, not proactive and at least two weeks late which is a LONG time for this pandemic.  His mixed messages, uninformed and dangerous predictions, and inability to utilize the federal government leaving it to the states to battle each other for critical supplies, shows a complete lack of leadership we so desperately need at this time.  Congress did pass a huge relief package that will certainly help if it ever gets out to those that need it.  By the end of March it was still a promise while unemployment exceeds that during the Great Depression and the unemployment offices overloaded.  So far, our kids are doing all right with Disney continuing to pay Jenny’s salary, William’s job classified as essential, and Hi-Wire Brewery staying afloat with drive-thru or delivery service and online orders.  We did learn that our nephew Jared in Birmingham came down with the virus and had a rough few days, but is now recovering.  Otherwise, everyone is still healthy and worried about the future.

March, 2020 – Salisaw, Oklahoma

Our trip north from the Broken Bow – Idabel area to the Kerr Reservoir near Fort Smith, Arkansas was along US highways as they wound their way through the Ouachita Mountains in eastern Oklahoma.  Consequently, the trip was slow and took over 3 hours.  However, the rain stopped early in the morning and held off until we made the trip and got set up at Applegate Cove Campground on the Kerr Reservoir.  This was another nice COE campground, this time on the Arkansas River.  However, the campground was beginning to show its age as the paved road in the campground was narrow with tight corners that made it a bit of a challenge to pull the RV around to our site.  They also do not have an entrance gate and expect you to make online reservation for your site, even if you just show up.  Fortunately, we had a site reserved and it was not difficult to locate and get pulled around.  It took a couple of shots to back the RV into the site to avoid the trees, but we got in the site in good shape.  Later the campground host came around to welcome us and give us our tag for the truck.

Originally our plans were to visit Fort Smith National National Historic Site and other historic sites in the area during the week.  However, by this point we were more concerned about the impacts the pandemic was going to have on our lifestyle.  The number of cases in Oklahoma and Kansas was less than 10, but the early history in Washington and now New York was that it could climb quickly.  We were in a campground without a sewer hookup so any long term stay was out of the question.  We were also concerned that they would put a travel ban in place keeping us from moving.  So we decided to “bit the bullet” and move immediately up to Wichita where we had family and friends.  This was nearly a month before we had planned on moving to Wichita, but we felt we just could not wait.  Therefore, while Kal went into Salisaw to do the laundry, I spent Tuesday reworking our plans.  I found a campground near Goddard that could reserve a spot for at least a month, which I jumped at.  Goddard is just west of Wichita and the location would be within a couple of miles of where Kal grew up.  I also cancelled our reservation for the following week in a state park.  It was interesting that they were surprised as to my reason for the cancellation as I suspect that had not had anyone cancel due to a pandemic before!  I suspect I would not be the last one.  Due to the projected storms on Wednesday and Thursday, we planned to make the 6 hour trip north to Wichita on Friday.  So we spent the next two days riding out the rain and wind at the campground getting increasingly worried about the pandemic and frustrated with the government response, which according to President Trump was not going to be that bad.  He needs to pull his head out of the sand and listen to his experts!!!!!  Next stop will be Wichita for the foreseeable future.