By Annie Lindgren

As the weather warms in Northern Colorado, many are ready to hit the road. Especially after the last few months of hibernating at home. While lots of recreational areas are still closed, there are plenty of things to see and do. Here are some tips to consider in planning for a successful road-trip during a pandemic.

Plan for other potty options

Restrooms in recreational areas, from day-use to campgrounds, have been closed for months. Many rest-stops are closed as well. Some gas stations, especially rural ones, have ‘restrooms closed’ signs in their windows. This leaves the great outdoors or the roadside, as the most viable option. Plan for proper outdoor potty etiquette. A small shovel to bury the load, toilet paper, and a bag for the trash, and wet wipes or hand sanitizer for the hands. Even if park bathrooms are open, they can harbor germs, so use that hand sanitizer. 

Fuel is cheaper, with a side of potential germs

The current low fuel prices make it an affordable time to travel. Do remember that gas pumps are great places to pick up germs. Rubber gloves or bags can protect your hands while at the pump, and an ample supply of hand sanitizer will kill anything you may have picked up. Remember all the surfaces you touch, from the gas pump to putting the car in drive. Extra care means fewer germs to share. 

Know the rules of where you go

If your trip takes you outside of your county or state, know the rules of where you plan to go. Each state and county has different guidelines regarding COVID-19 restrictions. Mask requirements, whether or not campgrounds are open, and gathering size restrictions are good things to know. All this information can be found on the internet with a google search. 

Plan to pack out your trash

With all the closures, trashcans can be hard to come by – plan to pack out your trash and take it home with you. Littering is a crime, attracts animals to campsites and roadsides, and ruins the beauty of a space that someone else is hoping to enjoy later. Don’t forget the trash bags.

Open destination options

If you have a specific destination in mind, check and make sure it is open. Parks and recreational areas closed down when everything else did, and are in varying stages of opening back up. There are many National Forest, Wilderness, Wildlife Preservation, and Bureau of Land Management areas throughout the United States that remain open and contain dispersed camping. Recreation maps, google searches, and apps for your phone can help you know where to go.

Plan to have everything you need with you

We are in the middle of a pandemic. With so many closures, including restaurants and shelves not fully stocked, plan to bring the things you need. Make sure to carry plenty of food and water. Plan for safety and survival in all activities you engage in. When accidents happen, or when you need things you don’t have, it opens the door to potential virus exposure.

It is easy to continue social distancing and avoid picking up virus germs, as long as you have everything you need while on the road. With a little extra planning and research before you go, it can be a satisfying outdoor experience. Stay tuned for more articles about things you can be out safely doing during this time. 

This author has been on the road since March 9, camping most nights in dispersed camping. It is a primitive time to be out, but the benefits of being out in nature are worth the added element of adventure. Follow ‘Sunshine Ink’ on Facebook or Instagram, or check out SunshineInkLLC.com, to learn more about Annie’s travels.