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Running Away Part 2!

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I asked my boss if I could leave the state. ‘Begged’ would be a more appropriate term. The reality is, I don’t need to be in California to work remotely. I can work from South Dakota as easily as I can work from California.

He caved.

I’m leaving.

No, not permanently. We are leaving for a month… or two depending on how it goes. I haven’t made a decision on San Antonio but I made the decision that it’s time to get out of Dodge! We are headed to South Dakota – the ultimate masters of social distancing. I can’t handle my excitement.

We are using the money we had been saving for a trip in the Fall. We thought we’d need it in the Spring so I was reluctant to touch it but the more the pandemic heats up, the more we realize a Spring trip isn’t in the cards either. We are holding off on our family vacation until next Fall which means…our budget is good to go to South Dakota!!

I’m ready for wide open spaces!

I’m a planner. I don’t take last minute trips… EVER. I don’t go anywhere without a daily, hour by hour plan but we are literally hopping in the truck and leaving. Tomorrow. I’m panicked I’ll forget something vitally important. That I’ll make a huge, life altering mistake (because those happen all the time?!?!) but if the pandemic has taught me one thing, it’s that things aren’t normal. We are using muscles we haven’t used before. Things are weird.

We’ve got to learn to roll with weird these days.

We are headed to South Dakota then over to Montana. They maybe to Washington? Oregon? We aren’t going to the national parks. We aren’t going to the big cities. We’re camping in the middle of nowhere. We found a sweet rancher who is letting us rent a little corner of his land. The kids will be in heaven. I will be breathing deeply.

Things will go wrong. The truck might break down. Things WILL break on our trailer. But we are made of stronger stuff these days. We’ll rebound. We’ll grow.

Hello South Dakota. See you soon.


14 Comments

  • Reply Angie |

    Are you set up to work remotely? Most areas with dispersed camping have zero cell phone service unless you have a really good booster with antenna. That’s the beauty of it! Also, how did you go about finding someone to let you stay on their land? Cool idea.

    Stay safe. For the sake of yourself and others, act like you’re still in California (masks, constant sanitizer, stay out of places you don’t need to go including restrooms!). Most other states in the Midwest do not take COVID seriously. You will end up feeling like it doesn’t exist, which is great if it doesn’t make you complacent.

    I think it is a poor time to go with all the states at their spikes. But I also understand everyone is living in survival mode and at their wit’s end. I just took a 2 week road trip a month ago. I’m so glad I didn’t have it planned for now.

    • Reply Walnut |

      The beauty of South Dakota is you don’t have to be close to other people. Certainly the tourist heavy areas could be Covid vectors, but even those swarms of people don’t hold a candle to a crowded state park on the coast.

      Social distancing is something that naturally happens with the low population density. If Beks is spending most of her time hiking and exploring a ranch with a few trips into town for groceries, she’ll be just fine.

      Will she encounter a population who is largely unbothered and unconcerned about Covid? Yes, without a doubt. Perhaps the lack of anxiety will be helpful?

      • Reply Angie |

        For sure it would be helpful for the mind. I’m mainly reiterating to be respectful and not complacent. This applies to anyone traveling nowadays! The areas she’s visiting are someone else’s home. Accidents happen. especially on camping roadtrips, that will require more exposure than you anticipate. On our trip we had a broken window, a sprained ankle, and car trouble that sent us into multiple stores and towns we didn’t plan on. Multiple days of rain can also give you a push to want to go into town. Anyone traveling needs to not become complacent, and minimize your risk as much as possible. Just because the locals are pretending it doesn’t exist, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist! Actually, when I was out there was a lot of talk of new hotspots in areas where locals were trying to escape the “big city” by camping out.

        Downplay it all you want. But there is risk driving 40+ hours with an unknown number gas and bathroom breaks. IMHO bathrooms would be the highest risk on a roadtrip, especially USFS pit toilets that don’t get cleaned regularly. Use your brain. Avoid what you can. Don’t get complacent even if others around you may be. Minimize the risk. Slow the spread. Likely she will be fine, as proven by the inconsiderate people taking unnecessary vacations via plane.

        • Reply Beks |

          We have our own bathroom in the trailer so we don’t use public ones. We generally pack 2 weeks or more of food so we grocery shop less when traveling than we do at home. We definitely are outside more but we avoid crowds like the plague. It’s actually not a Covid thing, I just REALLY hate crowds. The further I get from people, the happier I am.

          We are very cognizant of the pandemic and take appropriate steps to mitigate risk. That said, my mental health is as important as my physical health and that means leaving my home to go outside.

    • Reply Beks |

      Yes, I am set up to work remotely. The area supposedly has cell service but we’ll see. We have two different carriers so we are hoping for the best.

      Hipcamp connects property owners and campers (tent or RV). It’s a great way to avoid campgrounds and get unique experiences. There are lots of ranches in the area and they will let you stay for very little cost. We are fully self contained with power and water so it makes the options nearly limitless.

  • Reply Walnut |

    Verizon Wireless coverage is usually good in South Dakota. Have an amazing time!

    Custer State Park is a gem and Spearfish Canyon is a lovely afternoon drive as well. Sawyer Brewing Company in Spearfish has great outdoor seating and is along a creek, so we enjoyed a leisurely meal while our kids ran up and down the creek.

    My kids’ favorite thing to do is tromp around our friends ranch and the adventures find them.

  • Reply Angie |

    It actually may be a good idea to go to national parks now if there are a couple you’ve always wanted to go to, but haven’t because of crowds. Some are limiting capacity with ticket systems .And by default, there are no international tourist buses (this is a HUGE difference at the popular parks). We went to one park that is typically very busy and the entire overflow lot was empty (usually it is full and people are parked on the side of the road for miles past it).

    I’m really trying to hit home to be careful. Not to necessarily tell you to not go. I feel like everyone’s mental health is in the toilet right now. Mine included. Hopefully this helps bring some calm into your life even it is only temporary.

  • Reply JP |

    So exciting. One thing that was a problem for me is to see these places in peak season and think its always like that. South Dakota is probably nice right now, but not in January! If you get out to Washington make sure to get to the Olympic National Park, the only rainforest in north America I think and oh so beautiful and unspoiled even though it is close to Seattle. Great in summer too.

  • Reply Katie |

    One of the unfortunate things about my home state of Montana is that there is a lot of xenophobia and casting blame on “out-of-staters”. The pandemic has made that 100x worse. I wouldn’t want to be driving around her w California plates, just saying. Another year, fine. But this year our spike in cases is being blamed on people coming in. Don’t expect a warm welcome.

    • Reply Beks |

      Interesting perspective. I’d tell you you are being dramatic but I know for a fact you aren’t! We have a similar response here in So Cal during the summer when the ‘zonies’ flood in (tourists from AZ). There isn’t a warm welcome and that was before a pandemic! It’s something I’ll keep in mind. We don’t plan to leave the ranch often but it’s still important to know.

  • Reply Laura |

    I can’t begin to describe how selfish this sounds and how frustrated it makes me. You’re traveling from a highly infected area to another part of the country where you will be relying on their services. Just because it’s rural doesn’t mean you won’t impact people. A dear friend of mine lives in SD. He had to watch his mother and his aunt die alone in hospitals through the screen of an iPad. This “vacation” disgusts me.

So, what do you think ?