USA Road Trip 2020 During Covid-19
August 25 – September 5, 2020
Hollywood, Florida to Chattanooga, Tennessee
DAY 1: On Our Way!
since it’s onset in March.
Besides the uncertainty of the virus, our health concerns, the economic crisis, and our future in general, the travel business came to a complete halt worldwide.
For the past 20 years, I have always worked feverishly designing trips for my clients and then following them on their journey step by step. Like so many of us, I never saw this coming and the adjustment personally has been difficult especially since I consider myself to be a workaholic.
When travel was banned in March my world changed. No longer was I sitting at my desk from 8 AM-8 PM. In fact, looking at my desk became depressing. Luckily, I got engaged in a vigorous work-out routine which included Peloton rides, walking/running, bike rides on the beach, yoga, and meditation. This routine helped changed my mood, has kept me focused, energetic, healthy, and not to mention 15 pounds lighter. I haven’t been able to lose this added weight in over 10 years.
Well, this crisis did it! There was some sort of light.
The Beginning Challenges
In February I had a group trip scheduled with some of my client/friends. We would travel to India for history, wellness, and spiritual awareness. We had been looking forward to it for almost one year but as the crisis grew more and more concerning, we decided to cancel.
Clients that were cruising saw their trips being canceled one by one. I remained optimistic or maybe a better word for it was hopeful for a quick end.
We designed an amazing honeymoon to Switzerland filled with all the unique experiences that we are known for but that was canceled as well. They were to depart in April but since travel was banned, so was their trip.
The good thing that came out of it was that the bride became pregnant and now Baby First. So, there was a positive that came out of a negative.
Alaska family reunions would have to wait until 2021, all travel to the EU canceled throughout September with no date of when it will return.
Caribbean closed and is just starting to open as I write.
Our Anniversary Trip to Africa with our client/friends canceled as well in August, and the beat goes on! No Greece, no Italy, no Spain, no Ireland – no nothing!
Taking a road trip during Covid-19 seemed like the only thing we could do!
The Decision to head to a Luxury Ranch
After months of lockdown and fear my husband and I decided it was time to get out of dodge. We fell in love with the Wild Wild West after our first stay at a Ranch a few years ago, we love luxury ranches, and vast open spaces so we decided to head west.
Our decision to travel came with some trepidation but as the world started to get back to business, I felt we needed to do the same. It was the best decision this year to date! We would stay at Brush Creek Ranch for 4 nights and then head to Three Forks Ranch, both located in Wyoming within 1.5 hours of each other.
We booked flights that were changed and canceled a few times, so we decided to rent a Ford Expedition and drive to Wyoming. We have always liked road trips, and this would be the farthest we ever ventured. We mapped out the trip before getting on the road (approximately 2200 miles one way) and our route would take us out of Florida 95N to Turnpike North and then 75North crossing into Georgia. We began our journey in Hollywood, FL around 8:30 AM, even though we swore we would be on the road by 5 AM, car loaded with luggage, cowboy attire, boots, hats, healthy snacks (which we hardly touched), and drinks for the road. We headed West!
Our First Stop: Chattanooga, Tennessee
Eleven hours of straight driving (my husband will tell you that he drove most of the way) however I drove for a good 6 hours, just to set the record straight.
We were ready to stop. I-24 would have us go through Chattanooga, TN and that seemed like a good place to call it a day. We stayed at the Weston Chattanooga, which is a beautiful hotel.
Covid-19 brought some additional travel challenges; one being restaurants closed at 8 PM so you needed to be seated prior to in order to get service. We made it in the nick of time.
I have never been to Chattanooga and was interested to see it. Unfortunately, we needed to be in Wyoming on Thursday, so we had a limited amount of time. Just enough to check into the Westin, Chattanooga, (masks required) cross the street and eat at the Old Gilman Grill. If you know me, you know that I am a foodie so where I decide to stay, must have some great restaurants nearby. The Old Gilman Grill did not disappoint. Located in downtown Chattanooga’s West Village, the grill offers upscale American dining with a French twist. We sat on the outdoor patio – a much-needed breath of fresh air. We chose the crab cakes for an appetizer. My husband ordered the Grilled Scottish Salmon with warm orzo pasta salad, grilled local vegetables with preserved Meyer lemon hollandaise. I went for the Barrel Cut Fillet and sautéed mushrooms. Topped off with a Bulleit and Ginger for Ken and a bottle of Caymus for me and soon the 11 hours didn’t seem so bad.
We were so excited to see that the bar was open in our hotel. We had bar withdrawals due to Covid-19 so this was the perfect excuse to stop for a night-cap – maybe 2. We didn’t count – the Chocolate Martinis were amazing.
Time to call it a night since we were going to get on the road by 5 AM. Take a guess. That was about as much as we saw of Chattanooga.
Perhaps on the way home, we could stop again.