It has been an interesting couple of weeks. Our travel plans are ever-evolving, but that’s okay. We’re remaining flexible and optimistic.
That’s the key and benefit to retirement.
Last week we flew to Colorado. Initially Vail resorts intended to remain open, and they put a number of safety precautions into place. We were getting daily updates from the resort and Colorado’s health department. Things seemed okay, so we went. However, the situation quickly degraded. We were able to get a single day of skiing in, and decided to just hang out for one more day while everyone else made a mass exodus. It gave us some time to pack, re-arrange travel plans, return skis, try to make a dent in some of the food we bought, drink the beer we picked up from Tommy Knocker Brewery (Idaho Springs, CO), and relax. We were able to pack much of the food we bought that we couldn’t finish. The rest, we left unopened for the Airbnb. If you want to be amused, check out TSA’s rules for acceptable food items that can brought onto the plane. Live lobster? Maybe.
Regarding skiing, Breckenridge handled it well. The ski resort sanitized the bathrooms and inside dining tables constantly. People spread out, but most remained outside. They also shuttered all hot food service (we always pack our own anyway). They didn’t allow anyone to access the water fountains; instead, they handed out cups of water to folks with gloved hands. You could only ride the lifts and gondolas with your party. It felt like the safest place to be—gloved and masked up; enjoying the outdoors. The town’s grocery store, City Market, was fully stocked aside from the empty shelves that housed Clorox wipes. People were generally relaxed.
It was a huge bummer to come home 8-days early after literally dreaming of skiing since last March, but here we are. Things change, and we have to adapt. We are home, and self-quarantined for 2-weeks. In addition, we cancelled plans to go to California in early April. The memorial service we were going to attend has been postponed. Right now, we’re reassessing whether we’re still going to Montana in the summer. It’s still early, and we’re keeping an eye on the situation. We’re lucky to have friends that live in the Big Fork area; one of which is a pulmonologist. The main purpose of staying in Montana for two months in the summer was to gauge how busy Glacier National Park and the surrounding area gets during that time. If, after our summer experience, it’s still a place we may potentially want to move, we’ll likely visit during the winter as well.
Side Note: Because people often seem stunned that we would choose a cooler climate to a warm one, I have to say that winters don’t concern us at all though. When you don’t have to get to work in inclement weather, it’s not as big of a hassle. We also prefer cold to heat, and are much more at home in wide open spaces with wilderness and mountains, than at the beach. Where we’re looking to move is actually fairly mild, as it’s in a valley and the snow tends to dump on the east side of Glacier National Park. Big Fork gets approximately 55 inches of snow annually (the US average is 28 inches), and about 23 inches of rain (the US average is 38 inches). In contrast, where we live now averages about 14 inches of snow and 43 inches of rain. It’s also bloody humid and pollen-y (it seems that my allergies get worse every spring) in Maryland. I’m looking forward to leaving that behind.
Now that our schedule has opened up a bit, we have more time for house projects and long-term planning. There’s always a silver lining, if you look for it. My feeling is that you can stress out about things out of your control, or you can roll with it. Take this time to connect with loved ones (either virtually, or those who are in the same household), read, relax, spend time outdoors, play games, laugh, catch up on shows, or work on projects you’ve put off. Of course, you’re going to worry and feel overwhelmed at times. We all do. On that same thread, there’s also going to be significant financial hardship for a lot of people during this time. However, we’re still here on this Earth. There’s no reason to squander the time that we’re given.