A picture of a barren desert

Worry: unless worry leads to taking positive action immediately, it is Upper Limit noise, designed to keep us from living our best life. Ask yourself — is this a real possibility and can I take any action right now to make a positive difference in the outcome? When things are going well, you can always bring yourself down by manufacturing worry thoughts. Our worries are just there to make ourselves miserable but our finger is on the button: we can stop worrying.”

That’s a quote from the notes I took about one of the self-help books I read in January. Ha.

I left Guadalupe River on Monday morning with plans to drive as far as I possibly could, aiming to get to my friend’s house in Arcata as soon as I possibly could. First, though, I was obsessive about my germs. I wiped down the faucet, the water spigot, and the electricity post with my precious antiseptic wipes, trying to make sure that every surface I’d even come close to was smothered in bleach. If someone arrived soon after I departed, there might still have been white cleaning suds on the faucet, but the germs would definitely have been dead. Well, as long as they were of the 99.9% killed by antiseptic wipes.

My plans derailed somewhat sooner rather than later, though. I have no way of knowing whether I have covid or a cold — I am not sick enough to require testing nor rich enough to get randomly tested the way all the celebrities seem to be doing — but I was definitely not healthy enough to drive for endless hours. I made it to the New Mexico border, spent a miserable night at a rest stop; made it to Arizona, spent a more pleasant night at Saddle River, a very pretty BLM area; made it to the Arizona/CA border and said, yeah, done. I checked my apps for the closest Bureau of Land Management area, drove into the desert, parked and went to sleep.

I’ve been extremely careful along the way. I used my nitrile gloves and antiseptic wipes at every gas station, and I’m living on the food I have in my fridge. I’ve spoken to no people (except on the phone) in days. But this is definitely not a good time to be living in a van.

Also, not a great time for the propane not to be functioning. It turns out that I won’t be able to plug into electricity in Arcata. Since it’s still dropping into the 30s at night in Arcata, I would need to have heat to be comfortable there, and no propane & no electricity means no heat. Is this ironic, given that I left Florida because it was getting too hot or just an unpleasant coincidence?

It’s also not a great time to be sick, of course, but I do think I’m getting better. Yesterday I was pretty sure I was running a fever and I was coughing a lot, but today I’m coughing much less. Even yesterday, though, I didn’t feel like I was so sick that I would go to a doctor, even if the world was back to normal. I was just sick enough that I needed to stay in bed. So I’m hoping that turns into healthy enough to get back on the road someday soon. Meanwhile, I’m hanging out in the desert. I did not pick my campsite for any reason other than, “a place to park so I can go to sleep at 2 in the afternoon,” so I may wander around a little and look for a nicer place to be, but I may just sit here for a little bit, too. And try to figure out how I can get my propane fixed!