Travel During COVID-19 (Part Three)
Updated: Jul 3, 2021
This is Part 3 of my Travel During COVID blog.
Because of the issues faced driving through Colorado on the way to Las Vegas, my husband and I decided to make the 36-hour journey back to Chicago via route 66/the highway. This leg of the journey took us through Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Illinois.
My husband began the drive in Nevada and we switched in Flagstaff, AZ. I can 100% attest to the beauty of Flagstaff; however, the altitude is worse than in Colorado and Utah. For anyone (such as myself with inner-ear issues, I highly recommend taking a Sudafed prior to travelling through this region… explanation to follow.) While driving in Arizona, one issue we faced was no public bathrooms when entering towns; however, there are rest stops with public washrooms along the highway/Route 66.
New Mexico was the next area I drove partially through and this area was less populated but beautiful none-the-less. We did happen upon a nice gas station that was located next to a casino; however, due to the COVID restrictions in the area, only New Mexico residents are allowed to enter the Casino. The gas station was open for travelers and they had decent restrooms and a gift shop. At this point, my ears were on fire and the pressure in my head was almost unbearable from the altitude in Arizona, so again my husband took over the driving.
Texas… Oh Texas how you woke me. I finally fell asleep in New Mexico which was no easy task due to my sinuses being completely inflamed from my issue with the altitude. I may have been asleep for nearly an hour when the most horrific smell invaded our vehicle and slapped me in the face so hard I woke from a dead sleep. The only way to explain this putrid nightmare smell is to image the smell of an oil refinery with the stench of death emanating from a slaughterhouse on a 115-degree day. The smell permeated the air for over an hour of the drive and there was no escaping it. We were miserable; however grateful once we exited the region.
On to Oklahoma. Every time I hear “Oklahoma” my mind drifts to the scene in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, where Steve Martin as Ruprecht begins banging pans while running and yelling “OKLAHOMA, OKLAHOMA, OKLAHOMA!” I’ve visited Oklahoma in the past and have always enjoyed the state. Maybe it’s a kinship of sorts due to having some Cherokee blood. My husband however, will forever be reminded of fog when he thinks about this area of the country. He drove through 4 hours of extremely dense fog, to the point where he could barely see the tail lights of the semi we were following. My advice for this area is drive through during the day, but not too early as it can prove to be very dangerous. The other situation we faced in Oklahoma was the long stretch of road (I believe it was approximately 137 miles without access to a bathroom. Unfortunately for me, we had switched driving at this point and I had a little too much caffeine so I had to go and thankfully had my handy dandy urination device that I purchased on Amazon to make the “going” easier as there wasn’t a discrete area where I could squat.
Once in Missouri, we began seeing signs advertising “The World’s Largest Candy Warehouse.” For miles the sign burned itself into our psyche, so of course we stopped to check it out. I have to say it was pretty amazing and offered a huge dose of nostalgia. They did have every type of candy imaginable and we may have left with a bag of goodies that neither of us had seen since childhood. One thing we did purchase that wasn’t very good was the licorice wheels they were stale and hard, so if you happen upon this amazing store, save yourself the heartbreak and stick to the taffy.
Once back in Illinois my sinuses cleared up and it was smooth sailing back home. This road trip was quite the haul. 29 hours to Vegas through treacherous terrain and 36 hours back to Illinois which left us pretty exhausted. Would we do this type of marathon trip again? Probably not, but one day we may take a month to travel those roads again and soak in the beauty of this spectacular country.
My next blog is going to be a comparison of hotels on the strip vs the off-strip hotel w
generally enjoy while travelling to Vegas. Also, there is an important piece of information that I will share about hotel stays during COVID, so please check back… you won’t want to miss this!