We all imagined that 2020 would be one hell of a year, and that it has been, with the emphasis on hell. I really can’t recall a year with so much bad news and difficult times to live through as 2020. I feel like we’ve all earned our “I survived 2020” t-shirts. Remember when we all thought that losing Kobe Bryant in a helicopter crash was going to be the big news story this year? I remember thinking that if I could just ignore the election television commercials I’d be fine this year. Haha! That was before Covid, the death of George Floyd leading to a summer of global protests, wildfires, record numbers of Hurricanes, Murder Hornets and whatever the hell Tiger King was.
In hindsight maybe the best thing we can say about 2020 is that we survived it. Not everyone did. We lost my uncle Bill this year, but not from Covid. He was able to have his final days at home with family and I’m thankful for that. Actually, I don’t know that we’ve had anyone in our family die of Covid as of yet, and that’s something that we can be thankful for.
We all probably could talk at length about Covid and how it has affected us each personally. I feel like we are about 75% of the way through the crisis, but because we are only just starting to get ourselves vaccinated, Covid will still take another good chunk out of us before it’s through. Please, each and every one of you, be safe. wear a mask when out in public, and trust the doctors and scientists for reliable information and not the politicians. And when this is all through, I think we should have a giant family reunion somewhere.
2020 started out pretty good for Marge and I as we arrived in Georgetown, Exumas, The Bahamas on New Year’s Day 2020. We got to see Junkanoo which is the Bahamian Carnival celebration at New Years. That was amazing, and maybe we would have relished in the crowds and masses of people partying just a bit more sweetly even than we did had we known that our year would be mostly solitary and distanced from the human connection that we’re all used to.
We had a pretty good season in The Bahamas through February doing lots of snorkeling and spending time with friends on beaches and boats. In March we were getting concerned with stories of Coronavirus and shortages in the US and started making our way back into uncertainty. What is usually a nice trip became a mad-dash back and we got our boat put away for Hurricane season in 2 days and were back in Minnesota two days later. And then it snowed! Yuck! I don’t want to be in
snot snow anymore!
Before Coronavirus hit, Marge and I had arranged to be camp hosts at an RV campground in Walker, MN for the summer. They still wanted us to come so we spent the summer there mowing grass and checking campers into the park, taking out the trash and cleaning the pool. In hindsight, it was good that we had somewhere to be as nobody was going much of anywhere anyways. The summer was long and we had time to go for walks every day and bike rides often. The mosquitoes weren’t as bad as I had imagined they would be, and we got through the summer as best as we could. We didn’t get to travel and see very many people, and if you saw us in person at all, count yourselves lucky. We got take-out food from a couple of restaurants, and had a couple of take-out pizzas. Other than that, we got to know our Air-Fryer pretty well and have become pretty good at making our own dinners. Nightly Cribbage tournaments, a few sewing projects, learning to video-chat, and playing video games kept us
busy occupied. It’s been a lesson in being okay through the turmoil.
We finished up at the RV park in September and left for Florida. We took about five weeks to traverse the country and it was good to take the time to see things. We went across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan along the south shore of Lake Superior to DeTour, Michigan stopping to see our friends Bill and Ella as they were getting their boat put away for winter. We then turned south across the Mackinaw bridge into the mitten of Michigan. We went down the west side of Michigan stopping at Sand Dunes National Park, staying there a couple of days and seeing the sights there. We’ll have to go back someday when we can visit the cute little towns there better.
From there, we made our way south to Columbus, Ohio to see some more of our sailing friends. We got a quick tour of Columbus and it really seems like a wonderful City. If you’ve ever found yourself wondering, “Why do people live in Columbus, Ohio?”, you’ll just have to go there and see for yourself! We will definitely make that another must stop place post-Covid so we can get to know it better.
After Columbus, we crossed West Virginia. I can tell you that there isn’t a flat piece of ground big enough for an airport in West Virginia. Very pretty though. Then we got into Virginia and spent a week in the Shenandoah National Park, a must see. The whole park consists of a mountain range with a road that climbs to the top and traverses the whole range for over a hundred miles. We stayed at one of the campgrounds at the top of the mountain and went for day trips along the Skyline Drive to see as much as we could.
After Shenandoah, we went to First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach and then south. We had stops in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia before getting back to our boat to begin our sailing season.
We are very hesitant about being in Florida during the pandemic, and in the town where we keep our boat, they are very anti-mask and have a lot of Coronavirus cases. So we wear our masks, use our hand sanitizer everywhere and got our work done to get out of there. Long story short, so Marge can tell more in her travel logs, we made our way south along the entire coast of Florida and we are in Marathon in the Keys for the winter. We have a mooring ball and we have our car and bikes here as well. So we can explore some secluded beaches, go for hikes, bike rides, do some fishing, snorkeling, and day sails from here. We are keeping our eyes peeled for happy-hour specials at places with outdoor seating at times when nobody is there. The other boaters are mostly still all getting together and doing stuff, so we’ll see how long it takes for an outbreak to occur. We are keeping to ourselves here too. We did find a good take-out pizza place though, so we’ll be okay.
And just so you know that it’s not been all bad, here are a few positive things to come out of 2020. NASA successfully landed the Perseverance Rover on Mars and will be able to gather some good science data from that. NASA also landed on asteroid Bennu and was able to gather samples that will be returning to earth in 2023. SpaceX launched humans atop their Falcon 9 rocket a couple of times and got them to the International Space Station becoming the first company (not country) to put people into space ever. SpaceX is also well on it’s way to providing global internet from space with their Starlink satellites, having launched almost 1000 of them so far, and they are making progress on their Starship launch vehicle to be able to put humans on the Moon and Mars within our lifetimes. And let’s not underplay the huge effort by scientists from all over the world that have been able to make several different vaccines for the Coronavirus in less than a year’s time.
So, maybe what you can tell from this is that we all need to look to the future for our inspiration. Things will get better, but not if we don’t make them better. It’s been a tough year on everyone. We are all looking forward to returning to a more normal way of life in 2021, and putting the dumpster fire that was 2020 behind us. Many things have changed. Some things will never return to the way they were. Let’s let some of the old ways we used to do things that weren’t so great just fade into the past. Let’s be more cognizant of our need for human interaction, and be more understanding of each others situations. Let’s all imagine for a moment that 2021 will be a new beginning arising from the ashes of the past year.
We wish you all the best in 2021,
Dave and Marge Back
Wandering Toes, and Verne!