From NYC to Virginia everyone was wearing masks at any grocery store, hotel or gas station we had to stop at. We did this trip in two days time. We stopped at a really lovely food co-op in Harrisonburg, VA called The Friendly City Food Co-op. The selection for vegan food there was great and their prepared foods were really good. Their bathroom was also nice and clean. People were also very mindful COVID wise.
Once we got further south and west though things changed.
The next day we continued to drive to Memphis. We stopped in Knoxville after driving for a few hours to pick up some lunch. We found a place called Sunspot. We ordered food beforehand so we could just pick it up and keep driving. When we got there we ran in to use the bathroom. The restaurant was PACKED for Sunday brunch. There were people hanging around by the bathrooms not wearing masks and no one inside was wearing a mask aside from the hostesses and kitchen staff (luckily). No one was wearing a mask at the gas station next door either. It felt pretty gross. I ran in, used the bathroom and ran out. I was pretty paranoid, but we decided to eat the food since the kitchen staff was masked up at least. It was pretty wild to me coming from NYC where people outdoor dine in 30 degree weather rain, snow or shine that so many people were choosing to eat indoors when it wasn’t very cold out and the restaurant had multiple tables set up outside that were all empty.
We made it to Memphis. The hotel staff at the Marriott we stayed at were masked up, but guests checking in while we were weren’t.
The next morning we continued on to Austin. We drove through Arkansas and Texas and once again maybe 1 out of 5 people in every gas station we had to stop at were wearing a mask including the people who worked at the stations. I guess that’s America though. Young wild & freeeeeee.
We stopped at one gas station and I used the bathroom. It had two stalls and someone came in while I was peeing. I went to wash my hands and she walked out of the stall not wearing a mask. The New Yorker in me wanted to rip her apart, but then I thought to myself if I say anything to her it means she’ll say something back to me and that’s too much of her gross breath in the air. So, I kept my mouth shut, washed my hands and ran away 🙂
We made it to Austin late that night and stayed with a friend of mine for three days. For the most part Austin seemed like most people were conscious of mask wearing and distancing. I didn’t see anyone on the streets wearing a mask, but when going in to stores it seemed that people were required to wear masks. Bars and restaurants appeared to be open from what I could tell. Austin is super set up for outdoor dining though, so it also surprised me when people were eating indoors at many places.
In Austin we got COVID tests through Curative. It was so fun! It was a drive thru test that we scheduled 20 minutes prior to taking. You go through a questionnaire on their site and then pick a time slot for when you’d like to participate in testing. It was free with or without insurance and the easiest process. The tests were PCR and we had our results emailed to us within 14 hours of taking them. If you ever find yourself in Austin or anywhere that has Curative testing set up, I highly recommend it!
Before this trip I had gotten tested every Monday at work for a few months, so we’re doing our best to continue with testing while we’re on the road as a precaution to ourselves and to others.
Our tests came back negative and we were off to Mexico!