Packing for a covid-safe roadtrip

In mid-December we packed everything we'd need to be completely self-sufficient on the 2,000-mile drive to Arizona. We knew we wouldn't be getting takeout or going inside anywhere along the way!

A quiet


We set out early to go to my parents' house in Missouri. We had a quiet Christmas dinner with just the four of us, and then we went out to a high hill to watch the conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter. It was sad to be so far away from Tom and Anna and everyone else in our family, but we knew they were happy with their own "friend families."

We planned to take Ellie on the whole trip with us, but she loves running around free at my parents' house! We left her there to keep my dad in shape with lots of Frisbee-throwing exercise.

Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

The next day we drove about eight hours to Oklahoma. We watched the solstice sunset and the planetary conjunction from a hill in this unexpectedly interesting wildlife refuge. We saw elk, bison, and lots and lots of granite rocks that Eric wanted to climb!

We camped out and made dinner at our campsite near a lake. We were the only people there! Coyotes were close by and they howled and yipped as we went to sleep.

San Antonio Area

The next day we drove to Guadalupe River State Park in Texas, where we spent two nights. Eric rode around the mountain bike trails while I worked from our campsite.

In the afternoon we drove to San Antonio and rode along the riverside bike trails, stopping at the historic missions along the way. As evening fell we made our way down to the river walk.

Big Bend National Park

We made a spur-of-the-moment decision to go waaaayyyy out of our way to spend Christmas along the Mexican border! Winter was a great time to visit because the weather was cool and perfect for hiking.

We explored the canyons of Big Bend and on Christmas Day we hiked to the top of Emory Peak, the highest point in the park.

The Rio Grande, the mountains, and the vast landscape create a place that's unique in all the world. We're so glad we decided to go!

Boquillas Canyon in Big Bend National Park


We celebrated a slightly belated Christmas at my grandma's house in Arizona, and I did my best to recreate my mom's amazing Christmas dinners. Aside from setting the sweet potatoes on fire (I set the rack too close to the broiler), it went really well!

Eric's friend Steve flew down from Boulder and they enjoyed several days of rock climbing and mountain biking.

Eric and I spent the weekends hiking and helping Peg and Laura out with projects around the house. We also got to go bike riding and we caught up with our friends Mike and Julia!

The Road Home

On the way home we visited White Sands National Park in New Mexico and Caprock Canyons State Park in Texas. We were driving through a remote area in Texas when our phones lit up with an alert: a dust storm was coming! It was eerie to drive through a modern-day ghost town during a dust storm.

Home Sweet Home

We picked Ellie up at my parents' house and she was happy to be reunited with Caitlyn and her other friends at home!