The signs were all there.

Slippers getting worn more than real shoes. Weeks, months going by wearing only pants with an elastic waistband. Binging so much TV you can’t even think of what show to watch next.

In our efforts to social distance, my family had officially crossed the line into Hermit Territory.

Lucky for us, Dallas is within a day’s driving distance of some fun, family-friendly destinations.

So we packed our bags and hit the road for…drum roll please…Missouri.

Yes, Missouri. The Ozarks to be exact. After months cooped up at home, I can’t tell you how great it felt to leave our house behind and hit the open road.

Here are 3 lessons I learned from our COVID road trip.

Avoiding air travel can lead to fun and unexpected travel destinations

Last summer, we hopped on a plane and 8 hours later arrived in…Hawaii.

This summer, we hopped in our car and 8 hours later arrived in…Missouri.

Okay, so the Missouri isn’t Hawaii. Not even close. No beaches, ocean views, or volcanos. And a snow cone just isn’t the same as shave ice.

But Missouri is a wonderful state in its own right, and offers some fun and interesting sites we never would have seen had we the opportunity this summer to fly somewhere far away.

Like hiking and horseback riding in the Ozark forests.

Seeing the violin played as the Titanic went down in the world’s largest museum dedicated to all things Titanic, housed appropriately enough in a half scale replica of the ship, in Branson, Missouri. True to history, there’s even an iceberg.

Seeing Pa Ingalls’ fiddle and a host of other Little House artifacts at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Mansfield, Missouri. Where’s Mansfield? Let me put it to you this way, way out in the middle of nowhere and far away from any restaurant other than a Subway. But for someone who still reads the series once a year and counts herself an amateur Laura historian, well worth the trip.

And the best unexpected stop? Stumbling upon Crystal Bridges Museum, an $800 million museum housing the best collection of American art in the world. That’s in Northwest Arkansas, which is also home to Wal-mart’s headquarters. The architecture and grounds of this facility are amazing. I did a run on one of the many trails on their grounds and passed 3 Chihuly sculptures and a Frank Lloyd Wright house.

Your kids will have no problem wearing a mask all day at school*

All of my kids (kinder, 4th, 7th, and 10th grade) will be required to wear a mask if they are attending school in person.

Will they be able to keep them on all day?

You bet.

They survived the ultimate mask wearing challenge—10 hours at a hot, humid amusement park.

Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri, to be exact.

To be fair, they have had plenty of mask wearing practice over the last few months. But 20 minutes in Target is not the same as an entire school day. This was the first time they had to wear one continuously over multiple hours and they passed with flying colors.

* Assuming your kid doesn’t have a medical or other condition that would make wearing a mask unsafe or harmful.

You can still get sick with something other than COVID

Wearing a face mask and gloves, dousing yourself in hand sanitizer, and maintaining a 6 foot personal space radius all times, you would think you would be immune to any contagion.

Au contraire.

Looking for a quick breakfast to fuel the troops, we stopped off at a fast food restaurant. Employees wearing masks, check. Reduced capacity, check. Social distancing among the customers, check.

Salmonella in my breakfast sandwich, check.

Yes, food poisoning. The kind that knocks you off your feet 20 minutes later, leaving you sick as a dog, swearing off any sandwich with the prefix “Mc” for the rest of your life.

In addition to your PPE, don’t forget to pack the Pepto.

What about you? Have you ventured out onto the open road this summer? How has COVID changed your vacation plans.

Leave a comment or send me an email.

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