In the COVID Bubble - Winter 2021 travel blog


Last December we made the same trip we did today from north of Atlanta to an hour north of the Florida border. Last year it took us from 8:30 - 6pm; today we were here by lunch time. We didn't need any of the extra time we had budgeted, because we sailed through the metro area as quickly as we did on an Easter Sunday morning a few years ago. Many expressways converge in Atlanta and there is a beltway around it. Car traffic was light, but there were so many trucks. Once we got to the beltway nearly all of them disappeared taking the route around. As we zoomed through downtown Atlanta we wondered if it was illegal for all 65 feet of us to be there, but no one seemed to mind.

We are camped at Carroll's Sausage and Country store, which has a surprisingly nice campground for an overnight stop: full hook-ups, level sites, no trees to sneak up on you as you are parking. Carroll's charges $30, but gives you a $10 voucher to shop in their store, an establishment where it is easy to find something you want to eat. When I strolled inside to pay, I was shocked. Carroll's is a big store with many clerks and customers. I was the only one there wearing a mask. People stared at me as if I was a zombie. We haven't seen maskless shopping since March. The cash registers had plexiglass around them and there were circles painted on the floor six feet apart, but from what I know, the virus is transmitted primarily through the air and no one was concerned about it but me.

We went back later to redeem our voucher and there were more customers masked as we were, but not the staff. As befits a country store in southern Georgia we saw all sorts of stereotypical foodstuffs and meat, meat, meat. Forty varieties of sausage, beef jerky, quail, rabbits, frogs legs, pig skin. Georgia specific products: pecans, canned peaches. Any vegetable you could imagine pickling was for sale. Moon pies, goo goo clusters, boiled peanuts, muffuletta, honey, etc. etc. You could buy frozen vegetables, but even they were seasoned with bacon ends. Not a good store for vegetarians. When we travel we love to patronize local shops like Carroll's that sell things we can't buy easily at home, but the absence of masks was off putting. In two weeks we'll know whether our masks protected us sufficiently.

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