driving cross-country during pandemic
June 14, 2020 5:20 PM   Subscribe

My friend wants to drive from Los Angeles to Maine at the end of June (2020). How practical is this given the pandemic situation? (Motels open? Gas stations operating? Food available?) Any thoughts are welcome, especially if you've done this recently.
posted by Beginner's Mind to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
When you arrive in Maine, you will either have to quarantine for 14 days, provide proof of a negative covid test in the last 2-3 days, or find someplace in Maine that will test you and quarantine until the results come back.
posted by donnagirl at 5:41 PM on June 14, 2020 [7 favorites]

I just drove 80 across the country from Brooklyn to Northern CA. With two cats. Everything was fine. Some states had a few rest stops closed due to the pandemic which I found annoying but I had no trouble with gas, food or hotels along the way. Truckers have to get us our TP right?

I usually called ahead to my hotel of choice the day before to make a reservation based on my goal distance for the day and they were all open and accepting guests. I found mask use dipped the further I went west. But absolutely no one said boo to me about wearing my mask and nearly everyone practiced social distancing where urged.

I usually stopped for drive-through fast food and ordered delivery to the hotel once. All national chains have strict protocols in place as far as I could tell.

Your friend should be fine.
posted by rdnnyc at 5:54 PM on June 14, 2020 [6 favorites]

I literally just walked in the door from driving from LA to Atlanta and back. My partner continued on to southern Florida from ATL and picked me up in the way back.

YMMV for one person versus two, but we booked all of our hotels in advance. It didn’t seem like that actually needed to be done, as most places had sufficient vacancies to accommodate walk-ins. But we found the rooms to be spotless and well-appointed. I had no concerns about lodging at all.

I hate the usual garbage options for food that one finds on long road trips, but everywhere was open. Some non-chain places were offering socially distanced dine-in, if one cared to do so. (We did not.)

Masks, hoo boy. The further east we went, the fewer of them we saw. There were some stops where we were literally the only people wearing them, including the servers and staff behind the counter. i’d say we had a few instances where we were at the receiving end of heavy stares or strange behavior. Of course, it was hard to tell if people were being weird on account of the masks, or us being an obviously gay couple. Let’s not even talk about what I saw in Atlanta in terms of people crowding into bars and restaurants with zero distance or protection.

In general, it really feels like every person for themselves out there. In terms of nuts and bolts hospitality, it was totally fine. But atmospherically, the America I saw was doing its best to pretend that the pandemic was over, damn it. But we traveled the southerly routes through some heavily Trump-fortified country. No idea what one would find going to New England.
posted by mykescipark at 9:20 PM on June 14, 2020 [5 favorites]

...okay, one thing I should have mentioned about lodging. I did notice that a few hotels were having problems getting service/maintenance folks to come out to fix routine things. These ran the full gamut of importance: one hotel had no functioning A/C, while another had an ice machine that leaked water. So after our first misadventure along those lines, we did end up calling the rest of our hotels to make sure they currently had working air conditioning, hot water, etc. Sounds like a silly thing, but at a time when repair folks are either laid off or overwhelmed, it doesn't hurt to ask.
posted by mykescipark at 11:11 PM on June 14, 2020 [3 favorites]

This just in from the Harvard Health blog is all about cross-country drives.
posted by Bella Donna at 10:20 AM on June 15, 2020 [2 favorites]

Detroit Metro area to San José, CA a week ago, returning next week. Packed all the food and drink we needed, stopped overnight in Wyoming and slept a bit in the car, also took turns sleeping while the other one drove. 90% alcohol rags in a baggie for gas stops and a 5 gallon can with disposable liners for... Was so uncomfortable we pushed ourselves to finish it in 37 hours.

Yeah, masks. After Iowa did not see any at all, they reappeared in California.
posted by garbanzilla at 11:27 AM on June 16, 2020

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