We are currently at Escapees Dreamcatcher RV Park in Deming, New Mexico:
It sure seems like we’ve been here longer than eleven days. Time goes by pretty slowly when you’re confined to one spot all day. We arrived here on Friday, March 13 (how appropriate was that?) when the New Mexico State Parks were closed to overnight camping, and right now it looks like we’ll be here for the duration of this crisis.
Since our last update of four days ago, nothing has really changed about our daily routines. However, the Governor of New Mexico announced stronger social distancing rules in an address to the state yesterday. Now it’s illegal to congregate in groups of more than 5 people (it was 10 before). All non-essential businesses had to close, although there’s a pretty lengthy and detailed list of which businesses are deemed “essential”. All restaurants had to go to the take-out or delivery model, or close down completely. And the Governor has promised that these measures will be enforced.
So here in Deming, things are pretty quiet. We have only left the property a time or two to get groceries at Walmart. This morning, since it was Tuesday, I decided to get there at 6:00 AM for the “Senior Hour”, which is the one hour per week set aside for those 60 and over to shop before the store opens to the general public.
I pulled into the parking lot about 5:58 AM, and it was PACKED. I grabbed my three empty water jugs and started walking up toward the store where they were already letting people enter at the side door. I could see right away that the line to enter stretched all the way around the side of the store, and that there was a police cruiser sitting nearby to maintain order. There wasn’t any kind of social distancing going on in the line, people were pretty much front-to-back to get into the store.
If Walmart was expecting that the “Senior Hour” was going to be a quiet time of little old ladies and men politely doing their weekly shopping while wiping the sleep from their eyes, they certainly got something totally different this morning for the inaugural run. The last time I went to Walmart at 6:00 AM (before they set aside the Senior Hour), there weren’t nearly so many people in line. I think this policy is probably back-firing, creating more of a feeling of urgency and panic when there really doesn’t need to be. I believe that the policies they’ve already implemented–limiting the number of certain items that can be purchased, closing overnight for restocking–are much more effective at restoring a sense of normalcy in the availability of food and supplies.
I decided there wasn’t anything that I needed that badly at the moment, so I got back in my truck and went back home (as did quite a few other people). Andy and I went back to Walmart about 9:45 AM, and this time the parking lot was maybe a quarter full, and we had a pretty good shopping experience.
We had mainly come to get fresh produce for our daily salads, and there was plenty of fruits and veggies to be had. I found a good selection of canned beans (we buy the salt-free variety, so those are always the last to disappear from the shelves). I even found bleach on the shelves today. Plenty of tofu and Tofurky meatless sausage. There were frozen veggies in the freezer aisle again. Overall, the shelves appeared to be filling back up since they implemented the overnight closures. Of course, the toilet paper and paper towels had all been cleaned out in the morning rush, but I wasn’t looking for those things anyway. And they’re still wiped out of dried beans and rice (they did have some of the steamer bags of Uncle Ben’s flavored rice). But I was pleased to see things looking better today.
Even though the restaurants are offering take-out and delivery, we’ve been eating our meals at home. But yesterday we decided that we needed to get another meal from Irma’s Mexican Restaurant to continue showing our support. I called our order in, and then per their instructions, we parked at the curb and tried to call inside to let them know we had arrived to pick up our food. I could not get through to them on the phone. It was lunch time and they were getting slammed.
After about 5-10 minutes, I decided to stick my head in the door and let them know we were waiting, but as I was walking up to the door the manager came walking out to meet me. She took my name, went back inside and retrieved our order, and then came out to the truck to let me sign the receipt (she had taken my credit card info when I called in the order). We asked her how business was going, and she said it was going well, but that they were probably about to close down. We asked why, and she said that the Emergency Management people were meeting at that moment, and she was expecting a shut-down order for all restaurants to be issued.
Of course, we were devastated to hear that news. When we got back home, we found out that the governor was going to be holding her news conference at 3:00 to announce the new state-wide restrictions, so we figured that the local groups were probably being briefed on them ahead of time.
But before the governor even took the podium at 3:00, I saw a Facebook post from Irma’s, saying that they had decided on their own to go ahead and close down immediately, even though the newly-announced regulations would have allowed them to continue with the curbside and delivery business. I’m not sure why they decided to go ahead and close, but I’m sure all the restaurants, with the possible exception of Sonic Drive-In, are really struggling to adapt their operations. Hopefully Irma’s will be able to reopen in a few weeks when things have settled down a little.
Other than that, we’re just hanging out. I did a couple loads of laundry in the past few days. We go for walks, read, watch Hulu, and occasionally chat with the neighbors from a distance. I believe all the monthly sites in this RV park are full now, but there are still new rigs pulling in and leaving the park each day as people are trying to get to a place where they feel safe.
We still feel very comfortable here. So far there have been NO cases confirmed here in Luna County, and the number of state-wide cases has been one of the lowest in the country. I know that’s going to change, but hopefully with the population being so widely spread out in this part of the state, and with the aggressive measures taken by the New Mexico state and local officials, the impact here will be spread over a longer time frame instead of one, huge spike, so that health facilities are not totally swamped.
We are definitely following good social distancing practices (I’ve never been more happy to be an introvert!), washing our hands often, eating healthily, and trying to get some fresh air and exercise. I don’t know what else we can do at this point.
We still don’t have a clue about whether or not we’ll be working in Colorado this summer (we have a work camping job lined up at Mountain View RV Park in Cañon City, Colorado). That state is actively discouraging non-residents from entering their communities right now. We’re still about a month away from our start date for the job, but we’ll need to make a decision in the next few days to give our boss time to look for someone else if he wants to, if we decide not to go. He has said that he still plans to open the park on May 1, but I just really don’t see it happening.
But we’re in a safe place for now, and at this point we intend to stay here until this thing blows over, whenever that may be.
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Safe travels and Good health!!