Back in November 2019, we had no idea what coronavirus was, let alone how it would impact the way we travel. But as I was planning the Midwest LTVers Spring Rally, we knew we were moving sometime in April or May of 2020 (we built a house with a garage just for our 2016 Unity Island Bed), so we wanted to make sure we booked the rally close to home. It’s really hard to plan things when you could be moving about the same time as a rally.
So, we chose Eugene T. Mahoney State Park in Ashland, Nebraska, just outside of Omaha. I had it all planned – walks around the Park, pizza delivered to our campsite, chocolate store visit, air and space museum, wildlife safari trip, zip lining, paddle boats, “ruin your dinner” ice cream trip, and so much more. Then the coronavirus hit. All that planning and seeing so many LTVers sign up… now what do we do? Would we even have our rally? Would the state park would be open, and if it was, would it be safe? Will this COVID thing blow over? And when would we be moving (in a pandemic)? So many questions with no answers… just a little stress. I waited and kept our fellow LTVers informed. We did have quite a few cancel their plans, which was hard to see, but TOTALLY understandable.
Then I heard that SOME Nebraska state parks would open mid-May. But now, would our park open, and how could we do this safely? We got moved and 3 weeks later we had our rally!
We had 9 coaches attend. A lot less then we had originally scheduled, but this made it a little easier to social distance. I arrived early and was very excited to see those Unities roll up. Rallies are so much fun and you get to see all your fellow LTVers! And we ALL needed to be out in nature.
It looked different than other rallies we have had in the past, but safety was our TOP priority. We decided we couldn’t have any pot luck meals like we normally do, and there goes the idea of having pizza from the Park delivered to our rigs. Instead we decided to get pre-wrapped sandwiches, chips, and cookies from Mr. Goodcents, a local sandwich shop. Everyone got a bag with their dinner in it and we ate out in a circle with 6 feet between each couple. A bit of a challenge but after all we had been through, we needed this!
I made sure everyone knew they needed to keep 6 feet apart, we did no rig tours (bummer), and hand sanitizer was supplied and strongly encouraged to be used! I think everyone there might have gotten tired of hearing me tell them, “6 FEET APART! Use hand sanitizer!!”
There was still a lot to do at Mahoney, even though some things were shut down. We went on daily walks around the Park and visited the Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum (right next to the Park), Nebraska’s largest candy store, and the wildlife safari. We just grabbed our masks, stayed 6 feet apart, and used lots of hand sanitizer. Even though we were not able to zip line, ride the paddle boats, or use the pool, we did have a lot of fun.
We were still able to have our “social distancing ruin your dinner” ice cream party! Instead of going out to get ice cream, we brought ice cream bars and sandwiches with us (all individually wrapped) and had ice cream at the campsite right before dinner! YUM! After all, our moms were not there so we could do that!
We had a great time! We met some new people, exchanged LTV travel stories, got those newbies up and running (one couple had just gotten their rig), and we all stayed safe! If you ever have a chance to go to a rally (even during a pandemic), they are so fun and worth it. We have met so many amazing people at these rallies that we now call friends!