My first big trip of the year had been planned for months. I was leaving Indiana for Salt Lake City, Utah to head to a conference. Our stops along the way included mountains and trails and possibly a dog pool. After a few days in SLC, I was heading south with a stop in Kanab, Utah to pay homage to the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, a group I worked with in Tylertown, MS in October 2005, to help care for rescued pets from the New Orleans area, post-Hurricane Katrina. After that, I was heading to an outdoors show in Scottsdale, AZ, where Norbert and Bugg would compete in their first DockDiving event of the season.
As the weeks approached for my cross-country trek, it became apparent that the COVID-19 virus was making its way across the US. Within hours of considering cancelling, the conference that had prompted the two-week jaunt, was rescheduled for the fall. What was an anomaly that day, quickly became a common occurrence, as conferences and events everywhere were being cancelled or postponed.
Being in the middle of Indiana, many think I live in the middle of corn and soybean crops. Well, I do, and I can say that we have some of the best corn around, but I also live in the middle of a number of state and national forests (everyone starts Googling Indiana…). No, we don’t have mountains like the Rockies and Appalachians, but we do have some great lakes and trails, many that have few crowds and are within running distance from my front door. Though I’ve been lucky enough to get out with the boys (Norbert and Bugg) on the weekends to our favorites spots and not cross another human during our route, it still doesn’t provide that sense of adventure you get when you hook up your TAXA Cricket and hit the road.
Earlier this week, word came that Indiana joined a number of other states with “Stay-at-home” orders. Being a huge believer in doing my part to #flattenthecurve and the fact that I’m working very long hours as our university prepares for remote teaching, I’ve not had trouble staying put. I am, however, finding it hard to “leave work” when I’m in my house all day.
I decided to set up “The Doghouse” (2016 TAXA Cricket) in the driveway and give myself a little reprieve. I’m working part of my day in there now for a change of scenery and for an upgraded office space (great windows!). This weekend, I’m also planning to connect with some friends for some “virtual camping”. We’ll set up camp at our respective homes, drink a brew or two, and tell stories around our campfires while connecting via video. It’s not quite off grid, but when faced with new challenges, innovate!