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The UP of Michigan

We could have made it to Petoskey on our second day hauling booty across the Dakotas and Minnesota, Wisconsin…. But I really wanted to check out another Harvest Host location in Moran, MI. The Gourd Barn was worth the stop, which just happened to be right around happy hour! It’s only 1.5 hours from Petoskey, MI – a charming small farm with antique bar from 1908 filled to the brim with unique antiques and an owner who loves to share the history to all Harvest Host visitors at 7pm each evening. She also makes and sells various arts and crafts for those that visit. Mike and I purchased a gorgeous Swarvoski sun catcher for our NC mountains cabin window, and some local maple syrup! The Gourd Barn has a nice large open grass field for glampers wishing to spend the evening and our dogs enjoyed the no leash required freedom to run and play after two days of long driving.

We woke up early the next morning to get to Petoskey, but I was not feeling so great. Congestion, cough, headache and runny nose...... It started to cross my mind that I could have Covid. I told myself it was just allergies and results from smoke and dust of motorcycle riding out west. However, when I started the clean the bus and realized that I couldn't smell the cleaners which I usually thrive off… I knew I needed to be tested.

I went to the nearest Walgreens and found the Binox self test that many recommended for it’s accuracy – and within five minutes of the swab - I tested positive for Covid.

Mike was on the golf course with a dear friend, so I called him and advised he needed to get home asap and take a test himself. I also called Tom and Laura, as they were pulling into Heartheside Grove to meet us for our final stop on the Lewis and Clark Tour. Tom also tested positive, but Mike and Laura were negative.

Our doctor in Florida said that they would most likely test positive the following morning – it would be nearly impossible for them not to test positive after spending so much time together in our buses.

The next morning, our doctor's prediction was right. Positive tests for Mike and Laura, as well.

Mike and I received both doses of the Pfizer vaccine in March, but still contracted the virus. We are guessing it was the Delta variant. The news and those you speak to will say if you didn’t get the vaccine, you would suffer more…. Tom and Laura did not opt to receive the vaccine. Their symptoms were identical to Mike and I. It just makes you wonder what we really know about this pandemic and it’s evil way to spread throughout the world. I am not sorry that I received the vaccine, and I will not shame those that elect not too. I would get vaccinated again, even with contracting the virus.

What I can share is that Mike and I got lazy with our Covid precautions. We stopped using anti-bacterial wipes often. We also started venturing back into bars and crowded areas.

I almost decided to not even share our bout with Covid, in fear of the trolls that feel they should shame you for living your life on social media. I was shocked at the amount of negative posts from people who had no idea whether I was vaccinated or not, finger pointing and negative comments about us attending Sturgis.

I will say this - it was OUR choice to attend the rally in Sturgis. Also, only Tom, Laura, Mike and I contracted the virus in the very small group that we did most of our activities with.

We did attend the Kid Rock concert… but we were in a VIP crows nest backstage and very open air location with the owner of the Buffalo Chip. He did not contract Covid, nor any of the camera men working in the same area. None of our friends that also attended the show contracted the virus, and they were in crowded suites, etc.

We DID go to bars together, and sit at the bar, and drink beer. This is something we didn’t do all of 2020. We also went to restaurants. The fact that no one in our Sturgis group contracted the virus except the four of us told me that we either contracted it before Sturgis or on one of our evening/ afternoons where only the four of us gathered. Either way – you have NASCAR and IndyCar races selling out, people attending parties, bars open across America. One event in Sturgis is not the super-spreader that many accuse. I have many friends in the Daytona Beach area all with the new variant of Covid. ALL were vaccinated. The Delta variant is a damn bitch… and I am not going to predict or chastise people for living life again and keeping their business open. We attended Sturgis to attend charity events and part of our business. At some point, we have to re-build and move forward to keep income flowing. I am not sorry for making this commitment and keeping it.

I do want to share our experience. I could help anyone reading.

I will advise, if you get very congested, have a runny nose, cough, sneeze…. Just take a test.

The sooner you know you have Covid, the better chance you have to fight it off and not end up in the hospital. Our doctor advised we start a ZPAC, which I had already started once my symptoms kicked in. He also ordered us taking zinc and vitamin D – as well as whichever cough & cold medicines we felt worked best – and a 30-day round of allergy med, for us Zyrtec.

The one action he insisted on was getting the monoclonoal antibody infusion. Mike has no spleen, therefore he was a candidate to receive treatment. I could not get the infusion, because I am too young in the state of Michigan to be approved. If I’d been in Florida, I would have been able to receive. Tom and Laura also went immediately to get the infusion. The SOONER you get it, the better results – this is why it’s so important to just test yourself and know if you have Covid as early as possible.

Within 24 hours, the infusion made a world of difference in Mike, Tom and Laura. My body luckily was fighting off the virus, as well – and we self-quarantined for 12 days. Our doctors advised only 10, but we wanted to be safe and not spread.

We set up “Covid Camp” on our lots at Hearthside Grove, and had friends staying in the park drop off supplies when needed. We were very thankful to have friends bring us fresh food, water and even dog food for our pups. We also were very thankful that the virus attacked us on our final stop of our Lewis and Clark Tour. Our rented lots in Petoskey were large, open, full of gorgeous grass for our dogs to enjoy. I forced myself to sit outside daily and breathe in fresh air and soak up vitamin D the natural way from the sun.

None of us were upset with taking a few days to rest and re-coop after such an adventure.

We had many cook outs every evening together in our Covid Camp combines - we even joked about feeling like zoo animals out on display as park guests slowly would drive by and look over toward the Covid carriers. I will say, people were very kind and considerate – it was just funny to see them gawk over and finger point. We had to find the positives in the situation and laugh at ourselves. I hate that Tom and Laura also contractd the virus, but it was nice to have our travel partners to quarantine with. We even discussed the disease and illnesses that must have slowed down Lewis and Clark on their grand expedition in the early 1800s.

We also all realized our summer adventure was near the end. That was a tad depressing. One night, Mike sincerely looked me in the eye and thanked me for the trip of his life. I’m such a sap, I’m tearing up just typing that!

I feel so blessed that we got to share this journey with two of our favorite people, Tom & Laura. I enjoyed EVERY minute and mile.

We didn’t really get to see much of the area of this quaint lake town, but we did manage to get out after our quarantine to drive around the charming town of Petoskey and even walk along the bay front park to see the Lake Michigan and even search for infamous Petoskey stones.

I felt lucky to just put my feet in the water!

Negative Tests mean clear for takeoff and making our journey back home to Mountain Falls.

We left for Ohio on Monday morning. We considered staying a couple extra days in Michigan so Mike could play golf with his buddies, but everyone was still a bit weary of getting too close to us, and we totally understood. The unknowns of this virus make everyone frightful.

The best choice was to head to my home state of Ohio and get in two days of family visits before ending the Lewis & Clark Tour.

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