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Columnist Sharon Nesbit takes her COVID-19 quarantine on the road to Florence, Ore., where she found a change of scenery, but from a safe distance.

SHARON NESBITWhen I bought this motor home, I never dreamed it would be quarantine headquarters.

Back then, Jean and I had just about driven dear old Maude, a brown and orange American Clipper, down to the wheel rims.

Part of the adventure when traveling in Maude was never knowing when she was going to break down. We considered that one day, we might have to abandon her, pack our stuff in garbage bags and fly home.

Late in his life, my 90-plus stepfather had worn out the care-giving women in his life and was down to me as next of kin, a situation neither of us enjoyed. He was actively courting a new lady when lung cancer caught up with him and took him out at age 95.

Jean and I fired up Maude the Ancient Motor Home and went to Reedsport to clear out his house — an aging manufactured home in a flood zone. I feared I might have to abandon it, but posted a hopeful sign on a piece of cardboard offering the house for sale. It sold to the second person in the door.

It was enough money that Jean and I decided we could look for a newer motor home to replace Maude.

That became Rhoda, boxy and white, several decades and many miles younger than Maude. Now that Jean has quit traveling and the cat died, it's just me and Rhoda.

Then along comes coronavirus, which targets old people with underlying conditions, and I am one of those.

There are some good parts. My children keep promising good times ahead, if I stay safe and wear one of the 20 or so masks they have sent.

The neighbors — the baking neighbors — drop by with stuff that makes isolation almost worth it. Fresh-baked sourdough, pies, pickles, cookies.

I have not yet been able to pay for a jug of vodka when my supply runs short and someone goes to the liquor store for me. (We are a funny state. In Arizona, Sister Sue orders her booze online, backs up at the liquor store loading zone, and they put it in the trunk and wave goodbye.)

But four walls are four walls and when life at home gets itchy, I get Rhoda out of the barn and go camping to see something different out the window.

I pay for my campsite ahead of time, so there is little or no contact when checking in. Me and my fellow campers keep our distance.

I was in Florence this week on the Siuslaw River watching the tide and the birds. I have to eat my own cooking because there is no way to safely get fish and chips, salt water taffy or Mo's chowder (Uber Eats hasn't discovered Florence). But no one who has ever met me thinks I will soon starve to death.

I have food and books and, most importantly, a change of view. I am a lucky woman.

Sharon Nesbit can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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