A tour of the Mountain West beyond the “wall.” Paul reports from Yellowstone

Recently, RGF’s president Paul Gessing took a family trip through a number of neighboring states to vacation in Yellowstone National Park. The trip took us through Utah, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Colorado.

From the COVID 19 perspective these states have been less impacted than New Mexico (aside from Colorado) at least if you measure by deaths per million.  A new report by Wallethub finds New Mexico to be among the most shut down states in the nation while Utah, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming (states in which we traveled and stayed in on our trip) are among the most open. Even Colorado which is listed as being locked down like New Mexico had the hotel pool open and local governments were apparently granted great flexibility in their COVID 19 policies (a concept we have discussed extensively).

Here are some impressions: When traveling with kids on the road, having a swimming pool is HUGE. Hotels in Utah, Wyoming, and even Colorado had swimming pools open. New Mexico has them open only for lap swimming which kids don’t do.

Most employees in various restaurants wore masks (probably at the behest of their employers), but most patrons in restaurants didn’t. In West Yellowstone, Montana, the “touristy” places were socially-distanced, but the “townie” places were not.

At Yellowstone itself the lodges in the Park were all closed, but the campgrounds were all full. The Park itself was about 75% of normal July 4 weekend capacity. Many people did wear masks around the major sites, but most did not.

One playground we visited in Ennis, MT had a common-sense solution: a hand-washing station. Another playground in Durango was FULL of kids playing and adults watching them while no one was wearing masks at all.

A few photos of the trip are below. As an aside, it felt great to get out of town and do something “normal.” I discuss further details in an upcoming episode of TippingPointNM:

 

 

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