Coronavirus isolating in a nudist resort. (Or, when summer came early to Shangri La Ranch).

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Coronavirus sign at Shangri La Ranch
Shangri La Ranch is temporarily restricting entry.

Because of this Coronavirus thing we’ve been social distancing and self-isolating for over a week now. In an effort to keep our spirits up we try to make at least one positive comment about our lives per day. Today it’s “Thank god we don’t have teenagers!”

In all seriousness, I do feel badly for parents stuck at home with children, a stressful situation for everyone. But it’s got to be brutal if those kids are teens. You know they’re going to:

  • Eat a weeks-worth of food in two hours.
  • Throw a fit when you ask them to stop playing online games so you can have the bandwidth to email your boss.
  • Let the family cat shred the last roll of toilet paper because “It’s funny and I’m bored!”

All things considered, Julie and I are in pretty good shape. It’s just the two of us in our 34-foot motorhome, and after more than five years on the road we’re used to the cramped quarters. We’re in a clothing-optional resort in a warm part of the country, and can take in the fresh desert air while walking our dog, Peanut. The weather hasn’t always cooperated with the “optional” part of clothing optional, but we still can’t complain. Other full-time nomads like us aren’t having it so easy.

On the RVers social media site, RVillage, stories are popping up about closures at private RV parks, state park campgrounds, truck stops and other places that we full-timers rely on, leaving many road warriors scrambling to find a safe haven.

S with jigsaw puzzle at Shangri La Ranch
Passing the time with jigsaw puzzles.

We feel very fortunate to have a place to wait this out. Especially a place we love like Shangri La Ranch. It seems like most of the U.S. nudist resorts have made official announcements about temporary restrictions to help contain the spread of the virus, typically along the lines of canceling events, closing restaurants and not allowing people in who weren’t already staying there.

Flight of the Canadians.

As I write this it’s eerily quiet for such a beautiful spring day. One of the main reasons it’s so quiet is because normally most of the winter visitors are still here. And most of those visitors are Canadians.

But this is not a normal spring, and the Canadians fled en masse, most of them threatened by their insurance companies that their coverage would drop if they didn’t return home.

In a NUSA Sun column titled “Flight of the Snowbirds,” I wrote about how the atmosphere changes at Shangri La when the winter visitors leave. The number of parties diminish. There are fewer activities at the clubhouse. You don’t have to wait to get on a pickleball court. The summer is quieter, with weekend visitors picking up the slack. But now summer has arrived early, and weekend visitors are not currently allowed.

There’s still laughter, but few parties. Pickleball games are still going on, but then nothing can stop a Shangri La Ranch pickle ball game. If a nuclear holocaust wipes out humanity, and cockroaches are the only living thing that survives, you can bet that some of them will be playing pickleball at Shangri La. But the mood is a bit somber and no doubt the same around the country, and the globe.

Life changes, but still goes on.

I just took Peanut for a lengthy walk through the Ranch and spoke with one person. For only a moment. On a day like today, the walk could have lasted an hour as I chatted with friends and newcomers. People wave, and for the most part keep that six-foot distance recommended by the Centers for Disease Control. But that’s really hard for social nudists who are used to giving out hugs and handshakes without a second thought.

So we’re all taking it day by day, quietly wondering what our world will look like going forward. No matter what happens, I can guarantee you that even if I have to wear a mask and gloves, I probably won’t be wearing any pants.

Stay safe my friends and we’ll see you on the post-pandemic side.

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