Thursday, March 26, 2020

Special Edition - House Sitting vs Coronavirus - March 26, 2020

House sitting can be a complicated proposal... a perpetual roll of the dice if you will. In order to secure a solid schedule in close proximity with minimal gaps between sits, several things have to happen. For example, consider the fact that every house sit has a specific start and end date and geographic location. This means if you have a house booked on June 1st for 30 days, the only house sit you can apply for next has to be after July 1. From there you have to consider how far away the next house is and how long it will last.

That's why, coming into 2020, Charli and I were pretty happy with our upcoming year. Not only had we secured a reservation to Banff National Park of Canada in September, but we had successfully managed to lock down the entire 8 months ahead of it with a string of house sits that gradually moved us up the west coast, ending in Vancouver just one week before.

It was a beautiful thing. In the house sitting world this was a near perfect lineup...
CA - Orange, Santa Cruz, Vallejo
WA - Camano Island, Bellingham, Everett
Canada - Victoria Island, Vancouver, Banff

... one sit after another slowly leading us up to Canada over 9 months, with nary a gap in between, until the big payoff of a full week of vacation at a place we'd only dreamed about until now.

Deemed by many as one of the most beautiful places on earth, we had been trying to squeeze a trip to Banff into our schedule for the last 2 years, but the wild cards of house sit bookings never allowed it to happen.

But then last year we decided to do it differently. Instead of letting the available house sits steer our Prius around the country, we decided to commit to a date in September and then figure out how to fill our stays to lead us to Banff. And with a little bit of luck and a lot of careful planning we did just that! Everything was all set.


December 31, 2019: The first symptoms of 2019-nCoV appeared in Wuhan, China. 

January 19, 2020: The first case of COVID-19 showed up in Washington state.

January 24, 2020: Charli and I successfully secured our campsite reservation at Lake O'Hara in Banff National Park of Canada.

You see, there are only 30 campsites available at Lake O'Hara and they are only available between June 19 through October 3rd. The only way to reserve one is to log onto their web site at 8 a.m. on January 24 and pray to the great grizzly bear above that you are lucky enough to get through and secure one. And if you don't get one within 5 minutes the entire season will be booked and you will not be camping at Lake O'Hara this year. HOWEVER... as low as the odds were, I was one of the lucky 4500 people who got through and our fate was sealed. We would be camping at Lake O'Hara in September! It was a glorious morning.

Now fast forward to February 26 as Charli and I send our home owners off on their 6 week adventure while we take over their house and care of their sweet dog Jax. The "Coronavirus" was now in full swing as dozens of countries around the world were reporting infections and cruise ships were in quarantine. It definitely was starting to get serious "over there" but because there were only a few reported cases in North America we still didn't see any major reason for concern. Surely it would wind down soon.

This, of course, leads us to today - March 26. As I write this all international travel has been put on hold, 22 states are under a mandatory "shelter in place" quarantine and the National Guard has been deployed to help assist. Needless to say, our future house sits are no longer secure. In fact, 1/3 of them have already cancelled.

Fortunately, when it comes to being flexible, Charli and I are in the best position possible. We have everything we need in our car, and driving 1000 miles in any direction is just another day for us. In the meantime we still have a sit booked in mid April... at least for now. But even if that falls through, we will still be fine. We have lots of friends and family who have offered us shelter, and Airbnb is always an option in a pinch. Besides, how long can a pandemic last? I mean come on.

Because they don't last forever, right? Especially until like September... right?


Please don't leave me!

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