By Lyle Painter

 It appears life in the U.P. during this pandemic time is not any more exhilarating than being here in the Sunshine State.

Like most everyone in the USA, we have been “hunkering down” and only leaving our condo for groceries or doctor appointments. All of the lovely public beaches on the warm Gulf of Mexico are closed. All restaurants are prohibited from having in-house or outside patio dining. A few eatery businesses are attempting to keep their bistros viable by doing delivery and carry out operations. Unfortunately, a number of these restaurants had trouble acclimatizing to a new business mode and have entirely closed.

The bad news for us seniors is it is limiting our socializing with friends. But on the plus side, it is saving us money!

We are not sure when we will be leaving Naples, Florida to drive back to our home in Curtis. This current shuttered situation is just as bad or worse in Michigan, albeit the U.P. has small number of COVID-19 cases so far.

If we drive home now, we will be required to quarantine ourselves for 14 days. Also, from information we have received from people who recently left Florida and to head north, the ease of travel is less than reliable.

The plus side is there are fewer cars driving on the road and gas prices are as reasonable as anyone can remember. The con part is the rest areas are sometimes open and sometimes closed. None of the states between Florida and Michigan have open, dine-in, restaurants. Some restaurants tried to survive on carry-outs but have capitulated and discontinued their operations. Various motels along I-75 are accessible but others are closed. The “free breakfast” motels such as Holiday Inn Express are not serving food.

For now, we think we are just as safe staying in Naples. Originally, we were intending to go to Curtis via Philadelphia. Our granddaughter, Abbi Hayes Plominski, (NHS class of 2012) was scheduled to graduate medical school as a Physician’s Assistant on May 14, but, like everything else, that ceremony has been canceled.

Our weather in southern Florida has been unusually hot for this time of year. I had to make a quick grocery trip earlier today and the outside temperature was 94 degrees. The noon news reported that, because of high humidity, we had a heat index of 103 degrees. Quite the opposite of a U.P. wind chill factor.  My Curtis kids said it was snowing in Curtis the day after Easter. Go figure!