Skip to content

Community Comment: Christmas vacation in the Omicron era

A Christmas I’ll never forget, and hope to never experience again!
Sherwin Arizona column
Community columnist Brad Sherwin had an interesting Christmas travel adventure in Arizona.

Last Christmas, I chose to stay home, while it seems others defied the recommendations and travelled. This Christmas I thought was going to be different, so I planned a trip south. At the last minute, I found myself questioning that plan, but went ahead with it anyways. What an adventure it was.

Just a few days before we left, the federal government suggested against it. It was the day we were buying our travel insurance, so we also picked up COVID insurance. Not cheap, but peace of mind if anything happened.

We left the day after the 72-hour exemption ended, Dec. 21, travelled to Las Vegas and drove to Phoenix. U.S. President Joe Biden was set to make an announcement that day, so we hurried to get over the border lest he decide to close it. Pulling up to the Blaine crossing at 6:30 a.m., we were the only car there. I doubt I’ll ever see that again.

The flight was uneventful, the drive afterwards was spectacular. Past the Hoover Dam, through the Joshua Tree forest until the Suharto cacti dotted the landscape.

Once there, we were staying at a family home, so we could keep to ourselves for the most part. The occasional outing involved a trip to Costco, Walmart or Home Depot. We wore our masks, the staff wore their masks, but not many other people did. Good thing I got that insurance!

My daughter is a big football fan, so we took in an NFL game. 65,000 fans in the stadium with the roof closed, hardly a mask in sight. Oh boy…

As we stopped by a local pharmacy for our PCR test, two days in advance of our trip home. We spent the last couple days in Vegas, stayed outside, avoided crowded casinos, and waited for the test results to prepare to come home.

Mine came in, negative. My wife’s arrived, negative. My son’s? Not yet. I was worried about getting an invalid result, so I had to start planning for a quick test the morning we flew back. The result came back at midnight, negative. Another problem dodged.

Then, there were all the flight cancellations. Please, please don’t cancel my flight, there weren’t any rooms available on New Year’s Eve in Vegas. Check-in complete, we’re good. The car was buried in snow so the solar charger wasn’t that effective, but it started and we were off to the border.

COVID test? Check. Arrive Can? Check. You were in Vegas? Here’s your arrival test, get it done in 24 hours or you’ll be in trouble. Not so worried about what I was bringing home.

A Christmas I’ll never forget, and hope to never experience again!