The rules and advice for traveling the U.S.A. in your RV this spring are about as varied as a kitchen sink. Depending on where you are or where you want to be, the rules are ever-changing and it can be complicated.
Most RVers have found a safe place to hitch up and wait it out. If you are on the road traveling from state to state, the rules of “shelter in place” change depending on the State in which you are camping; and State park campgrounds (with their washrooms, toilets, and dump stations) are closed in many States.
We are finding that most RVers are simply “staying put” and if lucky, have done so in a State that is now opening up. Here’s the list of States as of May 4, 2020.
The CDC publishes a website with the latest information about Coronavirus and Travel in the United States. Because RV travelers have to make frequent stops for food, bathrooms, or overnight campsites that we become diligent about hand washing. They advise that everyone use soap and water and wash vigorously for at least 20 minutes after being in a public place.
Alternatively, use a hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol. But do you know why we use soap for washing?
Germs are microbes, and they are everywhere. In the air, soil, water and every surface, including our own body. Most of these microbes are harmless, and some are even good for us. We have microbes in our stomach and intestines, and it’s these “good” microbes that break down the food that we eat and keep us healthy.
Soap is a simple concoction of fat, water, and salt. Recorded history of soap goes back to 2800 B.C. when people used animal fats, food ash and water to wash natural wool and cotton before weaving it into cloth. We think that the early Egyptians were first to use soap for treating disease and personal washing, and the early Romans made it part of their cleaning rituals.
Soap is still soap — the ingredients are basically the same, just refined and more pure.
Soap doesn’t kill germs, it removes them. Fat and water don’t mix (as I’m sure you’ve observed in your kitchen sink). But soap binds fat and water together and when you rinse, the soap carries away the muck, paint, grease, dirt, mud, germs, and yes, the coronavirus microbe with the water. The more lather you work up, the better the soap carries stuff away. The harder you rub your hands together, the more lather you work up, and the friction it creates leaves hands clean.
But you aren’t off the hook yet. After a good hand scrub, check your fingernails. Best to keep a fingernail cleaner near all RV sinks and use them to scrape any other dirt out from under them. Wish a wash and scrape, you can be certain you’ve had a successful cleansing.