Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

Finally, it's time for adventure!

Life with Pepe

Life With Pepe for the past 18 months has been spent primarily at home. Our sheltering in place routine has been a bit longer than it has been for most people as there were an extra few weeks added to the pandemic lockdown due to my recovering from emergency surgery just before the COVID outbreak.

Prior to COVID, Pepe and I traveled a great deal, visiting family and friends all over the country. Often we would travel by cruise ship up and down the West Coast of the US and Mexico; Alaska, Hawaii, Central and South America; twice through the Panama Canal. Now our only "adventures" have been occasional trips to Lancaster or Bakersfield for a doctor's appointment or big-box-store shopping.

Now that I am fully vaccinated and the country is opening up, despite the surge in COVID infections, a 4-day trip to downtown Los Angeles was planned; then canceled. The escalation of the increase in COVID-19 infections is a major concern for me. Less than 50 percent of the people I may come into contact with are not vaccinated; many refuse to wear a mask. Pepe and I did take public buses to Bakersfield twice for doctor appointments (transfers required); however there were few passengers on the buses, which made personal separation easy. Also, "masking up" is required to board the bus. Other than that, we've stayed in the local area, going out only for essential needs.

A couple of weeks ago I received and offer from an internet travel agent for an Alaska 7-night cruise at a heavily discounted price departing at the end of July. Apparently there are several unoccupied cabins and the ship is sailing with a reduction in guests.

This cruise would be unique for Pepe and I: not only is the guest load reduced but everyone will be required to be vaccinated to board. Persons from the Center for Disease Control will also be on board to insure that proper Pandemic Procedures are followed by everyone. Congress recently passed a law allowing cruise ships to bypass Canada when sailing from, and returning to, a US port. Previously a Maritime Law. I would feel safer from COVID on that ship than I would feel while shopping in a local grocery store!

Not only has the price been reduced, but the ship is a "higher class" cruise line than Pepe and I normally sail on: Celebrity Cruise Lines. The ship, Millennium, recently had a multi-million-dollar upgrade, making it a first class vessel. I, of course, booked the cruise.

I'm feeling very comfortable with the decision for Pepe and I to take this cruise. There is a good chance that we will have very little contact with COVID-infected persons due to the extreme precautions that are being taken. What a great way for us to break out of the long period of isolation and get back to traveling once again!

Our scheduled cruise is what is known as an "Inside Passage" visiting Dawes Glacier and three cities in Alaska; embarking and debarking in Seattle. We are sailing the day this edition of The Loop newspaper goes to press, July 30.

My parents "immigrated" to Alaska during the depression. There was no depression in Alaska. Work was plentiful, life was what you could make of it. They sailed out of Seattle aboard a ferry. Their passage was "steerage" on the same route (they debarked in Ketchikan) that Pepe and I are taking. Big difference for us, of course: we're sailing on a first class cruise ship!

I can't begin to tell you how excited I am to be able to go on this cruise. I'll have a report of the highlights of our cruise in a later edition of The Loop newspaper.

Pepe is a small, male Chihuahua mix, 8 years old, that accompanies Steve everywhere. Steve has a hearing disability that allows him to have an ADA Certified Service Dog.