Bill Sniffin: Traveling during the time of COVID and fall foliage

By Bill Sniffin, Cowboy State Daily
(This story originally appeared on Cowboy State Daily)

Travel times can be nervous in times of COVID.

We were scared of going to a wedding and then moving on, but what about the booster?

A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine reported that the Pfizer vaccine’s long-term protection against COVID wasn’t quite as strong as the Moderna shot in the long run.

As a recipient of the Pfizer vaccine in January, both my wife, Nancy, and I were eligible for the booster vaccination.

We were on our way to our grandson’s wedding in Grand Junction and this seemed like a good time to get the booster. We loaded our old mobile home (nickname Follow My Nose) and drove south. Our ultimate destination on this trip was Las Vegas, where we park the bus during the winter months.

But before we left we were worried about COVID.

Three older Lander friends who were all vaccinated recently contracted COVID. Although no one died or was even hospitalized, it caught our attention. They reported severe headaches and the need to sleep for about five days. A friend says he is still very tired after two weeks.

A story in the New York Times reported it:

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“Approximately 221 million doses of Pfizer BioNTech vaccine have been dispensed in the United States to date, compared to approximately 150 million doses of Moderna’s vaccine. In half a dozen studies published in the past few weeks, Moderna’s vaccine appeared to offer better protection than the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine in the months following immunization.

The latest such study, published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, assessed the actual effectiveness of the vaccines in preventing symptomatic disease in approximately 5,000 health care workers in 25 states. The study found that the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine had an effectiveness of 88.8 percent compared to 96.3 percent for Moderna. “

Ryan Hedges, the CEO of Lander Medical Clinic, put procedures in place for those who wanted to get the booster vaccination and we were able to get ours before setting off on the first leg of our trip to Grand Junction. We didn’t have any side effects.

Weather guru Don Day said if we left on September 23rd, conditions should be perfect to drive a 13-foot rig over a stretch known for brutal westerly winds. He was right. Outside of the incredible construction between Baggs and Craig, Colorado, the trip was uneventful.

Aspen trees in Carbon County were just beginning to spin. This excellent paved highway from Saratoga to Baggs offers perhaps the best views of Gold Aspen in the state. I’ve never seen as many aspen trees as I did on Battle Mountain.

The famous Aspen Alley is in this area. Cowboy State Daily recently released the best photo noted Cheyenne photographer Randy Wagner ever took of Aspen Alley. It’s a spectacular photo of a brilliant site.

The entire state is showing great colors. The Wyoming Black Hills near Newcastle and Sundance are amazing.

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Mountain ranges from one end of Wyoming to the other brag about this time of year. If you can, hop off and head to the Big Horn, Wind River, Wyoming, Teton, Owl Creek, Sierra Madre, and many other mountain ranges. The canyons are beautiful too.

After Baggs we drove through Meeker and Rifle through the Yampa River Valley in Colorado. Color was just coming out of that, too.

As I write this, we are still feeling fine, and we have survived the wedding ceremony, reception, and various other gatherings in excellent shape.

From Grand Junction we checked again with Don Day and he said the weather should play along. He was right until we got the long stretch from Mesquite to Vegas. It was windy but we made it.

We spend a couple of days in Sin City before storing our rig for a couple of months. We hope to be able to come back for some time in February. More than $ 1 billion was wagered in Vegas in August, and while that figure is below pre-pandemic levels, it still shows that business is coming back.

When it comes to COVID, Nevada is California Junior, with everyone being ordered to wear masks almost everywhere. It was common for people to wear masks outside and even while driving. It was honestly a little shocking after enjoying Wyoming’s almost mask-free environment.

We look forward to our journey home, especially through some of our favorite cities like Evanston, Kemmerer and Fort Bridger. I am considering taking a route that would include a stop at the Flaming Gorge. The road from Fort Bridger to the Flaming Gorge Dam is a scenic gem that few Wyoming residents have traveled to. If you do, you will have a wonderful journey ahead of you.

Fall is my favorite season of the year in Wyoming. In recent years it stretched until the end of October before winter snowed. We can only hope.

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