Shopping lovable Lopez in a time of coronavirus

DSC_0021_1Ranger Rick stops on the way across Lopez Island, in the San Juans, as a roadside sign spreads good cheer.

IMG_7955EVEN A SHOPPING TRIP in times of plague can be warm and fuzzy on Lopez Island. And we kind of like that.

Yesterday we needed groceries, and it was time to take trash and recycling to the Lopez Dump, both “essential activities” allowing us to break the governor’s stay-at-home order.

We packed up our Purell, face masks and nitrile gloves and made a prison break from Alcatraz, er, I mean Center Island. We buzzed across Lopez Sound in the boat and hopped in Ranger Rick, the old Ford pickup we keep at the Hunter Bay Public Dock.

And as we drove toward Lopez Village, we started noticing hand-printed signs along the roads. They bore upbeat little messages, as if an out-of-work motivational speaker just couldn’t bear to sit home with nothing else to do.

We quickly realized it was just the lovable lefties of Lopez, boosting morale in this time of stress and challenge.  Here’s a photo essay:

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At the dump’s drive-up window, the cheerful face-masked cashier accepted our payment with a long-handled net. Sadly, the “Take It or Leave It” warehouse, our favorite spot to browse through other folks’ discarded-but-still-useful treasures, is closed until further notice. All the good old stuff has been emptied out. Too potentially germy.

Barbara, whose immune system isn’t what it once was, read a book in the truck while I did shopping. Our first stop was Blossom, the natural foods store. During the virus emergency, they’re taking orders online only. I had filled out our order and paid by credit card a few days earlier. Staff met me at the door with our pre-bagged order of Barn Owl Bakery bread, vegan butter and Field Roast vegan frankfurters.

Next stop: Holly B’s Bakery, which is open limited hours, with the cash register stand  blocking the front entry. From a respectful 6 feet I asked for two cinnamon rolls, telling the friendly clerk, “Nothing will ever get so bad that you shouldn’t stop for Holly B’s cinnamon rolls!” “I hope not!” she laughed.

At the Lopez supermarket, about half of patrons wore face masks (like me) or bandannas over their faces. Barbara gave me a long list. They were out of regular flour, so I bought the expensive organic flour (better for us anyway). They had packs of poor-quality toilet paper, with no price posted and a limit of one package. Sometimes you take what you can get. We don’t want to hoard, but this is one item you don’t want to end up without.

We usually spend $25 or $30 at the Lopez supermarket every couple weeks, just to fill in our cupboards between major monthly shopping at Costco and Fred Meyer on the mainland, where prices and selection are much better. This time I filled a big cart, to the tune of $203. And I was glad they were open for business.

IMG_20200404_160702199Our long day ended when we got home to Center Island and I spent an hour outside with a spray bottle of bleach water, wiping every can and box, and packing other items into a sealed bin to “age” until safer. I took all fresh produce out of plastic bags and sprayed it with the garden hose.

All this stuff is stressful. But we’re staying safe and sound so far. Hoping you are, too.

As they say on Lopez: Positive vibes! 1-anchor

HELPFUL TIPS

Time to go shopping? We found help in these links on how not to bring home the germs and how to clean up your groceries.

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