Dear Action Line: Earlier today (July 29) we saw a bright yellow Datsun 280Z with “Batman” license plate in Mancos, heading for Durango. As we were pulling into the gasoline station, we got a look at the driver. He looked like Willie Nelson. Which begs the questions: 1. Is Willie Nelson Batman? 2. What does Batman do in Durango? – The Halls
Dear Halls: So, the Batmobile of the 2020s is an aging 1970s mediocre attempt at a sports car? Is that what we want our top evil-crushing crime-fighter driving? He’s driven a Lamborghini Aventador and Murciélago (Spanish for bat), Formula 1 racing look-alikes and other futuristic, low-to-the-ground machines. And now it’s a bright yellow 280Z?
To start, Action Line tracked down contact info for Willie Nelson’s publicist, then spent hours crafting a witty email question. Was this indeed Willie Nelson? This is the full, long and detailed, humorous response from Willie’s publicist, Elaine Schock at Shock Ink:
“It was not Willie.”
Well, at least she actually responded. Willie, age 88, is about to go on tour, by the way. The Outlaw Music Festival will bring him as close as Phoenix on Oct. 15. Get your tickets now. (Wait. Shouldn’t his publicist be saying stuff like that?)
So, what does Batman do in Durango? Action Line’s best guess is he parks his 280Z and patrols the trails on his $8,000 Santa Cruz Hightower or Specialized Enduro mountain bike. Or loops the backcountry beat around Silverton in his $25,000 RZR High Lifter. But that’s just an educated hunch. If anyone knows more than Action Line (right, fat chance!), please cough up your valuable insights.
Dear Action Line: Why has it been so difficult for my husband and I to find a place to get a COVID-19 test that meets all the criteria for the country we will be flying to? I have always believed that a great number of people living in La Plata County are well-traveled, so I am shocked at how difficult it has been to locate COVID-19 testing for travel purposes. – Flustered Flyer
Dear Flustered: Wait, you want to talk about flustered? Try being Action Line, and having to attempt to answer questions like this! This question was sent about two months ago, which means two things: One, Action Line might have an avoidance issue, and two, the answer keeps changing quicker than you can say “delta variant.”
(Watch out: Here comes the lambda variant, and omega must not be far behind, which might coincide with the end of the world, at least as far as we humans are concerned – see “The Omega Man,” the 1971 Charlton Heston version of course.)
Probably it should be pointed out that “Flustered” needed a test on a Saturday and was flying to South Africa. That complicates things. Hopefully your travel issues are not so complex.
Durango is not New York City, or even Denver, but it’s still First World, and we do have some resources. Action Line, happy traveling in the Four Corners states for the time being, personally knows of many Durangoans who recently have been to Hawaii and Europe. It’s possible. Check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website (Google “CDC travel alerts” or something similar) to see how you should prepare for places, most of which the CDC recommends you don’t visit.
As one example, Canada just started letting us back in for nonessential travel as of Monday. If you’re flying to Canada, you’re required to take a COVID-19 test within 72 hours of your scheduled departure time, even if fully vaccinated. Then, you might have to do more testing when you arrive. For full information, please consult official websites and/or people who know more than Action Line. Problem: These “official” sites seem to have different information and keep changing.
COVID-19 tests vary. There’s a standard PCR test, a PCR send-out, a Cue rapid test and a few more. You’ll have to determine what’s right for you.
San Juan Basin Public Health, the go-to source for COVID-19 testing in La Plata and Archuleta counties, said it offers as many testing options as possible. San Juan Basin will try to help you through your COVID-19 travel issues. Call them at 247-5702 or visit https://sjbpublichealth.org/testing if you have a question.
Free testing sites are available at the La Plata County Fairgrounds, the Pagosa Springs Medical Center (behind the building) and Fort Lewis College. You can preregister, but that’s not required. The fairgrounds is open Monday to Thursday, so on Friday or Saturday you might have to go to Pagosa or the FLC site. Or, try Animas Surgical Hospital, Animas Urgent Care, Pagosa Springs Medical Group or Walgreens, among others, which all offer rapid tests.
“SJBPH is aware that there are a wide range of testing requirements for travel and is helping provide as many testing options as possible,” said Chandler Griffin, SJBPH communications director. Those who have challenges regarding specific requirements are welcome to call the health department, he said.
Action Line’s advice just from doing this research: Plan on some screaming and hair-pulling, but try not to yell at people who are honestly trying to help you through the foreign travel process.
Email questions and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. If anyone cares, “PCR” stands for polymerase chain reaction. And “RZR” stands for razor, but you knew that.