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A drive through scenic central Pa. may be the cure for COVID cabin fever

It has been seven months since Americans began locking down against COVID-19. Many have attempted to get back to “normal” by donning masks, washing hands more frequently and taking a step or two back sometimes, to maintain social distancing.

But many others have remained cloistered at home, and with good reason. For millions of people who are older and with pre-existing health conditions, any risk of contracting the disease is too much.

If you are among them, you are growing very, very tired of not getting out. A little fun would be nice.

Never fear. Now is the perfect time of year for that in most parts of the country. It is fall and in these parts, the scenery is simply spectacular.

Take a drive. If your car or truck needs gasoline, don’t worry. Nearly all retailers selling fuel have pumps that accept credit and debit cards. There is no need to have any contact with others before you fill ‘er up. Many have rubber glove dispensers so customers don’t have to touch pump handles. Take your own, if you like.

Where to go? Many of us know of scenic drives near our homes. Longer trips are no problem; pack a lunch.

Local and state tourism agencies often provide detailed maps for driving tours, and there are many from which to choose.

In our backyard, we’d like to suggest state Route 333 between Mifflin and Juniata counties, sometimes referred to as the “Hawstone Road,” which offers spectacular views of the changing leaves as well as a view of the Juniata River.

We are fortunate to live in a state with a longer and more varied fall foliage season than any other state in the nation, according to the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

In this region, we have state forest lands that are ripe for exploring. The Rothrock State Forest is not only a great spot for outdoor sportsmen (and sportswomen) but is home to beautiful autumn scenery this time of year.

Bottom line: Don’t let COVID-19 hold you prisoner. You can get out, with minimal or no risk of contracting the disease.

A relaxing drive in the country may be the perfect medicine for cabin fever. Try it. We’ll bet you feel better.

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