Augusta | A new epidemiological release of the Masters tournament in less than five months brings a new challenge. Having once again got the privilege to cover the entire program, Newspaper Choose the safest travel strategy: the car.
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Armed with a set of documents proving the reasons for my ‘essential’ business trip to Makkah Golf in a comfortable new Toyota Camry to rent, a thermos of coffee and a cooler full of food for the trip to avoid a stopover, I left Montreal on Monday morning in the direction of Georgia.
Even if I had done my homework a few weeks before I left, this trip could quickly turn to 60 kilometers south of the capital when I arrive at US Customs.
Do not cross over to reach Uncle Sam’s land by overland at these bleak times when the border was closed for a year. Obviously, despite Officer Wilson’s kindness, it was complicated. He took the time to check official letters from Augusta National (ANGC) and the employer as well as study the rental agreement for an apartment in Augusta.
What about a negative result of my screening test within 72 hours of departure? “It’s good to show it,” he told me, “but we don’t need it,” and instead intrigued him the “badge” that ANGC had previously mailed to me.
What his flaw was the decision to go down the road and not the sky as usual. After we made it clear 10 times instead of one that we chose safety in a car rather than cramming us into a plane that looked like a sardine can with coronavirus variants circling around it, the officer submitted my request to a first supervisor. Officer Keegan nodded, and looked at the somewhat nervous fellow in front of him.
Worried ? I am invited to await the decision on a metal chair. Ten long minutes passed while I watched the documents go from one president to another at the border crossing. I questioned myself and looked for solutions if denied entry.
They finally got back to me. last question:
– Masters will not start for seven days, so why enter now?
Sir, the Augusta National Amateur Women’s Championship starts Wednesday morning. We have a Quebecer that is participating, Brigitte Tipo, who answered him right away. On Sunday, the youngsters will participate in the Drive, Chip and Putt competition. It is really cool for young men.
– perfect. You can enter the United States. Be careful on the road and don’t make the whole journey at once.
– Thank you very much, Officer! I’ll stop at the corner of Washington.
Three quarters of an hour later …
It took almost three quarters of an hour for the doors of the United States to open up to me. The officer who kept my car key outside stole a little golf and sports talk from me before I hit the road again.
Georgia crossed Interstate 87 on to New York and then Conventional Route 95. In “The Roundabout” in New Jersey, I almost glued the numbers on either side of the Camry as the flow of traffic was rapid at the end of the afternoon.
A night’s stop in Alexandria, south of Washington, allowed me to stretch my muscles and recharge my batteries after 10 hours of driving.
On the road again!
Get back behind the wheel Tuesday morning at 8:30 a.m. to devour the last 800 kilometers across Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Clint Eastwood also said nicely when he played a baseball scout in the movie Return to the game : “Carolina is so beautiful.” The blue sky and bright sunlight made the second day of driving on the 95th and 20th even more enjoyable.
After traveling 1,800 kilometers across eight states in 17 hours, I painfully arrived in this charming little downtown area.
Augusta late on a Tuesday afternoon. The usual warm welcome from the south gave way to an unpleasant drug test in the Augusta National parking lot.
This time, it was not a surprise. I knew I had to regain my guts and push the smear myself into each of the nostrils for 15 seconds. After about 20 minutes, I received a negative test result and my badge was activated. This test must be repeated every 72 hours until the end of the master’s program.
As in November, it will be routine in Augusta. Members of the press have access to golfers, but caution must be exercised outside of the property. So, I planned all of the apartment dinners after I had actually visited the Publix supermarket on Berkmans Street, a stone’s throw from National.
The return is scheduled for April 12 via Highway 81, a matter of seeing another part of the country before mandatory home quarantine.