Sandy Tolan, his wife Andrea Portes, their son Wyatt and dog Rascal enjoy their first morning back home after their road trip.

Our mask-wearing road trip across a battered America

Updated 10:32 AM ET, Sat February 20, 2021

Sandy Tolan (@sandy_tolan) is the author of three books, including "Me and Hank," about his boyhood hero Hank Aaron, and "The Lemon Tree," now out in a children's edition. He is a professor at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own. View more opinion at CNN.

(CNN)In January, as Covid cases spiked in California, refrigerated morgue trucks rolled into Los Angeles, ICUs overflowed, oxygen supplies depleted and full ambulances waited in lines for hours, my wife, Andrea, and I faced a dilemma. The two of us had spent Christmas in Tucson, and planned to drive home to Los Angeles, but our 11-year-old son was in Florida with his biological dad. Andrea had a plane ticket to bring Wyatt back. But flying, especially out of Los Angeles International Airport, seemed too risky. Better to stay at super-clean Airbnbs, order contactless food, and drive across the country to Miami.