Of course it was the hottest day of the year, over 100°F, but I was not deterred. Newly single and determined in my National Parks pursuit, I scampered east, to Fort Monroe National Monument. I slathered on a thick coat of sunscreen that I immediately started sweating off, grabbed a bottle of water I’d later forget in the gift shop, threw my camera around my neck and I set off.
I always google the National Park units I visit before I actually visit them. I don’t need a ton of information, usually, just some basic history and a rough idea of what it is that makes the park special. When I did this for Cabrillo National Monument, in San Diego, the internet was all, TIDE POOLING, and I was all, what the fuck is tide pooling?
Our 26th president, one Theodore Roosevelt, was a legit badass. He was just 42 when he took office, following the assassination of President McKinley, which makes him the youngest president we’ve ever had. After his death, he was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions as commander of the Rough Riders at the Battle of San Juan Hill. His face is carved into Mount Rushmore next to George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln.
When you’re on a multi-day drive in a big stupid truck hauling home some furniture that belonged to your dead grandmother, it’s best to include some adventures along the way. In fact, it’s probably mandatory.
I’d never done the drive from Texas to Virginia, although it’s one my grandmother managed a few times in her 89 years of life. She was born in Loop, Texas, between Lubbock and Midland, and then moved to Virginia and, much later, returned to Texas, to Houston, for her remaining years.