It’s that time again! Another year, another driving marathon, another chance to see sights we don’t have back home, and another MCC travelogue series to record the experiences before I forget them all and Anne gets tired of retelling them to me.
Every year since 1999 my wife Anne and I have taken a trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. My son tagged along from 2003 until 2013 when he ventured off to college. We’ve taken two trips by airplane, but are much happier when we’re the ones behind the wheel — charting our own course, making unplanned stops anytime we want, availing ourselves of slightly better meal options, and keeping or ruining our own schedule as dictated by circumstances or whims. We’re the Goldens. It’s who we are and what we do.
Normally we’ll choose one major locale as our primary objective, drive that-a-way, and concentrate on exploring the vicinity for a few days before retreating. We crafted this year’s itinerary with a different approach. Instead of choosing one city as a hub, we focused on one of the motifs that’s recurred through several of our trips: grave sites of Presidents of the United States of America.
Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: longtime readers and friends know my wife Anne is a history buff who brakes for Presidential grave sites, a common must-see on our annual road trips. In past entries we’ve so far shared our experiences with twelve dead Presidents of the United States of America as follows:
- our 2003 trip: John F. Kennedy, Jr., at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, DC
- our 2008 trip: Thomas Jefferson on the grounds of Monticello near Charlottesville, VA
- our 2011 trip: Ulysses S. Grant at Grant’s Tomb in Manhattan, a few blocks south of Harlem
- our 2012 trip: Harry S Truman in Independence, MO; and Dwight Eisenhower in Abilene, KS
- our 2013 trip: John Adams and John Quincy Adams in the same basement crypt in Quincy, MA; and James Garfield in Cleveland, OH
- our 2015 trip: Zachary Taylor in Louisville, KY; Andrew Jackson outside Nashville, TN; and James K. Polk on the grounds of the Tennessee State Capitol in Nashville
- on the way home from Cincinnati Comic Expo 2016: William Henry Harrison a few miles west of Cinci
In the middle of that timeline is one we never got around to sharing: that time we visited the one and only Presidential burial site in our own home state of Indiana.
[Historical pre-note: our 2018 road trip is in the early planning stages, and so far Anne and I know only one thing for certain: it’s time to visit another Presidential burial site or two. We’ve seen 13 of the 38 to date, nearly one-third of the way through the list. Back in 2008, our visit to Thomas Jefferson’s scenic Monticello was only site #2 for us. They were never meant to be a recurring travel motif, but here we are.]
Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: our fifth annual road trip became our first family road trip as we jettisoned our convention plans and took my son to scenic Washington DC to learn history and significance and architecture and so forth. We took a handful of photos using ye olde 35mm film when we weren’t busy corralling and entertaining the boy.
Our Thursday walk led us from the White House to the nearby buildings and statues to the west, to the Vietnam National Memorial, to yet another memorial, one of the many mandatory stops while you’re in DC. Many such famous landmarks and institutions are easily covered within the same convenient walking distance. Not all of them, unless you’re a serious hiker. Or a dunce planning your final day in town using maps not drawn to scale.