“I collect places.”
It’s an odd thing to say, but becoming very true as we continue this traveling lifestyle.
I’m on a quest to collect the four corners of the contiguous/mainland USA. I can’t seem to find any online references to these spots as a group, so maybe I’m alone in this (which would be so appropriate).
I can’t even quite come up with a good pithy definition of what these points are that doesn’t require 2 minutes of explanation.
NW - Cape Flattery, WA
It all started when we visited Cape Flattery in the Olympic Peninsula of Washington.
That was the Northwest corner - you could go further North in the continental US but not be as far West, and further West but not be as far North.
It’s looking at the combination of the two directions that for some reason fascinates me.
Cape Flattery exists on an Indian reservation so we had to buy a special pass to visit there. I remember two things about it - the Cape itself was breathtaking, but the parking lot and trail were trashy. I know there is a long political history and lots of extenuating factors but I was disappointed to see that the land wasn’t better cared for.
SW - Border Field State Park, CA
My second grab in this collection was the Southwest corner which is the odd and depressing Border Field State Park which sits at the border between the US and Mexico South of San Diego.
Border Field State Park is in a similar position - you can go more South and not be as West, or more West and not be as South.
You’d think an ocean-front chunk of land in California would get treated better as well, but with a road subject to flooding, sewage-infested water, and overly dramatic presence of the Border Patrol this visit didn’t leave us proud to be Americans.
The Mexican people we could see through the fence looked to be having a better time with their land than we were with ours.
SE - Riviera Beach, FL
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This one was a puzzle as the shape of the country here doesn’t provide for as nice and obvious of a “corner” as the other three do. Studying the map it got to be a bit arbitrary, but we calculated the Southeast “corner” to be Riviera Beach, FL.
I could find points along the coast that were further South, but not as East. Further East, yes, but also more North.
We found a nice city park nestled into the hotels, condos and shopping malls. It might not be the most exact SE point but would be close enough for our purposes.
The trick was timing, but the campground MsBoyink had us booked into played our hand for us. With numerous empty sites surrounding us they were unable to extend us past the one initial night we had booked, so we had to visit the beach with the trailer attached.
Beating the Crowds
That meant early morning was going to be best and I realized that while we had experienced numerous sunsets over water we had never watched the sun rise over water, and this would be the chance to do that.
I expected some push-back from the kids about getting rolling by 6AM for a 7AM sunrise, but greased the skids a bit with cinnamon rolls and hot chocolate to be consumed on the beach.
I’m happy to say that we were rolling out of the campground at 5:56AM - a new record for us. We easily found parking by the beach and there were even chaise-lounges to enjoy the warm ocean breeze. There were enough clouds for a dramatic sunrise and other than a few joggers we had the place to ourselves.