June 6, 2019
My grandfather and I left New Jersey at about 8:20 in the morning for Knoxville, Tennessee. Pop Pop wanted to drive first, and he did all the way to our first stop of the day: Lexington, Virginia (our first stop was actually Dunkin’ Donuts, followed by gas stations and then Arby’s, but let’s not count that). I had no idea we were going to Richmond, but that’s the fun that comes with road tripping with a human map.
Pop Pop thought it would be fun for me to see where my dad went to college. He had no idea, but I’ve wanted to see my dad’s alma mater for a long time. I was stoked!
We pulled into a visitor parking lot at Washington Lee University and headed straight for the Lee Chapel and Museum. Construction on the chapel began in 1867 at the request of Robert E. Lee, the famous Commander of the Confederate States Army, who served as president of the university for five years. We learned about the history of the chapel and naming of the university through a free tour provided by a historian. You know how much Pop Pop and I love informational tours!
We didn’t have much time to play with, so after viewing the exquisite marble statue of Robert E. Lee above, Pop Pop and I went back to my car. Washington and Lee is a beautiful campus with grand buildings surrounded by green grass and tall trees that provide shade from the summer heat. I guess it is what you would expect of a southern school. It is also set in a nice location with unique shops and eateries in walking distance.
Before we left Richmond, though, we made sure to visit my dad’s old fraternity house, which was amusing. He was a member of and president of Sigma Epsilon Phi. Now, the house has returned to private hands and is a well-kept beauty. I laughed when Pop Pop told me a story of he and my grandma moving my dad into his room for the first time and having to deep clean and repaint it before it was in living condition.
I picked up the driving once we finished at the frat house. It was a simple drive, so I listened to some music while my Pop Pop took a snooze. I don’t have much to report on the scenery, as it was mostly farmland. We stopped at Cheddar’s a southern chain restaurant that Pop Pop’s friends recommended. While I don’t think the food was anything special, our server was the epitome of southern charm.
We arrived at our hotel in Knoxville around 9 or 9:30 at night. I vlogged a bit while Pop Pop went to print some papers.
Day one on the road was fun, and I honestly don’t feel as sad as I thought I would. I’m really excited for our first and biggest exploration of the trip tomorrow: Nashville.
Whitmanythought 1: I can’t believe we’re really doing this.
5 thoughts on “Cross Country Road Trip: New Jersey to Tennessee”
That first day went just as we had planned. I believe that the original thought was to drive direct to Nashville. In retrospect, we could have accomplished that fairly easily with a combination of an earlier start and the elimination of stops, such as our visit to W & L in Lexington. That having been said, I think we made the right choices! A good start to a great trip!!
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I think so too!
Did PopPop tell you about our throwing a garbage-filled refrigerator from the previous
year out the back window? A real highlight!!
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