Inger and Jeff Latreille
~Monday, May 17, 2021~
There is something comforting about returning to places previously experienced. The familiarity brings back memories of who you were with, the season you were there, the people you met, and the fact it allows for comparison. Maybe the previous time was more worthwhile or maybe the next time will be better. Whatever feelings it conjures up, the thing about travel is it’s temporal….people move, places change, and new places pop up. And if there was ever a year of change, 2020 was it! Case in point…...today.
We returned to the Battlefields of Yorktown, with our previous visit in the Fall of 2016. Upon entering the visitor center this time, the impression was a bit lackluster. The place was a ghost town with only ONE park service attendant. The only activity was in the gift shop (what brings in the $). Ever since the world came to a stop in 2020, all of the inside exhibits have remained closed. With the lack of the “Full Monty” experience, I was happy that our National Park Pass allowed us free admission. Currently, the whole fee thing is basically an honor system with no shortage of signs that remind everyone to pay up. It really is strange that this park in particular, is not back to some normalcy while enforcing social distancing protocol. In fact, it is one of the few parks we’ve been to that hasn’t been open. The state parks however, are running (at least in the Williamsburg area). And because we know the park system can use all of our support, we decided to purchase a new book from the gift shop called “Guns of Independence-The Siege of Yorktown”; another addition to our Trip Bookroom.. Now for the outdoor exhibits.
Because of our limited availability on time, we decided not to do the Allied Encampment Tour but to only drive the Yorktown Battlefield Tour (the shorter of the 2).
Since our visit a few years ago, they have incorporated an app you can download for your self-guided mobile tour; a bit more ideal than the C.D. we purchased the last time we were here. My how things have changed.
Just a few miles from Jamestown but 100 years later, the European colonists had expanded their territories, one of which was the port of Yorktown which thrived until the mid 1700’s. As goods arrived into port, England continued to charge outrageous tariffs. But American colonists had had enough. With a fueled anger and a desire to achieve independence from England, an alliance was formed between France and the United States, while Cornwallis and 8,300 men occupied Yorktown. But General George Washington and his French allies saw it as an opportunity. The new United States lacked its own navy, but the French provided 26 warships and disabled 6 British ships, ultimately isolating Cornwallis and his men. The combined forces of the French and American troops at Yorktown overpowered the British forces, leaving Cornwallis and his men to surrender. But in cowardly fashion, Cornwallis sent his second in command to lead the surrender, claiming he was ill. Washington, furious but composed, responded wittingly, asking his second in command to accept the sword of surrender. With the French on one side and American troops on the other, the defeated British soldiers marched from Yorktown to Surrender Field to lay down their arms. Jeff and I were completely awestruck standing at what was the beginning of America. So much history, so little time.
Returning to our campsite, Jeff decided to put the awnings back out so he could hang our outdoor lights. It hasn’t even been 2 weeks and our outdoor lights are now rendered useless. Before we left today, with the wind picking up, we had to take down the lights and bring in the awnings. With the lights left on the ground, the squirrels decided to make them their breakfast, lunch and dinner. They ate right through the wire in 3 places. What the heck? What is so delicious about wires?
Now for a shower to cap off the day. We’re trying a little experiment with “Billie Jean’s” gray tank. We’ve discovered the max amount of days we can go with draining shower water and dish water into our gray tank is 4 days. But lately, we’ve been staying up to 7 days in one place. So how can we make our gray tank stretch to 7? By doing things the old tent camping way of course. We do our dishes in a bowl, then haul it to the restrooms and down the toilet. It seems to be working. Oh, and if it’s hair washing day for Inger, the campground facilities work like a charm. You know you have too much hair, when the lights go out before you’re done sudsing up. You get the picture.