Imagine looking down on a chess set—complete with your and your opponent’s fleet of warriors, each in their allocated quadrangle bunkers on either side. In the four corner boxes, find arguably one of the most valuable and underrated players in the endgame: the rook. Rooks and queens are called heavy pieces or major pieces, as opposed to bishops and knights, or minor pieces. The castle-shaped game-piece becomes most powerful towards the finish when they can move unobstructed by pawns and control large numbers of squares horizontally and vertically to deliver checkmate. In short, we like cornerstone players. Corners tend to feel like security and seclusion as well, two edges meeting at a single point, creating a sense of privacy and protection.
Much like the rambling rooks, we’re looking to royally squat on all four corners of our treasured mainland. But instead of castles, we’re occupying campgrounds. From U.S. protected national parks to state beach park gems, we sussed out a countrywide tour with only slight bends and four compass-changing turns of the wheel to create a drunk-looking, blue-line rectangle on Google Maps. Beginning the epic highway expedition at the top left-hand corner of the “Evergreen State,” the road trip continues 3,385 miles into the sunrise on I-90 E to “Vacationland,” pivots and runs 1,615 miles on I-95 S to the “Sunshine State,” then heads 2,536 miles into the sunset on I-10 W to the “Golden State,” and finally, 1,220 miles on I-5 N back to our starting point.
Each cornered region encompasses spoiled seaboard, coastal adventures, and some of the most remote nooks of America’s chessboard. Just be sure to pack enough versatile clothing, footwear, and camping gear for the varying climates and landscapes. Depending on the time of year you decide to take off, you’ll likely be traversing through a sundry of seasons, weather forecasts, time zones, and terrains. If this sounds extreme, you’re right, it totally is. But for the overachieving explorers, geography nerds, and mile marker voyagers, they’re already filling up their Himalaya Defender or all-new Bronco Sport gas tank (and then some), pulling out a trusty ol’ map, and getting ready to streamline state lines. This bucket-list road trek would make even Kerouac giddy. Once you park and pitch the tent, you’ll get to soak in two major oceanic divisions from four unique vantage points, and with fall in the air the salty breeze will be as crisp as can be. Check and mate.