If we judge by how hard it is to find camping gear, most of America has packed their cars and pitched a tent in a National Park this summer.
It’s the sort of thing Karl Marx would have approved of, but the National Parks are an American invention. At this time, there are 61 parks set aside for people to visit. Protected and preserved, the federal government maintains these parks for tourists.
These places are really unique. They are unbelievable. In fact, most people didn’t believe it.
The traveler’s tall tale is well known. Homer’s Odyssey had impossible stories that couldn’t be found in real life- the cyclops and sirens threatening the sailors’ lives. Marco Polo claimed to have seen marvels on his trip to China.
And the national parks have to be seen to be believed. Geysers can’t be a real thing! Until you see it. And you see several the same day, like I did in Yellowstone. I could not have imagined it until I saw it myself.
Sequoia trees, inconceivably large, were actually used in sideshows. They would fell a tree, cut it into pieces and reassemble it at the far end. Except—people still didn’t believe it was real. It was just too incredible.
Americans hear about these natural wonders, but not very many people could go. Once trains were built, some visitors could come. But when roads and cars caught up, that’s when people could finally make the trip. 50s families took to the road to see for themselves.
1950s and 60s, people drove all over the country. What followed was a time of big change of uprooting. People saw for themselves.
And now, this year, people are driving over to places they remember or have always wanted to see. They are getting away from their homes and seeing more of America.
People have been set free, too, to work from home. Americans can contemplate how they might pack up their internet and go somewhere else.
More things are possible than we had assumed. Between the interstate highway and the information highway, there are a lot of choices.
I wonder how America is going to look in ten years.