The first day of summer always makes me think about summer vacation. Growing up in a household (nominally) headed by a high-school teacher, once school let out “gonna all God’s children recreate.” Motorboats and canoes, bicycles and scooters, badminton sets and croquet sets, all stuffed in or on or dragged behind the big-ass station wagon and day-tripped up to the mountains, or down to the river, or beyond into Canada. Pretty sweet, if a little chaotic–two adults, three kids, plus dog and an overambitious mountain of gear.
But vacation trips–that was different. The same caravan would exit the North Country for places hotter and wetter. Southern Indiana in July can be like Death Valley, except muggy. And this before air conditioning became standard equipment. It had its moments, though–drinking lemonade after dinner and watching a wall of thunderstorms approach across the prairie from a hundred miles away. Half an hour of meteorological armageddon, followed by blessed coolness.
One year, 1969, we did the National Park circuit, in July–Grand Canyon, Navajo Nation, Bryce Canyon, Zion, up to the Tetons and Yellowstone. Great trip, but it’s a wonder we all didn’t die of heatstroke, or commit kin-slaughter from sharing a tent trailer for three weeks.
It’s all different after you start working for a living. A week here, two there, and that’s it. There’s all too little “endless” in summer these days. And for someone who lives in a place with a great–if all too brief–summer, where would one want to go that was nicer? Travel is a hassle, and cuts into your fun time. A case can be made for the ocean and the beach, but almost everywhere is hotter, more crowded and ruinously expensive.
So this year I’m staying put, or standing pat I guess you could say–the North Country holds a winning hand. How about you? You have a better summer destination this year? One that’s on the same continent? Let’s hear about it in a comment below.