Between the ages of 7 and 11, I spent part or all of each summer vacation involved in that social experiment known as the Family Road Trip. We started small, with a trip to Montreal; then a longer trip, with a tent-trailer, to Boston and Cape Cod; then bigger again, going across Canada in both directions, and the mother of all road trips: 8 weeks, to California and back in a big loop. I collected postcards on all these trips for souvenirs.
We stopped at all the Greatest Hits of North America: The Calgary Stampede, Mount Rushmore, the Grand Canyon, San Francisco…but also some lesser-known attractions. The Corn Palace in Mitchel, South Dakota was a bit disappointing, as it didn’t look like a palace at all, but rather a cross between a Russian church and Honest Ed’s, only decorated with corn.
Sudbury, of course, is famous for the Big Nickel. Everyone knows the Big Nickel. But no one talks about the Big Penny. Like its real-life equivalent, no one cares about the penny.
We drove through this tree in Sequoia National Park, California, only in a more modern car:
The State of Utah liked to sew things onto their postcards, like tiny bags of salt from Salt Lake and the Bonneville Salt Flats, or bags of copper ore from the world’s largest copper mine.
I’m taking their word for it that these little bags actually contain what they say they do, and not just dirt or something. Of course, you could never mail these things now, especially over a border.
Some of the places we visited were spectacular and memorable, like the National Parks. Most of the places we visited were meant to be educational, and some were not-so-memorable (such as former homes of American presidents that we knew nothing about, being Canadian). But every once in a while our parents would cave and stop somewhere that had absolutely no educational value, and no interest to them.
Like Bedrock City, South Dakota.
Apparently it still exists, if you’re thinking of a road trip.