–Feature Picture Story HM: Rich-Joseph Facun/The Virginian Pilot — “American Summer” There was a time when summer was punctuated by the cross-country family road trip. In the first half of the last century, freshly laid blacktop helped catapult automobile travel. The idea of heading West on the open road to discover the land, to lasso the unknown, and to churn the imagination was adopted as another facet of the ÒAmerican Dream.Ó
Then in the 1950s, the United States became the world’s largest manufacturer of automobiles. Middle-classÊAmerican families were able to afford an automobile and the car culture was born. Under the tutelage of Dwight D. Eisenhower,the Interstate Highway System spread like wildfire, allowing Americans a new-found mobility that permeated the ways of our life and culture.ÊOnce-iconic roads like Route 66 were mostly replaced by larger arteries, relentlessly pumping freight and people across the country.
In the residue of today’s tech-savvy culture where life is now set to hyper-drive, time has been forfeited. Kinfolk no longer choose to spend countless hours buckled into the seats of the family station wagon, watching the world go by. Why drive when you can fly?
The Facun family, my family, bucked the trend and, from coast to coast, embraced the open road. This is our story, our ÒAmerican Summer.Ó