Numbers Games

How many national or national historic parks does the US have? How many state, local, or private historical sites? What about other countries? And how many millions of historic sites are known only to a few (sometimes very deliberately to keep them safe from despoilment).

A lot of questions, not necessarily easy to answer. Perhaps of more import — how many has any given individual visited?

I can’t count the number I’ve visited in my life. I didn’t keep track until recently. But in the past couple of years, I’ve been more proactive about noting and tracking those places I’ve visited — and identifying others I want to someday. Having a good digital camera built into my smart phone helps, but it’s not the only reason.

Indeed, part of this interest in historical parts arises because a few years ago, I had a dream which contained the germs of a large, long, continent-wide speculative fiction tale. I didn’t appreciate just how ambitious my characters were at the time–I’m starting to figure this out, but too late! I’m caught and need to write to know how everything ends (I know some elements in the middle, but the ending is still pretty mysterious).

In service to that dream-born tale, I visited a number of historical parks and sites. I lived close enough to trace a route close to that my characters took in their version of our world.

I plan to publish the first stories in that long sequence in June. In advance, however, I’m going to retrace some of my steps here on this blog by posting shots and sharing some memories/experiences of visiting assorted sites. Enjoy vicariously–and perhaps identify some places to visit yourself!