This may be a part 2, as I think I have discussed earlier how an engineer may view vacation spots differently than others. Sure, an engineer will appreciate a mountain, or ocean. An engineer may even enjoy a “fun” time at an amusement park as long as he doesn’t start doing calculations on the factor of safety that the various rides must have.

A few members of my family will visit the ocean side of California for vacation. The coastal highway, they say, is beautiful. The hills and wharf of San Francisco are fascinating, and there is the glamor of Hollywood as an intriguing cultural experience. Though we won’t go inland, parks like Yosemite beckon with their “grandeur”.

I asked in our planning sessions, “What engineering masterpiece turned 75 years old this month?” I had to supply the answer. The Golden Gate Bridge. Now, why, I ask, would anyone want to hike up a mountain or along the beach, when that person could just as easily see, and then actually walk right across one of the great engineering feats of the last century.

I discussed this with the family. Walk across a bridge? The first reaction may have been restrained interest, or possibly boredom. I have a hard time distinguishing between the two. But after a detailed and careful explanation of the brilliance of the work, and the fact that we could hike it in the same year it turns 75, they were either very excited to walk the Golden Gate Bridge, or they needed to use the restroom. I also have a difficult time telling the difference between those two.

The Golden Gate Bridge wins out.