Operation Visit All 50 States: Mission Accomplished

Sorry this blog has been quiet for a little while, but it was with good reason. I spent the last week on vacation in Utah, which incidentally was the last state I needed to visit before I could officially say that I had been in all 50 states. And now mission accomplished!

I visited or lived in a number of states before I started this goal, but eventually made it a real pursuit. I’ve lived in 8 states (Ohio, Georgia, Massachusetts, Texas, North Carolina, Illinois, Florida, and Maryland) so I obviously have been to those states. Moving also lent itself to travels to surrounding states where I was living. My mother has also been to all 50 states (my dad is only missing North Dakota, ha, ha Dad). When we were living in Massachusetts and getting ready to move to Texas she took my sister and me on a day trip to Vermont since none of us had ever been there and it only made sense to go to Vermont while we were still within driving distance.

I also picked up a number of states on various road trips. The major road trip that got me all those upper midwestern states that people don’t tend to get to was a trip my mom took my sister and me on when we were 12 and 13. We were not so enthused at the time, but now I appreciate it. If I ever have the time to take 3 weeks and travel across the country and back it won’t be until after I’m retired. My mom grew up in Montana, South Dakota, and Washington so she wanted to take us to the places where she lived. We also hit many other states I had never been to along the way including Wyoming, Idaho, and a small detour into Nebraska just so we could say we had been there.

Eventually I got down to a handful of states that I had never been to and started taking conscious trips to add them to my collection. North Dakota was a big get. It is hard and expensive to get there and there is absolutely no reason to go there. Anything you think might be in North Dakota is actually in South Dakota. As I mentioned it is the one state my father is missing and will probably never get just for that reason. My husband and I went to a wedding St. Paul, Minnesota a number of years ago and took the opportunity to drive the 3.5 hours to Fargo, North Dakota, stay the night, and then drive back. There wasn’t really anything to do there. We did go the Roger Maris museum (he was from Fargo), which turns out to be some memorabilia in glass cases along a wall in the local shopping mall. We also discovered that the bar located in our Best Western hotel was definitely one of the big places to hang out in town on weekend nights.

In my continued effort to collect my final states, my now husband and I went on a trip to New Mexico for my 30th birthday. It is incidentally where we got engaged. Three years ago we took a trip to Alaska. I always thought that would probably be the final state I got because it would the most difficult, expensive, and grandest trip to take. (People always thought Hawaii would also be one of the states I was missing as an adult, but I actually picked that up as a child. My father’s company had some business thing there so we went on a family vacation there at the same time). We wound up going to Alaska much earlier than I planned though. Last May we took a long weekend trip to Oklahoma City and spent one of the afternoons we were there driving up to Witchita, Kansas for lunch and then driving back.

After that trip Utah was my only remaining state, which as I mentioned I added this past week. There will be much more to come on the specifics of that trip over a series of posts throughout this week, so you can stay tuned for that. Just because I’ve been to all 50 states now doesn’t mean I will stop exploring our great country. There are some places I’ll never go back to (sorry North Dakota) or probably won’t go back to unless I happen to driving through again (sorry Iowa), but there are many other states with places and things I would like to do and see that I haven’t yet. I of course wouldn’t mind going back to Hawaii and visiting some of the other islands (we only went to Oahu). I have several friends from the Upper Peninsula in Michigan who swear by its beauty. It’s somewhere I wouldn’t mind checking out. I obviously have only been to not very exciting parts of Kansas in an effort to knock that state out in combination with Oklahoma. I hear that Kansas City is worth seeing or at least going to in order to eat the bbq. Though now that I say that I guess it’s actually Kansas City, Missouri that’s the Kansas City people actually talk about. Despite having been to Missouri I haven’t ever been to St. Louis other than a layover in the airport. I have a cousin that lives there as well as friends that split their time between there and Virginia so that’s totally a trip we should take at some point. These are just a handful of reasons that I’ll continue to keep traveling, but for now I am happy to say that fulfilled my goal of visiting all 50 states.

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