Finally accomplished something I set out as a goal more than 10 years ago. Visit all 50 states.
When I turned 50 in 2012, I made a goal of seeing all 50 states by the time I turned 60. back then I was up to 32 states with a lot to go.
Traveling this Great Land
Some states I have lived in, such as NY, PA, CA and Florida since 1991. Others I have spent a lot of time in on multiple trips over the years, such as AZ, CO, HI, IL, NC, UT and WY. While others were a one and done trip such as NE, KS, ND, OK, IA. As for the others, I have been to most more than once. With plans to return to others such as AK, MN, SD, RI, ME, WI.
The 50-State Plan
I devised a plan to knock off the remaining states in regions such as New England or the Midwest, where most of the missing pieces were located or grouped together.
Cross Country Father-Daughter Road Trip
Shortly after, my daughter asked me to drive cross country with her from Oakland to Sarasota, Fl and on that trip we made a route to maximize new states, trying to do something different in each new one such as visiting state capitals or museums or parks or just sightseeing. During that trip I crossed off CO, KS, OK, AR, TN, MS and AL.
South Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa
South Dakota and Nebraska required some planning. I was able to combine those with a fishing trip planned for WY. By flying into to Rapid City, SD I was able to spend sometime exploring Mt. Rushmore and a wild horse sanctuary. On the way to fishing in Alcova, WY from Rapid City, I passed through Nebraska and went hiking in the Oglala National Grassland and Toadstool Monument in northwestern NE.
Iowa was not an easy state to check off and it required me to fly to Cedar Rapids and drive to meet my daughter in Hannibal, MO for a weekend, with a detour to see the American Gothic House and museum in Eldon, IA.
Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont
During a fishing trip to northern Maine in 2019, I was able to visit the missing pieces in New England including Portland, ME and historical town of Portsmouth, NH.
During the early part of the pandemic, my son was in Western MA, and when I went to see him we visited Bennington and Manchester, VT.
Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky
On a trip to Western PA, I was able to visit OH and WV, both of which I recently re-visited on business trips to Cincinnati and Charleston, WV respectively. During that trip I was also able to spend a day in Eastern Kentucky and properly check that off the list.
That left only two states remaining by mid-2022.
Alaska was supposed to be my 50th
Alaska was supposed to be my 50th in 2022, as a 60th birthday present with my wife. But the pause in travel due to pandemic and job loss rearranged a lot of plans. The original idea was a family cruise, but that turned into a 3-week solo fishing expedition across Alaska which has been widely chronicled in these pages.
Fittingly enough, Alaska was number 49 and the impetus for this entire blog.
New Mexico became Number 50
So, number 50 in my quest was New Mexico.
I arrived in New Mexico directly after a business trip to Pittsburgh. I spent three days in Santa Fe, including two days with an old Navy shipmate. Together we explored Pecos national Park and Fort Union national Park as well as the Civil War The Battleground of Glorieta Pass, the West’s Gettysburg.
I enjoyed the high desert of Santa Fe, New Mexico, as well as overdoing it on green hatch chilies and tequila.
More to come on New Mexico as separate blog posts.
As far as travel in the US is concerned, I plan on helping my wife reach 50 states visited (she’s at 25 now). In addition I want to travel and fish all five Great Lakes (have only fished Lake Ontario) but have visited three lakes, Michigan, Erie and Ontario. Over the years I have traveled the entire West Coast of the US and almost the entire east coast. I would like to do the entire Gulf Coast one day.
Canada: my son lives in Toronto and we are planning trips to different provinces in Canada.
Brazil: my wife is Brazilian and while I have been to Brazil many times, I do want to explore more of the country’s vast interior and Amazon region (2 trips coming up)