The 50 United States

The 50 states - a Re-cap Now that I have officially finished visiting the 50 United States all of the obvious questions have started coming in. What was your favorite state? What was your least favorite? Which state would you most like to re-visit? But before I answer those questions, here is the story…

A few years ago we were out to dinner with a group of friends and the question, how many states have you visited came up. At that time it occurred to me that I had visited about 30 states. Then shortly thereafter someone was critical of the fact that I had seen more of the world than I had of the US. At that point it became a new bucket list item. Afterall, when you have passed the halfway mark, why not just finished off the list and besides, I need to get back to seeing the rest of the world, right?

So the journey began, but it was not to be as easy as a layover in a state or just driving through. There had to be qualifiers; you have to visit something or at least have a meal, but it couldn’t be fast food. It has to be a local place or it had to be the birthplace of that fast food chain, if so, you have to do a tour. The first 30 or so states were visited, shall I say organically. When I was young, my parents liked going on road trips, so the first few were via my parents (5 states). Then of course there were the obligatory trips with ex-beaus to their homesteads (2 states). And then there was my first girls’ road trip in my twenties down the Eastern seaboard from MA to FL (7states). Throw in my first job that required travel (6 states). Sprinkle in a bunch of miscellaneous travel for fun because someone invited me (12 states).

For the final 20, Andy and I decided that we would make a concerted effort to finish them. Taking our time during business trips (3 states) detouring to neighboring states and driving the long way home. Let me say there are a quite a few states between Ohio and Texans (5 states added). Then there was the trip that we have lovingly named “The Great American Road Trip”. We flew to Denver, from there we made a circle heading east then back to Denver (7 states, 12 days.) Still counting? That brings me to Alaska, Minnesota and Iowa, the last three states, which required a very deliberate effort. Check, check and CHECK!

As you can see not all states were for pleasure which means that it was not necessarily at a pace that was conducive of enjoyment. Thus to answer the questions, which state did you like the most or least, I am unsure that it would be a fair judgement. I can say that there were bright moments on this journey of the 50 and there were some that did not shine as much.

Here are some of the most memorable.

  • Alaska – glaciers are amazing.
  • Arizona – The Grand Canyon and Sedona are more than what anyone could possibly describe in words or through pictures.
  • California – other than the traffic and the urban jungles, what is there not to like?
  • Maine – Sunrise at Acadia National Park, must go back for more hiking.
  • New York – Niagara Falls
  • Hawaii – Sunrise at Haleakala
  • Florida – Sunset in Key West
  • Wyoming – Yellowstone National Park, Flaming Gorge
  • South Carolina – Blowing Rock
  • Tennessee – Graceland, yup, I actually said Graceland.

Where would I like to return for more?

  • Utah – I want to see and hike more of Utah
  • Alaska – Denali and the northern lights
  • Arizona – to hike the Grand Canyon
  • Maine – to hike Acadia National Park
  • Montana – Glacier National Park
  • Wyoming – more hiking, more hiking, more hiking
  • Pennsylvania -  Laurel Mountain State Park

Just for fun we started a list of all the iconic foods we have had in their birth places.

  • BBQ – Carolina, Memphis, Kansas City
  • Washington State apples
  • Idaho potatoes
  • Philly cheese steak, at both Pat’s and Gino’s
  • New York cheese cake and pizza
  • California wineS and oranges
  • Jucy Lucy – Minneapolis
  • Maid Rite – Marion, IA
  • Virginia ham and peanuts
  • Etouffe – NOLA
  • Maryland blue crab
  • Maine lobster
  • Florida gator and oranges
  • Chicago pizza and hot dogs
  • Alaskan salmon
  • Kentucky fried chicken (at the original Kernel Sanders)
  • Hawaiian bread
  • New England Clam Chowder
  • Boston baked beans and cream pie

In Conclusion

I can say that we live in an amazing country. And it is a shame that most Americans have never and may never experience it. My life has been incredibly blessed with travel and experiences and I completely revel in it. I wish that everyone was as lucky as I have been.