I have been to all 50 states! I can’t believe it. I went to Idaho on June 15th.
It didn’t start out as a goal. It never crossed my mind. A few years ago after drinking a few beers, Elizabeth and I listed out all 50 states and which ones we had already been to. I think I had only been to about 30 at that time.
I was missing a couple regions – the New England and Southwestern states. There were a few other random states mixed in like Michigan, Hawaii, Ohio, Arkansas, Oklahoma…
Elizabeth had been to fewer states than me with the main difference being the northern Rocky mountain states and a the plains states. Right now, she only needs to get to North Dakota & Alaska. That’s it!
Anyway, once we saw that we already been to most states it was a matter of making our travel plans more strategic.
What is the definition of “visiting” a state?
Most people don’t consider a layover at an airport – we don’t either.
There was a decent amount of debate on that. Most people don’t consider a layover at an airport – we don’t either. Elizabeth mentioned that maybe it shouldn’t count if you don’t spend the night there. I disagreed since I may have driven several hours through a state, purchased gas, and had a meal but never actually slept there over night.
Eventually, we arrived on a couple things that constitute a “visit”.
- You can spend the night. Obviously.
- You can spend money…like on gas, food, tolls, etc…
Everyone can agree on the first one. The money aspect covers most other times. Here is a good example of why we adopted point number 2:
Rhode Island is the smallest state in size in the United States. It covers an area of 1,214 square miles.
It is a small state, only 1,214 square miles.
We drove through Rhode Island, visited a beach, and hiked a ridge that overlooked the ocean. We also paid for parking and picked up lunch from a Wendy’s. We were probably only there for a few hours. In our book, that counts.
Here is a fun, quick challenge: Try to list out all 50 states now. I am doing the same right now as I am writing it. It is harder than you think…I hope I can remember them.
- New Mexico
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
- South Carolina
- North Carolina
- New Hampshire
- Rhode Island
- New York
- New Jersey
I missed Connecticut…D’oh! See Elizabeth knows a song with all the states in alphabetically order which is superior to my haphazard method. I had to ask her for help.
When did I visit each state…?
This will be another memory challenge and should be a little easier than listing out all the states. I am going to try to list out the year and some specific memory.
- Alaska – 2007 – Anchorage. I was just getting into homebrewing beer so I tried a lot of beer there. I visited Midnight Sun Brewery which was great!
- Hawaii – 2011 – Kona & Honolulu. We got to see the Volcano National Park and surf for the first time. We went to the Kona Brewing Company and got a special tour by one of the brewers.
- California – 2009 – San Francisco & up the coast. We spent a couple days in town and drove north to see the Redwood National Park. See the video here.
- Oregon – 2009 – Portland. We drank a lot of beer there. And, it was good beer.
- Washington – 2009 – Seattle & Bainbridge Island. We went on a walking food tour that was great. The tour included a visit to Starbucks, Pike’s Market, and the Space Needle.
- Utah – 2013 – Moab. We checked out Arches National Park which is amazing. It is like another planet. Another notable memory is that it was super HOT – 108 F. Brodie could only walk in the shade for a couple minutes. It was remarkably hot!
- Nevada – 2004 – Las Vegas. This was a trip with the guys. It is a blur now, but there was a lot of drinking and gambling.
- Montana – 1999 – Billings. My first trip to Big Sky Country.
- Wyoming – 1999 – Yellowstone & Grand Tetons. My first trip to these parks.
- Colorado – 2002 – RMNP, Boulder, Denver. I worked out in the Rocky Mountain National park that summer and the next one, too. I’ve been to Colorado every year since then.
- Arizona – 2013 – Grand Canyon. Amazing. I wish we could have stayed longer to see even more of the park.
- New Mexico – 2013 – Santa Fe. This is a great town, like Asheville, NC in the desert.
- Texas – 2006 – Dallas. I traveled to Dallas for work for about six months. I enjoyed the town and the barbecue. A few years later we stayed in Austin for a month and I love that town! It may get a little warm for me in the summer.
- North Dakota – 1999 – Driving through on the way to Yellowstone, obviously the northern route.
- South Dakota – 1999 – Mt. Rushmore. Driving back from Yellowstone.
- Nebraska – 2003 – Lincoln. I was visiting my friend TJ and I think I was on the way to Colorado.
- Kansas – 2002 – Driving through on the way to Colorado.
- Oklahoma – 2013 – Driving through on the way home from Santa Fe.
- Arkansas – 2013 – Driving through on the way home from Santa Fe.
- Minnesota – 1999 – Twin Cities & driving through on the way to Yellowstone.
- Wisconsin – 1999 – Twin Cities & driving through on the way to Yellowstone.
- Michigan – 2013 – Traverse City & St. Ignies. We were there in the fall and happen to be there for, seemingly, the very best weather of the year.
- Iowa – 2002 – Ames. Visiting TJ at Iowa State.
- Missouri – 2002 – St. Louis. Driving to Colorado.
- Illinois – 2004 – Work trip.
- Indiana – I can’t remember the first time I visited Indiana, but I have been to Ft. Wayne many times now.
- Ohio – 2008 – Cleveland on a vacation. It is actually kind of nice there – Drew Carey is right!
- Pennsylvania – 2005 – While visiting DC.
- Maryland – 2005 – While visiting DC.
- Virginia – I went when I was a kid.
- Delaware – 2014 – We drove through during the Vermont road trip. We stopped by a Total Wine which was the biggest alcohol store that I have ever seen! It was like a Super Walmart.
- West Virginia – I went there when I was a kid and again for a ski trip in college.
- Kentucky – I stopped in Bowling Green a few times on the way to Indiana and stayed over night.
- Tennessee – I have been many times as a kid and drive through often to get out of the Southeast.
- Louisiana – 2002 – Mardi Gras a couple of times in college.
- Mississippi – I have been many times as a kid.
- Alabama – I have been many times as a kid.
- Georgia – Born there…so that was an easy one.
- Florida – I have been many times as a kid.
- South Carolina – I have been many times as a kid.
- North Carolina – I have been many times as a kid.
- Maine – 2012 – We stayed at Sugarloaf Mountain for a week or so.
- New Hampshire – 2012 – We drove over while we were in Maine to see covered bridges. We had lunch in a little, local diner.
- Vermont – 2014 – We drove all the way up to Vermont and we were able to knock out a few other states in the process.
- Rhode Island – 2014 – This was one of those states. We hiked along the ocean on a paved cliff walk. It was pretty sunny and hot and there was very little shade. Brodie got pretty darn hot on that walk.
- New York – 2004 – My first project for work was on Long Island…Hicksville. Luckily, it was a pretty short trip on the Long Island Rail Road to the city. My project also took me out to the Hamptons so that was pretty cool.
- New Jersey – 2007 – Visiting with friends.
- Massachusetts – 2012 – We fly into Boston for the trip to Maine and spent a night there.
- Connecticut – 2004 – I was assigned to work project in Hartford and got to experience a winter there.
- Idaho – 2015 – We stopped by on the way to Yellowstone! We were driving from Bozeman to West Yellowstone and Elizabeth surprised me while I was driving. The state line is only about 8 miles out of the way. She told me to take another turn that I was not expecting – I figured it out right away since the sign indicated W. Yellowstone is straight and that turning takes you to Idaho.
We hung out for a bit at a place called Henrys Lake which is at about 6,500 feet. Mountains are all around. It was pretty windy on the shore of the lake. We got a nice surprise when we saw a couple of bald eagles. It was very cool!