The 50 state challenge

May 5, 2011 – One of the things on my bucket list is to travel to all 50 states.

I’m doing pretty well, having visited 39 of 50 states so far. That’s only 11 to go with one of the two difficult states (Alaska) out of the way.

The largest unvisited area for me is that stretch of six middle states, from North Dakota down to Texas. Most of the remaining parts of the country have been visited, with the exception of a state here and there, such as Maine, Rhode Island and New Hampshire in the northeast, Oregon in the west, and the elusive Hawaii sitting alone far across the Pacific Ocean.

Those aware of the goal support my efforts, but some question what I consider a visit. For them, a visit has to include an overnight stay or they don’t believe it should be counted. That’s where we disagree. I say you just have to step foot inside the state, even if it is only right across the state line.

For example, on a trip to Montana, we drove into Idaho for breakfast one morning just to cross it off the list. We stayed only a short time since we found a restaurant not far across the border, but it we did visit the state. The same occurred when we visited Colorado, and drove into Wyoming for lunch. If you have a meal in a state it should definitely constitute a visit. Right?

Once I had a storm related layover in Chicago that lasted about six hours or so, and although I didn’t step outside of the airport for more than a few minutes – there was a terrible storm outside – I still consider it a visit to Illinois.

That may be my only questionable check off, but I count it because I was there long enough to eat dinner.

So, no I will never will be able to say I’ve stayed overnight in every state, but that’s fine. To tweak an old saying, it’s a nice place to visit but I wouldn’t want to sleep there.

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