Visiting every US state

I have this bucket list goal that I know I will accomplish in my life.  I want to visit every US state.  Why?  Well, why not?!  I don’t want to go Sean Lowe’s dad[i] crazy about it or anything, but I want to get there eventually.  I’ve got 32/50 so far (33 if you count DC), so I feel like that’s a pretty good start.

I thought this was the perfect wish-I-was-traveling post for K’s 25th birthday (HAPPY BIRTHDAY AGAIN!!).  We are always talking about traveling together.  We want to go everywhere.  And while worldwide destinations are definitely also on the agenda, the stuff in our own backyard (meaning, the country we live in) is just as cool.

Here’s the list of the US states I’ve been to, and my favorite memory in that state (in geographical order of the map I’m looking at):

  1. Oregon – family vacation over the Fourth of July, 2008.  We were right on the coast, and there was a kite festival, and it was beautiful there.
  2. California – spring break 2007, senior year of high school – two friends came with my family and I.  We visited my uncle and went to Universal Studios, and the San Diego Zoo, and it was so fun.
  3. Montana – road trip with some amazing people, summer 2012.  Also, Mission Trip, summer 2007.  I’d move to Montana in a minute.  I love it there.  There’s the same mountains as Colorado, but less people.
  4. Wyoming – same road trip as above.  I loved the wide open spaces, and I loved Yellowstone (which is in both Montana and Wyoming).
  5. Utah – same road trip again, but this time we stayed a while in Moab.  And we searched and searched, but we couldn’t find the Great Salt Lake.  It’s harder to locate than it looks!
  6. Colorado – I LOVE MOUNTAINS.  I have many memories of Colorado (I have family there, so we’ve visited several times in my life), but my most recent and fondest memory was visiting one of my greatest friends and watching as he and his mom raced in some dragon boats.  That was the summer of 2012.  And I can’t wait to go back again!
  7. Arizona – I’ve been there twice – once as a family during the Christmas holiday of ’03-’04, and once to interview at the University of Arizona for graduate school.  I love the dry heat, as opposed to the humidity of Midwest summers.  It’s a location I’d consider moving to.
  8. North Dakota – Mission Trip, summer 2005.  One of the poorest, saddest locations I’ve seen, but some of the happiest people.
  9. South Dakota – H’s family lives there!  Also, the Black Hills and the Badlands are pretty awesome.
  10. Nebraska – honestly, my fondest memory of Nebraska is leaving it (sorry, J1), but I will have some time to make new memories.  Right, J1?  🙂
  11. Texas – Oh, gosh, am I missing Texas right now.
  12. Minnesota – LAND OF 10,000 LAKES AND MY MISERABLE, FRIGID HOME.  I shouldn’t say that.  It’s nice sometimes.  For, like, one day in June and a week or so in September.
  13. Iowa – Not much to see, but H’s friends used to live there, and visiting them was a blast.
  14. Missouri – I’ve been there more than once, but I only remember one occasion – Mission Trip, summer 2004.  My first one.  Inner-city St. Louis was a shock for little, innocent me, let me tell you.
  15. Arkansas – my memories of the Ozarks are few and far between, but I do remember playing with my sister in some cupboards in our time share on this trip.  That counts, right?  I’m counting it.
  16. Wisconsin – they have good cheese.
  17. Illinois – they have terrible drivers.  And Chicago is pretty cool.
  18. Michigan – spent four wonderful years there in college.  Tulips, man.  They have some awesome tulips.  Looking forward to returning to attend a wedding in May, yay!
  19. Indiana – H’s college state.  We visited one of his good friends on our way to Michigan last spring.
  20. Ohio – I remember driving by the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame sign.  I’m not a Buckeye fan, so I’m counting it.
  21. Kentucky – when my cousin was helping me move home from graduate school, we decided we needed to stop at a KFC in Kentucky.  It was so necessary.  Best decision ever.  Ha.
  22. Tennessee – Nashville.  Oh, I love Nashville.  I want to go back so badly.  I keep trying to get H to take me (he also has separate fond memories of Nashville), but he thinks I wouldn’t like it.  Please.  IT’S THE HOME OF COUNTRY MUSIC!  What’s not to like?
  23. Alabama – I have only been to Alabama one time, and it was to watch a dear friend (the same friend I visited in Colorado) kick butt goaltending in a hockey tournament there.  Worth it.
  24. Pennsylvania – when my mom and I were driving to Washington DC for me to start my NCIS internship in the summer of 2010, we spent a night in Philadelphia and saw some of the sights.  I want to spend more time there – I want to do the National Treasure tour!
  25. Maryland – I have two memories of Maryland from the summer I spent in Washington DC – one good and one bad.  Bad:  taking the GRE for the first time on little to no sleep and getting a horrible score.  Good:  being taught to shoot by real NCIS agents at a gun range.  They balance each other out, I suppose.
  26. West Virginia – I wanted to see Marshall University, because We Are Marshall is one of my favorite sports movies.  While I was in Huntington, I drove to the cemetery and visited the memorial for the plane crash victims.  It overlooks the university grounds, and it is beautiful.  That’s another place I’d love to visit again.
  27. Virginia – the friend who has been supplying me with many of my Friday topic ideas lived in Virginia for a stint of time.  I loved visiting her there.
  28. North Carolina – “I carry you in my heart.  Your memory comes over me like the dark.” –Eric Church, “Carolina”
  29. South Carolina – my dad and I ventured there to meet up with a friend of mine who I met in Scotland to attend a Clemson football game.  My dad still talks about that.  He loved it.
  30. Georgia – That same friend and I visited the Emory campus one summer day, and it was gorgeous.
  31. Florida – Minnesota Twins Spring Training, Fort Myers, Florida.  That is all.
  32. Hawaii – Most glorious two week vacation in my life.  Christmas break ’05-’06.  I have been hoping to return since the day we left.
  33. Bonus:  Washington DC – I have two distinct memories here – first, that amazing internship at the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.[ii]  And second, interviewing at Georgetown for graduate school.  Both were pretty incredible.

Thirty two down, eighteen to go.


[i] Oh gosh, during Sean’s season of the Bachelor, he dragged on of the girls (Lesley, if I do recall) to the Guinness World Record museum, because his dad was in it.  He had driven through the 48 contiguous states in the shortest amount of time ever.  Why is that cool?  It’s not like he was able to stop and see anything.

[ii] No, I did not meet Gibbs, although I looked for him everywhere.


5 thoughts on “Visiting every US state

  1. I was trying to figure out why you started with Oregon and not Washington since you were looking at a map. Then I got to the end and realized it was simply the states you have visited haha. A few things: 1) New memories WILL be made in Nebraska. Duh. 2) You need to go to Vegas at some point, just to see it. It’s quite a spectacle. It’s probably the only thing worth seeing in Nevada. 3) I love that you couldn’t find the Great Salt Lake. I went as a child and had fond memories, but I went again in summer of 2010 with a friend who lived in Provo, and when we got there I was seriously confused. The water line was super low, so the water was really really far away, and as we started walking towards it, we were overcome with SO MANY bugs that we had to turn back. Also it was muddy. So basically, I was not impressed.

    1. Sorry it was confusing! I thought I was clear that I was only listing the states I’ve been to, but I’ve been known to write in a way that is confusing to everyone else, even when it makes sense to me. Haha. To comment on your comments – 1. I look forward to the new memories. 2. I know! I’m not much of a gambler, but I’d like to see Vegas at some point. Maybe when I have money to see some shows. 3. We started walking through some guy’s ranch, trying to find the water. All we found was swamp. But the sunset was pretty, so the pictures still look okay. Haha.

  2. Well to be fair, it basically is a swamp. So you may have actually found it without knowing it haha. And looking back, it was pretty clear that you were listing the states you’ve been to and a memory. My excuse is that I am at work so I’m distracted 😛

  3. Best of luck! I’ve been to all except for Vermont, North Dakota, Idaho, Oregon, and Iowa. But I also get bonus points for DC and Guam! There’s some amazing stuff in this country!

    1. Thank you! 🙂 And I agree, there are some great things to see right within our own borders.

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