The 49th becomes my 50th

Summer road trips were the adventures of my childhood. We piled into the family station wagon with a car top carrier full of camping gear and headed off in one direction or another for a few weeks. In the days before electronics, we amused ourselves on the long drives with the license plate game, the alphabet game, magnetic travel games, and a few books and


I don’t remember my first road trip, to California when I was six months old, but I still have the Mickey Mouse ears from a stop at Disneyland (for my older brother) and photos with my grandparents from that trip.

I do remember driving the old US highways like Route 66 and the Lincoln Highway, scenic routes like the Blue Ridge Parkway and the windy route up to Pikes Peak, as well as faster trips on the interstate.

I have memories of us kids playing in our big blue tent while my parents cooked outside during a June snowstorm on the Grand Canyon’s North Rim, of trying to step in four states at once in Four Corners, of a broken axle taking us to a Vermont ski lodge off season. We gathered seashells on beaches and splashed around in the Pacific and Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico. We even waded in the cold Lake Superior. We camped and hiked at national and state parks, toured forts, battlefields, museums, and caves. We visited cities, natural wonders, and distant cousins. One year we spent a month driving and camping from Dayton, Ohio to New Orleans, then along the southern border, up the west coast to Washington, back east along the northern states to return to Dayton. By the time I was 18, I’d been to 43 states. I picked up the southeastern states in my twenties to get to 48. I added Hawaii on my second trip to Australia, not counting the brief flight change there on my first. That was in 1998.

I was in the planning stages of a trip to Alaska, but put that on hold and relocated to Minnesota instead. It is time to turn the 49th state into my 50th.  


  1. Enjoyed meeting you as you completed your 50th state! Would love to see the pictures you took, I’m sure they’re beautiful.

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