A while back when I had another blog, I posted about my 40 before 40 goals. This was before I knew how to back up posts. Anyhow, there lived my goal list; everything from 40 recipes I wanted to try, to books I wanted to read, to seeing 40 states by my 40th birthday. Unfortunately, that list was lost and I did not get to everything on it. BUT, I did get to 40 states before 40 and that, of course, has brought me to my new goal.
What a wild ride it has been! We have such an amazing country. We really do. I am often confronted by people who see one of my travel collections (more about that in another post). Some people I talk to will say they have never been out of their state or to the other coast. I understand that travel can be expensive but when people say this, I just stop and think, my goodness….there so much to see! So, to say the least, I am very grateful for the experiences and places I have visited.
Being a California girl and Arizona transplant, I had most of the western states covered when I started my journey. My husband and I had already been to Santa Fe, and we took some camping trips through Utah and Oregon (sans kids), and a few little trips to Chicago and New York City. When I began this journey (the summer of 2011), I had about 36 states to see, as of today I have 4 left.
These last couple of years, visiting states has been high on the priority list. Every chance we have had around school breaks has been to make little trips to places nearby. These little trips consisted of just a few places nearby where we were able hang out for a while. Of course, that left me with the states left to visit being further away and we had to do a little state hopping to visit the most states in that amount of time. Meaning that many times it was just to drive though a corner of the state to the nearest city and hang in that city for the day. Sometimes this IS NOT the most “chosen” town to visit in the state but that was not the purpose of the trip. The purpose is to achieve the goal. I know I will eventually get to make separate trips again to particular cities I would like to visit, but when you are on a mission, sometimes the bowling alley in the small dinky town will suffice…and might just have the best food in town.
I have loved it all. Small little towns of 1000 people to major bustling cities. Camping by motor home or flying in for adventure. However we chose to explore, we have had a blast. Here are a few photos from the trips.
[ctt template=”4″ link=”P99k7″ via=”no” ]\”I have loved it all, from small towns of 1000 people to bustling cities.\”[/ctt]
The Petrified Forest National Park is a park that should be high on the priority list and can be combined with a trip to the Grand Canyon or possibly a Utah national park for longer stretches of time. On this trip, we combined it with Monument Valley and Bryce Canyon National Park.
I am a bit of a National Park addict. Well, they are special parks for a reason, right? One of the earlier parks we visited was this Idaho park, Craters of the Moon. In this photo, the boys are getting their first Ranger Badge. This was one of the first stops before we state hopped it to Michigan.
This was a trip strictly for the Dakotas. Mt. Rushmore is, of course, a must see in this country. It is great by day but really neat by night when the lights shine on it. On this trip, we also included Theodore Roosevelt National Park, and Windcave National Park (which I did not visit because I had the stomach flu).
Oklahoma/ San Antonio
If you are ever in the area, the Oklahoma City National Memorial is a must see. They really created a beautiful tribute to the violence of that day. This was a flying vacation back from visiting family in Michigan. We also stopped over in San Antonio, Texas and visited the Alamo and Riverwalk.
When you are the only female in a family of males, you sometimes end up with a lot of “guy” places to see on the list. That’s alright though, it makes for new learning. This was one of our state hopper vacations. We went from Texas through the lower gulf states. The stop at USS Alabama was a great stop. I highly recommend it, you really get a feel for how tight the quarters can are. Continuing across to Mississippi, we stopped for an alligator tour. The kids were really into this one and we even got to see how high the water line was during Hurricane Katrina. You can see my review on Tripadvisor here.
One of our recent trips was to the Napali Coast. Although I had been to a couple of islands before, the Napali Coast and the island of Kauai had always been high on my list. It is simply gorgeous and can only be seen by boat or by hiking. We had 10 in our group and decided boat was best. Between a bad mixture of anti-nausea meds and wavy water, I happened to capture a few worthy photos. A word of advice here, if you go on this boat excursion and feel sick, just throw up. Even if it is in front of 150 people, you will feel much better afterward.
We also decided to do a stop over on Oahu before flying back home. The boys really wanted to see Pearl Harbor, which was, as you could guess, well worth it. After seeing the USS Alabama and getting to an age where history is cool, we felt we needed to take advantage of the opportunity of being so close. If you ever visit, make sure you get there nice and early if you want to see the USS Arizona. They only allow so many people out at a time and it will fill up.
These photos were from our last autumn trip where we took our camper through 11 states! I had been to a couple of them before but this two-week trip really racked em up. We started in Michigan where we had been storing our motorhome at my brother in laws house. From there, we started our drive to Niagra Falls and through the New York wine country. Did you know New York had wine country?? I didn’t and it is pretty good. We continued our tour, camping through Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. We spent one last day living it up at Cedar Point Amusement Park. This was the highlight of the boys trip…rollercoasters galore!
Most of these trips have gone pretty smoothly with the fam bam. We all appreciate what everyone else wants to see and eat. But the time does come when the motorhome shrinks by the day and mom has taken one too many pictures. I know that when I get this look.
To all those thinking about traveling to more states in our wonderful country, do it! It is a great experience and this country has so much to share with you. I will continue my state travels and hopefully I will see Maryland, Delaware, Virginia and West Virginia soon.
And…if you want any glamping tips or ideas, check out my Pinterest board.
Are you planning on traveling the states soon? I would love to know where you’re going.