Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I've Been Around

No family vacation this year. Not a big surprise since we had two months of unemployment and now Mr. Dirtywrench is giving every last breath of the day to starting his new business. Family vacations have always been few and far between anyway. But somehow we have managed to see quite a bit of our great country over the years.

We won't be packing up the kids to travel anywhere but I've been taking a little inventory of how much of the diversity of the United States of America I have actually been privileged to see.

I was born in Minnesota. Moved to Michigan in 1974 and then to Oregon in 1993. I've made a number of looooonnngggg road trips between Michigan and Oregon, every time with kids in tow. We passed through quite a few states and saw lots of territory doing that. One of my favorite places between here and there was the Big Horn mountain range in Wyoming where we saw real live cowboys loping along on their horses.

When I was sixteen I did a short road trip from Michigan with two adult friends to Atlantic City, NJ. We passed through Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada (I've been there three times) and Pennsylvania.
That's me in the brown sweater. Hey, it was 1978. I had a lot of sweater sets.

On our honeymoon, Mr. Dirtywrench and I drove a loop through the Canadian provinces to Glacier National Park in Montana then south through the states back to Michigan.
Glacier National Park in late June. It was freezing!

In 1982 we drove from Michigan to Florida and in 1984 from Michigan to the East Coast. For our twenty-fifth anniversary we visited the fiftieth state- Hawaii.

I visited the Norman Rockwell museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, saw the Statue of Liberty in New York, the colored maple trees of Vermont, Pudget Sound in Washington, Old Faithful in Wyoming, the Great Salt Lake in Utah, Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, the Gateway Arch of St. Louis, Missouri, the Boundary Waters of Minnesota, the Liberty Bell and Constitution Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Abraham Lincoln's grave in Illinois, to name a few highlights.
That's me with my four kids. I do not know who those strange dark-haired tourists on the right are. Unfortunately, I don't have Photoshop so I can remove them from an otherwise perfect family portrait.

I found a cool little site that let me map where I've visited.

I have visited 32 states. 62% of the United States. Pretty good for someone who doesn't have a job to travel for and who only takes a family vacation every 4-6 years.

By the way- when I counted where I've been, I counted the place even if I only landed there on an airplane and put my feet on its soil. So Texas I saw from the Dallas/Fort Worth airport. I also saw all the ranches and swimming pools from the air as we flew over that heat-soaked state. And Nevada was a layover in Las Vegas (sounds like a name of a movie). Layover In Las Vegas. Or not.

I see that I have neglected the South something terrible. This Yankee needs to see some of that Southern beauty and experience the famous Southern hospitality. And sweet potato pie.

Living in the north all my life, I don't know how I missed North Dakota. I can't remember ever having been there. I'm sure it's a very nice state with something worth visiting. I just can't think what that would be...

I really hope someday to see Maine and eat some lobster sandwiches. I would also love to go to the Carolinas. They have quite a history of pottery-making there. And Virginia is America's birthplace. Must go there someday. And Alaska goes without saying. Oregon is its back door after all.

Here's the link if you want to map your own travels.

How many states have you been to?


  1. Didn't you go to Florida when I was a baby? I seem to remember hearing about that. And we really never drove through North Dakota?? Actually, I think we went through there on the way to Minnesota with Nathan and the bros.

    So I guess I've probably been to all those states, plus North Dakota and Arizona, minus Hawaii (need to remedy that!).

    I really want to talk Nathan into a road trip to the East Coast someday...

  2. We went to Florida before I was pregnant with you, in 1982.

    Either North Dakota just isn't very memorable or I really have never been there. It was always the interstate through South Dakota when passing through that area.

  3. We didn't take a vacation at all this summer either. I think the day we went to the State Fair, that was IT! Looking forward to taking the kids somewhere over Spring Break tho.
    Heading to Nebraska to see my mom and dad this weekend. Mel just had knee replacement yesterday and Connie just had surgery 2 weeks ago. Nothing like getting everything fixed at once!


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