As in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Why is Ann Arbor a big deal? It is Michigan. It is my 50th and last state that I have visited. Today, April 16, 2014, I set foot in Ann Arbor at 1:05pm or thereabouts. This is a journey that began, at least as far as a concerted effort to make 50, on or about 2009. We were on a trip to visit Maine and Acadia National Park. Staying in New Hampshire the first night, I decided to make a quick drive over to Vermont, before heading up to Portland, Maine.
Sometime shortly after that, I realized I need just 8 or 9 more states to complete the fifty-fecta. From that trip, I soon went on a few more trips, both intentional, and accidental. The next year, places like Montana, then Nebraska and Iowa via Amtrak, then Rhode Island and Connecticut on the way to NYC, followed by Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama on a trip to Memphis, then Delaware, New Jersey, and West Virginia on a trip to DC, followed by North and South Dakota last summer. Last fall, I made it to Kansas City, straddling the border between Missouri and Kansas, leaving only Michigan.
Some of the stops were true “whistle stops”, and some were done in the course of business or pleasure. I certainly did not start out to conquer all fifty, it just happened on my way “to the office”, business travel in the 70s and 80s, primarily. When the count got to the thirties, it became a thought. Reaching the forties, it became a mission. The last few are always the most difficult.
There is no good reason Michigan was left to the end. It just seems like an out-of-the-way place, too far north for cross-country travel. Back in the Seventies, I did formulate a primary care plan for Ford/UAW for my boss. It did lead to a rather long-term consulting engagement for our company, but I never had a reason to visit.
Though it has become part of the rust belt, Michigan is the home of the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor. And my dear friend, Ginny, is a graduate of MU, and a former resident. So, while there is nothing special to commemorate this visit, it is nonetheless a mission completed.
Does it feel like I accomplished anything worthwhile. Probably not, it was just a challenge, and I have met some interesting people, and experienced some enjoyable events along this journey. Some places, events, and things are more memorable than others. Some things are best left to your imagination. Dream on!
So, what is next on the agenda? Somehow, visiting all the Canadian provinces does not seem so charming. Visiting the countries of South America, or SE Asia however, does seem intriguing. Or maybe I will stay home for a while. What do you think?
So, a quick toast to completion of this little sojourn. Perhaps a bottle of Veuve or Dom? Nah! It is not that big a deal. It has been a journey. And as they say, the journey is often times more rewarding than the destination. Only time will tell!