I know the Nifty Fifty Club has only a few members among my readers. The Barnes couple have done all fifty, and many of you have achieved well into the forties, like Denise, Susie, Sandy, Denny, Maria, and others. I saw this story today, and thought it would be interesting to get someone else’s take on the idea.
From reporter, Trevor Hughes: “The rules of my visits were pretty simple: I couldn’t count a simple drive through or airport stop. Instead, I had to either sleep there, visit some sort of monument or point or interest, and, if possible, eat and drink something local. From cheese curds to Navajo tacos and lobster rolls to reindeer sausages, loco mocos (Google them!), pierogis and lots and lots of pizza, I’ve eaten my way around our great country. I’ve camped out under the stars, crashed on friend’s couches and slept in the back of my car more times than I can count. I’ve drunk chili beer and locally made wine and fresh-pressed cider and eaten an awful lot of baked goods.”
And like myself, “Years of travel
around our country (on business) have brought me to nearly every state. On this day, I set foot in the last one on my list, Wisconsin.” My last state was Michigan
, where I stayed overnight in Ann Arbor. I arrived with great fanfare by myself on Amtrak from Chicago. I had a bottle of Champagne at dinner that night, after trapesing around the University of Michigan campus all afternoon. I was rather disappointed the mayor of Ann Arbor, or Governor of Michigan was not there to greet me!
Hughes again: “But three states eluded me for years, North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin, and I finally persuaded by bosses to send me on assignment to Fargo and Grand Forks, North Dakota. From Grand Forks, I walked across a bridge into Minnesota.” My last dozen or so states were on my own dime, no business travel or reimbursement. But interestingly, North Dakota, and Minnesota were among my last states. So were Kansas, New Jersey, Delaware, and West Virginia.
Like many of you, I did not set out to do this, as it was never a goal when I was traveling on business through the late 70s and 80s. But when I retired about 8 years ago, I realized I was very close. I had a few golf buddies who were “stuck” at 48, never having been to the two most remote states, Hawaii and Alaska.
So, in between overseas trips, I decided to complete the Nifty Fifty, if it fit into my overall travel plans. I visited the remaining eastern states while on a trip to Washington, DC to see friends. The Dakotas were checked off on a trip to the famous Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Kansas turned out to be a gem, as Kansas City has great barbecue, the Negro Baseball Museum, and a charm all of its own. Minnesota was a visit that included the Great Mall, and dinner at a James Beard winner, and a concert.
I never counted a state if I changed planes at a airport in that state. Unlike the reporter, I paid for these last trips out of my own pocket. I had to set foot in the state, and buy a fridge magnet for my collection away from the airport, at a minimum. But I had no rules regarding overnight stay, or a meal. I made it to Michigan in 2014, just a month before leaving for Russia and the Trans Siberian Railway.