Our “50 States” Project

Cable Car in San Francisco, California

Kathy & I have set a goal to visit all 50 of the US states by the end of 2020.  Well, all except one.  If everything goes according to plan we’ll cap the project off with a trip to Hawaii in 2021 to capture that elusive #50.  We have a long way to go, but do have a plan to get there.

The Queen and her Throne. Key West, Florida

The first challenge was to define a “visit.” Do we need to sleep there, have a meal there, drink a beer there, or what? For us it is easy…we need to take photographs!  There are a number of states that we have actually been to through the years, but we have not counted them as visited yet because we don’t have photographs.  I know I’ve been to Arizona, New York, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois & Indiana and others but I don’t have photos from those states, at least none I’m willing to use for this project.  We’ve been to airports in Dallas and Newark, but those don’t count as Texas or New Jersey!

County Road 90 North of Fort Collins, Colorado

Every state has it’s “Best Of” locations, but we aren’t necessarily looking to do that.  We’d eventually like to visit the famous places like the Grand Canyon or Yosemite or Mount Rushmore, but those are places that justify longer stays than just a “drive-by” long enough to take a picture or three.  For now we’ll be happy to get photos from more off-the-beaten-path kinds of places.  It’s our project so we get to decide.  I love being able to make the rules!

Foggy scene in Hensley Settlement, Cumberland Gap National Historic Area, Kentucky

I’ve recently added a new section to my website titled – amazingly enough – “50 States” with a separate gallery for each state that we have visited so far.  This gallery is a collection of representative photographs from each of the states that we are counting as “visited” according to our definition of having a collection of photographs. These are not intended to be the “top” anything or most famous locations from these states, simply photographs that show that we were there.

Booker Noe Statue, Jim Beam Distillery, Clermont, KY

We’re planning a trip up the DelMarVa peninsula in August to catch Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey.  Then later this fall we’re hoping to make a road trip out west to catch a dozen or so states in the middle part of the country.  I’ll update the photo gallery and the accompanying map as we go, and of course I’ll post about it here on the blog.

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, NC

If anyone has suggestions about “must see” locations, feel free to pass them along in the comments or via email!

Kidd’s Mill Covered Bridge, Reynolds, PA. Built in 1868, spanning the Shenango River. The only remaining bridge in Pennsylvania with an all-wooden truss design patented by Robert Smith of Tippecanoe City, Ohio. The last historic covered bridge in Mercer County, extending 120 feet in length and restored in 1990.

6 thoughts on “Our “50 States” Project”

  1. Very cool project Tom. Good luck to you both, I’m sure it will be a blast. If you lived here in Australia you’d only have 6 states to cover (though you’d probably cover just as many miles getting to them all 😉 )

    1. We’re looking forward to the adventure, but not quite sure how we’re going to feel about all those miles behind the wheel! We’re going to start out slowly, but eventually think we’re going to end up with a long loop around the country some time next year.

      We really want to visit Australia & New Zealand on a future adventure. Our ideal scenario would involve coming via cruise ship from the US, spending enough time to do the countries justice, then continue on another cruise ship (or ships) the rest of the way around the globe. A lot of things would have to go our way for that to happen, so we’ll need to see. Otherwise we may just have to endure the plane ride to get there and do it the “usual” way!

  2. Sounds like a wonderful project and will probably evolve into more than you expect, which is good. I assume you plan on driving which means you can change plans as you go. Hoping to see you when you’re out this way!

    1. Part of the appeal of seeing the 50 states is driving through them, which will give us a much better flavor than just flying somewhere and renting a car. Plus that would be a lot of flying! One of the advantages of having flexible schedules is being able to make adjustments as we go. We do know to expect the unexpected!

      You’ve got an email from me that I sent during your “sabbatical.” Let me know your thoughts on that and we’ll plan accordingly!

  3. Cool project, Tom. I’m “stuck” on 48, but by your rules, I’m not really sure how far along I’d be. My criteria is that I had to either drive through for several hours, or spend the night. No airport visits. I lack the Alaska and Hawaii. Next up, Alaska, but I need to plan it. I promise that I’ll take pictures!

    You and Kathy have been on the move, and that’s great! It was great seeing you the other week. I look forward to those visits … when you’re in town.

  4. The primary reason for the “rule” is that I think I want to put together some kind of book – either paper or electronic. Otherwise I could count several more.

    Let me know when you’re ready to tackle Alaska…I could easily be talked into a return visit. A cruise is a great way to see it, although I suspect you might prefer something a little less “people-ly!”

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