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48 – 49 – 50

This wasn’t counting pushups or burpees, it was to completing the visit to all 50 US States. By the way, there are still only 50 states – Puerto Rico is currently not a state.

Our family did not travel much when I was growing up. The first big trip I recall was from our home in Georgia to Orlando, mainly Disney World, when I was 8. Shortly thereafter, ventures were mainly car trips to visit relatives back in Georgia, after we moved to Florida. In short, travel was not a big part of my life growing up.

I remember daydreaming while looking out the window watching the landscape pass by: pine tree, sign, palm tree, mile marker sign, pine tree, pine tree, pasture….you get the picture. All while being tormented the whole way by my older brother.

Travel slowly became of my life after college. The travel discovery began mostly with work trips. I would add on a day or two to explore a city or hike a nearby trail. It was not long until I was hooked. The states visited starting building, not by any plan, it just happened. Keeping track of these visited states wasn’t a consideration until a friend asked how many states had been visited. Hmmm…after counting, realized it had been in the low 30’s. This planted the seed to visit all 50 states. Thus, planning shifted to be more strategic with the plans.

Have been asked repeatedly, was there a criteria for visiting a state? There is no “right answer”, so a state would not count in my total unless I did something in that state. That “something: would be sleeping overnight, seeing a key landmark(s), venturing outdoors (such as hiking, paddling, biking, golf, etc..) as well as conversing with some locals.

Back to the last three states. Plane touched down in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, #48. It was late, would have to postpone seeing South Dakota until morning. Located Palisades State Park north east of town. Not quite mountains, but what a beautiful park, colorful rock formations and cliffs carved by Split Rock Creek. It provided an incredible spot to take a few moments to enjoy the scenery while providing a photography break. The trails weren’t lengthy, yet enjoyable active walks along the cliffs and creek. To the locals it is a creek, I thought it looked like a river. On the advice of two women at the park, ventured to downtown Sioux Falls for an incredible late Mexican enchilada lunch at Mama’s Lada. ¡Deilicioso! Then lazed around part of the afternoon at Falls Park, enjoying the waterfalls.

Next stop #49 Nebraska. Explored downtown and Old Market area of Omaha. Couldn’t be in Omaha without driving past billionaire Warren Buffet’s long-time home. Hoping some of his business wisdom could be captured in the air near his home….time will tell. After that short detour, headed out for a hike at the Neale Woods Nature Center, north of Omaha. It was a beautiful clear fall day and was perfect for a hike in the woods. 

Straddling states #49 and #50!!

I walked to the last state #50 by walking from the Nebraska side of the Missouri River across the Bob Kerry Pedestrian Bridge to Iowa. All 50 states complete! Finished off the Iowa experience over the next two days visiting the Covered Bridges of Madison County. Explored the quaint Winterset downtown and later downtown Des Moines. All 50 states visit completed. What an active journey and venture!

Please share one of the travel or venture goals you set and achieved.

Gary Gresham

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