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    Posted May 9, 2014 by
    CarolynInLA
    Location
    Los Angeles, California
    Assignment
    Assignment
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Visited all 50 states?

    I have been to all 50 States!

     

    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     CarolynInLA has seen all 50 states in the U.S. She shared a photo of her entering Washington State during one of her adventures. She encourages people to take a chance when traveling, and says to go to a 'place you've never been before.'
    - SaraKhanCNN, CNN iReport producer

    I set myself a goal of visiting all 50 states years ago when my family started traveling. We moved several times when I was a kid, so by the time I was 15, I had lived in Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Kansas, Georgia and California. With all the road trips involved in moving and family vacations, I picked up a bunch of "visited" states that way.

    Then, as an adult I got a job that involved a lot of business travel. I racked up the states quickly, then got "stuck" at 45. I lacked Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana and South Carolina. I moved to a different job and was no longer traveling on a company expense account. Bummer.

    I waited a few years to visit those last remaining 5 states in the normal course of travel, but that didn't happen. It's not like you can drive through Hawaii on your way to somewhere else. I decided I had to be proactive.

    First, I signed up for a cruise to Alaska. We flew to Juneau (check!), got on the ship and had a great time. The next year my husband turned 60 and told me that visiting Pearl Harbor has always been a bucket list item for him. Ha! I got tickets for Honolulu, reservations in Waikiki and off we went to Hawaii (check!).

    In the meantime, we visited relatives in South Dakota, went to Mount Rushmore, and did a quick border run to Montana (check!). I don't really like border runs as I prefer to visit a state in a bit more depth, but since Idaho was still on my unvisited list, I figured I'd see more of Montana later.

    In 2011 we went to Charleston, South Carolina (check!) and had a great time touring that beautiful and historic Southern city. We drove over to Greenville, via Columbia, and spent some time with a woman we knew in college. It was a great visit and we had a wonderful time. After South Carolina, we went to North Carolina, had dinner with a cousin I had not seen in years and visited a state that I had previously visited only by means of an airplane change at Raleigh-Durham. Now I was able to say I had visited North Carolina properly, as we went to Greensboro, Raleigh, Asheville and points between.

    Now, I had only one unvisited state left: Idaho.

    I have no particular reason to visit Idaho. No relatives, no long-lost college chums, no business contacts, no cruise destination, no historic battle scenes. I heard about a nice place near Lake Pend Oreille called Sandpoint, and reserved a hotel right on the lake. We flew to Spokane, rented a car and drove east. On May 19, 2012, we crossed the border into Idaho and I got my 50th state!

    And, yes, we did drive into Montana and spent a day enjoying the beautiful mountains, lakes and rivers of Western Montana.

    Some people think that state-counting is crazy. I don't. It has got me out of my house and given me a motivation to see places I've never seen and do things I've never done. I've also counted visited nations (40) and last year made it to my last unvisited German state Saarland.
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