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    Posted May 9, 2014 by
    Vernonia, Oregon
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Visited all 50 states?

    50 States in 57 Days

    I set out on a mission to hit all fifty states over my 8 week sabbatical that I started mid March 2013. Most of my friends told me that I wouldn't be able to do it... so I set out to prove them wrong!

    I started my trip in Vernonia, OR and put 17391 miles on my car for the lower 48 states. I started out south through the Cascades in Oregon, saw Crater Lake and the Oregon Caves. Then down through the redwoods in California and across to Lake Tahoe. I then found out my daughter had two weeks off from firefighter academy, so i booked her a flight and picked her up in Sacramento.

    The next two weeks were spent cutting through the southwest with my daughter. We saw the Sierra mountains, caught a show in Las Vegas, Zion Nation Park, Grand Canyon, Meteor Crater, Four Corners, Mesa Verde, Roswell and Carlsbad Caverns. El Capitan in west Texas, through Oklahoma and Kansas. She flew home from Kansas City, Missouri... and then I was off to see the remaining 39 states!

    I picked up Nebraska for an oil change, then Iowa and back down to the Gateway Arch in St. Loius. I stopped in Cincinnati to watch a Reds game that turned out to be an awesome 14-0 blowout with a grandslam! Continuing east to West Virginia to the New River Gorge Bridge. This is where I turned back west towards Arkansas. Mamoth Caves in Kentucky, Lynchburg Tennessee for a sipping tour, and then tried to find a diamond south of Mufreesboro, AR. South through Louisianna I was greeted by the roar of the Cicadas, tornado warnings, deep-fried foods and roads out into the delta that seemed to be lower than the water around them!

    From here I followed the gulf to Pensacola and then up through Alabama, and to the sothern end of the Appalachian Trail at Amicalola Falls. On to Ceasars Head State Park in SC, and then up to the Great Smokey Maountains NP, and back to traverse the entire Blue Ridge Parkway and Shenandoah National Park.

    I spent one whole day in DC, and killed my feet! The next day I hit Fort McHenry and flew my 15 stripes and 15 stars USA flag, and Gettysburg to see the Cyclorama! Down through the tip of Deleware, and into New Jersey, the Manhatten to see the 911 Memorial. Quickly went through Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachussett, New Hampshire and then Kennebunkport, ME.

    Next, up through the White Mountains, Cabot Creamery in Vermont, and Burlington for my second oil change! From here I crossed into Quebec, which honestly made me feel like I had a stroke and could not read. After a long sesion of questions from the border crossing, I was finally let into Canada. They just couldn't believe that I had been on the road for this long! Towards Montreal, thankfully I quickly figured out Nord, Sud, Est and Ouest so I limped my way to Ontario... the signs across the Quebec/Ontario border were a sore sight... I could finaly make sense of the signs again! Through Toronto, and around Lake Ontario to Niagara Falls... wow that's a lot of water!! Back west from here to Michigan (all 5 great lakes, and a partially frozen Munising Falls), and then west across Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota. Visited Theodore Roosevelt NP, and then south to Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse... and back up to Devil's Tower in Wyoming. Yellowstone was next, from the north entrance. Saw a black wolf, and had a close encounter with all the photographers and a curious bear!

    Back up through Montana to Glacier NP and Hungry Horse, and on to Coeur d'Alene. Visited the Grand Coulee Dam, Replublic, Oroville, and Loomis WA. Spent four days as an emergency crew medic for the Oregon Trail Rally near Mt. Hood... then I hopped a plane to Anchorage! Drove up to Denali NP and in as far as I could... then back down to Whittier, Soldotna, Kenai, Nikiski, and then down to Homer and had an awesome king crab dinner on the spit. Then back to Anchorage where I caught a flight to Hilo HI.

    I spent the next two days driving around the big island! Saw the Vog comming from Kilauea, the petroglyphs at the end of the Chain of Craters Rd, and as far as I could drive up Mauna Loa... I have never seen the Milky Way so crystal clear!! Next I went to the sothern most point and watched the people fish from the cliffs. Drove through Kona, and then across Saddle Road between the gentle slopes of the shield volcanoes back to Hilo and then Portland OR, for the final drive home!

    Total number of days... 57! Approximately 18.9k miles driven (17.3k in the lower 48), and about 6k miles in the air! 1314 cities/towns, 497 Counties/Parishes/Townships, 52 States/Provinces, 28 national parks/memorials/monuments, 2 speeding tickets, and countless stories/memories... with an average of 438.8 miles/day for the entire trip!

    Sent a postcard to some of my friends and family from every state... which was not easy. Some places postcards are hard to find these days...
    <cough> Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin <cough>

    In the end I know that I just scratched the surface for all that is in this great country, but now I have a better idea of where I want to go back and see more of!
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