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

    Father and Son Visit All 50 States

    My son Andrew, now 17, and I have both visited all 50 states. Our home state is Mississippi.

    Having a quest to visit all 50 makes for strange routes. In 2009, we flew from Memphis to Detroit where we watched a Tigers baseball game, toured a Ford truck factory and visited the Henry Ford Museum, which is more like a campus than a museum. Then we flew to Minneapolis, watched a Twins game, toured the city on segways, canoed on a lake and shopped at Mall of America. We drove to Fargo and watched a lumberjack competition at the North Dakota State Fair. We crossed back over Minnesota and camped out in a state park in Wisconsin. Without our quest, we’d have never done any of those adventures.

    For spring break one year, we flew into Boston, Massachusetts and out of Providence, Rhode Island. We covered six New England states. One highlight was seeing a statue in Concord, New Hampshire of Revolutionary War hero John Stark, the namesake of our hometown of Starkville, Mississippi. I purchased a John Stark bobblehead doll that is a great conversation piece on my desk at work.

    We encountered our greatest danger in Yosemite National Park in 2007. When we checked into Curry Village (simply large tents with cots), we saw a video warning of bears in the area. About 4 a.m. Andrew, then age 10, nudged me to get up and take him outside to the public restroom. Half asleep, I told him to go without me. “What if a bear is out there?” he asked. Grouchy and reluctantly, I got up and as soon as we stepped out of the tent, we encountered a black bear walking through the campground. Thank goodness he didn’t go without me. But what a memory!

    In 2013, we visited Delaware again because his only visit there was driving on I-95 through Wilmington. Surely that didn’t count! This time, we caught the ferry from Cape May, New Jersey to Lewes, Delaware and had a beautiful drive through the countryside that ended in historic Annapolis, Maryland. Again, without our quest, we’d have never traveled that route.

    Visiting all these places has certainly been fun and educational. But the real joy of travel is the togetherness. There is no Wii or Nintendo on a trip. And there is no going to a room and shutting the door for privacy. A trip is all about being together, planning together, eating together, doing together.

    Once we tried to take a helicopter to see Mount St. Helens in Washington. We had to drive a long way to discover that clouds were too heavy to take the flight. At the visitor center right in front of the mountain, we could only see the base. On the drive back, Andrew said, “We might not have seen the mountain, but it’s fun just riding and talking.” That’s what traveling to see 50 states is all about.

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