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    Posted May 10, 2014 by
    Fenton, Michigan
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Visited all 50 states?

    How Oklahoma Became Number 50

    The first state I was ever in was also the state I was in for the shortest time. I was born at the US Naval Facility in Yokosuka Japan. I was a year and a half old when my father was reassigned stateside. That first trip was a flight by way of a stopover in Alaska. By two I had been in four states. Following my dad's assignments around the country, my family made car trips from coast to coast about every two years, many on my favorite road, US 30. Summer vacations in the islands of Puget Sound made some trips quite long, especially when moving from Jacksonville, Florida to Newport, Rhode Island with a stopover in Seattle. By the time I was 16 I had seen all of New England, the East Coast, the Great Plains and the Pacific Northwest. A trip to the 1968 World's Fair by way of relatives in New Brunswick got four states and three Provinces, 31 states and counting. We were on our way back to Alaska from an assignment in the countries capital when the axle on our travel trailer broke near Detroit. The layover was 3 years this time. I graduated high school and started my own stint in the military. I thought they marched too much in the Navy so I signed up for the Air Force. After basic in Texas and a short stint in Biloxi, Mississippi, I spent two years serving, and traveling, in Europe. Four more states and eight countries I returned to the US with a posting to Minot, North Dakota. Traveling from Minot I made winter drives from there to Biloxi and Detroit several times, even a summer drive through southern Canada to Seattle. No new states, but four new provinces. After completing my six years I moved to near Portland, Oregon. A nice town down the river called St. Helens. Yes, my year of that stay was defined by 11 months of rain, 9 months of a pregnant wife and the mountain out the front window blew up half way through making everything that had been green into a shadowed grey . My wife demanded a move. I finally got to go to California and an interview in Hawaii got more states covered. Three more states covered with the hard to reach ones out of the way. Going back to Detroit became a viable choice as a paid move was given by my new employers. The new job had me driving all around the Midwest servicing computer equipment. and learning to sail in my downtime. Summer trips from the Detroit area were generally to the Florida Keys, and a visit to Tuscon helping a friend move got me to the deserts of the Southwest. Four new states just standing on one foot. Somewhere around that time I figured out that I had personally driven over a million miles on American highways, and never had a job as a driver. Given an opportunity by my employer to move anywhere East of the Mississippi that had an airport, I started looking around for a place to raise my family that would be the best place to live. Having sailed all of the Great lakes and most of the big ones in the Midwest only in the summer, I thought somewhere warmer was due. A trip to Greenville, South Carolina from a blizzard to a beautiful spring day helped a decision to move, and an opportunity to attend Clemson University finalized it. My children grew up in the beauty of Southern Appalachia. Ten years later the death of a younger brother pulled me back to the Detroit area. Divorced and living alone I moved to Detroit for the third time. Now I finally had a job that would truly allow some decent travel time. I am teaching High School science, summers and Christmas and Easter breaks were invented for traveling. By 2003 I only had 1 state left on my list. It had been bypassed on every side, never intentionally, it just wasn't between where I was going. I had made a Christmas trip to visit my parents in Arizona and been looking for a convertible while I was out there. My father gave me the ads from the Tuscon paper to help my search where I found the car of my dreams, a 1998 BMW Z3. Spring break of the following year I was back in Tuscon to drive my new car home. The trip back to Detroit would allow me to finally hit my final state. I made the trip on US 64. It seems that a Z3 was a bit of a novelty in the panhandle. I have made several trips a the little car, including one where I "drove north to the border, west till I hit the ocean, south till I hit the border and east till I hit ran out of money". I try to use only US highways as they give me the access I like, and move at a pace I can enjoy. I am trying to get to 2 million miles of driving having never been paid to drive.
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