50 State Challenge, Part 2

I have decided to divide up the list into two parts, which roughly corresponds to my earlier travels and my most recent travels.  So here is the list.

1. Nebraska (1984):  I was born in Nebraska, and this is my home state, so this is pretty self-explanatory.

2. Iowa (1988): My first memory of Iowa was going to Mall of the Bluffs in Council Bluffs for trick or treating on that Halloween.  I was a tiger for Halloween that year, and my older brother was Mister T.

3.  Missouri (1989):  This was my first major trip outside of Nebraska, which was a weekend in Kansas City.  I remember going to World’s of Fun as a part of this trip.  I may have also visited the Kansas side of the metro area, but I am not sure.  I also remember visiting an upscale shopping area, which I guess was Country Club Plaza.

4. Wyoming (1992):  On a family vacation, we passed through Cheyenne, Wyoming on our way to Colorado.

5.  Colorado (1992):  This was the destination for the previously mentioned family vacation.  This was a memorable trip, as it was the first time that my brother and I saw mountains.  We also flew on a plane and went rafting for the first time on this trip.  I don’t know how well the trip was planned, but it seemed as if we were staying in a different hotel/motel/cabin each night we were in Colorado.  However, we generally stayed in the Fort Collins area for the week that we were there.

6.  South Dakota (1993):  We went on a short weekend trip during the fall to Yankton, which is the home town of Gavin’s Point Dam, the last major dam on the Missouri river.  We spent the night in Ponca, Nebraska, where there is a state park that has a hill that overlooks the river, and you can see three states from that overlook (Nebraska, Iowa, and South Dakota).

7.  Montana (1995):  We accidentally ended up in Montana after making a wrong turn during our family vacation to Yellowstone National Park.  It was a good mistake because we got to see the Mammoth Hot Springs terraces.

8.  Illinois (2000):  For some people, airport stopovers don’t count, but for this list, they do.  My first time in Illinois was changing planes at Chicago’s O’hare International Airport while on a trip to Florida.  My first overland visit to Illinois came in 2006 when I visited the southern part of the state for a scientific conference.  Since then, I have regularly visited Illinois, and sometimes twice in one year.  The southern part of the state is quite different from the northern part, which is also quite different from the Chicago area.  I did not go in 2011, though.

9.  Florida (2000):  I went to Orlando on a high school band trip.  This was my first time traveling far away without being with my family, so this was quite an experience.  On the trip, we also visited Cape Canaveral and Cocoa Beach.  I discovered palm trees, and I have been fascinated with them ever since because we do not have any back in Nebraska.

10.  Virginia (2000):  I went to Virginia as a part of a day trip to Washington D.C.  We landed at the Reagan Airport in Arlington and visited the Arlington National Cemetery.

# District of Columbia (2000):  This does not count as a state, but I put it in here anyway because I was there for a day trip, and it counts at least for something.

11. Kansas (2001):  On my second high school band trip, we were invited to perform at the Alamo Bowl, located in San Antonio, Texas.  We took several buses on that trip, and we passed through Kansas.  This may not have been my first time in Kansas state, but is the first time that I know for sure that I was in Kansas.  I was in Kansas City, Missouri as a small child, but I don’t know if we ever set foot in Kansas state.  We may have stayed in a motel on the Kansas side during that earlier trip, but it also could have been wishful thinking on my part.

12. Oklahoma (2001):  We passed through Oklahoma on our way to Texas.

13.  Texas (2001):  The destination of the previously mentioned band trip.  The first night in Texas, we stayed in Dallas, before moving on to San Antonio.  We also visited the Gulf of Mexico at Corpus Christi before turning around and going home.  Texas is huge and it took a whole day to go all the way from Corpus Christi back to Dallas.
That is it for now.  After finishing high school, I stopped traveling so much for a while.  The second part comes the most recent wave of states, which make up the second half of the list.  Since 2008, I have visited at least one new state per year.

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