I can hear you already saying “Alaska is the 49th state – Hawaii is the 50th” and you are correct. What the title means is that for Janice and I, Alaska is the 50th state we have visited. This is not as common as one might guess – the estimates I have seen are about .3 to .5% of the US population. There is even a club you can join and get a commemorative plaque.
In researching this post it was interesting to note that the requirement for “visiting” a state varies widely. The club has a FAQ that says “A person has visited a state if he or she has set foot on the ground of that state and breathed the air.” I would say that is a fair definition and one we certainly have met. Some take it farther like staying a night or having a meal or just stopping for at least an hour. One thing everyone agrees on is that flying over a state does not count.
Some people ask why and I say why not. We love to travel by car (or in our case minivan) because that way we can take the backroads and poke our noses into the small towns or attractions that are off the beaten path. Over the past several years we have done that with trips to New England, the Southeast and the West. The last two big trips that covered states one or both of us had not been to was the Denver trip in 2008 when we came back Old Route 66 and covered several states in the southwest and then the Spokane Wordcon trip in 2015 which covered the northwest. We had been to Hawaii even before that and the rest we had done in bits and pieces so we were left with just Alaska. That is one of the reasons we took the Alaskan cruise, the main one of course being we had heard how spectacular the scenery was. (Plus Disney Cruises always equal fun)
In case you are about to ask – no I can’t say we have a favorite. The diversity of this great country is such that each area and state is unique and has something interesting. Some states like Washington or Colorado have great scenery and awesome vistas. Other states like Pennsyvania or Massachusetts are steeped in history and culture. But even a state in the midwest like Missouri has so many places of interest like the Gateway Arch or Lake of the Ozarks or the Mark Twain National forest. Every state has had something that drew our interest.
Does this mean we will slow down on our travels since we have been to every state? Not in the least. Each state has many things to see that we either didn’t have time to see or didn’t know were there when we visited the first or last time. Our outlook is that we should do as much traveling as time and money allow because as you get older, physical limitations can occur and someday travel may not be an option. That will be a sad day and hopefully one that does not occur for many, many years.
There will be some more cruise related posts coming so stay tuned.