Our Aussie friend Wendy left a comment about our recent trip from Washington to McKinney. “Good to see you guys finally getting to see your own country,” she said.
Fear not, Wendy. We’ve seen most of it, 42 of the 50 states. (Contrary to what President Obama said, there are only fifty states, not fifty-seven.) The ones we’ve missed are:
Alaska. My dad lived in the Land of the Midnight Sun before he moved to California, and when my cousin lived there her kids sent me a very cute hand-made coupon book good for a wide range of Alaska activities, but I never got around to visiting.
Arkansas. Shame on us. Texarkana is only a hundred and sixty-six miles from McKinney, and we’ve been here for nearly seven years, but we’ve never made it to our northeastern neighbor.
North Dakota. How have we missed it? It’s right next door to Montana, which I’ve been to dozens of times, but not once in North Dakota.
South Carolina. No reason for not going. It’s just that nothing ever took me there. I’d love to visit Charleston.
Looks like we could knock the next four states off in an afternoon. They’re small and they’re all bunched up there in the far northeastern corner of the country:
Connecticut. Again, shame on us. God kids Jack and Stella both go to college in Connecticut, and we were supposed to visit for Jack’s graduation, but the Chinese flu shutdown got in the way.
Maine. Just never had the opportunity nor inclination to go. It’s way up there in the northeast corner of the United States and not on the way to anywhere else.
New Hampshire. I’ve never heard anyone say, “Gee, I’d sure like to visit New Hampshire.
Rhode Island. I grew up in the nation’s largest county, which is many times larger than Rhode Island, the nation’s smallest state. Quite honestly, I can’t even tell you where it is on the map. Somewhere up in the northeast corner.
Unfortunately, the eight missing states are scattered all over the map, so it’s not like we can check them off the list on one grand tour. Looks like we’ll need to pick them off one at a time.
UPDATE: Just did a little Google Maps research and found out just how small the four missing New England states really are. If we were to fly into Providence, Rhode Island (CHECK), it’s just a 37 mile drive across the northeast corner of Connecticut (CHECK) to Webster, Massachusetts. From there it’s only 105 miles to Portsmouth, New Hampshire (CHECK). And finally, a mere 1.5 miles across the Providence River to Badgers Island, Maine (CHECK). Bingo! Four as yet unvisited states in less than two-and-a-half hours.
ANOTHER UPDATE: I got to thinking that maybe I have been to Arkansas. My mom and dad used to take us on long, long driving trips when I was a kid. I know we have photos of my sister at the gates of Elvis Presley’s Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee, and we went from there to my Uncle Pete’s home in Chicago. The current route, according to Google Maps, cuts across the Mississippi River into Arkansas, but I have no idea if the old route went that way. So I’m going to leave Arkansas in the “Haven’t Been There” camp for the time being.