Visiting all 50 states: Does the airport count or is a 'National Geographic moment' required?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by sobore, Oct 26, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    http://www.thestarphoenix.com/trave...National+Geographic+moment/7451839/story.html

    It's a proud achievement for a certain type of traveller, and a worthy goal: Visiting all 50 U.S. states.
    But for those who take the quest seriously, merely crossing the border or changing planes at an airport doesn't necessarily give you the right to say you've been there.

    In fact, many 50-staters have a specific litmus test for what counts — eating a meal there, staying the night or spending a certain amount of time. Some even require what one 50-stater called a "National Geographic moment" — a memorable experience like visiting Mount Rushmore in South Dakota or walking down Beale Street in Memphis, Tenn. — to cross a state off your list.

    Others take a more relaxed approach: Cross the border, drive through or put your feet on the ground. At Four Corners Monument, tourists often crouch on the marker where Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado intersect so they can be photographed with a hand or foot simultaneously in each of the four states. (I photographed my own children doing this on a road trip one summer.)
     
  2. Mapsmith
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    Mapsmith Gold Member

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    As to the Four Corners Monument. Actually the location of the four Corners is actually about 500 to the Northeast. The monument was where they thought it was but GPS coordinates show they are off a bit. So Arizona and New Mexico are okay. And most may have come down from Colorado. But at the Four Corners Monument, Utah is still a hike.
     
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  3. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    I did not know that. Thanks for the update.
     
  4. hulagrrl210
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    hulagrrl210 Gold Member

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    I actually did know that, but IMHO that whole region is beautiful, much more so than that monument, so that is a place where you should get out and explore more. Other than that, I think airports should count (like EWR for New Jersey) and I like to say I've been to Kansas after just taking a little detour on route 66 through the corner of that state.
     
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  5. Sedosi

    Sedosi Gold Member

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    I don't really feel like I've visited a State until one of it's politicians offers me a sandwich for my vote.
     
  6. chrislacey
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    chrislacey Milepoint Guide

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    I actually have a large map of the US hanging on the wall in my office. I won't be home for a while...but I'll post a picture to this thread if I remember. I use color coded push pins to elaborate a bit on my "visit" to any particular city/state. I use one color that signifies that I spent the night (or nights) in the city and actually went out and explored. I have a different color for cities I "visited" in transit (even if I stay at an airport hotel for the night). It's a neat way to keep track of both where I've physically been, and also where I've had the chance to experience :)
     
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  7. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    Who gives a care? You do it by your own rules. I was once in a Utah airport.
    I have no desire to see any other part of that state, despite its canyons and
    mesas and whatnot. Anyone who denies that I've been in that state, well,
    I'll kick them up one side and down the other.
     
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  8. ella
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    ella Silver Member

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    My rule for counting states visited was to spend at least a day in that state. If you drive through, but still stop and check out sites I think that still counts. I didn't count a state if I just changed planes in one of its airports, but I understand that everyone has their own metric.
     
  9. miles and smiles
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    miles and smiles Gold Member

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    Doesn't make any sense to get picky on what is a visit. I have passed thru both of the Dakotas, North on a bus and South in a car. I didn't stop for a night, per se. But if the bus went thru at night, and I slept, does that count? If I napped in the car while someone else drove, does that count?
    All that counts for me was whether my body was in those states, which it certainly was.
     
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  10. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    I won't deny that you were in Utah (see below), but I think you're really missing an awesome part of the US if you don't explore it further than the SLC airport. The national parks are just awesome.

    I am currently missing four states in my "collection" (Oklahoma, Vermont, the two Dakotas) I don't think I had any "visits" where I just did an airport layover... but I do count West Virginia, which I visited for a few minutes. I was driving up Interstate 81, which runs parallel to the WV border, and since I had never been to WV and had no plans to fill the gap with a meaningful trip any time soon, I decided to take a 20 mile or so detour off the freeway towards the west. Drove across the border, got out of the car, did a happy dance, found a tree to do whatever one does behind a tree, and drove back to the freeway and continued on wherever I was going.

    So perhaps my personal definition of what counts includes the behind-the-tree activity.
     
  11. MLW20
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    MLW20 Gold Member

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    Everyone has their own opinions and rules for what visiting a state or country is.

    While in South Dakota we drove to Wyoming and visited the Devil's Tower. We did not stay over or have a meal in Wyoming but as far as I'm concerned I visited the state.
    For me, stopping at the airport and not leaving/ doing something is not a visit. I've been through Tokyo- Narita two times but never left the airport so I would never say that I've been to Japan.

    Just my thoughts/ opinion!
     
  12. kwai
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    kwai Gold Member

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    I was in MN for 4 hours but received a speeding ticket.... does that count? :D I've been stuck at 48 (N Dakota/Alaska) since 1995 when I graduated college.
     
  13. MLW20
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    MLW20 Gold Member

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    If visiting all 50 is important to you, what's stopping you from finishing off the last two? :)
     
  14. kwai
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    kwai Gold Member

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    Most of my time is spent in SE Asia and when in the US I tend to spend time in NY with family and SF with friends.

    When I spend 4 weeks a year in the US it's really difficult to justify trekking up to N Dakota. ;)
     
  15. kansaskeith

    kansaskeith Gold Member

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    My rule has always been feet on the ground.

    I netted all 50 states back in the mid-1990s (North Dakota was last), but I had always felt somewhat "guilty" that I was counting Rhode Island because the Amtrak train had stopped in Providence on the way to Boston. So in 2007 on another Amtrak stop there also en route to Boston, I made a point of hopping off and touching ground. The conductor, who knew I was going to Boston having taken my ticket that morning, was standing there and said "but sir, there's no time to go inside, we'll just be here a very short time." I told her what I was doing, and she laughed heartily. In fairness, almost all the other states I have hit with considerable more coverage than that!
     
  16. Tad's Broiled Steaks

    Tad's Broiled Steaks Silver Member

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    I wouldn't actually agree with this method, but wouldn't the MP way of visiting a state count even if the traveler just went to the airport?
     
  17. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    I do something similar, but with push-pins and a small photo from contact sheets attached to the state, since most of the places I visited with my now wife before we got married, so it's a "memory lane" type of thing as well.

    My personal belief is that the state doesn't really count if you didn't spend any time there, and certainly shouldn't count if you didn't leave the airport. My personal threshold is spending at least one night there. Think about it... airports are more often than not located in the most physically convenient way, relatively far from downtown Anywhere, USA. And considering what you'll find at the airport -- airside or otherwise -- you can't even lie to yourself and tell you that you've been somewhere simply because you went to the bar / restaurant / Burger King / Starbucks at the airport.

    Sure MSY is essentially different from LAS, but you can't really say that you went to Vegas if you didn't hit the strip, or that you went to New Orleans if you didn't at least go to Bourbon St. or Riverwalk or the Superdome.

    I'm sure it's a feat to "visit" all 50 states, but quite frankly I'd rather sit down and talk to the guy that has spent a few days in 10 states than the guy that has spent a few hours in all 50.
     
  18. Mapsmith
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    Mapsmith Gold Member

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  19. Photonerd71

    Photonerd71 Silver Member

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    Thanks to my job i have been to all of the lower 48. I drive a truck and have made either a pick up or delivery in all of them. Hawaii was taken care of by the Navy and later AA and CO during vacations. The only one left is Alaska. No good excuse for not having been there yet, but the plan is in 2013 to finish up the 50.
     
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  20. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    Counties or countries? I certainly don't bother tracking down to the county level, but it's a nice way to get a bit more granularity.

    And I can sort of understand the Delaware part... But Hawaii? Leaving best for last?
     
  21. Sedosi

    Sedosi Gold Member

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    The Inuit people. They have it out for him.
     
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  22. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    I managed to visit all fifty US States plus the USVI, DC, PR and Guam, but not American Samoa. I can say that I would not care to revisit at least 30 of those places, but have very much enjoyed the experiences. Of the ten US States in which I have lived I admit fondness for only three. In a way these maps and visit trackers are a trifle ridiculous, but they have motivated me all my life, and I have found many wonderful places and had wonderful experiences that I'd never have had had I not been trying to notch up another visit.

    From my early childhood I've also been trying to visit all the countries i could and all the Brazilian States too. I have only 15 of the latter, so far (Rondonia , anyone?) but just passed 200 countries. More countries seem to be being created than I can visit though. Of course the breakup of Yugoslavia gave me five new countries in no time at all, including favorites such as Slovenia and Croatia.:p Losing the USSR meant that such delightful places as Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia (three of my favorite countries) suddenly regained their official status. However, I lost one when North Yemen (YAR) merged with Aden (PDRY).
    I seem to be suggesting another new thread.
     
  23. Mapsmith
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    Mapsmith Gold Member

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    Counties of the US States. There are a bunch of County Collectors out there.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/County_collecting
     
  24. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    While I have driven through lots of US states on road trips (I think I did 27 states in six weeks once), my memory is way too bad to try to reconstruct all the counties I may have passed through. I think I'll focus on states, territories and countries. Might add the Canadian provinces at some point. Oh, and still missing two entire continents.
     
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  25. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    The only counties I have collected are English ones.
     
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