This evening, coincidentally, a reader sent me a link to this Wall Street Journal article:
FARGO, N.D.—During a stop at the visitors’ bureau here, Theresa Zelonis mentioned to an employee that she and her husband’s 6,400-mile road trip purposely included a few miles of North Dakota so she could tick off visiting her 50th state. The employee gasped.
“It was like bells and whistles went off!” she recalled.
The travel ambassador led Mrs. Zelonis, of Pennsylvania, to a desk, where she was presented with a T-shirt, magnet and certificate, all saying “Best for Last Club,” and emblazoned with a silhouette of North Dakota. She signed the guest book of other club members. The staff member took her photo for the bureau’s Facebook page.
One of America’s least-populated, most-rural states, North Dakota is also one of the least visited. A tourism brochure brags it has three times more cattle than residents; fittingly, the state’s official drink is milk. A prime attraction is the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, praised by one online travel site for being “sparse and empty.” Another is the wood chipper used to dispose of a body in “Fargo,” the 1996 movie about a kidnapping plot hatched by bumbling criminals.
According to an informal poll conducted by the All Fifty Club, an online list of Americans who have visited all 50 states, most members leave Alaska, Hawaii and North Dakota for last: Alaska and Hawaii, because they’re hard to reach; North Dakota, because, well, it’s North Dakota.One of the two couples was only going as far as the south unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park in the southwest corner of the state, and I'm not even sure the other couple was going that far. It sounded like if they got as far as the state line, or possibly Bowman, that might be as far as they will get, but they will be able to see they have visited all 50 states.
(President Obama has visited all 57 states, by the way.)
I've been to both Hawaii and Alaska, so it should be easy for me to complete all 50 states. It's possible I've been to all 50 states -- in my younger days I hitchhiked cross-country several times and ticked off a number of states that way. I'm trying to think; I do believe I have had to hit all 50 states. I've Amtrak'd from Boston to Texas; bused from Texas to Los Angeles; Amtrak'd up the coast and then across the northern tier all the way back to Boston. I've been to Dover (Delaware) and Maryland (courtesy of the Air Force) -- I think I've hit all the states. Never thought about it until now. While in Boston, all of New England. Hmmm...