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  1. #1

    Default 50 States in 2014

    So, the husband has a conference this year in Hawaii (October), so my son (9) asks if it's possible that, since we road trip all the time, plan out and see all 50 states this year since we'll be going to HI already. I gave it some thought and am still figuring out Alaska, but we started last month on our road-trip to Disney World and are hoping to really see all 50 states this year!

    We started out by leaving Missouri and heading south to Arkansas, stopping for dinner at Lambert's Cafe in Sikeston, then crossing into Arkansas. We've already spent lots of time in AR in the past (Norfork Lake, Bull Shoals, White River, Little Rock, etc.), so this was really just a photo-op crossing the state border at the Welcome to Arkansas sign.....once accomplished, we headed to Tennessee, passing through Memphis (visited there too in the past) and headed into Mississippi (our first visit).

    The next day we meandered our way through MS, enjoying Jackson for a few hours, then landing for the night in New Orleans, LA.

    Over the next few days we spent time along the gulf shores enjoying beaches in MS, AL and FL, then made our way to Disney World.

    The kids enjoyed our five days there, then we headed for the Atlantic coast.....stopping and staying in St. Augustine for a day to enjoy the beach, then to Savannah, GA. Along the route, we stopped at each state's welcome sign to get a picture, the only exception being GA where we opted to do the picture at the welcome rest area since the highway sign and shoulder area were way too narrow to safely stop!

    After Savannah, we headed to Hilton Head, SC, then inland to Columbia, SC so we could do the drive along I-40 through the Smoky Mountains to Knoxville, TN. After enjoying a day in the mountains and sightseeing, we started the push home going through Nashville, TN to Paducha, KY, then drove back to MO via Chester, IL so we'd avoid the St. Louis rush hour.

    So our first leg of what we're hoping will be an adventure in the coming months, through fall included:

    MO-AR-MS-LA-AL-FL-GA-SC-NC-TN-KY-IL

    12 down, 38 to go!

    Any ideas for Alaska without having to drive through Canada?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,748

    Default A great challenge !

    Thanks for the report, I am looking forward to hearing more from your adventures. This report has great reading and photo's from Alaska.

    The Milepost is regarded as 'the Bible' to have for the Alaska Highway.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default The Marine Highway

    Your only options for AK, if you do not wish to drive through Canada, is to take the Marine Highway from Bellingham. You can take your car on that ferry. It too is mentioned in the aforementioned Milepost. The other way of course, is to fly.

    However, I fear you could be short changing yourself if you do not wish to drive through Canada. The mostly American built Alaska Highway is an experience in itself. If you have prepared by reading and learning about its history, you will appreciate it even more. Not that it is the only route. I have driven to AK and back three times, covering several different routes. The wildlife, the scenery, the remoteness are stunning. These compliment, but do not duplicate the US.

    Your family's 2014 sounds like a huge adventure. I look forward to reading more about it.

    Lifey

  4. #4

    Default

    Thanks for the tip about The Milepost!

    This is, without a doubt, our biggest trip to date - we've done 10-12,000 miles in a trip, over six weeks time....this though, it is big and broken up over months (thankfully)!

    Lifemagician - my reluctance to drive through Canada is that it'll be just me with my two kids - 9 and 3 - should anything happen, I'd have no other adult as back-up...if my little one were a bit older, maybe, but at just turned 3, too young for me to chance something and then I'm in a situation that I didn't really need to be in.

    The ferry option, however, looks intriguing - very doable and my nine year old would love it! I'm looking at dates now to see how we can incorporate it into our summer vacation at the end of August - still warm enough, but not as many crowds!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default Pros and cons.

    Quote Originally Posted by RahRah View Post
    at the end of August - still warm enough, but not as many crowds!
    That is very true. However (and there is always an however), my first trip to AK was at the end of August, going into Sept, and I was quite disappointed to find that many things and places were already starting to close down. Items I would like to have purchased had been exhausted, etc. That was a decade ago, so things may have changed, but it would be something you might want to check out.

    Lifey

  6. #6

    Default

    I still haven't figured out how to get AK in.....working on options.

    But - we did just do another loop from MO to ME to DC and back to MO, getting IN, OH, MI, PA, NY, CT, VT, NH, ME, RI, NJ, DE, MD, (DC), VA and WV done!

    27 states down, 23 to go!

    This one was actually an easy run as it was to visit family in NY then MD for Easter and we just made a longer trip of it to loop through various states to cross them off our list (all of the above we've visited previously).

    We started out a day later than I'd planned as something came up, so we did a long haul for Michigan and wound up getting in after dark, so stopped for the night so the kids could see Lake Michigan, then headed out to continue the trek to NY trying to make up time and arrive as planned. The drive was great - little traffic and the weather was nice, so we stopped along the way to see local things, but really spent most of the time in the car getting to NY.

    After a few days with the family, we headed up to New England and enjoyed seeing Vermont and New Hampshire, then York Beach in Maine. My kids are total beach bums, so even though it was 53 out, they wanted to play on the beach....so we did for a couple of hours then packed up to make the long drive south to Maryland to visit more family.

    A quick drive south got us into Boston (which we spent a week in back in October, so no stops this time around), then off to Rhode Island for dinner in Newport. Even though we'd gotten an early start, I was feeling pretty good, so opted to get through CT thinking we'd stay the night just over the GW Bridge in NJ so we could avoid traffic in the morning. Got past there and next thing I knew, we were half way through NJ, so I got us to the end of the turnpike and we called it a day.

    Since it was late when we made it into NJ, I opted to do the signs for NJ, PA and DE all together since that's easy at the southern end of NJ - it took us about 45-minutes to loop from just before the Chesapeake bridge up to PA, back to NJ, then back to DE. From there we just headed for the shore and enjoyed a perfect spring beach day at Bethany Beach - 60 out and sunny....absolutely no one else on the beach, but the kids had fun!

    In the evening we headed over to DC where we stayed two nights - visit with family in MD and hitting the town to see the American History Museum and the Natural History Museum at the Smithsonian. Day three we spent half a day in DC, then made our way to Harper's Ferry by mid-afternoon and got in VA, WV and got into Ohio that night.

    A drive across the state to Dayton and we spent a few hours at the aviation sites, then were into Indiana for the night and next day (today) got home before dinner!

    So we now have pictures at 27 states "Welcome to" signs and are gearing up for the summer - the plan now is to do a loop at some point before August to see IA, WI, MN, ND, SD, NE and KS.....then do the western states in late August (and also Alaska as part of that trip) with Hawaii in October.

  7. Default

    What a superb idea! Good luck with the trip.

    It's maybe a bit too late now but if you've got any means of recording videos with you, it might be a nice idea for your nine-year-old to record a brief video log each day, just something very short, and (IMHO) certainly not something which comes to dominate the entire holiday. As well as a means of creating memories, you might want to upload each part while you're travelling for friends and relatives to watch, using the free wi-fi provided in motels and restaurants.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by RahRah View Post
    I still haven't figured out how to get AK in.....working on options.

    >>>>

    So we now have pictures at 27 states "Welcome to" signs and are gearing up for the summer - the plan now is to do a loop at some point before August to see IA, WI, MN, ND, SD, NE and KS.....then do the western states in late August (and also Alaska as part of that trip) with Hawaii in October.
    I'd plan to hit Alaska first. Starting in August is really already leaving it late, unless you want to fly there or take the ferry. Alternatively, head into BC and up to Prince George, Smithers and onto Stewart, crossing the border into Hyder. The road from the Cassiar to Stewart, past the Bear Glacier and through the canyon is really something to savour. Hyder is very very small, but I would imagine in August you should still be able to get to the glacier which is their main attraction. (i.e. another glacier.)

    Now, explain how you get the photos of the Welcome signs. I have a few, where there is parking to be able to stop and take a photo, but I find that most are on busy interstates where parking is not provided and in most cases not permitted. (I think you know I am a solo traveller, and as such cannot get someone else to get out and take a photo.)

    Lifey

  9. #9

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lifemagician View Post

    Now, explain how you get the photos of the Welcome signs. I have a few, where there is parking to be able to stop and take a photo, but I find that most are on busy interstates where parking is not provided and in most cases not permitted. (I think you know I am a solo traveller, and as such cannot get someone else to get out and take a photo.)

    Lifey
    With only a few exceptions, I've been back-road for the state signs and once we had to go into the Welcome Center (Georgia) because the highway was crazy busy and too narrow to chance a stop and the back road I'd hoped to use was closed for construction.

    Some states, like Ohio, the sign on the eastern boundary is hung over the highway - totally not possible to stop and the back roads are all bridges (tried three) over the river with signs either on the middle of the bridge (not doable) or hung over the road (not doable)....so I got the picture at the western boundary at Indiana, getting both (on Route 40) at the same time.

    Our pics in VA and WV were by Harper's Ferry, on 340 - literally 2/10 of a mile between signs along the river and beautiful. I don't think I was "allowed" to stop, but there was almost no cars and a shoulder that I could park fully on, so we did it - quick jump out of the car, pose, click-click-click, back in the car.

    I had to settle for the Welcome to Kittery, Maine sign since Maine's huge welcome sign on I-95, while accessible, isn't really safe and has signs not to stop....so we headed over to Route 1, parked legally, and got the sign at the bridge crossing between NH and ME that had a sidewalk on the bridge too.

  10. #10

    Default

    BTW - I love the idea of having him start a v-log.....he loves doing things like that and I'll have him start that with the states we've never been to before when we start our next loop up to Minnesota!

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