musings and images from a not so typical okie


My quest of the 50 states – Part I

Grand Sunrise
Grand Sunrise

So I figure the best way to list the states I have visited so far would be by alphabetical order.   So without further ado here they are in particular order.

Alabama – The visit I remember most was when I drove through Birmingham on the way to my good friend Troy’s wedding in Jacksonville, FL.  I left Tulsa early one morning trying to make ATL that night.  Little did I know that once I passed through MS the speed limit was going to crawl through AL.  It seemed like it took forever!  I came into Birmingham from the north on a state highway and then took a wrong turn and got stuck downtown at dusk.  I couldn’t figure out how to get on the highway and ended up in a really bad neighborhood.  Stripped out cars on blocks bad.  After passing what I’m sure was a pimp and 2 hookers I found my way back into downtown and found the interstate ramp.  Let’s just say that it’s still one of my least favorite states.  Mostly due to humidity and that nasty awful sugar brewed stuff they call tea.  Real tea doesn’t have sugar Alabama.  I’m sure there are plenty of nice things about Alabama but I haven’t experienced them yet.

Arizona – From one of my least favorite, to one of my all time favorites.  I love the complete diverseness of the states terrain, it’s not just desert folks.  My first visit to AZ was in college.  I told my friends that I had always wanted to see the Grand Canyon and had decided that I was going to go there, by myself if I had to.  At the last minute one of my floor mates, Jeremy, or as we called him, Spanky, decided that he would accompany me if no one else would. We ended up leaving around 2am cause we were too wound up to sleep. Somewhere in TX we hit a snow storm then in NM we got stuck for 4 hours behind a wreck and slept in the car on I-40 in the blizzard. We did finally make it to the canyon a day later. We sat on the edge and took photos and then said “What do you want to do now?” So we jumped back in the car and drove all night home. Still one of my most memorable road trips ever.  since that trip I have been back twice.  Taking the photo you see above when I took my kids on there first visit to the Grand Canyon.  Something I wish I could have done as a kid.

Arkansas – Since this state is so close to my home state I have been here many times.  I have many memories but I’ll chose a recent visit with Eric who talked me into paddling down the Buffalo River in a 2 man kayak.  Picture 2 not so small guys pushing the weight limit of the kayak who have never paddled a kayak in more than class I-II water.  One of us (raises hand) had only been a canoe a few times.  Less than a minute in we get sideways in very shallow swift water and over we go.  Everything drenched in ice cold water including the dry well.  We were both almost ready to give it up before even getting 20 yards into a 7 mile trip.  Well the good thing is that we got back in and we gathered our composure and managed to run the next 7 miles including some class III rapids without getting wet again.  All in all, a memorable trip down a beautiful river through some very nice scenery.

California – I’d like to spend some more time in Cali.   I’ve only been to LA on a layover to Hawaii.  Spent about an hour driving across the northern border and back into Oregon in order to make my first visit to the state.  Recently I got to take a quick trip to central California for a business meeting.  I only got to spend one night there before heading back the next day.  However, I did get to make my first trip to the Mecca of California fast food.  Yea I had me a 2×2 animal style In-N-Out Burger and thought it was pretty good actually.  I hear they are building them in TX now, kinda takes the fun out of it.

Colorado – Wow where do I begin with this state.  Ranks up there in the top 5 of my most favorite states to visit.  Might be #1 during the summer months.  We used to spend 1 week in Beaver Creek every summer but haven’t done that in awhile.  My most memorable moment.  A 16 mile round trip solo hike from Beaver Creek Village to the peak of Grouse Mountain which is just under 13,000 feet.  At the top you are at least 6-7 miles in any direction from any type of civilization.  The views are amazing.

A journey of 1000 miles …

I’ve always been a fan of the phrase “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” as attributed to Lao-tzu. Mostly because I’ve always been an explorer, a wanderer, a seeker of the unknown.

I’m not content to just sit back and enjoy my surroundings, I need to seek out the world around me. Don’t get me wrong, I have come to love and appreciate the things the great state of Oklahoma has to offer. However, that is only because I have gone looking.

About 10 years ago I was riding in a car with a friend seeking out what was then a newly created game called geocaching. Mike, or as we called him, OKDoke, told me about how he had visited all of the 50 states. I thought to myself I’d like to do that too. Heck I already had a lot of them, how hard could it be?  Hell I even had one of the hard ones completed on my honeymoon in Kauai, HI.

Well it’s a lot harder than you think, but that didn’t stop me from setting the goal and going for it.  If there is anything that gets me going it’s a challenge to complete some crazy goal.  Like finding a geocache in every Delorme map grid across the state of Oklahoma, which I finished with a couple of other friends named Eric and Jeff.  Or the time Eric and I drove all day to get to the panhandle so we could visit the highest point in the state, well that and claim a geocache as well.  I kind of moved on from Geocaching several years ago but my love for exploring has not moved on.

Track back again to 2004 a couple of years after that discussion with Mike about all 50 states.  I decided to quit a job I really liked and enjoyed that let me travel all over the state of Oklahoma.  It was time to settle down for an office job that paid more and allowed me a better life and more comfort for my family.  In other words, it paid more.  My new boss also promised that there would be a little bit of travel involved which was also right up my alley.  Before I even started the job my new boss called and stated that the “little bit of travel” might turn into “a LOT of travel”.  He said he would understand if I wanted to back out of the job offer.  It sounded like a challenge to me,  so I began that first step.  Little did I know at that time but my “journey of 100o miles” was about to become a reality.

I started the job on a Monday and by Wednesday found myself getting on a plane bound for Green Bay, WI.  A new state!  A few weeks later Billings, MT.  I was close to getting 30 states before I knew it, then 40.  Next thing you know it’s 7 years later and I close out states #47 and #48 with the knowledge that this is going to become a reality.

I think over the next few weeks I’ll write something up about each state.  I’m not too sure very many people will ever even read this but that doesn’t really matter.  What matters is that I think it will be nice to reflect back on why each and every state no matter how small or large has become a part of my life, a piece of my memory.  I want to remember the last “960” miles I’ve walked so that the next 40 miles will be that much sweeter.


transmission, originally uploaded by okbeatnik.


FREE SNOW, originally uploaded by okbeatnik.

rise above [103]

rise above [103], originally uploaded by okbeatnik.


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