Below are the results of my completed goal to take a photo in each of the 50 US states. Scroll to the bottom to read what I learned and my thoughts on the decline of road trips. Otherwise, just enjoy the photos!
Taking a Photo in all 50 States
(Tip! – Click on an image in a non-mobile browser to view these photos as a gallery.)
Alabama – Racing at Taladega
Alaska – One of many glaciers in the state.
Arizona – My favorite photo from the Grand Canyon.
Arkansas – One of many beautiful fields in Arkansas.
California – California was a tough photo to choose because I had a lot of choices. I went with the typical sunset on a beach.
Colorado – Colorado is an intensely beutiful state. This photo is of a single mountain/hill that took my fancy :-)
Connecticut – A famous grey Connecticut beach.
Deleware – This is the building where corporation’s establish their technical headquarters in order to take advantage of Deleware's corporate-friendly laws. After I took this photo, I realized after this building was technically the headquarters of EVERY SINGLE company that I have ever worked at! (Except for my current job)
Georgia – The beautiful Atlanta skyline.
Hawaii – This state was made for photographers. In this photo, the cliff drops down on to a beautiful black sand beach.
Idaho – I went with a old photo for this one just to mix it up. Say hi to my friend Robert!
Illinois – A view of Chicago, one of my top 3 favorite cities in the country
Indiana – A leader in alternative energy. This installation of wind turbines went on for miles!
Iowa – Simple and too the point, like the state itself.
Kansas – The best BBQ in the Kansas City!
Kentucky – Little known fact, Scoopy Doo lives in Kentucky
Louisiana – Mardi Gras beads in the gutter on Bourbon street. :-)
Maine – A Famous Maine crab sandwich
Maryland – The famous fall trees of Maine
Massachusetts – Sorry Mass, I didn’t have a lot of photos to choose from!
Michigan – I felt a photo of cars was fitting for a state known for Detroit.
Minnesota – I took this in the middle of nowhere Minnesota. This state has completely full of ornate rock formations
Mississippi – A southern General who never turns his back on the South.
Montana – Miles and miles of farm land.
Nebraska – One of my favorite life list events thus far. This is a photo of a rodeo championship
Nevada – A view of the stage of the Adult Entertainment Awards. :-p
New Hampshire – Sad and funny but true sign. Moose kill a lot of people in car wrecks every year.
New Jersey – Traffic on my way to New York City. (Sorry people of New Jersey, you kind of got screwed on my photo recap!)
New Mexico – Spar-pole climbing as a youth. I did end up working at the Phone company later in my life but not because of this ability :-)
New York – The Lady of Liberty herself!
North Carolina – View of a sunset from my car as I drove through the state.
North Dakota – My favorite photo of the series. North Dakota was the most pleasant surprise of all 50 states.
Ohio – Front row seats to see my sister’s former boss, Sugarland!
Oklahoma – Refueling Oklahoma-style on a roadtrip through the state.
Oregon – This photo is of a store that sells taxidermy in Portland. Portland is indeed this weird.
Pennsylvania – The skyline in remote Pennsylvania
Rhode Island – Brown University
South Carolina – The big goofy grin of my friend Eddie. We took an impromptu trip to South Carolina to avoid “Blue Laws”, laws that force bars to close early. Our plan ended up back firing but we still had a great time.
South Dakota – Mt. Rushmore.
Tennessee – Elvis’s monkey! I took this in the living room of Elvis’s home, Graceland.
Texas – One of the best breakfast’s I have ever had! If you find yourself in Piano, Texas be sure to go to Poor Richard’s cafe!
Utah – Red and Rich Mountains outside of Salt Lake City
Vermont – The headquarters of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. OMG!
Virginia – The US Patent Office
Washington – Home :-) Crescent Lake in Western Washington.
West Virginia – A long winding road.
Wisconsin – Vermont may prove itself with ice cream but Wisconsin leads the way with frozen yogurt!
Wyoming – The last state in my recap and my least favorite of trip. Sorry Wyoming, I have driven your entire length twice and haven’t enjoyed it either time!
Two Things I Learned About America
I am a huge fan of road trips. They have always been an important part of my American identity and it has been sad for me to see them start to fade in my country’s culture. While they were an extremely important and prevalent part of American culture when gas prices were nominal (Route 66, Highway 1, Ben and Jerry’s original launch, Ken Kesey), they are now becoming less financially feasible for the young people that literally drove them to become the American staple that they once were.
In the past six months, I have spent an incredible amount of my time driving around the United States. Last month, this part of my life journey came to an end after I reaching Mississippi, my 50th state. I was happy and proud to do this in the company of my brother and dad.
I consider the time I spent driving around the country to be a key part of my education (you could call this street smarts). My first few road trips were certainly the precursor to the international traveling that I do now.
Above all, I learned two things about the United States.
First, the United States is enormous and diverse. It has deserts, ice fields, giant mountain ranges, great (one might even say grand) canyons, seemingly infinite farmland, immense cities and a lot of pride. (And that is just California) In this way, America is more similar to Europe than I grew up knowing. In terms of landscape, I think it is as diverse as Europe. It has all of the physical land features that I mentioned above and more. In terms of culture, it doesn’t have nearly the history that European countries do but it varies a lot more than I initially gave it credit for. Compare the Bayous of Louisiana to the inhabitants of Malibu or the boisterous Texans to the people of North Dakota. I learned there are far more many definitions of American than I initially knew.
Secondly, the United States physical location on the planet is as close to ideal as economically and politically possible. I think this advantage is lost on many Americans. The US has a relatively short history (about 200 years) but the country has made many additions to mankind. It is by no means perfect (or even half way there) but aided by the world’s longest unprotected border, the country’s distance from enemy states and plentiful natural resources, it has become the leader in many important industries and areas of culture. When you don’t have to spend your time waring with your neighbors or wondering where you will get resources, it makes it far easier to make progress in other areas. We, American’s, were the great benefactors of explorers who came far before us.
Am I not doing a State justice? Let me know in the comments below!
P.S. To preempt a few comments, I realized early that if I stood in one state and took a photo of the front of another state sign that it didn’t actually count as taking a photo in that State. :-p As such, I ended up taking photos from behind the state signs too. :-) These photos obviously are not very interesting but did fulfill the requirement! Also, I know the main photo of post doesn’t include Hawaii, Alaska or Wisconsin. I got those covered too! Don’t worry. Cheers!