Sunday, December 06, 2015

50 State/s of Mind.

recently, i set foot in my 50th state.

in honor of what may be my last travel "accomplishment" for awhile (more on that later*),  i figured i’d recount recollections from each, along with the year i first made it official.

here’s some musical inspiration to play while we travel state by state...

Alabama (1979)
Appropriate that this is first alphabetically and chronologically, as it’s where was born and raised. my earliest memory being a Star Wars themed birthday party with a backyard swingset. Aladdin’s Castle and Halcyon dreams indeed. Roll Tide roll. 

Alaska (2011)
Got married to my favorite person on a boat by a Greek captain with an accent, surrounded by our closest family and friends. Later got stuck on a glacier. No penguins.

Arizona (2011)
First stop on the southwest road trip between jobs. Stopped by my boy Frank Lloyd Wright’s crib @ Taliesin West. Spent a day and night at Soleri’s concept down Arcosanti. What a trip.

Arkansas (2010)
Jesus of the Ozarks can’t compete with 2 brothers from another mother. Oh yea, and Bill Clinton’s Presidential Library looks like a giant trailer. Coincidence? 

California (1985)
Too many bitter and sweet family memories, memorials, and ashes spread at sea. From Redondo Beach to Irvine. Throw in some stand-up comics and grown-up fun in SF + the Silicon Valley, and you’ve got my ultimate state of mixed feelings. I guess that’s just the California state of mind. At least until the big one hits.

Colorado (2010)
Sand dunes, turtles, and junk food. From diners in Alamosa, to lazing on Beth’s Denver couch. Ran out of daylight in the Rocky Mountains, and realized I’m not hipster enough to live in Boulder. Nice fish tacos though.

Connecticut (1985)
A very Yale Christmas with Uncle Joe. Now just a stones’ throw away from my current place, traffic on 95 is a monster, so good luck actually getting there. Greenwich is a rich man’s Tarrytown, despite there being no more bar car on the commuter train. The pizza in Mystic is overrated, but they’ve got old boats! 

Delaware (2012)
Sleepy beaches and crabs cages in the back yard. Wild horses on the beach. Rest stops and bridges. Close your eyes for too long and you’ll have already passed through.

Florida (1989)
America’s crazy state. Orlando’s a weird town, nevermind the giant mouse who doesn’t wear pants. The panhandle feels more like South Alabama though. Now home to in-laws, nephews and nieces, I’m sure to be there every other Christmas.

Georgia (1984)
I’m pretty sure this was the second state i ever visited, and it will always belong to Touchi Uncle, shanti sarva. Far too many good shows and mind-bending ex-girlfriend encounters. But somehow all my cool college friends wound up there. I’ll always have a reason to be back. 

Hawaii (2007)
Frequent flyer miles, earthquakes, nauseous catamarans and Lieutenant Commander Will rescuing us for Mexican food on the north share FTW. Though smoke-on-the-water does not have the same cool-factor as watching liquid hot magma

Idaho (2015)
No, you da ho! Trout Hunter brunch, and the patch to prove it. Wooden postcard arguments at the local post office. 

Illinois (1996)
Chicago is a poor-man’s NYC, unless “clean streets” and “no rats on the subway” is your sort of thing. Great place to visit, but not for me. there was that one time at Model UN. but the Mexican food in Urbana is delightful. Thanks Dr. Nair!

Indiana (2005)
i learned how to ski at the small artificial snow hill that is Perfect North

Iowa (2010)
what do you do when a blizzard keeps you from making it to Des Moines? Hit the local (Stoner) drug store in Hamburg for a milkshake. ski jacket and giant black brother-in-law are optional. but the local kids will have lots of questions.

Kansas (2010)
I'm gone to Wichita, far from this opera for evermore, but despite their delicious hamburgers “Carry-on My Wayward Son” really should be the state song. Otherwise Abilene is a pretty neat town. And the Then there was that one time my sister moved there and had my niece. 

Kentucky (2002)
CVG stands for Covington, not Cincinnati VG, a fine place to get a step stool. Many movies and Smoothie Kings with friends. Tons of great shows at the Southgate House. 

Louisiana (1995)
Many, many, many non-boozy trips to New Orleans for art museums, rock shows, pretty girls, and beignets.

Maine (2009)
Lobster. check.

Maryland (1991)
Uncle Joe taught me how to use chopsticks in Silver Spring. Carmen Auntie bought me far too many comic books. I toured my grandparents through the Smithsonians. I walked into a tricky female situation at a basement bar, and then then there was that one time i escaped family Christmas drama by purposefully getting stuck in BWI and watching Once at some girls house. 

Massachusetts (2001)
the Singh brothers. the Freedom Trail. the Paramount Diner. Bittersweet apartments. Bunnies. Cracker Barrel before the Mass Pike. Paging Dr. Nair-Nako. 

Michigan (2004)
First date with my future wife. We even got a hotel room - now why did her 2 older brother’s have to ruin my plans of romance in the same city as my dad’s first job? Selling the startup dream to cereal companies by driving blizzards between Detroit and Kalamazoo (and losing my wedding ring). But crashing a Michigan homecoming was pretty awesome (Go Blue!)

Minnesota (2015)
Mexican food just outside the airport made this one #49. The Mall of America, some boards games, drinking, an Ikea and a waterfall. Good enough. 

Mississippi (1995)
Biloxi was my first venture, but then there was that one girl from Clinton (and all her other friends). Thanks for the memories Bubba.

Missouri (2003)
Then there was that one time i flew in to meet up with that girl from the internet, and she was not what she seemed. We went to see Bad Boys 2, i went up the Arch, and escaped quickly (thanks for the cat-scuse Dale)

Montana (2015)
Yellowstone extends into Montana, and so do cheap hotels across the street from an Alabama bar. Just watch out for the Elk. 

Nebraska (2010)
I did not drive across it (per many weary traveller’s advice), but i did enjoy a fine steak in Omaha at Warren Buffet’s favorite diner

Nevada (1987)
How many indians can you fit in a rent-a-wreck van (Bob Stupak’s Vegas World baby!). And numerous boozy work excursions. The Hoover Dam and Cirque de Soleil was pretty neat. And CES? interesting, but not worth the hoopla.

New Hampshire (2010)
My boy FLW's Zimmerman House. Stonyfield Farms Londonderry HQ. Check and check.

New Jersey (2009)
EWR en route to England as a kid doesn’t count. But being stuck on the Garden State and/or Palisades totally does. Plus Kinchley’s pizza tavern in Mahwah is the ba-bomb.

New Mexico (2010)
Counting gunshot holes on signs on Zuni reservation is a great way to pass the afternoon before a Ladykillers (retired boomer bluegrass band) show at the local food co-op. Green chile salsa verde? Delicious. Hiking the back-country of the red mesa and seeing a bear in the wild? Terrifying. 

New York (1985)
My favorite state to move to. My favorite city to work in. My favorite village to live in. Strawberry Place forever, Dinosaur Barbecue mac & cheese, and Ithaca is gorgeous. Check out my exhibits at the Warner library. I’m forever ruined on bagels and pizza, but i'm pretty sure my daughter will be born here soon*

North Carolina (1989)
Once just a rest stop, now a solid in-laws Thanksgiving option that includes chicken biscuits, jerk chicken and Med-deli. Just please quit feeding the raccoon in your back yard!

North Dakota (2015)
Most people’s (including my) 50th state. They even gave me a t-shirt. Drinking, board games, and startups in Fargo with childhood friends The perfect finish. 

Ohio (2002)
Where big kids go to become grown ups. Queen City (comics), corporations, and condos. Becoming buds with my sister, weird dating experiences, video game pre-gaming, racking up the rock shows, and now building startups. And there’s even a giant basket building just past the wildlife preserve in Zanesville. 

Oklahoma (2010)
Where the hills come rising down the plain, where you also get a ticket doing 108 (though i was only clocked at 92!). Nicest State Trooper i've ever met, all things considered (which had i been listening to i might not have been speeding). Ridiculous Christmas lights and right-wing tour guides.

Oregon (2006)
I got some voodoo…doughnuts the first time, and shopped far too many times at the Company Store after a more than a few job interviews and startup pitches.

Pennsylvania (2004)
Then there was that one time the funny indian and i drove to Pittsburgh to shop at Ikea and fly back just to get Gold Medallion status. Also my first Jewish wedding and visit to the bridge of the USS Enterprise-E. 

Rhode Island (2010)
Where my Brown girls at? Literally.

South Carolina (1987)
Mmmmm. Chicken. 

South Dakota (2015)
the Badlands are so much cooler than Mt. Rushmore. It’s not even close.

Tennessee (1999)
Elliott Smith, XO Forever. The mean lady at my first Thai restaurant who poured more ice than water to question my south asian spiciness credentials. And being my Farmer friend’s alibi after he got arrested. 

Texas (2001)
For awhile i could legitimately say all my ex’s live in Texas. Now it’s just one (as well as a few others that came close). But breakfast tacos and indian weddings FTW. Pretty high up on my list of states i love to visit but would never want to live. Sorry ladies. But breakfast tacos (sigh)?

Utah (2004)
Nothing like drinking at high altitudes, and then riding down off-season ski trails on mountain bikes. It’s a wonder i’m still alive. 

Vermont (2010)
Skiing. Dinner barns with Nirvana playing in the attic. Cabot Cheese and Magic Hat. What more could you want? 

Virginia (1985)
It really is the south up there. Nuts. 

Washington (1992)
Then there was that one time i locked my parents keys in the rental car and they heard me curse for the first time. Later on (when much older) i got to see some Battlestar Galactica spaceships before taking my family on a boat to watch me get married.

West Virginia (2009)
Bridges and lunch breaks en route to NY. 

Wisconsin (1999)
Madison is a great college town to party with friends (when you’re in college). And they’ve got burritos the size of your head. Now that we’re grown up we simply shop farmer’s markets, play board games and nurse beers, and that’s alright by me. 

Wyoming (2015)
Yellowstone is amazing. And then there’s that world-ending volcano underneath it. We got charged by a moose and stuck in herd of Bison. Tatonka!


so how many states you visited? airport layovers and simple drive-thrus don't count!
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