Ryan’s US Travel Guide: Part 2 of 3

11. Wisconsin
First Visit:
August 1997
Most Recent Visit: February 2011
The Glanzer/Bell family road trip made one final stop before returning home as we spent a night with family in Janesville, WI in 1997. I have returned to Sconny often over the years—several times for Twins/Brewers series, a few times passing through en route to Chicago or other eastward destinations, and even just hopping a mile over the border to visit relatives in St. Croix Falls. In the summer of 2010, Lauren, Walsh, Sarah, and I canoed down the St. Croix River, which is the border between Minnesota and Wisconsin. When you drift to the east side of the river, you’re in Wisconsin; when you’re towards the right, you’re in Minnesota. I had WAY too much fun with that stupid novelty. But Wisconsin is a lovely place to visit; in some ways it’s even better than Minnesota. I mean they don’t close liquor stores on Sundays!
Must-See Attraction: McGillicuddy’s Bar in Milwaukee after a Twins/Brewers game
What to Avoid: The men’s room at the Corner Bar in Friendship.

WISCONSIN: Tailgating before a Twins/Brewers game.
WISCONSIN: Tailgating before a Twins/Brewers game.

12. Nebraska
First Visit:
April 2000?
Most Recent Visit: February 2006?
Shockingly, I have very limited knowledge as to my first and last visits to Nebraska. It is very tricky because as many times as I’ve taken I-29 south from South Dakota on down towards Kansas City, it runs right along the Nebraska/Iowa border but never actually goes into Nebraska. In high school we went to the Student Extravaganza in Kearney in 2000, and I have gone to Nebraska so many times to visit Liz at college and Jason’s family. And I have at least twice driven through that horrible barren western half of the state on I-80 where no radio stations tune in. The only reason I know I haven’t visited Nebraska more recently than 2006 is last summer when Lauren and I visited Jordan’s family in Vermillion, we considered driving another mile south so Lauren could say she had been to Nebraska for the first time, but we opted against it.
Must-See Attraction: Lisa’s Radial Cafe in Omaha
What to Avoid: Western half of the state.

NEBRASKA: Chris at a popular Omaha thrift shop.
NEBRASKA: Chris at a popular Omaha thrift shop.

13. Wyoming
First Visit:
August 2000
Most Recent Visit: March 2003
Wyoming is another state that has bridged the gap between Point A and Point B, but has never been the final destination. The Glanzers and Bells set off for a family reunion in Colorado in 2000, and spent a night in Cheyenne along the way. My only other visit there was on the way home from spring break 2003 when Brandon and I drove the length of the state after leaving Salt Lake City that morning. So really I’ve only spent portions of three days in Wyoming. I have very few stories to tell.
Must-See Attraction: Rocky Mountains
What to Avoid: Cheyenne Burger King

14. Colorado
First Visit:
August 2000
Most Recent Visit: March 2004
The family trip to Steamboat Springs for a family reunion in 2000 marked my first trip to Colorado. With friends Brandon and Kathy along, we tubed down the shallow Yuma River one day and went hiking in the Rockies another day. The craziest night in Colorado definitely took place on spring break in 2004 en route to Las Vegas, when the gang stopped at a Red Roof Inn near the Denver airport for the night. We went to a nearby bar and things got out of hand very quickly. We ended up inviting a dozen bar patrons up to our room for the after-party that night. The following day we walked the streets of Denver and ate at ESPN Zone. We also saw former Nuggets head coach Don Issel in a gas station.
Must-See Attraction: Downtown Denver.
What to Avoid: Tourist traps in Steamboat Springs.

COLORADO: Two rad dudes checking out the Rocky Mountains.
COLORADO: Two rad dudes checking out the Rocky Mountains.

15. Arizona
First Visit:
June 2000
Most Recent Visit: March 2004
Arizona is one of my favorite states to visit, if not #1 overall. I surprisingly spent quite a bit of time in Arizona in the early 2000s. In 2000, I went on a small school trip to Flagstaff for some sort of rural youth gathering at the campus of Northern Arizona. In 2003, Brandon and I road-tripped to Tucson for spring break and stayed with some friends from that Flagstaff trip. (Brandon eventually moved there permanently.) In 2004 the gang stopped at the Grand Canyon on the Las Vegas spring break trip. Some of the best Arizona moments include eating at the T.G.I.Friday’s in the outfield at Chase Field, seeing Diamondbacks and White Sox spring training games in Tucson, visiting the BioDome, the giant Navajo burger in Keyanta, Saguaro National Park, and watching a friend do a cartwheel over the Utah/Arizona border hand-first into a small cactus.
Must-See Attraction: Spring training.
What to Avoid: Cacti on the border.

ARIZONA: Visiting the Grand Canyon on the way to Vegas in 2004.
ARIZONA: Visiting the Grand Canyon on the way to Vegas in 2004.

16. California
First Visit:
April 2001
Most Recent Visit: January 2009
In 2001, some other students and I managed to somehow get a $10,000 grant to travel to San Francisco for the Kids Who Know and Do Conference and Expo. Brandon, Guy, and I gave our Stretch & Shades Technology lecture to one person, an Asian woman who wanted to know how to use the Print Screen key. Seriously, $10,000 was given to us for that. But we sure weren’t complaining, taking in all the sights of the city. I was back in San Fran again in 2007 for the Macworld trade show, and again in 2009. Brandon and I also drove over 100 miles out of the way on our road trip home from Tucson in 2003 to graze the eastern tip of California and the city of Needles just to say we were there.
Must-See Attraction: Silver Cloud karaoke bar in San Francisco.
What to Avoid: Moscone Center food court.

CALIFORNIA: Visiting the world's crookedest street, Lombard Ave., in San Francisco in 2001.
CALIFORNIA: Visiting the world's crookedest street, Lombard Ave., in San Francisco in 2001.

17. Michigan
First Visit:
July 2001
Most Recent Visit: March 2005
The summer after high school graduation, Brandon, Guy, and I hit the road to Mattawan, Michigan to visit good friend Jesse Van Heukelom and family. While in Michigan, we went to the beach at Lake Michigan and a blues festival in Kalamazoo. On spring break 2005, the gang and I visited Liz in Detroit where she was living for a year. We frequented some sleazy bars, Fuddrucker’s, and for nightlife entertainment we went into Windsor, Canada. A historical highlight of our Detroit visit was when a few of the guys got out and peed on the old Tiger Stadium, which was still standing at the time.
Must-See Attraction: What’s left of Tiger Stadium; Detroit Fuddrucker’s.
What to Avoid: Paved streets in Detroit.

MICHIGAN: The gang exploring barren downtown Detroit in 2005.
MICHIGAN: The gang exploring barren downtown Detroit in 2005.

18. Ohio
First Visit:
July 2003
Most Recent Visit: March 2005
In the summer of 2003, Valleyfair co-workers Springer, Gwost, Libby, and I planned a summer trip to fellow Cedar Fair, LLC amusement park Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, the roller coaster capital of the world! It was doomed from the get-go in Springer’s AstroVan, as he cut a driver off while we were still in the Twin Cities and nearly hit someone. In Rockford, IL, the van crapped out on the side of the road and we waited for hours before getting a rental car and driving overnight to Ohio. I threw up in the backseat of the rental car after eating a whole pound of Hot Tamales. But we made it successfully and went on a ton of awesome rides. That Millennium Force roller coaster was worth the drive. It was on this trip that Springer and Libby first got together, and now they’re married with babies!
Must-See Attraction: Cedar Point
What to Avoid: The rest of Sandusky which smells like sulfur.

OHIO: Springer, Libby, Gwost, and I reach Cedar Point
OHIO: Springer, Libby, Gwost, and I reach Cedar Point

19. Oklahoma
First and Only Visit:
March 2003
When Brandon and I set out for Tucson on spring break ’03, it was Brandon’s original intent to drive directly to Tucson without stopping. But at 2am the first night, we hit Ardmore, Oklahoma and decided it was best to get some sleep and let the car rest for a while. We woke up the next morning, ate breakfast, and bid adieu to Oklahoma once and for all.
Must-See Attraction: Days Inn in Ardmore
What to Avoid: Free breakfast at hotel

20. Texas
First and Only Visit:
March 2003
Naturally, the next state after Oklahoma on this same trip with Brandon was Texas. We wouldn’t have even visited either of these states if not for my idea to specifically go out of the way to drive through them because I had never been there. We hit Dallas in the morning and branched southwest through Abilene, Odessa, and eventually El Paso by night. We didn’t envision the state of Texas taking us nearly 24 hours, but as you know Texas is a huge state. And the drive through central Texas was painfully boring, right up there with western Nebraska in terms of entertainment. We stopped a couple times for gas and to move around, otherwise just kept on plugging along until we crossed the border into New Mexico, but that’s a story for next time.
Must-See Attraction: The oil rigs along the side of the road.
What to Avoid: El Paso McDonald’s.

TEXAS: Stretching at a scenic stop along I-20
TEXAS: Stretching at a scenic stop along I-20

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