Ryan’s US Travel Guide: Part 3 of 3

21. New Mexico
First and Only Visit:
March 2003
My one and only hour (maybe two) in New Mexico were dark. Brandon took over the driving outside El Paso on our voyage to Tucson and all I could see were the silhouettes of Saguaro cacti along I-10 through southern New Mexico. We had been on the road for almost 40 hours at this point and Brandon was dead-set on getting to Tucson as soon as humanly possible. I believe we finally crossed into Arizona around 1am.
Must-See Attractions: Cacti.
What to Avoid: Driving in the dark.

No images were taken in New Mexico.

22. Nevada
First Visit:
March 2003
Most Recent Visit: January 2010
I now know Las Vegas pretty dang well. I have been there in five separate times since 2003. I think I’ve eaten at a dozen buffets, lost and won hundreds of dollars at dozens of casinos, and walked dozens of miles up and down the Strip. I’ve seen some crazy stuff go down in Vegas involving friends and co-workers, but nothing will ever compare to that first night of our spring break trip in ’04 when the gang got separated in the middle of the night. Patrick wound up back at the hotel, Jason was busy winning big at the tables, Travis was making a new friend, and Liz and I were prank calling old Valleyfair co-workers while eating at Denny’s. The best part of the story is one that must be saved for another day.
Must-See Attraction: The Strip.
What to Avoid: The homeless people begging for change. It got me into trouble!

NEVADA: Lauren and I splurging at the Eiffel Tower restaurant in Las Vegas
NEVADA: Lauren and I splurging at the Eiffel Tower restaurant in Las Vegas

23. Utah
First Visit:
March 2003
Most Recent Visit: March 2004
You must be getting sick of hearing about these two major trips out west. But Utah has been the site of a couple stops while traveling. In ’03 Brandon and I spent a night with old classmate Marianne at the U of Utah. In ’04, our spring break crew had a memorable night in Moab, first exploring a cave on the side of the road in the dark, and later at the Moab hotel. We also stopped in the tiny town of Mexican Hat and mingled with the lone man in town. Jason took all his outgoing mail with him on the trip and mailed it from St. George, UT so people would be confused why mail being sent from one place to another within Omaha went through St. George.
Must-See Attraction: Rock formations near Moab.
What to Avoid: The general store in Mexican Hat.

UTAH: Jason goes mountain climbing at night.
UTAH: Jason goes mountain climbing at night.

24. New York
First Visit:
March 2005
Most Recent Visit: August 2010
Hooray, we’re through with those few big road trips from the western states! I have been to the state of New York on several occasions in the last few years, but surprisingly Buffalo is the city most visited. Lauren and I flew into Buffalo two separate times last year for weddings because it’s too expensive to fly into Toronto. Some highlights of the Buffalo area include Niagara Falls—the falls itself and the surrounding touristy attractions—wineries, and the Anchor Bar, home of the world’s first Buffalo wing. In 2007, Walsh, Nick, and I vacationed in New York City for the final Twins series at the old Yankee Stadium. We took in most of the big touristy stuff, like NBC Studios, Wall Street, Central Park, and of course the Detour Bar night after night.
Must-See Attraction: Exploring the random restaurants and bars of NYC.
What to Avoid: The American side of Niagara Falls.

NEW YORK: Visiting NBC at 30 Rockefeller Plaza
NEW YORK: Visiting NBC at 30 Rockefeller Plaza

25. Pennsylvania
First Visit:
March 2005
Most Recent Visit: July 2007
Here’s another pass-through state, like New Mexico. I’ve spent mere hours in Pennsylvania. On spring break ’05, we passed through that small tip of the state that runs along Lake Erie, and in ’07 Nick and I rode a train through Philadelphia en route to Washington. I guess I’ve never technically stepped foot in the state, but riding through via car or train still counts!
Must-See Attraction: The entertaining Amtrak ticket-taker.
What to Avoid: I truly can’t come up with anything.

No images taken in Pennsylvania.

26. New Jersey
First Visit:
July 2007
Most Recent Visit: A few days later.
Walsh, Nick, and I flew into Newark to save a few bucks on our trip to NYC in 2007, and actually spent our first night at a hotel in Newark. Our only major experience here was the hotel itself. After the first segment of the trip, Nick and I took a train down to DC and passed back through New Jersey. I just remember seeing some swampy grasslands and an occasional run-down town. Despite it looking pretty nice on The Sopranos and getting a lot of attention from Bon Jovi, I don’t have much flattering to say about the state.
Must-See Attraction: Newark Airport
What to Avoid: Scenery.

NEW JERSEY: Riding the airport monorail to our luggage in Newark.
NEW JERSEY: Riding the airport monorail to our luggage in Newark.

27. Delaware
First and Only Visit:
July 2007
I really shouldn’t even be writing about Delaware. Nick and I zipped through there on a train and stopped to pick up passengers in Wilmington. That’s the full extent of my Delaware experience.
Must-See Attraction: Umm… I’ll go back to that jolly Amtrak employee.
What to Avoid: I got nothing.

No images taken in Delaware.

28. Maryland
First Visit:
July 2007
Most Recent Visit: A few days later.
You might think this is going to be another “we passed through on a train” state, and it is… but Nick and I also were forced to spend a night in Silver Spring, MD after our flight home from DC was cancelled. They put us up in a pretty decent hotel, but we had now been on the road for ten days and just wanted to go home.
Must-See Attraction: Hilton hotel.
What to Avoid: Characters from The Wire.

MARYLAND: Waiting for the airport shuttle after being told the flight would be delayed till morning.
MARYLAND: Waiting for the airport shuttle after being told the flight would be delayed till morning.

29. District of Columbia
First and Only Visit:
July 2007
Nick and I spent a day in Washington, DC with my aunt and uncle who work at the Pentagon. They picked us up at the train station and we spent the day sightseeing through terribly humid weather. We checked out a Smithsonian museum, saw the US capitol, were treated to a fancy dinner, and took in a Nationals/Cubs game at RFK. The thing I remember most about that day was just being soaked with sweat. It was so hot out and I was in pretty poor physical shape at the time.  I was just a mess.
Must-See Attraction: Capitol.
What to Avoid: Visiting in July.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Visiting the US Capitol
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Visiting the US Capitol

30. Virginia
First and Only Visit:
July 2007
Uncle Brian and Aunt MaryAnn took us in for a few days, first at their home in Fredericksburg and then their cabin deep in the woods. Nick and I got to their cabin and were just pooped out from our NYC sightseeing and walking so much every day. We didn’t really do much at the cabin; in fact, we ended up helping Brian build his fireplace. Bet Nick didn’t expect that on vacation! Virginia provided us with some excellent mountainous and forested landscape, surprisingly. I don’t really think of Virginia as that type of state.
Must-See Attraction: Brian’s hot tub.
What to Avoid: I don’t know, Virginia was a pretty pleasant place to visit.

VIRGINIA: Nick gets suckered into building a fireplace while on vacation.
VIRGINIA: Nick gets suckered into building a fireplace while on vacation.

30. Connecticut
31. Rhode Island
First and Only Visit: 
May 2011
Lauren and I rode through these states on a train from New York to Boston, stopping in New Haven and Providence, I think. These are some of the “gray area” states where I’ll put up an asterisk to say that I technically have been there, but it’s debatable if you want to get into the specifics of whether or not I’ve truly spent any time there. 

32. Massachusetts
First and Only Visit: 
May 2011
Unlike the previous two states, I really did spend quite a bit of time in Massachusetts. We visited Boston for a few days and really loved the city. We saw a Red Sox game, did the whole Freedom Trail, drank at both Cheers bars, and were chased in a park by hungry animals.
Must-See Attraction: Cheers, Fenway Park.
What to Avoid: Legal Seafoods… there are better places to eat.

33. North Carolina*
First Visit: 
August 2011
When looking for one-way flights from Austin to Minneapolis to meet Lauren to move her south with me, I chose the one that went through the state I hadn’t visited, North Carolina. The plane landed in Charlotte and I connected and flew the rest of the way to Minnesota. No, I did not leave the airport. But if you had asked me at that specific moment which state I was in, I would have answered North Carolina. So in my mind I have technically been there, and I am counting it. 

34. Arkansas
First and Only Visit: 
August 2011
We passed through Arkansas while moving Lauren down from Minneapolis to Austin, and stopped for lunch in Fayetteville at a Chick Fil-A. It was 111 degrees that day, and we never were able to get the AC working again after that stop. In fact, the only reason we even went through Arkansas was, again, so I could say I had been there, which I previously had not.
Must-See Attraction: The far northwestern part of the state had some great scenery.
What to Avoid: Wal-Mart

35. Washington
First and Only Visit: May 2016
Family trip over Johnny’s spring break with Dick and Marcie Glanzer! Took in a Mariners game and a lot of local restaurants and pubs.

36. Florida
First and Only Visit: March 2017
Boys spring training/fantasy baseball draft trip to Fort Myers!

37. Georgia
First and Only Visit: July 2017
The Atlanta airport counts for this list.

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