Travelling The 50 States – Florida

Over my 47 years, I’ve done my fair share of travelling across these United States.  I thought it would be an interesting experiment go look back at those trips to each of the 31 states I have visited (62% isn’t bad, is it?) and see if, and when, I may be returning.  Working in alphabetical order, we start today with the 27th state to be added to the Union: Florida.

State: Florida
Joined the Union: 1845
Visits: 10 (at least)

At some point in the mid-1980s, my grandparents bought a condo in Clearwater, Florida, which has helped make the Sunshine State one of my most visited states.  I’m fairly certain my first trip there would have been in the summer of 1988 and my most recent was last year, with a number of visits in-between.

From what I can recall, my first trip to Florida came the summer of 1988, following my eighth-grade graduation.  I’m pretty sure a collection of seven family members got in the car the day after Mike Tyson’s 91 second knockout of Michael Spinks for the two-day drive to Clearwater.  I’m not clear on exactly how long we were there, but I know there was a one-day excursion to Disney World.  Aside from that, we saw all of the tourist attractions that my grandparents thought were interesting.  Which means nothing that was really all that interesting.

We made another trip two summers later.  I don’t remember much of this trip, aside from the trip home where we came up through southern Illinois and listened to the White Sox somehow beating the Yankees 4-0 despite being no-hit by Andy Hawkins.

My sister and I made a return trip over Christmas break in 1991, our first time on an airplane.  Again, I don’t have many vivid memories of the events of this trip.

My fourth trip to Florida came during March of 1997.  I had an interview with GTE Data Services and turned it into a mini-vacation during spring break, staying with my grandparents.  The highlight of the trip, aside from nailing the interview and getting a solid job offer, was a trip to Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota to watch a spring training tilt between the White Sox and the Twins. Continue reading →

Travelling The 50 States – Connecticut

Over my 47 years, I’ve done my fair share of travelling across these United States.  I thought it would be an interesting experiment go look back at those trips to each of the 31 states I have visited (62% isn’t bad, is it?) and see if, and when, I may be returning.  Working in alphabetical order, we start today with the 5th state to be added to the Union: Connecticut.

State: Connecticut
Joined the Union: 1788
Visits: 1

My one visit to Connecticut took place in January of 2001, the weekend of the presidential inauguration, to attend a wedding.  To be honest, I don’t really remember much about the trip.

Will I return?  Maybe, someday.  There’s no compelling reason for me to do so at this point, but with Angelina looking to make a permanent home in New England, anything is possible.

FB8 – Week 18

Yet another pretty good week, as a weekend trip to Boston helped keep me over 35,000 steps for a third straight week.  Things got off to a pretty good start on Sunday, thanks to Angelina’s graduation, which put me a single step over 7000.  Monday saw a trip to the airport for the trip home, dropping me down to 6700 steps.  Tuesday saw a pretty significant drop as I returned to my normal routine, falling down to 4000 steps.  Wednesday was just about ever, once again finishing with 4000 steps.  Thursday saw a slight increase, rising up to 4200 steps.  Friday fell back down again, ending with 3800 steps.  The return of crosstown hijinks to the south side on Saturday put me over goal, 13 steps away from 7700, and giving me five weeks in a row with at least one day over goal.

Total steps: 37,607

Daily average: 5372.4

Remember When There Was A 10,000 Step Club?

Things were a lot different two years ago, as I was finishing up my fifth year using a Fitbit.  I had just added 45 new 10,000 step days, my 3rd best year to date, and, with upcoming trips to Boston and California already on the docket, things were looking good to add a good number more and add some new tales to this list of my top 25 step days.  Then, the corona virus happened, and the world basically shut down for the next two years.  I’ve worked from home since March of 2020, which gives me a lot more free time, but also significantly cut down on my natural daily step totals.  All told, I managed only 5 10,000 step days for the just completed seventh year of Fitbit usage, which, granted, is better than last year and gives me a total of 270 since I started keeping track back in 2011.  With that in mind, here’s the list of my top 25 step days, which has stayed static for two years now.

1: 4/14/2018 – 27,470 steps

My best single day total is from my April 2017 trip to New York to see Angelina.  The day’s excursions included trips to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, the Museum of the City of New York, Central Park, the Guggenheim museum, and the Empire State Building.

2: 7/21/2018 – 27,278 steps

My July 2017 trip to Virginia, to hike up Catawba Mountain to McAfee Knob with Jeff and Val, fell just short of the top spot.

3: 6/6/2013 – 24,988 steps

2013’s trip to Disney World, which spent 5 years as my single day best, included excursions to both Epcot Center and the Magic Kingdom, and yes, falling 12 steps short of 25,000 still irks me.

4: 6/3/2019 – 24,665 steps

The first full day of 2019’s summer trip to Washington DC spent most of the day at the Smithsonian Zoo.

5: 8/8/2019 – 23,866 steps

Late in the summer of 2019, I spent two weeks in San Francisco for a work trip.   On my last full day, I went out after work, walking to Pier 39 and then back the other direction to Oracle Park to see the Giants take on the Phillies.  My totals would have been even higher, but I was dead tired and took an Uber back to the hotel after the game.

6: 3/18/2018 – 23,780 steps

My first day in Las Vegas for the 2017 IBM Think conference, the day’s totals include gallivanting around town, including a late night trip up to Caesar’s Palace from the MGM Grand to see Absinthe.

7: 10/24/2018 – 23,362 steps

My October 2018 trip to Boston to see Angelina for our birthday gives us our next entry.  While she was in class, I took tours of Fenway Park and Harvard, before meeting up with her for a late lunch and then heading to the airport for the trip home.

8: 3/22/2016 – 22,493 steps

My one-time second highest day took place during the ill-fated trip to Disney World in March of 2016.  The day’s excursion started at Hollywood Studios before heading over to Epcot Center with Jeff and Val.

9: 7/27/2013 – 20,592 steps

Still my highest total at home in the state of Illinois, the next entry comes thanks to the 2013 BTN 5K and a, for lack of a better word, misunderstanding about where I should be picked up after the race.

10: 12/29/2018 – 20,374 steps

We wrap up the top 10 with 2018’s trip to California and the trip to Disneyland to see Danny perform with the Lincoln-Way Marching Band.

11: 8/5/2017 – 20,218 steps

The next entry came in August of 2017 on the first day of my trip to Boston with Danny and Michael.  After landing in town, we traipsed to the Science Museum, a breakfast joint, our hotel, and, finally, Fenway Park.

12: 7/14/2017 – 20,208 steps

Down to #12 is my 2017 trip to Disney World, a one day journey with Angelina to celebrate her high school graduation. Continue reading →

2021: The Year In Travel

In normal times, this is where I would take a look back at all of the trips I took over the past year and look ahead to what, if any. travel plans I already have for 2022.  Unfortunately, 2021 continued to be far from normal times, as the global pandemic raged on for a second year, though things did manage to open back up slightly.

My first “trip” of the year, if you can call it that, was in March.  On a Friday afternoon, I drove down to Purdue to pick up Danny, before continuing on to Indianapolis so we could watch Purdue in the NCAA tournament.  They managed to completely crap the bed, which made the whole effort worthwhile.  After the game, we traveled back the way we came and I was home early the next morning.

In August, I made my only big trip of the year, driving down to Florida for some fun in the sun.  I had rented a condo on AirBNB that was right on the water, which, thanks to the spacious deck, let me enjoy the view while relaxing and reading.  I also managed to make my first two trips to Tropicana Field, as the White Sox were in town to battle the Rays.  Those experiences did not turn out quite as well.

On the drive home, I stopped in Atlanta and managed to take in a game at Truist Park to see the Yankees battle the Braves.  The following day I completed my journey, making it home in the midst of a torrential downpour, which made the last hour or so of driving so much fun.

The only other trips were back down to Purdue for football games, one in October and two in November.  We didn’t manage to make the second game in November, but it’s the drive that matters.

Looking ahead to 2022, despite the rise in COVID cases due to the omicron variant, I’m planning to return to Hawaii later this month and the family is headed to Boston in May for Angelina’s graduation.  Other than that, there are some baseball trips I want to take this year, but nothing is solid just yet.  Here’s hoping that the world returns to some sort of normalcy, though I’m not optimistic.

2022 Calendar

After a year of old pictures thanks to the corona virus murdering 2020, we are back in the game with next year’s calendar and, now that Christmas has come and gone, we can unveil the cover to this year’s calendar gift, given annually to my mom and sister, and made up of pictures I have taken throughout the year.  Lack of travel made getting pictures of Angelina difficult, but between last Christmas and this Thanksgiving, we were able to make it work.   As in year’s past. the calendar was produced by the good folks at Shutterfly and we will unveil each month’s photo(s) on the first day of the month throughout 2022.

This year’s cover features Angelina, Danny, and Michael masked up as we visited the primates from South America at Brookfield Zoo.

Yuletide Greetings

We wrap up the year with looks back to a four different trips to the Florida, the Sunshine State.  Starting clockwise from the top left, we have sign to orient us as being in Florida, Angelina, Danny, and Michael posing with Phineas and Ferb from our 2013 trip to Disney World to celebrate Angelina’s 8th grade graduation, Angelina in front of the castle in Magic Kingdom from our one day jaunt to Disney World to celebrate her high school graduation, Danny and Michael trying to get their wands to trigger actions in Diagon Alley at Universal from our 2016 trip to celebrate Danny’s 8th grade graduation, Danny trying to get in to Disney World after breaking the scanning machine in 2013, Angelina, Danny, and Michael posing with the conductor of Hogwart’s Express from our 2010 Thanksgiving trip to Universal, and, finally, with Angelina, Danny, and Michael drying off after a ride or two on Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls.