Fifty States Quest – The Country Is Waiting

It’s hard for me to keep up with all of the promises I made myself when I early retired from MegaCorp a few years ago. Just shy of fifty years old, I wanted to make sure if I wasn’t working at the office every day, I wouldn’t just be piddling my time away at home and driving my wife crazy.

One of the first things I had on my FIRE to-do list was to complete my quest to reach all 50 States. I originally wrote about my quest in this POST from three years ago, which seems like another lifetime ago. I was only a few States short of my goal at that time, but despite my best intentions, I made very little progress on this goal until just this weekend.

A grad school buddy and I took a long weekend for a charity road rally in South Dakota and extended it by one state: Wyoming – now my 49th State. We went to the 867 foot high Devils Tower National Monument and took the full hike around the base. You can see from the picture above (that I took just yesterday), that the weather was beautiful and we enjoyed cruising the winding roads on the trip up from the Black Hills as much as the visit itself.

(That leaves me with only Idaho left to visit and am open to anyone’s suggestion on where and what there is to visit there and close out my fifty States quest.)

The lesson I wanted to impart from my experience with this goal over the last couple years is that even though many people who are on a journey toward financial independence and retiring early worry about having enough things to do, I’ve found the opposite is true. Most people have too many things they want to do. I’ve been saying for years I was going to get to all fifty States and Idaho is still waiting for me!

In short, don’t put off early retirement any longer than you need to. Just like during your working life, you’ll find out that there aren’t enough days in the year to accomplish all of the things you might want to get to – travel and otherwise.

What travel goals have you set for yourself in early retirement? If you’ve reached FIRE, are you making as much progress as you expected you would?

Devils Tower Image Credit: MrFireStation.com (c); AmCharts.com Map

18 thoughts on “Fifty States Quest – The Country Is Waiting

  1. Couer d’Alene is the spot to go. It has a beautiful resort on Lake Couer d’Alene, fantastic golf course, hiking, biking and water sports. One of my favorite places. Nice summer temps.

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  2. Go, Mr. FireStation! The goal is in sight, and if I know you, your next travel goal is already locked and loaded. Decades ago I went Green River rafting through the Gates of Lodore in Idaho. Dinosaur National Monument is also near that area. Whatever you choose, make your finale one to remember! Bon Voyage.

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    • Rafting sounds great – we’ve never done a trip like that before. I will look Dinosaur National Monument up online, too.

      Yes, the next goal is 50 countries. I’m at 31 right now, although there are a couple areas we visited in the Middle East that the sovereignty is quite clear on yet! I’ve got some ideas for the other 19, but it’s a pretty big goal.

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  3. Eric

    I’ve been to many wonderful places. Coeur d’Alene, Idaho is one of my favorites. It’s beautiful. Much to do outdoors. Everything was reasonably priced. The weather was perfect, which likely contributed to my enjoyment of the area. I hope to return soon.

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  4. “Harper Yeats, the baby who embarked on a 4-month road trip across the country, may have just become the youngest member of the All 50 States Club. On Thursday, Harper, 5 months old, crossed the border of Vermont — making the Green Mountain State her 50th and final destination.” ABC News

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    • I saw that! I couldn’t get it done in 52 years yet. Neither Harper Yeats or I have a job – I guess that’s the only thing we have in common!

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  5. Hey, we saw Devil’s tower earlier this year as part of a 3050 mile road trip. We had no schedule, few reservations and often did not know the next day’s designation. We managed RMNP, Mt. Rushmore, the Badlands and other notable spots on our trip. Couldn’t have done it in my 9 to 5 days and it was a blast. We hiked some of the hardest stretches I’ve ever been on. Did you see rock climbers on the tower? There were several of them when we were there, apparently it is a very easy place to learn and quite popular.

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    • That sounds like a great trip! We’re in relatively close Minnesota, but our trip was still 1685 miles round trip. Just got back. We did see the climbers on Devils Tower – amazing. It really put into perspective how massive the column is. My buddy brought his binoculars just for that. Great trip!

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    • Ooh … Sun Valley. I’m embarrassed to say that I forgot that was even in Idaho! A buddy and I were planning a trip to ski Whitefish next February. Maybe we need to do Sun Valley instead. Good idea!

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