It was a year ago today. The day started early at O’Hare airport, in Chicago. A few hours later, I was in a car heading for Utah. When we passed this sign it became the forty-seventh state I had set foot in. Three to go…Nebraska, North Dakota and Alaska.
The hunt to get to all fifty states had become serious a few years earlier. It was something I had thought about for many years, but real life seemed to get in the way. Lately, I’ve had quite a bit more free time, so I figured why not make it a bucket list item?
The states seemed to get check marked in bunches. I hit both Carolinas in one day. The following year I knocked off Oregon and Washington a month apart. In 2019, it was Arkansas while on a trip to Memphis, followed by a summer trip to the somewhat wild, wild west. South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho…check, check, check, check!
2020 was going to be the year of the final four. It started with the trip to Utah. In April and May, there was going to be day trips to Nebraska and North Dakota. I had no idea what to do in either state except visit the Roger Maris museum, in Fargo, but I was going. The finale would be a week-long cruise to Alaska. It was going to be a great way to complete the bucket list.
But, we know what happened next. Coronavirus. Pandemic.
I should have realized it was going to happen. All the signs were there. People were freaking out over the virus well before the world shut down. A few weeks earlier, I walked into a grocery store with another person. When I coughed, he took a few steps back and stared me down. A sign? When I returned home from Utah, there were fifteen people on my flight. Every passenger had their own row. A sign?
All those signs became a reality a few days after I returned. When a member of the Utah (irony?) Jazz tested positive for the virus and the league halted its operations, that was way more than just a sign. A few days later every sports league followed. Businesses and schools were next. The entire country was under lockdown.
Going to Nebraska was out. North Dakota, too. A cruise to Alaska? Yeah, right.
Obviously not being able to go to those three states is a small issue compared to what’s happened in the world over the last three-hundred and sixty-five days.
It looks like we’re starting to head back to normal. It may be a new kind of normal, but we’ll be doing most of what we did before the virus hit the United States. I’m sure people will start to travel again, too. But what will that travel look like? Do you see yourself getting on a cruise ship again? I don’t, at least not immediately or anytime soon. It could be five years before I feel comfortable getting on a boat with a thousand or more people again. I know I can get to Alaska another way. Planes go there every single day, but the cruise looked like the best way to see the entire state, not to mention the most fun. And if I’m not going to go to Alaska, why bother with Nebraska or North Dakota. I know, that Roger Maris museum did sound like fun, but I was more of a Mickey Mantle guy…no offense Rog.
So as of this point, it’s not looking good for the fifty states. Maybe as we move further away from this horrific pandemic, I can reevaluate. Who knows maybe the Maris museum will be back in play…maybe. Until then, I should just be happy to have survived the pandemic. I should just be happy to have avoided the virus and am healthy. I should just be happy I have a new grandchild and I’m able to see him grow.
And, I am.
Related Post: The search for all fifty states
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