24 June 2012

All 50 states - finally

After several years of traveling around the US, on both business and family vacations, I finally made it to all 50 states. The last one was Oregon, around 2pm this afternoon. This is a picture of the welcome center in Umatilla, Oregon. I stayed in the state for about 20 minutes, about the same amount of time I spent in Idaho a couple of years ago.

I don't remember the order I went to all the others, but the last five took a while to round up and were in this order: North Dakota 2006, South Dakota 2007, Wyoming and Idaho 2009, Oregon June 24 2012.

Nice to be done with it. I was hoping for a scenic drive, but Spokane Washington to Umatilla, OR  is more like the West than the Pacific Northwest. Hills, prairie, tumbleweeds. Beautiful in its own way I suppose.

By the time I got out of HS, I had been to TN, IL, WI, IN, KY, GA, NC, VA, AL, MS, FL, LA, TX, NY.

College travels only added a few more: MO, AR, KS, IA, SC.

The 80's and early family vacations added OK, MD, PA, DE. Business travels took me to AZ, CA, NJ, and all the New England states.

The 90's added business and family travel to CO, NM, MI, WV, OH, WA

The 2000's brought family vacations to AK and HI and the move to Minnesota opened travel doors to the west. NV, UT, NE, MN, MT, and then the last five mentioned above.

20 June 2012

I want a lake

I am in the midst of a multi-year search for a home on a lake.

Our home in the suburbs of the Twin Cities is too big. It is great at Christmas and holidays when its all decked out for a special event, or when company is coming. But the rest of the time its a lot of space to keep clean and maintain, not because we want to but because we have to. Because its there and we own it.

Thus, the past year and a half we have been working on a dream of swapping bedrooms and an extra story for lakefront. It's a big undertaking and one that is easy to do around here, but difficult to do exactly right. While we have hundreds of lakes to choose from, finding one that is the right size and suitable for year round activities with houses in our price range is tougher. Combine that with the normal problem of finding a house that you actually like, and it gets pretty tough. In the last week we've gone back and forth between the expensive, ready to move in type to the fix-it-up yourself project that you wonder if it can be made livable. All of them are farther away from the city, which is both a positive and a negative.

We are looking for land (but not too much), privacy (but with neighbors close by), in the country (but near the city), flat lot (but not too flat), and finally a Goldilocks lake that is just the right, not too small or too big, not too deep or too shallow, not too popular or too deserted. Piece of cake.