I am up to 26 states. Montana was the 26th.
I have to tell you now Montana is one of my favorite states!
Beautiful, clean air and just what I imagined it to be. I was there in Gold Creek,
a little ways from Missoula, to participate in Camp Mak-A-Dream’s Young Adult
Survivor conference. The picture here shows me and some friends from the conference at what felt like the top of the world after hiking a butte.
I'll tell you more about Montana in posts to follow but for now you're wondering...at least if you're a regular reader...what was state #25?
State #25 -- MINNESOTA rates as my quickest visits that actually counts. I’ve said that in order for a state tp count I can not just be sitting in the airport. I have to breathe the air, see the sites and have a meal. So when I found out on the way to Montana I had a four hour layover in Minneapolis, Minnesota the wheels began turning.
Sensible people told me to forget it. "You can't see a city in this amount of time" and in this day of airport security details its not worth it to leave the airport, they advised. I agreed, somewhat.
Yet my pulse was racing as our plane landed in Minneapolis. I have to do this now! I asked a flight attendant "Do you know Minneapolis?" "You betcha," she said in a clearly Minnesota accent. I told her of the goal I was trying to accomplish by November and a smile spread over her face. Before I knew it she was whipping out a map of the huge twin cities airport, making x's and lines and marking the taxi stand. No time to see the Mall of America, she said shrugging her shoulders, unless your a fast shopper. This seemed to be out of the question.
Armed with her helpful directions and advice I hopped a cab and left the airport. My cab driver was Somalian as it turned out and spoke very little English. I told him I was trying to see the city in an hour. Knowing what the rate would likely be in advance to get downtown and back I watched the meter and took a deep breath. Kindly, he pointed out points of interest along the way. Many lakes. We drove past the mall. The cabbie tried to point out as many sites as he could. Yet, I was looking for the statue of Mary Tyler Moore that's supposed to be downtown. I wanted to have my picture taken next to it. Mary Tyler Moore, I said repeating and striking that hat slinging pose she took in the credits and how the statue is posed. But he looked at me like I was nuts. My pose with the gilded Mary just was not going to happen.
"Do you want to get something to eat?" Jahran asked. Ya see we were old friends now. He pulled over in front of a Starbucks and I ran in with the meter running. The barista saw my NY license as I pulled out my wallet and asked what I was doing here. Half jokingly I said...I jsut got here an hour ago and I'm only here for another few minutes. I just wanted Minnesota to count as a state, I continued. He shook his head and the other barista laughed full on as he frothed my drink. "For real?" one asked quizically.
They shouted "NY you're up" as my carmel macchiato was placed on the counter. :) They were intrigued...but I had to book it before the cab ran my entire wallet contents.
"Hope you had fun in Minnesota, come back sometime and see it for real!" one of them shouted at me on my way out. Quickly, I asked a rather bored looking doorman outside this hotel to take my picture in front of this non-descript hotel next to Starbucks.
Such a quick trip, but it was worth the side-trip and it counts according to my rules. I had a meal in that state and ran around there for a while. Jahran got me back to the airport in plenty of time. He found out I taught English and then all the sudden he became Mr. Talkative...asking how he could improve his English. My suggestion was watch a lot of t.v., Wheel of Fortune in particular.
So there you have it 2 states for the price of one.