Next week marks the end of a 34-year quest. Well, maybe quest isn’t the right word, as I didn’t intentionally set out with the goal of visiting every state. You know the feeling you get when you realize how far along you are with something, and then have the urge that you have to finish? That’s how I found myself in this predicament.
A couple years ago, I realized that I had been to 40+ some states. State-by-state, they got crossed off the list. Sh*t started getting real, however, when I was at state 48, West Virginia. I never thought I’d find an excuse to go there (sorry WV!). But I went, and had a fabulous time (some times I find myself craving moonshine. No joke!)
So there I was…with two left—Alabama and Tennessee. Odd two to not visit, right? Technically, I had been to Tennessee as I’ve had connecting flights in Nashville and Memphis. But that doesn’t count. Unsure of how to end the big race, I turned to the Internet. I asked y’all where I should go and what lucky state should be my 50th. Y’all gave me great ideas!
I would say visit Alabama last and visit the Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Festival on May 23-24. That would make for a really unique, special, and visually spectacular last blog post on your journey around the United States.
t n suggested:
See Elvis in Memphis.
Tennessee has Memphis which is pretty interesting and has barbeque!! Beale Street is pretty good too. Never been to Alabama, and no desire to go there.
E J suggested:
Neither! You should visit Korea instead!
Princess Fionna suggested:
Visit Gulf Shores, Alabama.
Ultimately, convenience determined which state would be 49 and which would be 50. A trip to New Orleans in early 2015 allowed a quick jump over to Alabama. Being so close meant I could knock out Alabama.
Alabama was okay. A night was spent in Gulf Shores, Alabama at the Grand Hotel Marriott Resort. I’m not going to lie – I was really underwhelmed. The hotel reminded me of the resort in the movie Dirty Dancing. I guess I was mostly disappointed because the hotel was having craft day, or as they called it The Crafts Porch, in the afternoon of the day we departed. I missed making my own candleholder!
A few hours were spent tooling around Mobile. The USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park was sad (sad in the sense of the portion that honored the various countries joining US military forces in various wars, one of them being “Columbia” – Yes, “Columbia” was carved into the granite). I didn’t feel quite right taking photos – so you should visit this gem for yourself. Keep an eye open for the “Butt Can.”
A highlight was a cute little restaurant we found in Mobile – Kitchen on George – where I had a delish fried green tomato BLT. Great restaurant. Look it up if you find yourself in Mobile.
And that pretty much sums up State #49.
By now you’re wondering what I ended up deciding to do. A good friend, let’s call her Vanessa, really motivated this. She texted me one day and said, “Yo, I want to go to Tennessee with you for your 50th state. Let’s plan this, bitch.” We texted back and forth and settled on doing this right – Dollywood. Unfortunately, we were both limited on when we could actually go, so we had a one-weekend window. I really didn’t want to take time off of work due to my upcoming round-the-world trip, and getting to Knoxville was pretty difficult. And expensive.
So we changed our plan to Nashville or Memphis. And then I found an amazing fare on US Airways to Memphis. Vanessa had Delta miles to use. Perfect. Memphis it is!
So what are our plans? We couldn’t visit Memphis without stopping at Graceland or Beale Street. Yep. This is happening!
What do you think? Did I make a wise decision? Do you have any tips for Memphis, Tennessee?
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