Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The 49th State

SO -- there was a point in my life when it dawned on me that I had traveled in 44 states. That's right. 44. I had actually been in 44 states. It was easy to list the missing states. Georgia, the Carolinas, Louisiana, Alaska and Hawaii.

And I devised a plan. To go to all 50 states by the time I was 50. After that I would see if I could get laid in each of the 50 states. But for now it's just enough to go there. So I started rolling the idea of Alaska around in my mind. Alaska.

And I started to collect the stuff I would need to go there.

A truck. Not any truck, a tough truck, a Kurdish tank. 4WD, raised, tough, and with a 50 caliber machine gun camera mounted on top. One that lives through floods, potholes, hurricanes, snowstorms, etc.

A bicycle. In case I want to go for a ride.

A camera. Oh you know -- to take pictures.

A chain saw.

Camping gear. For me.

Climbing gear. Just in case.



So I have these things. And a plan. The plan says jump in the truck and ferry up the passage, stop and photograph the white black bears in BC, go to Kenai and Sitka and Juneau, get out to the west coast of Alaska somewhere, drive to Anchorage, then go north to Prudhoe Bay, see the ANWR before it turns into Bakersfield, and go to the Brooks Range and climb see Denali, and visit the occasional friend and drive home through the Yukon Territory, and spend the entire summer doing it. And somehow manage a birding trip to the Aleutian Islands.

I want to see a puffin, a polar bear, a walrus, a brown bear, a dall sheep, a caribou, seals and whales. I am not so sure I want to see a wolf.

A little voice is telling me that this isn't going to happen right away. Another voice wonders, "Do I want some sort of boat?"


A Midnight Rider said...

Bring along a companion to fullfill the other part of you wish, while your visiting those last 4 states.

Eclectchick said...


I'm curious, though. Does the fact that you crossed out swimsuit for wetsuit mean you'll be, um, au naturale under the wetsuit?


shawnkielty said...

Hopefully, yes.

lauren said...

landcruiser. you need a landcruiser.

shawnkielty said...

my Land Cruiser is a Tacoma.

Jill said...

When are you going to do it?

You should come visit.

Denali's in the Alaska Range. The Brooks Range is beautiful, too, so you'll have to see both.

Great plan!

Jill said...

My state count is just like yours. That states I haven't yet seen are Florida, Alabama, Wisconsin, Michigan, Louisiana and Hawaii.

shawnkielty said...

Thank you Jill, that's a nice offer. I will definitely visit.

I will be traveling on the cheap, from the looks of things. And unless something changes in the immediate future, it will not be until next summer at least.

It was originally supposed to be happening right now.

Jill said...

Next summer it is then. I look forward to meeting you.

I will likely still be around here, but I never know. Geoff is always trying to talk me into taking off on another long bicycle trip. Maybe cross-Canada this time. South America or Asia would be wonderful too, if we had the money and/or guts to do it. It's so easy to write off dreams, but there's always a part of me that asks "Why not?"

Fritz said...

I've been to Alaska.

Twice. Maybe three times. Or was it four? I've been to so many places I lose track. One of the blessings and curses of growing up in a military family. By the time I was eighteen I had visited most U.S. states and five other nations.

shawnkielty said...

Oh - I never know -- maybe I should just look for a job, get a dog, garage sale all my crap and drive away.

Jill -- You can totally do Asia on the cheap ... if you like noodle soup.

Di said...

I know you..it WILL happen eventually!! What a great plan!! What a great life you've had in MANY respects!!

The Carolinas and even Georgia are in my area...need an escort? Even in Louisiana?! Travel would be good for me too!!!

Michelle said...

Plan on hiking the Eagle River
Valley, lots of bears there, also Johnson Pass - bring your mountain bike.

The MOST IMPORTANT-MAJOR BUG REPELLANT or you will be sucked bloodless in 2.5 seconds. No, I'm not kidding :).

You will need a plane, there is no roads to some of the best places in Alaska

shawnkielty said...

THat's what I like -- people telling me where to go!