I have a thing for maps. I have three hanging in my one bedroom apartment, two courtesy of National Geographic and one courtesy of a tiny bookshop in southern Spain. Yes, I do that thing where I keep track of my travels with pins. In fact, that map is at home in Pennsylvania – so, Mom, I hope you’re keeping up.
Here in Illinois I wake up to the World, the United States, and Spain. The United States map is a recent edition and one I’ve spent significant time staring at since I moved out here. Some startling facts: Alaska is nearly the size of the entire US, Illinois is bordered by five states, I haven’t seen the western half of the country.
You may remember that in the new year, I declared that I would see a new state every month. So how am I doing?
The truth is, I’m behind, albeit for two great reasons: 1) Nicaragua, 2) Spain. International travel trumps domestic jaunts, every time. So here in the 7th month of the year, I’m trying to schedule some catch up. What’s on the docket?
- Indiana – namely, Indianapolis. I drove through on my way out, but who counts that? I’ve been doing some reading about this fair city and their marketers have just about convinced me I can spend a day or two there. It’s a two hour drive from Charleston, so it’s entirely do-able. The Indiana state fair is coming up in early August, and as my friend Michelle pointed out – the theme is Year of the Dairy Cow. That points to all of my favorite foods, so I’m there. I’ll dedicate the trip to my newly married blogger friend, Kaley, who has recently left Hoosierland for Spain.
- Iowa – destination: Des Moines. The summer state fairs are really proving useful for me in this quest; in fact three of them in neighboring states all run the same time span: August 9-19. Des Moines is nearly 7 hours from Charleston, but combined with a trip to nearby Sadelia, Missouri* (home to MO State Fair), it’s much more manageable. How much fried food can I eat? Don’t test me. *Yes, I’ve already been to Missouri
- Michigan - lake side living has a tremendous appeal in the summer months. This is the longest haul of them all, and I am seriously doubting my time frame in which I’d like to accomplish this road trip. Another 7 hours north and east of Charleston to get me to Ann Arbor. Grand Rapids is closer, and perhaps more kindly situated on Lake Michigan. Also of note: there is a city nearby called HOLLAND. Nickname: the Tulip City.
Stay tuned for more tales as I try to survive the Midwest…