With the Minor League baseball season wrapping up, I confidently state that I don't expect to visit any new ballparks this year. Well, there is that one ballpark down in…no, no; not this season.
Looking back over this past spring and summer, I am happy with visiting a dozen new stadiums. Some ballparks were visited as fulfillment of wish-list objectives, while others were attended to round out itineraries for day trips, overnighters or as part of my grander summer vacation out west.
As I mull over where I've been and what I still need to see, it seems that I'll most likely never visit every MiLB venue, but I'll note that my various wish lists and travel goals—ballpark, National Parks and otherwise—will allow me to eliminate some new ballparks each season from the proverbial to-do list. Perhaps I'll get to half of them, or maybe 100 of them, but all 160 seems doubtful.
Just for the sake of parsing out my ballpark travel goals a bit and sharing some of my thinking, …
It was November 2004 when I joined the all-50-states club. A quest that I first considered possible in 1991 was completed when west coast work trips two out of three weeks simply screamed for me to arrange flying to Hawaii for the week in the middle. Noting cheap inter-island flights, I charted the Hawaiian adventure with several days each on Oahu, Maui and the Big Island, and knocked off the Aloha State's two National Parks (and the Valor in the Pacific NHS) before ever setting touching all 59 of them as a possible travel goal. I actually knew the year before I'd be heading to Hawaii, as I enjoyed a great Alaskan trip that included a boat tour operator in Kenaii Fjords National Park precisely pointing the boat southward and noting that the next land mass we'd hit would be Hawaii. "Next year," I remember thinking. It made sense to me after all that the 49th and 50th states would be the 49th and 50th I visited. Further, if we go back just one more year, when I fin…
In retrospect, using old model train layout paste may not have been the best way to mount my National Parks visited map. Thankfully I'm now at 121 sites (with 30+ visited during this "nps100" campaign), so I have more than enough pins to firmly hold the map in place...
With 2016 and the NPS's centennial drawing to closes, I can certainly look back and smile on what I've seen this year, and look forward to seeing many more park sites in the coming years. Still, it's somewhat dejecting knowing that I won't add any more pins until the spring, unless a ski strip has me pass Boston or business calls me to DC, in which case I may be able to tack a few more spots sooner than later. For now, though, I can start focusing on adding pins to my ski map. 😀
For the map here, I've used three pin colors:
Red pins = National Park sites (33 of 59);
black pins = Civil War sites (16);
yellow pins = all others in the #NPS system.