The great state-border-crossing challenge

I don't think I had ever once wondered how many different borders there are among the lower 48 states before seeing a Facebook group post the following list a few years ago. It definitely caught my attention.

Without flying or using ferries, here are the 107 state borders that can be crossed by driving.

AlabamaFloridaAlabamaGeorgiaAlabamaMississippi  ✅AlabamaTennessee  ✅ArizonaCalifornia  šŸ™ArizonaColorado  ✅šŸ„¾ArizonaNew Mexico  ✅šŸ„¾ArizonaNevada  ✅Arizona Utah  ✅šŸ„¾ArkansasLouisiana  ✅ArkansasMississippi  šŸ™ArkansasMissouri  šŸ™ArkansasOklahoma  ✅ArkansasTennessee  ✅ArkansasTexas  ✅CaliforniaNevada  ✅šŸ„¾CaliforniaOregon  ✅ColoradoKansasColoradoNebraskaColoradoNew Mexico  ✅šŸ„¾ColoradoOklahomaColoradoUtah  ✅šŸ„¾ColoradoWyoming  ✅ConnecticutMassachusetts  ✅ConnecticutNew York  ✅ConnecticutRhode Island  ✅DelawareMaryland  ✅DelawareNew Jersey  ✅DelawarePennsylvania  ✅FloridaGeorgia  ✅GeorgiaNorth CarolinaGeorgiaSouth Carolina  ✅GeorgiaTennessee  ✅IdahoMontana  ✅IdahoNevadaIdahoOregon  ✅IdahoU…

Oh, Instagram, you betrayed me

I may be HKHWR here, but on other social media sites, I am--or was--tthrash.

I had been "tthrash" on Instagram since about 2012. I had my site built up to nearly 950 posts and topped out at just over ~300 followers.

It was kind of my go-to on the road, as it was an easy place to share a quick picture, stamp a location and get the attention of interested friends and travelers. Its Stories feature was great for adding other details to posts, such as the local current weather, a relevant hashtag, etc. I was never looking for fame, but rather just a nice site to share pictures and stories of my interests, most of which were travel related, and some of which were connected to my affinity for craft beer. I used plenty of hashtags, but always tried writing them into my captions, rather than just stacking them all at the end. It even became a bit of a writing challenge to myself in fact.

Then, my account was hacked on Nov 1. I received an email from Instagram that my password was chang…

All 50 stating

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…

Travel Goals and Parsing Ballpark Visits

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, …

On Travel Goals

From August 4, 2013 through the start of this MLB season, it felt good knowing that I had seen all 30 teams play in their current home ballpark. I've watched the home team play in a total of 43 ballparks, in fact.
The Braves opening their new stadium this year of course knocked me out of that all-30 club. Surprisingly to me, though, I didn't feel an overwhelming urge to visit the new ballpark as soon as the season got underway. I was perfectly content to wait until the NFL schedule release later in April to see if I might in one weekend couple a visit to SunTrust park with one to Mercedez-Benz stadium to catch the Falcons in their new digs. A few weeks later, the scheduling gods did set up the alignment I sought, but I balked when realizing the football half of the setup was a Sunday night game in their new stadium's debut. While that'd be nice to see, chances are it's going to be more expensive than I'd like. So, I still haven't made plans to see the Brav…

My firmly mounted ski map

I must have used more paste when gluing my ski map to its cork base, because it is not sagging at all. After all, there are a mere 45 pins on it, the vast majority of which are on the upper right side. No, there are few pins in the Cascades, Rockies and Sierra Mountains, and not enough to sufficiently prevent the sagging, lumping and other visible eyesores afflicting my National Park map discussed in my previous post.

The problem with this one is the pin color selection. Clearly red pins against a red mountain outline was not the most prudent decision. Then again, nor would have white, black or blue pins been any better. Green and yellow pins might stand out more, but they just don't seem like ski colors, do they? Anyway, I may buy some bigger pins next time I'm in a crafts store. I'll also try to get a clearer picture, but, for now, here is a tabular representation of my ski resort visits; as with my last map, resorts are sorted alphabetically by state, and here followed…

My weakly mounted NPS map: Bailed out by pins

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. šŸ˜€

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.

And, here's the list again (sorted…