The Bucket List (the US destination version)

My complete bucket list is entirely too long to think about in one night.  It’s sort of an ever-evolving project that I doubt I will ever be organized enough to record in one place.  I guess this is sort of a half-assed feeble attempt at making some sort of permanent document so when I run out of ideas of what to do and where to go, I can refer back to it.  After all, I’m not getting any younger, and the memory does tend to slip a bit…

I’ve been fortunate enough to have lots of cool experiences and see lots of great places, but there are still a zillion places in the world (even within the US borders) that I haven’t seen and absolutely need to.  So, here is the beginning of the list of places I need to visit in this country before I… you know… kick that bucket.

Chicago

I could justify this trip purely based on the stories I’ve heard about the amazing food there.  However, it seems there are many more reasons to visit Chicago.  The best summation I’ve heard yet is “it’s everything you love about NYC without any of the things you hate about NYC.”  Sign me up.  I love baseball and want to see every MLB stadium–obviously Wrigley Field is high on the list with all of its rich history.  My only concern is the weather.  I don’t love wind or cold, and I hear Chicago has quite a bit of both.  I’ll have to tackle that one during the summer sometime.

New Orleans

I used to want to visit New Orleans simply to see the whole Mardi Gras debacle, but I’m far less interested in that now.  Again, I’m very drawn to the food of that area, and it seems like a city that has a ton of culture.  I also know several people who have been gracious enough to offer their time and resources to help with the aftermath of Katrina, and from what I understand, there is still much work to be done.  I’d love to be part of the solution.

Portland

I’ve actually been there, but only for about 8 hours, most of which were spent in the airport.  Being in the coffee industry, this city is Mecca (one of two Meccas anyway).  I need to actually spend some time there bouncing from coffee house to coffee house and mingling with the locals.  It seems like a city that is somehow more progressive than the one I currently live in, and that idea is intriguing.

Maine-Vermont-New Hampshire

Yes, all three states.  The farthest I have traveled up the east coast is Connecticut, and I have been told the landscape only gets more beautiful with each degree of longitude gained.  There are things I loved about the east coast, mainly the trees.  My understanding is that the trees in that northern tip of the east coast are unmatchable.  I’d like to see that.  I’d also like to meet the kinds of people that live in those states.  It seems like the general uptightedness of the east coast hasn’t reached that far north yet.  Also enticing: Maine lobster.  Yum.

Mt. Rushmore

I just want to see it.  Truthfully, I don’t have much interest in the rest of South Dakota (too cold, I think), but I have heard that the monument is a sight to behold.  Plus, this is realistically within road trip territory.

Yellowstone

I’d like to see this preferably before the supervolcano takes us all out… Seriously, though, I love seeing wildlife in its natural state, and there is really no better place in the US to witness that.  I’ve also never seen a geyser.

The Grand Canyon

With as many times as I’ve been to Las Vegas, I can’t believe I haven’t seen the Grand Canyon, and I need to.  The reasons for this should be fairly obvious.

What I’d really love to do is take a cross-country road trip.  I planned to do this a while back, but my unemployment vacation got in the way.  Now that I am more financially equipped to pull something like that off, I need to plan some time to do it.  I think if I had a month, I could feasibly see everything on this list, not to mention some really great places along the way that haven’t yet occurred to me.  We are fortunate to live in a country with such a vast variety of landscape and culture.  I realize it’s not diverse the way, say, Europe is, but it has its own charm, and there are some really cool things to see here.

What do you think?  Anything I need to add to the list?

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