2021 Trips in Review
I visited 37 states plus D.C. and 2 Canadian provinces in 2021 which is above average for me. My favorite trip was Glacier National Park then Canada to my favorite place in the world Banff National park and the Icefields Parkway up to Jasper National Park. The fall beauty was awesome there. I got to wade in the Atlantic ocean and Pacific ocean within a few weeks of each other. I completed 4 triple points /tristate markers as well the center of the 50 states again in Belle Fourche, SD.
I finished visiting all the state capitol buildings in May 2021 with the visit to Baton Rouge. Due to work demands, I did many smaller weekend warrior to 4 day trips throughout the year. The longest trips are 6 days long for Colorado storm chasing and Glacier national park and Canada fall photos. My trips are far from relaxing, they are packed full of adventures and mix of my hobbies. I often did famous graves, nature photography, storm chasing and even ghost hunts all in the same day or trip. Time is in short supply in my life so I try to drain everything I can out of my travel time.
Southwest Rapid Rewards was 126,302 at the start of 2021 and now 259,049 with 60,192 points coming from my Southwest Priority Chase Credit Card.
Alaskan Airlines Reward miles was 112,028 at the start of 2021 and ended with 193,394 miles.
Suffice to say I could fly free for at least 2 or more years using points. I’ve decided I’ll use them for last-minute flights for storm chasing or possible northern lights.
The triple points completed on this trip included many that were challenging to get to and were very rough roads if they could be called roads at all. Utah/Wyoming/Colorado and Utah and Idaho, Wyoming tri-state markers were the most challenging ones visited so far. I could share some stories of that, it was an adventure. North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia were hard the last mile or so. I also visited Montana, South Dakota, and Wyoming tri-state marker.
I was able to get a good amount of stamps for the National Parks passport this year that I got in November 2020. It has given me a fun excuse to revisit a lot of national parks.
Previous year comparison
2020 was 24 states due to covid restrictions and work demands.
2019 was 42 states and 4 Canadian provinces and the year I finished all 50 states.
2018 was 28 states and 7 Canadian provinces.
2017 was 21 states and 2 Canadian provinces.
Flew to Dallas for 2.5 days and visited some famous graves and visit the grassy knoll where JFK was shot. Also went to the HQ of my favorite restaurant Texas De Brazil.
Flew to Chicago for 2 days to see the Chicagohenge where it marks the point when you can see the sunrise or set directly between buildings on Chicago’s east- and west-facing streets. I spent a ton of time visiting famous graves all over the city and eating great food.
My chasecation for storm chasing was May 19-26th. I saw 3 bird fart tornados in that dust was kicked up and people reported it as a tornado in Lakin, KS and Akron, CO.
I flew to Houston May 7-9th and drove around Houston visiting famous graves and then went to Baton Rouge Louisiana to finish the 50th state capital. I also went to New Orleans too.
I went to Chattanooga for Memorial day weekend.
I passed my part 107 drone exam on June 3rd. I flew to Denver for high plains storm chasing June 16-22nd. Visited Devils Tower and got milky way shots, drove all over Colorado and Utah. Visited Bonneville Salt Flats, Great Salt Lake and the paranormal hotspot of Skinwalker Ranch in Utah.
I drove to St. Louis and visited the Gateway Arch, famous graves. On the way home I went to the Garden of the Gods in Shawnee National forest.
I flew to Baltimore and visited a ton of famous around Washington DC, Delaware, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Point, NY, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. In between a large number of cemeteries I almost lost the rental car in a flash flood in Camden, New Jersey, and got to the hotel to be told they didn’t have a room after all and ended up sleeping in my rental car at the Delaware travel plaza. I ate some good clam chowder in Rhode Island.
I got last-minute tickets to DEF CON in Vegas and flew to Los Angeles and visited famous graves around Los Angeles and in Vegas. I did lots of walking and photographing things in Vegas. I visited the Hoover dam when it was 114 degrees. It was hot. I visited Bakersfield and watching the sunset at Santa Monica Pier was nice.
A few weeks after closing on my first house. I drove to Ohio for a wedding at the Ohio Renaissance Festival which was really fun then drove to West Virginia for a ghost hunt at Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum and then went to New River Gorge National Park and Charleston to visit the capitol building there now that the multiyear renovations were finished.
My favorite trip was September 22-28th where I flew to Spokane, Washington, and drove to Glacier National Park for 1.5 days then I went to Canada. Despite showing my vaccination card, having a negative covid test I was required to have another covid test at the hotel. Banff national park was stunning, I love this place. However many other people did too and parking lots were full from 4am to past sunset. The natural beauty is just stunning. I spent most of the first day at Moraine Lake which is awesome. The next day I hit up all the hot spots like Lake Louise, Morant’s Curve. I visited the haunted Fairmont Banff Springs and Cave and Basin National Historic Site which is the first national park in Canada.
I drove to British Columbia to Yoho National Park to visit Emerald Lake, Natural Bridge, and the Spiral Tunnels at Kicking Horse Pass where you see a train going three different directions at the same time, the back of the train is going right when the front is going left. Neat engineering feat.
I drove the most scenic drive in the world the Icefields Parkway to Jasper national park. This is the second time passing the Athabasca Glacier so I was early enough to stop at the Columbia Icefield Glacier Adventure and got to walk on the Athabasca Glacier. It was very windy and cold. It is one of the largest icefields not at the poles in the world and it is melting rapidly. I walked on the Columbia Icefield Skywalk as well. I went to Sunwapta Falls and went to a new vantage point that I didn’t know about the first time I was there. I ended that specific day with a Maligne Lake Cruise to Spirit Island. I saw 7 elk, 3 bears, and 3 moose in less than 24 hours in Jasper National Park.
To continue with trying to visit all the provincial legislature buildings/capitals in Canada. I went to Edmonton which is the capital of Alberta. I also went to the largest mall in North America at West Edmonton Mall. It doesn’t look like much from the outside but the place is huge inside. Skating ring, huge wave pool, and water park. It was a fun adventure. I would like to go back again and swim at the wave pool.
I drove to Virginia and North Carolina. I was too early for peak fall color but it was still pretty when I drove through Shenandoah National Park. I visited the historical Jamestowne and Williamsburg, so much early American history. I got to do a Light Painting workshop at the President’s heads near Williamsburg. That was a neat experience that I would like to do again. I also went to the Outer banks and visited the spot where if I walked in a straight line east from my house I would end up at the Atlantic ocean. I also visited famous graves along the way like Richmond and Norfolk Virginia.
I made a last-minute trip to Minnesota to try to see the northern lights the 29-31st. At the time it was supposed to be Friday and Saturday night displays. It was a complete bust. However, about a week later there was an amazing northern lights display in the same area I was in. It was a completely wasted trip, I got famous graves, went to the source of the Mississippi river, split log lighthouse, and enjoyed the northern woods as well as places in Minneapolis.
I went to the Indiana Storm Chaser’s Convention and saw famous graves all the way up. Nashville, Indiana is a neat little place. I’m trying to visit all the places named Nashville.
I went to Ohio for Thanksgiving weekend and got to visit the high point of Indiana, plenty of famous graves, lots of food, and visiting with friends/family.
With the tornados in Kentucky, I made 3 trips up to Kentucky. I got to enjoy the food at Patti’s 1880’s settlement twice.