During the summer, I wrote about visiting all 50 U.S. states and the Best for Last Club in Fargo, North Dakota.
For many travelers, it seems, the Peace Garden State is the last stop on the list of 50. The Fargo-Moorhead Visitor Center in Fargo gives new members of the club a goody bag of souvenirs and features him or her on its Facebook page.
Several readers emailed their own memories of hitting the big 5-0. Today, we highlight a few:
A hero’s welcome
Michael Hallet and his wife, Joyce, were in Minnesota when she decided to surprise him with a quick side trip to North Dakota, his 50th state, he writes.
Like other new members of the Best for Last Club, Hallet, 66, a New Albany resident, received the royal treatment in Fargo. He was interviewed and photographed by a Fargo newspaper and was treated as a celebrity at a county fair there.
“The people of Fargo were extremely friendly,” he reports.
North Dakota was also the only state lacking for Heath resident Carol Hill, who discovered that the state would also finish up the set for a fellow member of her church, Kathy Mehler.
The two decided on an impromptu road trip. And, instead of making a brief hop across the border, Hill and Mehler spent several days in North Dakota, riding an antique trolley in Mandan to Fort Lincoln State Park, touring the Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site, attending the famous Wild West-themed outdoor musical variety show in Medora and exploring the magnificent badlands of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
“We started out as acquaintances but became great friends with wonderful memories,” writes Hill, 80.
A family milestone
Jeff Ruth, 65, of Marion and his 33-year-old son, Bryan, of Westerville were both stuck at 48 states when they decided that an Ohio State road game would be a great way to hit 50.
“We got the last two states together,” writes the elder Ruth.
In 2016, the father-and-son flew from Columbus to Wichita, Kansas (state No. 49) and then drove a rental car to Norman, Oklahoma (state No. 50) for the Buckeyes football game on the campus of the University of Oklahoma.
An impressive run
One of the most impressive 50-state stories came from Terry Pescosolido, a retired computer programmer who lives near Hilliard.
Pescosolido, 62, has not only visited every state but also has run a marathon in each.
He began his quest in 2003 when he discovered a website dedicated to runners shooting for the goal, he writes.
At that point, he had run marathons in just three states, but he jumped into the pursuit in a big way. With encouragement from his wife, Karen Lucas, he signed up for the Honolulu Marathon that December — and, from there, was off and running.
“Over the next seven years, all our vacation time was used to travel to marathon events and see sights in the states visited,” he writes.
During his quest, Pescosolido ran as many as 10 marathons a year. He hoped to finish at the 2010 Boston Marathon but was shut out of registration for that year’s race.
Instead, he ran the Cape Cod Marathon in Massachusetts that October and, at the Manchester City Marathon in New Hampshire the next month, hit state No. 50.
“New Hampshire will always hold a special place in my heart,” he writes.
The big 5-0 usually does.
— Steve Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @SteveStephens.