Assuming it does not interfere with the yearly training at work and I don't think it does, State # 32 will be Duke City in Albuquerque, New Mexico on October 22. This will NOT be an epic road trip and I don't think I'd go there under normal circumstances (no offense) but I've got a friend who is going for #50 in the full marathon and if I'm eventually going to race in New Mexico anyway, now is as good a time as any. The race date will be about 6 weeks after my 2nd blood donation so by that point, the final outcome should be known one way or the other. The race is at 5,000 feet altitude but nearly dead flat so even with no improvement in my health, I have a chance to better my recent post-35 PR of 1:44:38.
The preliminary plan is to fly into Albuquerque on Thursday morning then head east to Amarillo, Texas (4 hrs) for a night on the town. According to wikitravel, they've got some good steak restaurants and some pretty decent night life. I've never been to West Texas and I expect a different flavor from East Texas. I'll get back to Albuquerque on Friday evening and will have all day Saturday there before the race on Sunday. The only attraction that stands out to me as a must see is Sandia Crest at nearly 9.000 feet elevation and I'm sure it will pale in comparison to Beartooth Hwy and Yellowstone. I'm sure I can find stuff to do downtown as well.
After this one, I will have only 18 states to go plus DC and I can get it done in 11-12 trips. If I do 3 per year, I'm done in 4 years though realistically, I'm probably looking at 5-6 years before I hit State #50. Here's what I've got on tap:
First New England Double- Vermont and Massachusetts on back to back days in May. I'd probably fly into Boston, Vermont is first then the Mass race is right on the coast near the border of Rhode Island. I've been told that I've been to CT, RI and MA as a small child but I have only very faint memories so part of me doesn't feel right about counting them among my states visited. This is the front runner for next year. Of course, there is a certain race is Boston that I would love to do but my chance of qualifying is remote barring a miracle recovery.
Heartland Double- Iowa and Nebraska in late April or May. I'd prefer to do a Des Moines and Omaha combo but I won't be too choosy. If I can find 2 races on back to back days in eastern NE plus just about anywhere in Iowa, I'll do it. I just recently found out that Des Moines is only 5 hours from Chicago then it's only 2 more to Omaha. That's certainly doable in a day's drive. I'd fly into Chicago non-stop and do some touring before and after the 2 races. Not a bad trip there. I'd definitely want to see the Sears Tower, Rush Street, some parks and the other Lakeshore. I was there in 2008 but couldn't do much because it rained the whole weekend. A race on Sunday and the following Saturday could be doable but a Saturday-next Sunday combo is too much time.
Maryland- The target here is Ocean City in late April, which is one of my old stomping grounds. I'd fly to Philadelphia direct and drive all the way up and down the Delmarva peninsula and possible the Chesapeake Tunnel, which is something I've always wanted to do but was not adventurous enough at the time.
Hawaii- There's one in April and another around Memorial Day weekend. Can't go wrong there. I'd probably lean towards the latter because it's less time off work. I'd love to break up an Australia trip here but that may have to wait until I retire from work.
South Dakota- This is probably the front runner for next year. The race is in July at Spearfish Canyon just outside Rapid City and Mount Rushmore. I'll road trip into Sasketchewan and Manitoba as well as the Badlands NP leaving me with only Newfoundland to go in Canada.
Utah- 3 options that are basically the same course near Salt Lake City in May, June and September. I'll fly into SLC and road trip down to Arches NP as well as Moab. That will be a nice and scenic trip but I doubt it will compare with Teton/Yellowstone.
Washington- RNR Seattle in June. That's their dry season too. There will be plenty to see and do in Seattle but I will also see Mt. Ranier NP and Vancouver, BC. A nice getaway to escape the heat too.
Upper Midwest Double- Wisconsin and Minnesota. Milwaukee and Minneapolis are only 5 hours apart so that's certainly doable. I hope I can get to an MLB game too.
Epic New England: Here, I have a chance to check off 4 states in only 8 days with back to back weekend doubles. The states are Maine and New Hampshire followed by Connecticut and Rhode Island. In between the two, I'd like to see Montreal, possibly Quebec City and Ottawa before turning south for the next weekend. I have several airports to choose from and I'll pick whichever is least expensive and most convenient.
Michigan- Detroit Free Press is one that I've wanted to do since 2012 and it could be an option again next year. This course goes into Windsor, Ontario for 4 miles en route. Really cool.
Mid Atlantic Double- New Jersey and Delaware in mid-October. The 2 races are in Dover and Atlantic City, only 3 hours apart with Philadelphia as the hub to do some touring before and after.