Earl and I drove 75 1/2 hours. In those 75 1/2 hours we passed through 13 states, finished off our quest to visit all 50 states and during this vacation we drove 4,533.3 miles.

My favorite state on this trip was Montana, though I was fascinated by the “cold desert” west of Spokane, Wash. and down through Oregon and Idaho into Nevada.

Iowa has unreasonably low speed limits on the prairie. Illinois has way too much road work. Folks west of the Missouri River drive the speed limit because it’s “reasonable and prudent”. Folks east of the Missouri River exceed the speed limit because it’s set artificially low.

Pop is a staple west of Chicago. The accent changes once once you’re away from the Great Lakes. Folks from California (in my experience) seem to be have an air of entitlement. The more rural the person, the more humble they seemed to be.

Visiting Temple Square in Salt Lake City was humbling for me. I have pondered my spirituality ever since that visit.

As the pavement passed under our tires and we made our way through new territory, I figured some things out, both professionally and personally. Unlike previous vacations where I dreaded going back to whence we came or I didn’t want to go back to work, I feel energized, ready, and excited about work on Monday. And I’m always happy to call Chicago home.