How how much of a state does one have to experience before he or she can rightfully color it in on a map? Is it just to pass through, or to stay for a month?
Recently, Sash asked a similar question, about cities, on her Google+ page, and got some good responses.
The question came after she and I spent 17 days in Bakersfield, CA, with another 13 days left to go. While we spent a lot of time in our hotel room, building websites, writing articles for clients, and running social media campaigns, we've still managed to get out and see some of this town.
And we're not just talking about the national chains, even though we did patronize a few. We spent a few hours at Ethel's Old Corral Cafe, a divey little farmers joint on the outskirts of town. We also hung out at Guthrie's Alley Cat Bar in downtown, the Padre Hotel bar, Donna Kaye's Cafe, and a handful of taco shops. There's also my personal favorite, Lengthwise Brewery, in the Rosedale community.
But more than just bars and restaurants, we've been to San Joaquin Hospital a couple of times due to Sash's daughter having child-birth false alarms, as well as Fred Cummings Motorsports for service on our bikes. Our hotel bought us a month-pass at In-Shape Fitness because their own in-house gym was out of order (thanks to Sash's persistent complaints), and Sash and her daughter have been shopping all over town.
We'd like say that "we've been to Bakersfield".
Although, there's still a lot to Bakersfield that we've haven't experienced, I'm guessing that many residents here haven't experienced all there is to experience, either.
I remember a year ago, Sash and I stopped in the tiny town of Vaughn, NM along the US-285. About all there is to experience is Penny's Diner, a throwback to the old days of shiny single-wide trailers that serve up blue plate specials and homemade apple pie. If that's all there is to do, then is it right to say that we've been to Vaughn also?
The same could be asked of states.
On motorcycle forums, people often post graphics that illustrate which states and provinces they've ridden through. If you were to ride the very short 1-mile stretch of US-160 in the upper-left corner of New Mexico, could you rightfully color in the entire Land of Enchantment on your map?
If you did an Iron Butt ride via the super-slab, and blasted through three states, is right to color those in as well?
I recall motorcyclists complaining that just because someone bought their first motorcycle doesn't make them a "biker" or "rider". It just means they own a motorcycle.
I suppose it's the same thing.