Bucket List Update: The US Trip

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It’s been a few months now since I shared my (ever-growing) bucket list with the web. You may have noticed that I’ve made next to no progress on it – having checked off a lonesome one of two hundred and ninety since undertaking the project.

That’s right, folks. I paid a very attractive girl (although not solely thanks to nature, she was proud to inform me) to grind up in my face and was able to check off:

169 – Get a lap dance in a strip club. 

That was on January 14th and I’ve made precious little progress since then. Incidentally, you can read all about it and my adventures in King’s Cross right here.

While my recent trip to Xinjiang in western China was undoubtedly a once in a lifetime experience, it didn’t check off a single bucket list item. A bit of a shame when you consider there are several China specific entries on the bucket list…

With the year almost half done, I’ll be hard pressed to reach my New Year’s resolution target of checking off no less than ten before the year is out. It’s a sorry state of affairs.

But never fear! A recent challenge from Ben at The Red Rucksack has put a fire under my ass and reminded me that life is too short to be wasted on marathon Civilization V sessions or sitting in the dark watching entire seasons of Community. The other 289 items on my bucket list aren’t going to check themselves off, and I’m not getting any younger.

My upcoming trip to the United States presents an excellent opportunity for me to put a real dent in my bucket list. Thanks to one particularly wonderful friend, I’ll be checking off more than a couple as we hit a few of the country’s more iconic cities and spots. Which ones? Allow me to present:

The US Trip Itinerary

Back in 2009 I traveled in the United States with my then girlfriend. Based out of beautiful Coeur d’Alene in northern Idaho; we spent time in Portland, Boise, Phoenix, Flagstaff, and Las Vegas as well as hitting the Grand Canyon and paying a visit to Silverwood amusement park. We caught  Jason Mraz concert in Spokane, sampled clam chowder in Seaside, and ate our weight in greasy food at the Arizona State Fair.

This time around I’m aiming to hit a few new spots as well as catching up with friends in some old haunts.

I fly into Washington DC on June 30th where I’ll meet up with my friend whom I’ll be staying with for three weeks in Annapolis, Maryland. I’d be lying if I said there weren’t just a little romantic interest (okay, a lot) motivating my decision to spend three weeks in this particular corner of the country, but I’m excited to check it out and see the sights. It’s proximity to Philadelphia, New York, and DC don’t hurt it either.

Below is just a sample of the things we’ve got planned for my three weeks on the east coast.

  • Explore Annapolis, Baltimore, and their surrounds.
  • Hit up King’s Dominion and Six Flags.
  • Visit Philadelphia.
  • Celebrate the 4th of July.
  • Spend some time camping on the beach.
  • Visit Washington DC.
  • Spend a weekend in New York City.
  • Go to a Orioles baseball match.
There’ll hopefully be some romance in there as well, but I’ll get to that in a moment.
Once we’re done on the east coast, we’ve got two weeks to pack a lot of action in.
  • Brewfest in Portland, Oregon where I’ll catch up with my old friends Cody, Desiree, Fallon (my ex), Stacy, Caitlin, Adam, and Sarah.
  • Visiting friends in Seattle, Washington.
  • Two days at Disney Land in California.

We’re currently also debating between visiting Yosemite or visiting Colorado. Which would get your vote?

We wrap it all up by cruising into Chicago in time to attend the wedding of my good friend’s Rob & Emily. That was actually the original purpose of the trip before it evolved into something much more costly. It will be a fitting end to our five week odyssey to spend it with some of my best friends from back in Australia.

The Bucket List

“But Chris, what does all of the above have to do with the bucket list?” I hear you cry.
Never fear, I’ve gone over the list with a fine toothed comb (and spotted a few duplicates that will need replacing) and selected the ones I could feasibly hope to fit into the above itinerary. Some of the… more ‘adult’ ones have the potential approval of my beautiful travel companion, while others are more wishful thinking on my part. I’ll let you decide which ones.
I have gone ahead and given them a rating out of 10 for likelihood. Feel free to suggest your own.

Romantic & Risque

  • 1 – Kiss passionately in the pouring rain – 10/10
    Weather permitting
  • 2 – Get married in Vegas – 1/10
    Not only does our itinerary not include Vegas, but my travel companion has vetoed the idea. Something about the sanctity of marriage. 
  • 10 – Have a threesome – 1/10
    I’m looking for volunteers. Contact me if interested… >_>
  • 16 – Take a pretty girl out to dinner and a show on Broadway – 10/10
    Our New York weekend includes time for a romantic dinner and an evening showing of Wicked.
  • 28 – Serenade somebody – 7/10
    It’s not exactly one you plan for, but I could surprise somebody.
  • 47 – Have a whirlwind romance on the road – 10/10
    This whole trip tends towards a whirlwind romance. While I’m certainly hopeful there’s long term potential, I’m not going to be upset with five weeks of fun with a pretty girl. 
  • 63 – Go skinny dipping – 6/10
    Another one I certainly haven’t planned for, but if a body of water presents itself… 
  • 97 – Have sex in a public place – 5/10
    This really isn’t up to me. I’m shameless. 
  • 177 – Organise and execute a romantic picnic – 8/10
    This one is entirely up to me. I’m thinking it might just happen.
  • 178 – Have sex on the beach – 6/10
    We’ll be on a beach at some point, so that’s half the battle. Now to convince the girl that the sand is worth it… 
  • 204 – Seduce a pretty girl from Maryland – 9.9/10
    I don’t take anything as gospel, but the ‘girl from Maryland’ mentioned in the bucket list is the one I’m going to visit so I’ll be disappointed if this doesn’t happen. 
  • 249 – Make use of the ‘top sheet’ in a hostel – 5/10
    Kudos to Mel from The Mellyboo Project for introducing me to the term. This is when you hang your top sheet from the bunk above to provide some privacy while you get frisky with a bunk-mate. There’ll probably be  a hostel or two in our travels, but whether or not hanky-panky ensues is up to the other party. I’m always down.
  • 263 – ‘Park’ and make out like a teenager – 10/10
    I’ll consider myself a failure if this doesn’t happen on night #1. 
  • 264 – Get to ‘third base’ (or hit a home run) at a baseball field – 3/10
    I’ve been told I’m more likely to be bat boy. Raspberries!


  • 5 – Climb a mountain – 7/10
    There’s no mountain scheduled in, but how hard can it be to find one? Bring on Mount Hood! 
  • 88 – Visit the 10 biggest theme parks in the world – 10/10 (See below)
    I obviously can’t check off all of them, but a visit to Disney Land should knock one off of the list. 
  • 114 – Attend a 4th of July BBQ on a lake – 6/10
    There’ll most definitely be 4th of July celebrations during my visit, but no guarantees there’ll be a BBQ or a lake involved. 
  • 166 – Spend a day at the baseball – 9/10
    It’s not technically a day (the Orioles play a night game), but I’ll count it. 
  • 184 – See Killer Whales in the wild – 5/10
    I’m told you can see Orca whales in the wild not far from Seattle, but time and cost may stop this from happening. 
  • 266 – Attend a traditional American kegger – 8/10
    I’ll be relying on my friends in the US to make this dream come true. I’ll gladly pitch in for the keg, I promise.
  • 270 – see some live jazz where it all started in Chicago – 8/10
    We’re flying in to Chicago a day or two early just so we can make this one happen.
  • 271 – Visit all of the Disney theme parks – 10/10
    Disney Land is on the itinerary, so I can check off my first Disney park.
  • 272 – Eat a Philly cheese steak in Philadelphia – 10/10
    We’re going to Philadelphia on a Tuesday evening just to make this happen.
  • 273 – Eat blue crab in Maryland – 10/10
    As if I’d spend three weeks in Maryland and not do this.
  • 289 – Jump into a fountain fully clothed – 9/10 
    Just try and stop me! 

Long Shots

  • 116 – Run a race on every inhabited continent – 2/10
    I’m not sure my schedule allows time for a race, but it would be good if North America could join Australia on a pretty lonely list.
  • 127 – Spend a weekend on a country estate – 1/10
    There are probably country estates we could visit, but it seems unlikely we’ll find the time or the money to make it happen.
  • 143 – Lick the Liberty Belly – 0/10
    My friend tells me this is impossible. Why would How I Met Your Mother lie to me?
  • 214 – Scuba dive on every continent – 1/10
    I’d love to fit in a dive while I’m in North America, but cost and time again work against me.

There are a few other US-centric ones on the list, but I’ve had to exclude them due to not visiting those places or the festivals in question not taking place while I’m there. I think the above list is (a little sexy heavy) pretty doable. If I can check off all of the feasible and romantic ones, I’ll be well past my original goal of managing ten in a year.

What do you think? Have I got it in me?

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