Written by: Augustus Pfisterer
“If I had to sum up my journey across the 50 states in one word it would be ‘glorious,’” said junior Chris Kattak.
In 2008, the Kattak family set out on a mission to visit all 50 states.
“When most people picture a vacation it’s sitting in a chair on a beach. Not my family. We pictured hopping in the van and driving to Topeka, Kansas to see the Wizard of Oz Museum,” said Kattak.
In 2018, before entering his junior year in college, the journey was finally completed.
The idea started as a joke among the family. However, it soon blossomed into multiple cross-country trips that they will never forget.
“My mom came up with idea of driving cross country because I had been all over the northeast through playing hockey, but we never ventured out to those Midwest flyover states,” said Kattak.
“We figured, why not just hop in the van and just drive? Let me tell you, if those seats in the 2004 Honda Pilot could talk, they would have some stories to tell,” said Kattak.
The main objective of the trip was not only to spend more time together, but also to see what kind of food the country has to offer.
“Before we left we made a rule we would not eat at any chain restaurants. We looked up the TV show ‘Man vs. Food’ and made it to every single restaurant he went to,” said Kattak.
“My favorite place was ‘Big Texan’ restaurant in Amarillo. We watched somebody eat a 72 oz. steak, a loaded baked potato, and a salad as part of a restaurant challenge. Let me tell you, this guy failed miserably,” said Kattak.
According to BigTexan.com, over 62,000 people have attempted this challenge and only 9,500 have successfully completed it.
However, it was the state fair in Des Moines, Iowa that made a lasting impression on Kattak.
“The Iowa state fair was something special. It was 107 degrees and I got to see the world’s largest pig and the world’s largest pumpkin. We were 1,000 miles away from home and it seemed like we were experiencing a whole new culture,” said Kattak.
The fair is the seventh largest in the country hosting upwards of 1.13 million people in 2017, according to Iowastatefair.org.
Now that he has seen all 50 states, Kattak plans to expand his travels to different countries.
“I’ve done my traveling in the states but now I think it is time to get out there and see how the rest of the world lives. I have to open the next door and see what is behind it,” said Kattak.
Additionally, throughout his quest, he visited 22 of the 31 professional ballparks in the United States.
“My favorite has to be Wrigley Field in Chicago. When you walk through the gates, you can feel the rich history of the franchise, and also they have the best hot dog I have ever eaten,” said Kattak.
However, it wasn’t just the sights he saw but the people he met that made the biggest impact.
“I feel that every person I met on this journey had a new lesson to teach. When you’re in a one street light town in the middle of nowhere Wyoming you learn to appreciate the little things in life we take for granted,” said Kattak.