If only I could count the times I needed something to slice a hot dog and provide a cup for ketchup all at the same time.
In October, I joined 400 coworkers in Park City, Utah, for the annual all-hands Automattic Grand Meetup. During the weekend, everyone gives a 4-minute flash talk on any subject they would like.
This year, Hot Dogs Across America. Hot Dogs Across America is my quest/challenge with Fischer to see who can eat a hot dog in all fifty states (plus DC!) first. You can watch all four minutes of glory:
The beginning was meant to be a little comedic misdirection, but it fell pretty flat and I didn’t sell it that well. The trip itself, in June 2004, happened pretty much as the video said and ended with the Arizona hot dog. The trip was to the Gila River Indian Community outside of Phoenix to a school under the direction of the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity. The local community and the Sisters in general are both wonderful and was a transformative experience. After my first year (and the sponsoring parish opting to not continue the trip), Vanessa and I coordinated the trip for two or three years more.
- I’m still backfilling pictures, maps, and information for all of the states. It’ll come! 🌭 ↩
I was very sadden to miss the wedding, but safety first.
So far this summer, I’ve been a little bit of everywhere. In late May, I was infor the Paulist Fathers’ Pre-Assembly. In June, I drove to , AZ for .
While I was in New York City, my mind was fixed on one subject. Hot Dogs. Since it is NYC, I figure I have to get a dog out of a street vendor’s cart. This task was well, pretty easy. I start out on Saturday morning at the Today Show. I made a little screen time and started the search. Since it was 8 a.m., there was not a hot dog to be found. I continue sight-seeing throughout the city and found my way at the World Trade Center site.
After exploring St. Paul’s Chapel, I discovered a street vendor selling hot dogs right outside. I laid down $2 and took a bite. They weren’t bad at all. I enjoyed it actually.
I finish the hot dog and look up at the subway station I had emerged from not long before. It is also a PATH station. Wait a second, I tell myself. I thought I saw something about Newark on the PATH side of the station before stepping out. I look and yes! The PATH goes to New Jersey! After more investigation, I found that they run on a very regular schedule and are actually cheaper than NYC subways! I couldn’t say no to this. I ride the train to Newark.
I arrive it what appears to be the Newark version of Grand Central Station. When I started the trip, I didn’t think about where I would find a hot dog. I find my way to the concourse and lo and behold, there is a shop in the food court that sells various forms of hot dogs. It was beautiful. One trip, one day, two states.
Fast-forward a month. Picture it. Four friends with a common mission- to get me a hot dog in New Mexico. Actually, we were going to run a mission trip, but that was just a cover for the hot dog.
We drive through a random city. We exit onto Business I-10. We look for a place that would sell a hot dog. We look and look. There’s nothing. Sadness begins to set in when out from behind some trees emerged a beautiful sight. Sonic! Sonic has saved me in the past, in Oklahoma, but they come through again in New Mexico. We quickly pull in and after a strawberry limeaid and a hot dog, I realize that the entire trip was worth it.
I was in Kansas this week for the Veritas Conference- a conference of the Big 12 Conference’s Catholic Campus Centers.
While I was in the great and glorious state of Kansas, a “grey” state on my hot dog map, I had to find out more about Kansas hotdogs. Also, after the last day of the conference, we took Fr. Ed from the UCC to KCI Airport, just inside of Missouri.
We drop off Fr. Ed at KCI and head down I-29 toward Kansas City. We take the I-635 exit as a cut-off to I-35. We take the final exit before the state line in hope of finding a hot dog vendor.
After driving a few miles, we found it. A “PLEASE STOP!” gas station which proudly proclaimed “HOT DOGS!” on its windows. As it is with many of these hot dogs, it seems to work out just too well. I go inside and fix myself one of their jumbo dogs. Missouri is one of the states where gas stations can sell hard liquour- something I hadn’t noticed anywhere else before.
I make the purchase and enjoy it in the car just before hitting the road. One more state out of the way.
We hit I-35 and head towards Texas. We see a sign for Dairy Queen around noon and we thought the should work out for us as well. We stop in the town of Ottawa, KS at the Dairy Queen on Main Street.
I’m used to Texas where smoking in food establishments just doesn’t happen anymore; if it does, it is a section of the store. Apparently, this isn’t the case in Ottawa, KS. There are people smoking everywhere.
Amelia, Maria and myself all order a foot-long chili and cheese hot dog and enjoyed them with various “cool treats”.
With that, I am 15% along the way toward the goal of a hot dog in every state. Eight down, forty-two to go.