How to Justify Stopping at a State Border

Diane and Ben are driving from their home in Nebraska to visit a friend an hour south in Kansas who is recovering from having a battery surgically removed from her lung. While scooting along Hwy. 281, Diane notices on Google Maps that the pair are quickly approaching the Kansas state line. “Hey, sweetums,” Diane beckons. “Let’s pull off on the shoulder a mile up the road here and get a picture of the Welcome to Kansas sign!”

Ben shrugs. “Why? Who cares about Kansas?” Ben isn’t amused by the frivolities of manmade borders. “It’s just the same dumb corn fields as before.”

Diane is astonished. “You can’t be serious! Crossing from one of our great fifty states into another is a big deal. It’s not every day we leave Nebraska. Come on, pull over!”

“Ugh,” Ben sighs. “Give me one good reason why we should stop at the state border.”

Diane thinks for a moment. What good reasons are there for stopping at a state line?

  • Clearly, it’s a great photo op.
  • State signs are sometimes artistic and elaborate, making them fun to look at.
  • Jumping back and forth across the border gives one the unusual experience of visiting a state for a split-second, and then returning to the other.
  • Standing idly directly on the border allows an individual to physically be in two states at once, a fairly unusual occurrence.
  • Standing in one state while your travel partner stands in the other is a unique experience. “We’re in totally different states but we can still see and hear each other!”
  • Collecting photos of each “Welcome to” state sign is a great hobby.
  • Standing at a state border can give one’s self a sense of accomplishment.
  • It strengthens your geography skills.
  • It gives you a greater appreciation for what surveyors went through while drawing the state lines in the 1800s.
  • It gives you pause. “I wonder why they chose right here to put the border? Why not a mile north, or a mile south?”
  • You could play catch with a baseball or football across the border and then tell a great story about it. “I literally once threw a baseball from Nebraska all the way to Kansas. I’m not even kidding.”
  • If one state has a different law than the other, you could stand a few inches into Kansas and legally do something you’d be arrested for in Nebraska.
  • Sales taxes could be different between the two states, allowing you to purchase something cheaper and then return to the border to enjoy it at the discounted rate.
  • You could stand at the border and cheer for the Nebraska Cornhuskers, and then jump across and become a Kansas Jayhawks fan.
  • If you dislike one of the states, you could stand in the other state and litter or ash your cigarette.
  • The most popular choice, of course, is to urinate or poop from one state into the other.

One thing to note, of course, is that the signs are probably placed fully in their rightful states, not at the border itself. If the border isn’t apparent, try finding the center point of the two “Welcome” signs.

By the time Diane had finished giving all of her great reasonings, she realized they were now a mile into Kansas. “Damn it!”


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My Hot Take:
I wouldn’t say I’m obsessed with state borders, but I do find the novelty of crossing a state line to be fun. Once we canoed down the St. Croix River which divides Minnesota and Wisconsin. One moment we’d be in Minnesota, then the next Wisconsin. I’ve also stopped for photos at borders in Indiana, Minnesota, and Texas, to name a few. I’d say if you get the chance to stop off at a state border for a quick pic, do it… as long as traffic is light and there’s ample room to pull over.

tl;dr
When you approach a state border, consider stopping to take a picture to memorialize the novelty.

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