Mickey Straub's 50 Capitols in 50 Days trip seemed daunting before it began.
Who would've thought he'd finish it nearly a week early?
Straub, a Burr Ridge resident, businessman and Abraham Lincoln enthusiast, set out on his 50 Capitols in 50 Days road trip in early September. He returned home to Burr Ridge last week for the journey’s finale in Springfield after hitting every state in only 44 days. On the steps of the Illinois capitol, Straub delivered his 50th rendition of the Gettysburg Address, the 16th president’s famous 1863 speech, in the company of family, friends and colleagues.
“It felt great just to cross the state line,” said Straub, who had come from capitol No. 49 in Madison, WI. “It was nice just to be back in the home state.”
READ: Mickey Straub explains what 50 Capitols in 50 Days is all about.
Straub left Burr Ridge on Sept. 1 in the Lincoln Town Car purchased solely for the 50-in-50 trip. He officially began the journey on Sept. 4 in Harrisburg, the capital of Straub’s native Pennsylvania.
He hit 19 capitols in the first 11 days and had run down the east coast by mid-September. Straub then headed west through the southern states to Texas, snaked up through Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee and Kentucky up to West Virginia, Ohio and Michigan.
From there, he went down to Indiana and headed straight west through the Great Plains capitals to Wyoming, before looping south through the sun-belt states and up the west coast.
After running across Montana, the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin, Straub headed south to finish the trip in Springfield on Oct. 17.
He said he took 7,000 pictures during his trip, recorded 40 gigabytes worth of video, and drove an average of 350-400 miles—about seven hours—each day.
The Town Car took Straub to every capitol other than those in Honolulu, HI, and Juneau, AK. He flew to those two.
“It was really kind of a dream come true,” Straub said. “It can never be duplicated; I could not have scripted it any better.”
Along the way, Straub got attention from various media. He was featured by an NBC affiliate in Baton Rouge on Sept. 13, the Illinois Review on Sept. 30, a CBS affiliate in Bismarck on Oct. 13, and Madison.com on Oct. 16.
He then came home to a front-page feature in the Oct. 18 Daily Herald.
Straub, who is the president of Sales Activity Management in Burr Ridge and the founder of the nonprofit Proud to be Republican, LLC, said the point of the trip changed as it went on. He thought at the outset that he was going to observe in each capitol the presence of what he believes to be Lincoln’s principles—God, liberty, unity and patriotism.
Instead, he said, he found himself promoting those values more than observing them.
“I discovered that we needed to recommit to and reclaim Lincoln’s principles,” Straub said.
During his travels, Straub spent time with a Naval Academy student, met a Communist cowboy, and was shown around capitol buildings by countless staffers and local officials.
Straub referred to the folks he met at each building as his "Capitol Angels."
“The people kept me going,” Straub said.
And they’re keeping him going.
Straub said numerous people he met along the way told him he should write a book, and when he talked to Patch Wednesday morning, he was on his way to a conference of insurance salesmen in Texas to talk all about the trip.
So even though the 50 Capitols in 50 Days road trip is over, its cause, Straub said, remains.
“We have to remember that helping the country long endure is a marathon and not a sprint,” Straub said. “This trip was probably one small part of it.”
To see the many photos and videos Straub took, and read some of his stories from the trip, visit the 50 Capitols in 50 Days Facebook page.