Rex and Carol Joseph love to travel. So much so that Mr. Joseph has categorized their adventures into bucket lists.
For example, the couple have been to all seven continents, all 50 state Capitols, all 24 Indiana state parks and all 38 presidential grave sites, to name a few.
In addition, Mr. Joseph has competed in foot races in all 92 Indiana counties. He completed that list by helping to organize a run in Ohio County on Nov. 3, 1984. “The county didn’t have one so a buddy of mine and I coordinated it, which we called The House of the Rising Sun. The name came from the county’s largest city and was a play on The Animals’ hit song of the same name.
“I didn’t start out making lists; they evolved and grew over time,” said Joseph, a recently retired attorney. “That’s what happens after 40 years of traveling.”
The couple’s list for visiting every state was completed when they walked into the Bismark, N.D., Capitol in 1990 with their children, Becky, Andrea and Matt.
Mr. Joseph told a statehouse employee of their feat, and the worker said, “Well, you have to meet the governor!”
“And we walked right in and met him,” said Joseph, who added that it seemed strange that the governor would have time to see them on the spur of the moment. “His name was George Sinner, which I thought was funny.”
An upcoming trip will serve to complete three more lists: attending a worship service in every state when in Wyoming; touring the most populous city in each state when venturing to Sioux Falls, S.D.; and visiting a university in every state when going to the University of South Dakota.
And an excursion later this year will take the couple to the Allegheny Trail in Pennsylvania.
While the Josephs – high school sweethearts and graduates of Southport – still travel some with their family, they are mainly on their own these days.
“We help out our children when they travel ... we baby-sit our grandchildren, Mrs. Joseph said. “And we like spending time with them.
“You can find fun and wonderful things to do anywhere. You don’t have to travel all over the country. The U.S. is so different everywhere. It’s fun to explore this country with your family. You can always find a mix of history and nature. We have a great country. Be sure to do your research before traveling.”
The couple’s travels also include more than 500 universities, including all 45 schools on the Indiana tax form and all 14 Big Ten campuses; all 13 presidential libraries; all seven of Canada’s provinces that border the United States; more than 50 countries; and 51 of the 59 national parks. Not yet crossed off are six in Alaska and one in Hawaii and American Samoa, the latter of which probably won’t be visited.
“All the continents and countries are unique,” agreed the Josephs. “We enjoyed all of them.”
In summarizing their travels, the couple said the national parks are probably the most memorable. “They are all beautiful, and we would like to visit most of them again.”
Mrs. Joseph commented on some of the beautiful universities that they have seen. “The way Pepperdine overlooks the Pacific Ocean in Malibu, I don’t know how the kids study. The view of the ocean is unbelievable. Stanford, Indiana University and Berry College in Rome, Ga., are also beautiful.”
“We started out visiting colleges because we liked to walk, and then we found ourselves visiting them all over the country.”
And if you think that’s it for bucket lists, you’re wrong.
Mr. Joseph had attended a major league baseball game in every stadium until Atlanta and Minnesota built new facilities. This might prove to be a never-ending list.
He was a lieutenant in the Army during the Vietnam War but didn’t see combat action. “I wanted to see what Vietnam was like so we visited it in 2010. It was an unbelievable experience.”
The Josephs, married 50 years, have spent the night in the capital city of every state except Juneau, Alaska. “I keep telling my wife that I love Juneau. We need to go there,” Joseph laughed.
When not busy planning his next trip or spending time with his family, Mr. Joseph serves as the chaplain of the University of Indianapolis men’s basketball team. “I say a prayer and a devotion before every home game, and I go on some road games. I have built a great rapport with the players and parents.
“Coach Stan Gouard is a fantastic guy. I love him, and he’s doing a great job.”
The Josephs, both in their early 70s, enjoy good health and traveling as much as ever. “We have been blessed,” Mr. Joseph said. “We will keep doing this while we still have the ability.”