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30,000 Miles, 31 NFL Stadiums, 3 Friends & 1 Great Cause

While training in Fort Rucker, AL, friends Nathan Thompson and Joe Lusk discussed how amazing it would be to travel the nation in an RV watching football. Unfortunately, before this was a possibility, Joe lost his life in Kuwait when his Apache helicopter crashed during a training mission. In memory of Joe, Nate is continuing with the dream while raising money for the memorial fund setup in Joe's name - CPT Joe F. Lusk II Memorial Fund. Joined by his brother Aaron Thompson and friend Nolan Meyers, the three will travel nearly 30,000 miles to see every NFL stadium. More

Current Stats

  • 30,428 mi
  • 31 NFL Stadiums
  • 9 College Stadiums
  • $7,754 Donated
Updated Feb. 27 at 12:45pm EST

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    Movie Magic

    Fri, Feb 26, 2010

    Allentown Productions contacted us after the CNN interview and have teamed up with the Gotham Group to buy the rights to the story of 31 Stadiums. Here is the Press Release that was in the Variety.

    Read the Press Release (Note that the link will take you to the Variety website)

    All Saints Sunday

    Tue, Feb 9, 2010
    Location Map
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    By Nate
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    Nate and Nolan at Super Bowl

    The closest we were to getting into the Super Bowl was about $1000 each and just outside the perimeter of the security fences (see picture above). We didn’t actually go to the game, just too expensive, but we thought we had a good idea that would help us get some tickets. Unfortunately time and supplies impeded the process. Our idea was to make two signs and stand in front of one of the main entrances or parking lots; one sign would read something like this:

    “Season Long Fundraiser: $7,000 donated”
    “31 NFL Stadium Tour in one season: $50,000 spent”
    “Seeing the Super Bowl with two free tickets: Priceless”

    The second sign would read:

    “Need Two Free Tickets”

    We thought it was unique signage that told some of our story and might get people to laugh and at least stop to talk to us. Actually, we thought this was genius! So with that plan in mind, we set off to the nearest Publix, one mile away, on foot. To our surmise, Publix did not have any poster board, so we booked it back to catch the train, and were pretty discouraged at that point. The triple decker train was packed full of mostly Saints fans but almost entirely of people going to the Super Bowl. But I was impressed with the process from getting to the stadium from the train; they had scores of free buses to take us to the stadium. It was much cheaper (only $5) than taking a taxi. I had a parking pass but no car (no RVs were allowed for the Super Bowl), so I gave the pass to our neighbors in the RV park who were going to the game.

    So with no real plan and a few beverages in Nolan’s murse, we just mainly took in the sites and people and asked around for tickets. We found one for face value ($800) but that was only a single. I trusted that guy because he was sitting next to the ticket, I think one of his friend’s bailed or couldn’t make it in. Some others were a little more suspicious so we were hesitant to purchase anything. We ended up having no luck, so we took a cab to the Hard Rock Casino complex to watch kickoff and the game. Table limits were down, people were scarce, and we had a direct view of the game and audio, so it was a unique way to watch the game. And with that, our season came to an end with an anticipated machtup of the two best teams in the NFL. I don’t need to recap the game since many people had a better vantage point than I, but the Saints fans were pretty excited about their first Super Bowl appearance and win. We constantly heard “Who Dat?” all night long. We are actually heading to New Orleans now to take part in the Victory Parade today that starts at 5pm. It should be a week-early Mardi Gras party tonight.

    South Florida Sunshine

    Sat, Feb 6, 2010
    Location Map
    Key West, FL
    By Nate
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    Nate and Nolan with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell

    On the eve of the Super Bowl, we just got some internet and some time to write a little recap of the Pro Bowl and the South Florida sunshine (or lack thereof). My father was able to join us for the annual NFL All-Star game being played on the mainland for the first time in some many years and the first time being played before the Super Bowl. It was an excellent opportunity for me to see the game since it is difficult to get to Hawaii where the game is usually played. The morning of the game, I was invited to a Fan Forum setup by the NFL to talk about the Pro Bowl and the NFL season in general with the NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell. It was a unique experience afforded to me by the AZ Cardinals because I had season tickets and a ticket to the Pro Bowl. Luckily I was able to bring guests and Nolan and my father enjoyed hearing one of the most powerful men speak about football topics such as the Pro Bowl, tailgating, NFL International, salaries, increased costs, and a slew of other general debatable topics. Afterwards, Mr. Goodell was kind enough to take a picture with Nolan and I as we presented him with a 31 Stadiums T-shirt. Unfortunately he didn’t have an Super Bowl tickets for us, so we are still in search of those highly coveted tickets.

    … Continue reading South Florida Sunshine

    Pro Bowl

    Sat, Jan 30, 2010
    Location Map
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    By Nate
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    Blue Crew Flag

    So after a few weeks of rest, recovery, and a marathon, I am back in Florida with Nolan and preparing for the Pro Bowl. We are in South Florida, and then tomorrow, on Sunday, we have a special event the morning of the game. Since I was a season-ticket holder for the AZ Cardinals and I was going to the Pro Bowl, the NFL asked me if I wanted to attend a Fan Forum with the NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell. Of course I said yes and will be taking Nolan and my father with me to attend on Sunday morning. We are excited to give our input and then to watch the Pro Bowl that evening. We will have the RV in the RV Lot 8, west of Sun Life Stadium (yes, the stadium changed names again). We look forward to the celebration of finishing up the goal of 31 stadiums in Miami with the Pro Bowl and Super Bowl.

    Favorite Quotes: Who Said That?

    Thu, Jan 21, 2010
    Location Map
    Phoenix, AZ
    By Nate

    Beer Pong Champs

    Here are some memorable quotes from the trip. Some are toned down a little for our PG audience, and others might be paraphrased slightly due to the lack of memory we had.

    1) “I like your plaid shirt!”

    2) “I don’t want to park over there, I just really want to valet this!”

    3) “No, I don’t want your lettuce. I’m not a rabbit!”

    4) “It doesn’t matter if it’s small, you are not a deer, you are a human, it still smells!”

    5) “I want to punch mother nature in the mouth!”

    6) “What marathon?”

    7) “Beer bong for the lady?”

    8 ) “He was great. Cutie too! Didn’t notice that. His eyes, didn’t notice those either. You’re married, not dead. Was he married?”

    9) “Hope I didn’t scare you last night. HAAHAHAAHAHAHAAhah!”

    10) “Bear Down! Bear Down, devil woman!”

    Not Always Peachy!

    Wed, Jan 20, 2010
    Location Map
    Phoenix, AZ
    By Nate
    Comments Off

    RV up in smoke

    Now that some of our favorite moments are out of the bag, we will talk about some of our worst, most embarrassing, or most disappointing moments of the four-month long trip.

    1) A trip consisting of over 30,000 miles in four months will definitely put some strain on any vehicle. I thought that with relatively new RV with low mileage would handle the stress. Unfortunately I was wrong and while traveling the Oregon coast, we experienced some RV issues, namely it was blowing white smoke in abundance out of the exhaust. We took it in for service and were told that the engine was going out, but it could make it to our next destination but with a lot of white smoke. We ended up driving through San Francisco during rush hour with the white-billowing smoke. Truckers, strangers, and environmental-friendly Prius drivers pleaded for us to pull over. Others were more blatant with their disgust and gave us dirty looks and the finger, it was quite embarrassing. The assessment we received earlier that day was wrong and the RV barely made it to LA and would not go any further. It ended up having to be towed to Phoenix and the engine and transmission were rebuilt.

    … Continue reading Not Always Peachy!

    A Family Affair

    Mon, Jan 18, 2010

    Thompsons After Marathon

    I’ve done some running in my days, but never a marathon. In fact, the most I’d run before last week was an Army ten-miler in Iraq a few years ago, and I was hurting for days after that. So needless to say, I was a little worried about the PF Chang’s Marathon I promised to run. I was afraid for my nipples bleeding, my feet blistering, and hitting the “wall” between miles 17 – 20. I trained a little during the four months on the road, and when I say a little, I mean maybe two to four times a month, so the looming marathon was heavy on my mind the last weeks of the trip. I even considered dropping to the half depending on how the training went the two weeks prior. I did a few two-a-days and then went for a long 13-mile run. I made the mistake of trying new socks for that run and got huge blisters on either foot. That sidelined me for a couple days, and then I did a few low-mileage runs before I jumped back into the long run. I did a 15-mile run the Tuesday before the marathon and felt pretty good, so I made the decision to run the full. It was also easier to make that decision because we had a lot of support from friends and family. The best marathon decision I made was taking three days off after that 15-mile run and then doing a slow 4-miler on Saturday followed by drinking 96 oz. of beer watching the Cardinals play a terrible game and lose to the Saints. People always say you should “carbo-load” before a long race, so that’s what I did! Aaron’s training went about the same minus the blisters.

    … Continue reading A Family Affair

    Nate was back on Phoenix 3TV News

    Wed, Jan 13, 2010

    Bruce Haffner interviewed Nate again early this morning, giving a great overview of the trip.

    Watch the video (Note that the link will take you to the KMBC website)

    Marathon Preparation!

    Tue, Jan 12, 2010
    Location Map
    Phoenix, AZ
    By Nate
    Comments Off

    Nate Training for Marathon

    First off, I would like to thank everyone for their support during the last four months for the 31 Stadiums Tour. We have raised over $5,000 and have had an incredible journey going around the nation seeing friends, family, football and promoting two excellent foundations with the CPT Joe F. Lusk II Memorial Fund and the Veteran Tickets Foundation.

    Now, my brother and I have signed up for the PF Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Half and full Marathon, respectively, in Phoenix, AZ on 17 January. Yes that is less than a week away and the training originally planned has been lacking significantly. I have been running a few times the last two weeks (before that it was pretty sporadic) and it is going about as well as you can imagine. The reason I write is that we are looking for pledges per mile to support our marathons. Or you can pledge one amount to donate. No amount is too little, and if you can help support us and the Foundation, the sign up is under the “Pledge” tab above. The more we raise per mile, the more motivation I will have to run the entire marathon. Just to let you know how the training has been going, here is a list of the last few weeks and my run times:

    24 Dec: 4 mi 30:45
    25 Dec: 3 mi 22:30
    28 Dec: 100 m x 10
    1 Jan: 2 mi 15:00
    2 Jan: 5 mi 37:30
    6 Jan: 5 mi 38:45
    6 Jan: 3 mi 24:00
    7 Jan: 8 mi 1:02:45
    8 Jan: 13 mi 1:45:00 (now I have two big blisters)
    10 Jan: 3 mi 25:15
    11 Jan: 3 mi 24:15
    11 Jan: 10 mi 1:23:15
    12 Jan: 15 mi 2:08:00

    As you can see, I have not put in the recommended mileage, but will continue to train this week and have fun completing the strenuous test of the 26.2 mile marathon. Thanks again for your past support and helping me accomplish some incredible goals.

    Best Moments of 31 Stadiums

    Fri, Jan 8, 2010
    Location Map
    Phoenix, AZ
    By Nate

    Nate in Pittsburgh

    Every time you mention our trip to someone, they always ask what is the best stadium, the best tailgate, the best fans, or the best overall experience. It is a very difficult question to answer since we are at one game for one day and there are so many different variables that can define the “best” about a stadium, a game, the fans, or a city. Because our experiences are defined by who was at the tailgate with us, what the weather was like, what teams were playing in the game, and what parking lot location we found, I will provide a list of some of our best moments while traveling the country. These are in no particular order and are from my own view point. Aaron and Nolan’s best moments probably differ slightly. So here we go:

    … Continue reading Best Moments of 31 Stadiums