Woman's goal to see all 50 states ends with RI

Emily Schaeffer, her daughter and granddaughters

A grandmother from the Midwest made it her mission to visit every single state in the union, and Rhode Island was her last stop.

The journey took decades to complete, but 87-year-old Emily Schaeffer, her daughter and two granddaughters marked the occasion Wednesday at the State House.

With the visit to Providence, Schaeffer's been to all 50 states.

"We've been to Missouri and Illinois, Wisconsin, Texas," said granddaughter Molly Pritchard.

It's a goal Schaeffer has had since before her grandchildren were born.

"Every summer we went on vacation to somewhere different. We had a journal to keep track of all the states she'd been in," daughter Barb Pritchard said. "Some of them we just cut the corners of or we just drove through, but they were all checked off the list."

Schaeffer almost made it to Rhode Island years ago, but her husband wouldn't make the detour.

"He said, 'Oh, sometime we'll make that trip,'" Schaeffer said. "But no."

Schaeffer was born in South Dakota, and then she moved to Nebraska. It took decades, but she made it to 49 states on her own.

She needed help to get to the fiftieth. Her granddaughter, Katie Pritchard, made it happen.

"I just graduated from college and this was the first trip I wanted to take," Katie Pritchard said.

"She said, 'I'll get you there grandma,'" Schaeffer said. "I feel wonderful."

Seeing that excitement is priceless for the family because Schaeffer was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

"We wanted to be sure and get here while she could still enjoy it," Barb Pritchard said.

Pictures will serve as reminders of the milestone, no matter this grandmother's state of mind.

The three generations of women are staying in Newport. After visiting the State House, they stopped by Brown University.