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"Hi Pat."

"Did you get the proposed trip I sent over? Better book soon, because this big-city tour is going fast!"

"Well, if this is the route map you want me to choose from, I don't think this airline is going to be in business very long. Seattle must be one of the worst cities in America to have a hub in, especially with all these cross-country flights."

"Sometimes missing a flight provides a new destination."

"Very Zen, Pat, but I'll take the insurance on this one. Well, it looks like all roads lead to Seattle, so let's book to Seattle."

"Oh, you're not going to Seattle!"

"Then why did you send me the...oh, another puzzle?"

"On your mark, get set, go!"


Well, Pat's doing it to me again. Can you help me figure out where I'm headed this time? I've included a copy of the route map Pat sent me, as well as a couple of insets. Note that the Hawaii inset includes a route not on the main map, but that is the only exception.

Route Map Higher Res Version

Hawaii Inset Hawaii Inset

Western US Inset Western US Inset

Central US Inset Central US Inset

Mid-Atlantic Inset Mid-Atlantic Inset

(h/t Google Maps for map creation)

HINTS

I probably should have added the "pattern" tag to this puzzle. You don't need to determine every location on the map to solve the puzzle...if you can spot the pattern!

There are three termini in Missouri; none has a population greater than 6,000, but each is connected to a much larger city.

Recommend starting with the western inset map...there are a couple of links there with two larger cities that might give you a corner to pick at. Also, I've added the knowledge tag, since picking at this corner might require a bit of research.

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  • $\begingroup$ Should we add the story tag since it does have a story presentation to it? $\endgroup$ Oct 25 '21 at 16:19
  • $\begingroup$ @Tacoタコス I don't know that there's much of a story, but would not object if you thought it appropriate to add. $\endgroup$ Oct 25 '21 at 16:22
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Pat sends me to ...

... Indianapolis.

The flights follow this pattern:

They start in an airport of a city, whose county has the same name as one of the states and they go to the largest city of that state.

For example, there is a flight from Alton, Oregon County, Missouri to Portland, Oregon. There are other flights from Grass Valley, Nevada County, California and from Prescott, Nevada County, Arkansas to Las Vegas, Nevada. Sometimes the flights go to the same state as with the flight from Provo, Utah county, Utah to Salt Lake City or the flight from Hilo, Hawaii county, Hawaii to Honolulu.

And as for why there are so many flights to Seattle: George Washington sure was a very popular choice when naming things in America.

Where am I headed?

Not all states have a corresponding county namesake, but one connection that is missing from Pat's map is the one from Indiana county, Pennsylvania, to Indianapolis.

I also guess I'm going to see a race of the IndyCar Series, because of Pat's comments. She says that "this big-city tour is going fast!" and "On your mark, get set, go!"

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  • $\begingroup$ Almost there! All that is written here is correct. $\endgroup$ Oct 29 '21 at 18:28
  • $\begingroup$ That's it! All other such connections are present in the map. $\endgroup$ Oct 30 '21 at 11:30
  • $\begingroup$ Nice puzzle, but it looks a bit daunting at first. The first hint reassured me that it can be done without too much legwork and the other two provided useful angles of attack. $\endgroup$
    – M Oehm
    Oct 30 '21 at 11:46

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