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My recent trip through Nevada, California and Arizona was motivated by a few different factors but one of the reasons was to visit new counties. As you may remember, I am trying to visit all 3,143 counties in the United States and this year have finally gotten halfway there.
One advantage (or disadvantage) about county counting in the western United States is that the counties are often REALLY BIG! It’s an advantage because a lot of times it’s easier to plan a trip (since there are not very many options of roads that you can take!) The disadvantage is that it feels like you can drive a LOT and not visit very many new counties
We started out Sunday evening by landing in Las Vegas airport (Clark County). I had previously been to Clark County, though it was a new one for my son. We did visit a few new Interstate highways in Las Vegas, I-215 and I-515 (yup, I track that too)
Early Monday morning, we drove down to the Hoover Dam to check that out
Heading back from the Hoover Dam on US 93 North, we made our way through some light Las Vegas morning rush hour traffic before continuing north on NV 318.
Then came 2 long 200+ mile stretches on the same road – 260 miles on US 6 West and 221 miles on US 395 South. We stopped for lunch in Tonopah high up in the mountains of Nevada. I was not as prepared as I should have been for the cold – there were a few snow flurries up there!
As we entered Mineral County near the California border, I stopped to take a picture as that was my final county in Nevada
US 395 took us down the east of the Sierra Nevada before reaching 3 more Interstates – I-15 to (a different) I-215 and then I-10 East, circling around the northern and eastern edges of the Los Angeles exurbs. We enjoyed San Bernardino County (the largest county in the US) followed by Riverside and Imperial.
A quick out and back on CA 78 near Ocotillo Wells was an INCREDIBLY windy (that’s windy as in wind, not windy as in curvy) and dusty road – about a 10 mile western out and back into San Diego County (tragically no county sign), before heading back east on CA 78 and south on CA 111 and staying the night in El Centro, CA
Another early start got us heading east on I-8 near the Mexican border and into Arizona
We then quickly exited the Interstate and went north on US 95 into La Paz county, before heading east on I-10 and then US 60, AZ 71 and AZ 89. There was a bit of a discussion on the best way to go through the mountains to the south and west of Prescott, Arizona. Google Maps suggested getting OFF of AZ 89 and going around to the east through Skull Valley, which is what we ended up doing.
Rejoining AZ 89 we went east on I-40 before finishing our evening with sunset views of the Grand Canyon
The end of our trip saw us see the Anthem Veteran’s Memorial on 11/11, watching it line up perfectly at 11:11 a.m.
Final totals: 1576 miles, about 26 hours of driving, and 13 new counties (my son picked up a few extra ones)