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In honor of Tuesday’s #TRLT (The Road Less Traveled) Twitter chats, I thought I’d share a bit about a fun “game” I like to play when doing some of my county trips.  Unfortunately, online map services are not always the best at telling the “quality” of a given road.  I mean, they all look like “white lines” online, but when you actually GET there, you can see a wide range of road qualities.  Things are a little better nowadays with Google Street View, but still, sometimes it’s a bit of a guessing game.

Is this a road?  Or someone’s driveway?

Planning for a recent county trip, I was looking at the best way to visit all of the Utah counties.  My first route attempt had me leaving US 50 for a 2.4 mile trip on “Japs Valley Road”, until we got to the border of Sanpete County.

(SEE ALSO: Visiting 3,143 counties)

While I was doing my last-minute planning to make sure the route looked good, I took a look at the Google Street View for Japs Valley Road.  Japs Valley Road itself doesn’t have any street view (which should be a good indicator!) but here’s what it looks like from the turnoff at US 50


Now keep in mind that’s in the summer, so any snow or wintry conditions are only going to make it worse.  After looking at that, I decided to instead take a slightly longer way to visit Sanpete County – the last thing I want is to be stuck in a ditch on some crappy dirt path covered in ice and snow in a rental car.

Playing the road / driveway game in southern Ohio


The very first time we played this game was on our trip to visit all 88 counties of Ohio in 24 hours (cross it off the travel bucket list!).  Mapquest suggested that a good way to visit Gallia County (in the very southern tip of Ohio) was to turn off of the main road onto “Blackfork-Peniel Road“.  Keep in mind that this was back in 2006, so there was no Street View, and there wasn’t much in the way of smartphones or map information on the road.

Compounding issues was that we got here at about 3:30 in the morning after having driven non-stop all day.  The first little bit was fine, but then the “road” slowly devolved into a dirt track through a forest.  This was in October, so the leaves on the trees were plentiful, and in the distance we could barely see lights snapping on at houses way off in the distance.  I remember wondering if these were hunters waking up early and getting ready to shoot us 😀

You might not be surprised to learn that the Ohio Department of Transportation does NOT put “Welcome to County” signs on dirt tracks in the middle of the forest (!), so we weren’t 100% sure when we head crossed the border into Gallia County.  At one point, we reached a fork in the road, and since we had no real way to know where exactly we were, we felt like we HAD to go down both forks for a mile or so, just to make sure we had gotten there.  After all, there’s nothing as annoying as visiting eighty SEVEN counties (instead of 88) in 24 hours.

It was this story that got us into the book of World Records, as the world record holder for the fastest time to visit all 88 counties in Ohio (23 hours, 34 minutes and 34 seconds)

Ever been on the road less traveled and wondered if you were actually on someone’s driveway?


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