With the (recent) turn of the year, thoughts are turned to travel completed during the past year. As many of you know, one of my travel bucket list goals is trying to visit all 3,143 counties in the United States. As part of that goal, I belong to a group called the Extra Miler Club, whose motto is
The shortest distance between 2 points is no fun
It’s that sort of thinking that leads to the following route between Las Vegas and Phoenix
which is the route my son and I took on our recent trip to Hoover Dam, the Grand Canyon and points in between
Reviewing 2015 travel
Last week, on the Extra Miler Club Facebook group, there were 2 questions asked:
In the year of 2015, I touched at least one new county in 16 different states. Who’s got me beat? Happy New Year to all.
There were lots of comments on that, including someone who visited new counties in 36(!) different states. I looked back through my travel, and realized I visited a new county in 18 different states.
- In March, I finished up visiting every county in Utah, then also visited Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado (4 corners!), Wyoming and Idaho on the same trip (6 new states)
- Also in March our family visited Indiana, where I finished up the Hoosier State by visiting the remaining 14 counties near Fort Wayne (1)
- Iowa, Nebraska, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota (and repeat visits to Colorado, Idaho and Wyoming) on our grand summer family train trip (5)
- Minnesota, Wisconsin (and North Dakota again) on a whirlwind Minnesota / Wisconsin / Manitoba / North Dakota / Ontario county trip. Remember, if you SEE a giant statue of an animal, what’s the #1 rule? (2 – provinces don’t “count”)
- Virginia and Maryland in November on my Eastern Virginia / Southern Maryland county trip (part of my trip to the Family Travel for Real Life conference) – (2)
- And the aforementioned Nevada / California / Arizona county trip with my son (2 – already counted Arizona)
It was 210 new counties in all, my 2nd best year ever behind the 240 new counties I visited in 2007.
In addition to those 18 states I visited, I also visited previously visited counties in Ohio, Kentucky, Florida, Illinois and the District of Columbia, for a total of 22 states plus DC visited in 2015!
Consecutive years with a county
Someone also posted that …”I have collected at least one new county every year since 1985 (that’s 31 years in a row). I’m the tortoise, not the hare. How many of you have a longer streak?”
I looked through my notes and found that ever since 1996, when I spent the entire year in the Dominican Republic as a Mormon missionary, I have gotten at least one new county every year! From 1997 to 2015 is 18 consecutive years! Some of those were close – 1999’s only new county was a trip to Phoenix, Arizona (Maricopa County!) to visit my sister. 2006’s visit to every county in Ohio in only 24 hours was the start of this travel goal!
I know that this type of “boring” domestic travel isn’t what you’ll read about on many travel blogs where it seems like all we talk about are first class flights and 5 star hotels, but this is still travel, and I’m sure that many of you travel like this too!
So what about you? How many new states or counties did you visit in 2015, or what other travel goals did you meet in 2015?