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So lots of people want to visit all 50 US States, and that is an admirable goal. A few years ago though, I decided to try and visit all 3,143 counties (the actual number keeps changing but as usual, Wikipedia will hook you up)
I support the Extra Miler club, whose motto is:
The shortest distance between two points is no fun
In addition to their website, they have a pretty active Facebook group as well (and while you’re there, follow Points With a Crew on Facebook as well!!). Just the other day I posted a question about whether US 41 managed to go through Monroe County Florida (in the middle of the Everglades) and within 20 minutes we had several responses, including someone who knew of a parking lot you could stop in right at the county border and satellite imagery of the county intersection from Google. Isn’t technology crazy…
Tracking your counties
My first law of the Internet states that “no matter how much you like something, someone else likes it more, and they already have a website about it”. It holds true in this case as well – in addition to the Extra Miler Club, there is a great site at www.mob-rule.com that lets you easily track which counties you have been to. You can just mark it with a yes/no, or you can even give it a legend to mark counties in different ways (I mark mine by date of visit)
Here’s my map – you can access the most recent copy here.
So just saying that you want to visit all the counties, and starting to track them, doesn’t mean that you’ll get any new ones! Even regular (driving) road trips won’t get you there – you really need to get off the beaten path. So, starting in about 2006, I started taking “county trips” – trips taken with the specific goal of visiting new counties.
Here’s a listing of some of the county trips that I’ve done. Some links go back to my old “Every Whatever” blog, and some to this blog, and some have no trip report.
- April 2007 – several trips before and after 2 weeks of training in Chicago, including going home from Chicago to Cincinnati by way of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
- August 2008 – Going from Cincinnati to North Carolina by way of Hershey, Pennsylvania (this actually featured my first ever BRG!)
- Summer 2011 – a day trip from Denver into SE Colorado, NM, OK and KS
- Summer 2012 – Taking the kids on a county trip down the North Carolina coast
- October 2012 – Trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco and back
- June 2014 – Central Kentucky county trip
- August 2014 – Nevada / Idaho / Oregon – 17 hours, 3 kids, no electronics
Setting world records
In addition to regular-style county trips, a few times we’ve tried to visit ALL the counties in a particular place in a set period of time (usually a goal of 24 hours).
- November 2006 – All 88 counties in Ohio in 23 hours, 34 minutes and 34 seconds.
- February 2009 – All 67 counties in Alabama in 22 hours 8 minutes and 40 seconds.
- August 2010 – All 67 counties in the 6 New England states in 26 hours, 38 minutes and 44 states – below is a time lapse video we took every 6 seconds from the dash in the car.
When I say they’re world records – we have entered them over on RecordSetter.com. Guinness actually doesn’t allow land speed records on public roads, which, when you think about it, kind of makes sense :-).
I’m about 40% of the way done and thought that I was doing well, until I realized that even if I visit 100 new counties each year (something that’s becoming harder and harder to do as I have already visited most of the counties near my house), it will still take me nearly 20 years to visit! Turns out the United States is kind of big 🙂