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 2015 trip to Hoover Dam, the Grand Canyon and points in between
Reviewing 2017 travel
At the end of each year, I like to review 2 questions to talk about my county-related travel
- A travel goal I’ve done every year for the past 19 years (2016)
- A travel goal I’ve done every year for the past 18 years (2015)
Astute readers will notice a 20 missing – I realized that I just can’t count and 18 and 19 should be 19 and 20 😀
Number of states and counties visited
Looking back through my travel, and realized I visited a new county in only 5 different states (much fewer than previous years). I did visit a total of 14 states (CA / NM / TX / LA / AR / MS / UT / CO / IN / IL / OH / KY / VA / NJ) plus DC, though some of those were “only” airport stops 🙂
Here is a recap of our family’s trips
- February – my son and I went to Texas mostly to hike the tallest point in Texas (Guadalupe Peak)
- March – my wife and son went to Louisville for a concert that … didn’t end well (SEE ALSO: Thanks Hyatt for cleaning vomit out of my car)
- March – family trip to Sacramento to visit my sister and her family
- April – we went to Disney World again as part of the TravelingDad.com retreat
- May – my wife and I flew LAN Business Class to Lima, Cuzco and Machu Picchu
- June – my son went with his Boy Scout troop to Philmont New Mexico (unfortunately they wouldn’t let me use miles and points to fly him out there :-D)
- July – I used miles to send my parents on a trip to Scotland and Ireland
- August / September – my youngest son and I spent a long weekend over Labor Day in Stockholm Sweden
- September – I had a whirlwind weekend where thanks to miles and points I flew to Salt Lake City for a 20 year mission reunion, then took a redeye on Delta from SLC to ATL followed by a connecting flight to Indianapolis where my wife picked me up so we could attend a friend’s wedding
- October – to Chicago for the Chicago Seminars 2017 and Colorado Springs for BAcon
- November – a county trip through east Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and one county in Arkansas (the AR / LA / TX tripoint; pic below). On the way home I had to ask myself – Is Allegiant the world’s dumbest airline?
- November – back to Chicago where I avenged my “worst ever” hotel stay and a Southwest Airlines employee saved Thanksgiving for me!
- December – my wife and daughter apparently couldn’t get enough of Sacramento so the two of them went back just themselves! Later in the month to take advantage of the best promo nobody’s talking about, my wife and I had a staycation night at the Best Western Premier Mariemont Inn
- December – Chicago… ONE MORE TIME! This time it was a “fake” trip, though Southwest Airlines did their best to cancel it.
Here is my updated counties visited map
It was 129 new counties in all – my 4th best year ever behind the 240 new counties I visited in 2007, 210 counties in 2015 and 182 in 2016. A total of 3 countries (USA / Peru / Sweden) – hoping to improve on that in 2018!
Here is my airline flight map for 2017, courtesy of GCMap – 30 segments and 32,619 miles
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 2017 is 21 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!
Looking forward to 2018
So far in 2018, I only have one trip actually booked – my son and I are headed to Athens, Greece in the spring. A couple of other trips in the planning stages include
- Taiwan on the Hello Kitty jet and Beijing
- A longer family trip to either Eastern Europe or Central / South America
- Visiting family in Florida and North Carolina
- Probably back to Chicago Seminars in October
- Looking at a Caribbean (or Hawaii) cruise for our 20 year wedding anniversary
So what about you? How many new countries, states or counties did you visit in 2017, or what other travel goals did you meet in 2017?
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