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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

The shortest distance between 2 points is no fun

The shortest distance between 2 points is no fun

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

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

a man and woman standing on a mountain

a city with a bridge and a body of water

a group of people posing for a photo

Here is my updated counties visited map

a map of the united states

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

a map of the world with red lines

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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