Four seemed to be the number of the week for my four day, four state, county collecting trip. It began with a travel day where I set foot in all four times zones in the continental US. From Columbus, OH (ET) I flew to Minneapolis (CT), then to Seattle (PT) before landing in Boise (MT). On top of that, the aircraft that took me from SEA to BOI on 10/13/16 had only been in service for four weeks. I’m sure iahflyr will want to fact check me, so here’s the tail number N243SY (E75 delivered to SkyWest Airlines on 9/15/16). Also of interest to our favorite aviation buddy is that the north runway at CMH (10L/28R) is now open after being closed for rehabilitation/construction since April. And of course, I stayed in four different Marriott brands each of the four nights.
During my layover at SEA, I did have enough time for a cup of Ivar’s clam chowder, and when I reached Boise, a dinner stop at Taco Del Mar (more on this later), before reaching the SpringHill Suites Park Center. In addition to the typical Platinum welcome, the front desk provided a small gift bag containing a bottle of water and a few pieces of candy. Those little unexpected extras are always nice.
The first day of county collecting covered much of southwestern Idaho, southeastern Oregon, and northern Nevada ending at the TownePlace Suites in Elko, the only Marriott property between Salt Lake City (230 miles to the east) and Reno (290 to the west). In this part of the country, signs like this (spotted on Oregon route 78 just south of Crane) are not an unusual sight.
From Elko, it was on to Eureka, NV and then into Utah along US route 50
Here’s proof of how lonely this road is in Eureka, the Eureka county seat. Note the county courthouse (the brick building on the left with the flag out front).
The scenery was great driving through the mountains in eastern Nevada and western Utah. Temperatures ranged from 36º to 84º and at one point (Connors Pass), I reached 7749 feet above sea level. The day wrapped up at the Provo Marriott. One thing I love about this part of the county, is that it’s almost impossible to look anywhere and not see mountains. Just stepping outside the front door of the Marriott, one is greeted with this view (note the "Y" halfway up the mountain – just above Brigham Young University). Hiking up to the “Y” is quite popular, particularly for BYU students. Having arrived not long before dusk, I opted not to do so.
From Provo it was out to Tooele (pronounced Too-Ella) then to Salt Lake City, Pocatello, and on to Twin Falls stopping at all the county seats along the way. In my early days working for the Federal Government, one of my “customers” was the Tooele Army Depot, so it was interesting to finally see the area after having spent many hours on the phone with people working there. The Fairfield Inn in Twin Falls still looked new despite having been open for a couple of years.
All too soon, it was back to Boise for the flight home. I did manage one last visit to Taco Del Mar. As promised earlier, here is a bit of history as to why eating there is a big deal for me. Many Insiders know I lived in the Seattle area for almost a decade. It was during this time that I discovered this chain and their signature item – fish burritos (yum!). I became such a fan that I’d eat there a least once a week. Since leaving the Pacific Northwest, finding a Taco Del Mar has been tricky (the closest one to me is in Franklin, KY – about 5 hours away ). These days, when I find one, I make a point of stopping.
So, how was my progress on this four-day county collecting trip? Well, here are the before and after maps. Despite the large geographic area covered, I only visited 33 county seats. In a couple cases, the drives between stops were quite long. For example, it is 220 miles between the adjacent county seats of Burns, OR and Winnemucca, NV which took about 3½ hours.
In each of the four states, this visit was my first since I began mailing postcards from the county seats. I also added Marriott stays in 3 of the 4 (Oregon will have to wait for a future trip). Over the course of 4 days, I managed to visit about one-third of the counties in Idaho, Nevada, and Utah (and 2 of Oregon’s 36 counties).
Up next is a short visit to northern Georgia in early November which I anticipate will be the last county collecting trip of the year. Look for details in a few weeks.