Hard to believe we’ve almost reached the end of another year. That means it’s time to look back over my county collecting trips over the past twelve months. I was able to document visits to 236 county seats from the Atlantic coast to the Gulf of Alaska, and from the Canadian border to the Rio Grande. In addition, I moved six more states (Florida, Alabama, Michigan, Wisconsin, Rhode Island, and North Carolina) into the ‘completed’ column. Out of the 3,149 county seats in the country, my collection of postcards (mailed and received) now stands at 2,310 (73.4%) up from 2,074 (65.9%) at the end of 2017. Looks like 75% is in reach early in 2019. If I have another good year, I might even top 80% by this time next year.
As I like to do in these year-end reviews, here are the before and after maps for this year.
For those who joined this site in the past year (or others who might have forgotten), the colors do have a meaning. White is for counties never visited. Light blue (cyan) is for counties I’ve been in, but not to the county seat (in most cases, ones I’ve just driven through). Green indicates counties where I have visited the county seat, but have not yet documented that visit. Most of these I visited prior to beginning this project. If you are curious, read Ten Years of County Collecting for more details. Blue represents the counties I have ‘collected’ by not only visiting, but also mailing (and receiving) a postcard noting the name of the county seat, the county, the date, and time of my visit.
Looking at the maps, a couple things stand out.
- I’ve now visited every county bordering Mexico as well as all those along the shores the Great Lakes.
- Only one county remains on the Gulf of Mexico—Jefferson County, TX (Beaumont).
- I still have not connected the east coast to the west, though it is inevitable I will do so in the next year or two. The big question is where will that happen? (KS/MO, OK/AR, TX/LA? Hard to guess).
- I documented visits in four states (AK, RI, MA, and ME) that were previously marked as 0% complete.
- Currently only 2 states remain with no blue counties (MT and WA). I plan to visit both next year.
In the entire United States, only 839 county seats remain to collect. If I can keep an average around 200 a year, that means at least 4 more years before I’m done. Chances are it will take a little longer. Keeping a pace in excess of 200 per years is becoming more challenging as I have to travel farther to visit new territory.
For those who have not been following my blog, here are the individual trip reports you missed this year.
There were other trips that involved Marriott stays though had nothing to do with county collecting. Places like Orlando (twice), DC, Dayton, NYC, Cleveland (twice), Greece, Baltimore, Niagara Falls, and an upcoming trip to San Francisco, but since they fall outside the purview of this blog, I won’t mention more about them except to say, remember how much fun we had a Double TIPPLE back in April?
While I’m working out where to go in 2019, check out a few statistics from the road in 2018.
Number of county collecting trips: 10
Average duration of county collecting trips (excluding Alaska, which was primarily vacation): 3 days
Postcards collected: 236
Postcards that failed to arrive: 0 (great job by the US Postal Service)
Miles driven on county trips: 13,930 (all in rental cars)
States completed this year: 6 (total is now up to 20)
Marriott brands visited (all trips in 2018): 17
Number of different airlines flown: 8 (now that I’m a free agent flyer)
New airports visited: AUS, LFT, ANC, PVD, BWI, and RDU (plus ATH on a non-county trip)
I'm not sure where the first trip of 2019 will be. Mississippi is a likely destination in late February, but until that trip is booked, my plans could change. Wherever I go to add new county seats to my collection, you can be sure a blog entry will soon follow.