Another year of county collecting is over. With snow already covering much of the northern half of the country and daylight averaging just 8-10 hours in most of the US, driving the back roads of America is done for this year. There were certainly some interesting sights this year from totem poles in Sitka, AK to a Jackalope statue in Douglas, WY to the biggest ball of twine in Minnesota. It was also a year of varied modes of transportation. I logged 10,190 miles on various rental cars this year, including a Jaguar . I accumulated thousands of airline miles, a couple thousand more at sea, flew in a helicopter and floatplane, rode the rails between Seattle and Vancouver (Canada), and did a mile-long loop via dogsled on an Alaskan glacier. The county collecting wrapped up with a weekend visit to Texas to spend time with some great friends from the Insider community. It was quite a year.
As usual, here are the before and after maps showing my progress in 2019.
For those who have not been following this blog for the past 6+ years, the colors do have a meaning. The dark blue is for counties where I have visited the county seat and mailed (and received) a postcard documenting the date and time of my visit. The green is for counties where I have been in the county seat but do not yet have the postcard proving I was there. I stopped in the majority of those counties prior to starting this project. The light blue represent counties where I have been in or through the county without visiting the county seat. Many of those also predate my county collecting quest.
So, how did 2019 unfold? At the start of the year there were still a couple states where I had not yet documented any county visits (no dark blue counties). That’s no longer true. As of today, I’ve mailed and received postcards from counties in every state. I also entirely filled in two more states this year—Mississippi and Iowa—bringing that total to 22. My county seat tally is now up to 2,498 out of the 3,149 in the county which works out to be 79.3%. That’s up 189 from this time last year.
I noted at the end of 2018, I might strive for approximately 200 counties each year and wrap up the entire project sometime in 2022. That is still in reach as I now have only 651 county seats left to visit, although with some pretty remote areas of Alaska on the list, I’m not sure I’ll be done quite so soon. As I mix other travels in with my county collecting as I did this year, such as my week-long visit to London, a couple trips to NYC, and a Caribbean cruise in early December, even visiting 200 counties in a year becomes challenging. Not that I mind.
Here are the individual blog post from 2019 in case you missed one.
I have not seriously begun planning my 2020 county trips. So far, only southern Georgia is on the list for late January. I will be heading back to Hawaii at the end of February, but as I’ve already visited all the county seats there, that won’t merit a blog entry. I’d like to fill in some of the large white spaces on the map in the plains states. Seems like I’ve barely touched South Dakota and Nebraska. Maybe I’ll try to knock out the rest of New Jersey over a long weekend. Plenty of time to figure that out. One thing is certain, wherever and whenever I collect more counties, you’ll be able to read about it here.