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A Decade of County Collecting – Part 2

Before long, it will be time to set off again to continue the quest to visit every county seat in the USA. While we’re waiting to get back to traveling, here’s the second part of my recap from the past decade. 2016 marked the first year where every county collecting trip involved a flight (or two) followed by renting a car. Prior to this, at least some of my trips were close enough to home that I could head out in my own car. Now with the nearest uncollected counties a day or more away, I haven’t used my own vehicle on these trips at all over the last five years. At the beginning of 2016, my map looks like this.
That year, I began searching out interesting photo ops along the way. While I had stumbled across a few curiosities in the prior years, in 2016 I started actively looking for something out of the ordinary to photograph on each trip. One such example was this sign in Kinsley, KS.
By the end of 2016, I had added another 314 counties over the course of 12 separate trips. In the process, Tennessee moved into the completed column, the 13th state finished.
Progress continued in 2017, albeit at a slower pace with another 177 counties added. Hawaii became the 14th state I completed when I made my second county trip there in March. I also added counties in North and South Dakota for the first time. By the time the year ended, only 6 states (AK, ME, MA, MT, RI, and WA) were left without any “blue” counties, meaning I had yet to receive a postcard I mailed from those states.
Perhaps the highlight of 2018 was my first ever trip to Alaska. I continued looking for unusual wayside attractions such as this 55 foot tall statue of the Jolly Green Giant in Blue Earth, MN.
By year end, my county tally had grown by 236 to a grand total of 2,310. I completed Florida, Alabama, Michigan, Wisconsin Rhode Island, and North Carolina this year. While there is no question I’ve been making good progress, it still felt like three was still a lot of ground to cover.
2019 marked an important milestone, at least one county collected from all 50 states. Montana ended up being the last state I reached since I began back in 2011. In addition, Iowa and Mississippi moved to completed status, marking 22 states where I have documented visits to every county seat.
Travel in 2020 was drastically curtailed, but I still managed to add 117 counties and finish the last parishes in Louisiana. I also visited the final counties in Minnesota. The grand total now stands as 2,615. With only 534 left the go, the end is in sight. How long it will take is anyone’s guess. Five years seems reasonable, but I've learned that as I get nearer to the end, it becomes hard to add a lot of new territory. It's likely this will continue late into this decade. Come along (virtually) for the ride and we'll see when I cross the finish line.
That brings things up to date. I’m beginning to plan trips for later this year. My first destination will be Oregon in May. Other places I’m considering for 2021 are Utah and Wyoming, South Dakota, eastern Washington, New Jersey, and the final counties in Georgia. I’m not sure I’ll get to all of those places since it’s hard to know how many trips I’ll be able to make this year. Plans often have a way of changing. One thing is certain. I will be able to fill in a bit more of my map before 2021 ends. Since I’ve no travel planned until heading to Oregon, look for the next blog entry once I get back from that trip in mid-May

Until then…

Happy Travels

Posted by countycollector 17:52 Archived in USA Tagged county_collecting

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