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Bienvenue à Paris… y’all

View Albuquerque, Durango, and Flagstaff on countycollector's travel map.

Like most other travel, my county collecting has not yet returned to its pre-pandemic level. I don’t have as much time to devote to county collecting this year as I normally would partly due to a couple longer family trips that had been postponed since 2020. In most years, by April, I’d be on my third or fourth county trip rather than having just completed my second. With much of my available vacation time and dollars devoted to trips originally scheduled in 2020, my county trips are not only fewer in number, but also shorter in length. Take my recent visit to Texas and Oklahoma as an example.

Over the last decade most of my county trips began with a flights to a major airline hub like ORD, ATL, DFW, or MSP, followed by a connecting flight to my starting point. Since that transit time was typically 5-6 hours, it was nice to have 3 days or more to drive between county seats and mail as many postcards as possible. Right now, it’s hard to find more than weekend available, so I opted for a direct Friday afternoon flight to DFW and then 2 days of county collecting before flying home Sunday evening. The tradeoff for not taking time off work was collecting fewer counties. My goal wasn’t to do much in Texas but rather to finish up the last 8 counties in southern Oklahoma. I’d pick up whatever else I could in the time available.

I reached DFW late afternoon on Friday, picked up my rental car, and headed for Denton, a city just north of the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Saturday morning it was on to Oklahoma. I’d love to say I saw all sorts of interesting sights along the way, but sadly there was little to report. By Sunday I was already back in Texas on my way to the airport before there was anything worthy of sharing. I reached Paris, the county seat of Lamar County by late morning and after dropping my postcard in the mailbox, went searching for the Eiffel Tower I’d heard was in town. It is a scale replica, about 65 feet high, and since it’s in Texas, is topped with a giant red cowboy hat. Welcome to Paris, y’all.
As luck would have it, Paris wasn’t the only place with something worth photographing. Around lunchtime, I stopped in Sulphur Springs. On the town square adjacent to the county courthouse, I discovered this unusual crosswalk sign.
Fans of Monty Python should immediately recognize the silhouette inspired by John’s Cleese’s character in the classic Ministry of Silly Walks sketch. Apparently similar signs have been appearing in recent years in such places as Ottawa, Reykjavik, as well as towns in Norway and the Netherlands. I hear there is also one in Manitou Springs, Colorado so maybe next time I’m close to Colorado Springs, I’ll make a side trip to look for it.

Over the weekend, I added 12 more counties to my ever-growing tally, including 3 in Texas and 1 in Arkansas. Perhaps more significantly, I collected the remaining 8 counties in Oklahoma, making it the 28th state completed.
Up next is another short trip, this time to northeast Colorado and far western Nebraska. With only a weekend available, my goal is to add 15 more counties. My self-imposed time restraints will put a limit on what I’m able to do this year. It’s taken a decade to get this far, and with fewer than 400 counties to go, a dozen here and a dozen there will still put me closer to the eventual finish line. I look forward to discovering more curious bits of Americana as I’m exploring the highways and byways of this country. Check back in a few weeks to see what I find.

Until then…

Happy Travels

Posted by countycollector 14:11 Archived in USA Tagged texas oklahoma arkansas county_collecting

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Thanks for another great update. I learn a lot from reading these. I definitely need to get a pic of the crosswalk sign when I pass through Sulphur Springs.

by jermitch4

I knew I couldn't be the only one who would appreciate the crosswalk sign.

by countycollector

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