A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: countycollector

Show-Me the Way

View Missouri on countycollector's travel map.

In April I was back in Missouri. I last flew into Kansas City in December and spent most of my time in Kansas. This trip was entirely Missouri. For anyone familiar with the old terminals at MCI, it might be time for a return visit. The brand new airport terminal opened in March of this year and it’s an incredible improvement. Spacious, quicker security lines, plenty of seating at the gates, and quite a number of decent restaurants. I used to dread flying into the old airport. The new one is worth seeing.

Of course, seeing the new airport terminal wasn’t my primary goal. I was looking to complete my county seat visit in Missouri. I only had 14 left to visit so a weekend trip was all I needed. Several of the place I needed to visit happened to be along the Route 66 Historic Byway, so naturally I took the opportunity to drive parts of the old “Main Street of America” again. While it’s no longer possible to drive the entire length of the original route, a good portion of what is still well-maintained and well-signed is in Missouri. In fact, Springfield Missouri proclaims itself the birthplace of Route 66. While my some of my favorite places along the route are in Arizona, Missouri does a great job of marking every turn, even noting when the alignment of the route changed over the years. I found a nice mural in Joplin depicting the old highway from Chicago to Santa Monica.
Following the route is easy as long as you pay attention to the signs. It’s funny in some ways because some current routes aren’t as well marked as Route 66 even though the highway was officially decommissioned in 1985.
Another discovery along the way were a couple replicas of the Statue of Liberty. Since I first saw a few of them in Iowa back in 2016, I keep running across them. Readers of my old (now defunct) blog, might recall I posted a handful of pictures of these statues between 2016 and 2019. There are over 100 of them around the country, many on the grounds of the county courthouse. I’ve seen several dozen over the years in places as diverse as Kansas, Arizona, Missouri, Iowa, Michigan, New Mexico, and Wyoming just to name a few. They originated in the early 1950s as part of a Boy Scout project called “Strengthening the Arm of Liberty.” For the curious an internet search on the topic will reveal the locations of many of the statues still remaining as well as details on the history of the project.

The trip was a success as I was able to document the remaining 14 county seats in Missouri. The state becomes the 30th one where I’ve been able to visit and mail postcards home from every county seat. Here are the before and after maps.
Up next is a visit to Idaho. I expect to complete the last 10 counties there as well as one in western Montana. Look for details here in mid-June

Until then…

Happy Travels

Posted by countycollector 19:54 Archived in USA Tagged missouri route_66 county_collecting Comments (0)

Texas Has How Many Counties?

View Texas 2023 on countycollector's travel map.

I should have posted this entry a month ago, but time slipped away from me. The last postcard from the trip arrived somewhat later than expected, but that’s not much of an excuse for waiting almost six weeks after returning home to share an update.

When I discuss my county collecting hobby with others, I am often asked “which state has the most counties?” The answer, unsurprisingly, is Texas with 254. My most recent trip was the 9th time I’ve visited the Lone Star State since I began my quest to visit every county seat in the United States back in 2011. If all goes well, one more visit ought to be enough to collect the rest. Here are the before and after maps.
The trip itself was generally uneventful. Flights in and out of DFW followed by a few days of driving in the northeast corner of the state added 29 new county seats to my collection. I’d love to say there were all manner of interesting sights along the way, but sadly I didn’t really see many. There was one curious one across the street from the county courthouse in Tyler, Texas. Apparently back in the 1950s there was a locally famous squirrel who lived on the courthouse grounds for roughly 15 years. Wild squirrels typically on live for a few years due to the large number of hazards, from predators to cars, so reaching 15 is quite impressive. Regardless, it’s not every day you see a grave marker for a squirrel. Rest in peace, Shorty.
Up next will be a weekend trip to Missouri to finish the remaining 14 counties there. Perhaps there will be more to share on that trip. Look for that in the coming weeks.

Until then…

Happy Travels

Posted by countycollector 12:25 Archived in USA Tagged texas county_collecting Comments (0)

County Collecting 2022 – the Year in Review

View Kansas & Palm Springs & MT & WY & Cleveland baseball game & ND & MT & Ozarks & Greece & Turkey & Western Nebraska & Albuquerque, Durango, and Flagstaff & Southern Oklahoma & Big Island & Georgia 2022 on countycollector's travel map.

As 2022 comes to a close, it’s time once again to look back at my county collecting travels over the past 12 months. Despite travel being pretty much back to normal, I only managed 7 county trips this year. That’s one more than in 2021, but the reason there weren’t more is that I had two extended trips in 2022, one to Hawaii, the other to Greece. Both lasted roughly 2 weeks and significantly impacted the amount of time (and money) I was able to devote to visiting interesting and mundane towns across rural America. Though from a county collecting perspective, the year looked less busy, I managed to get away from home at least once every month in 2022 including a summer weekend in NYC and a fall trip to Palm Springs.

Here are links to the individual county collecting trip this year in case anyone missed reading one or two.

Peaches and Peanuts
Bienvenue à Paris… Y’all
Know what Northwest Arkansas is famous for?
Driving in the Northern Plains States
Sometimes a place name says it all
Route 66 in Kansas (all 13 miles of it)

During the course of the year, I added 108 new county seats to my collection. The current total now sits at 2836, representing about 90% of the 3149 county seats in the country. As I’m getting nearer to completing my goal of visiting them all, I’m shifting to counting how many county seats are left to visit. If my math is correct, there are just 313 more to go. While there are still some big gaps, the map is beginning to fill in nicely. Check out the progress for the year. For explanations on the colors check out County Collecting 2021 – the Year in Review
I completed three states (Georgia, Oklahoma, and Arkansas) bringing that total up to 29. Several more are within reach for next year, though I have not yet decided which ones I’ll visit. At the moment, I’m considering trips to Texas, Idaho, and Alaska in 2023. I should probably look at the central plains as well since there are numerous counties from North Dakota to Kansas to visit. I just barely reached my goal of 100 counties in 2022, and If I can hit that number again in 2023, I’ll be content. I’m off to the Caribbean in January, so the next county collecting trip won’t happen before February. Whenever (and wherever) it is, I’ll share details here after returning home.

Until then…

Happy Travels

Posted by countycollector 13:26 Archived in USA Tagged county_collecting Comments (2)

Route 66 in Kansas (all 13 miles of it)

View Kansas on countycollector's travel map.

US Route 66 might be the best known highway in the United States despite having been official decommissioned in 1985. Most folks know the line “Get your kicks on Route 66” from the popular song written in 1964 by Bobby Troup. I even mentioned in a blog post a little over a year ago. As many know, the original route connected Chicago to Los Angeles crossing 8 states along the way including the southeast corner of Kansas. As a side note, Interstate 44 which replaced Route 66 between St. Louis and Oklahoma City bypasses Kansas completely, crossing the Missouri/Oklahoma state line roughly half a mile southeast from the point where Kansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri meet.

All right, history lesson aside, I had the opportunity to drive all 13 miles of the Kansas portion of Route 66 during a trip at the beginning of December. If you read my previous entry, you know I was just shy of reaching 100 new counties this year with no definite plans put me over the century mark. This trip was designed with just that goal in mind.

Beginning in Kansas City, my goal was to visit the 12 remaining counties in the southeastern corner of Kansas. A weekend would be sufficient. There’s not much to say about the actual county collecting part of the trip. Twelve county seats visited, twelve postcards mailed. Sadly, only 11 arrived. That will mean a future visit to Girard, Kansas. The interesting part of the trip was the drive along the entire stretch of Route 66 in Kansas.

It is no longer possible to drive the entire length of US 66, but the section from Springfield, MO to Tulsa, OK is well-maintained. Today, the Kansas portion is designated as Kansas state highway 66 and US 69 Alternate. Along the way, signage notes the historical, though now decommissioned US 66, making it quite easy to follow.
One noteworthy sight is the Rainbow Bridge. I’m not sure how it got that name, but my guess is due to the shape of the arch. According to the signage posted at the north end, the bridge dates back to 1923 and is the only remaining Marsh arch bridge (named for the designer) anywhere along Route 66.
As with other parts of Route 66, a number of historic buildings have been preserved. It’s not uncommon to see old gas stations turned into tourist visitor centers or souvenir shops. Kansas may have the shortest segment of historic US 66, but they do a good job of preserving the legacy of the highway that has been called the “Main Street of America” and “The Mother Road.”

Over the course of the weekend, I collected 11 new county seats. I can’t count Crawford County since the postcard never arrived. I’ll have to make a return visit when I’m collecting the last counties in Missouri. Fortunately, such a detour won’t take too much time. Here are the before and after maps. For reference, the green county indicates I visited the county seat but do not yet have a postcard documenting that visit. This one I can blame of the USPS.
With this trip, my total for the year jumps to 107. Overall, I’ve documented visits to 2835 county seats in all 50 states. With a total of 3149 county seats in the entire county, that puts me at exactly 90%. I explore a bit more detail on the ongoing progress in my annual Year in Review post. Look for that before the end of the year.

Until then…

Happy Travels

Posted by countycollector 14:06 Archived in USA Tagged kansas route_66 county_collecting Comments (1)

Sometimes a place name says it all

View MT & WY on countycollector's travel map.

Mid-October seemed a good time to be on the road. While the days are shorter and the weather cooler than peak travel season, it’s still a pleasant time to drive in much of the United States. Such was the case in central Montana and northern Wyoming during my latest county collecting trip.

Every now and then, I come across a place suited perfectly to its name. On good example is the town of Thermopolis in Hot Spring County, Wyoming. While visiting Hot Springs State Park, the name of the town and of the county are self-evident. From a vantage point along the main road into town, it’s easy to notice the steam rising from the thermal springs in the park.
Getting a bit closer, one notices the colorful mineral depots and the accompanying, almost overpowering odor of sulfur. The water temperature is 135 °F, a bit too hot for soaking, but I did stick my hand in for a few seconds. There are bath houses in the park were the water from the spring is cooled by the nearby Big Horn River to a more comfortable 104 °F. I chose to bypass the mineral soak due to both limited time and the desire not to smell like sulfur for the rest of the day.
In Glasgow, Montana, I came across a curious piece of artwork painted on the side of a building. While the city may not be as aptly named as Thermopolis, the depiction below is right on target.
Billings turned out to be an excellent base of operations to cover the counties I wanted to visit this time. A loop north, south, and west of Montana’s largest city allowed me to efficiently close the large gap I had left between the eastern and western portions of the state, while also affording me to the opportunity to pick up a few counties in northern Wyoming. Over the course of the long weekend, I added another 17 counties to my collection. That bring my overall total to 2824, putting me just shy of the 90% mark.
MTWY.png MTWY2.png
Though there are still a couple months before the end of the year, I’m not sure if I’ll be adding any additional counties in 2022. I had hoped to get to 100 new county seats this year, and while I’m currently at 95, I don’t have any travel plans at the moment that will add more. Perhaps I’ll find a way to sneak in a few before the calendar turns. If I do, you’ll be able to read about it soon. If not, stay tuned for my annual “Year in Review” update in late December.

Until then…

Happy Travels

Posted by countycollector 17:37 Tagged hot_springs montana wyoming county_collecting Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 5 of 75) Page [1] 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 .. » Next