Updated: Dec 3, 2020
Twenty-five years ago, I decided I would visit every county in the United States. It began as a quirky idea at a time in my life when the country was yet unexplored -- a boundless and tantalizing expanse of roads and highways. I was young and I had a constant, gnawing desire to get behind the wheel and just drive somewhere new. My quirky idea satisfied that desire perfectly.
Since then, I have taken dozens of extended road trips, zigzagging my way across the map in a contorted attempt to capture as many counties as possible, logging hundreds of thousands of miles in the process. Today, there are yet hundreds of thousands of miles of open road left to explore. So my story begins here, somewhere in the middle of that journey.
There are 3,143 counties in the United States. I have been to 1,932 of them, some 61.5% of the total. I have visited all of the counties in 17 states, mostly in the West. Just a few days ago, I returned from a two-week driving tour of the Carolinas and the mid-Atlantic states where I completed all of North and South Carolina, Maryland and West Virginia. I picked up a total of 217 new counties and independent cities (in Virginia) along the 6,800+ mile splendidly circuitous route I traveled.
Those are the raw statistics.
What lives behind the numbers is much more interesting and beautiful -- the scenic drives, the roadside attractions, the historical markers, the state and national parks, the bridges, tunnels and toll roads, the mountain passes and lowland causeways -- and all the experiences and enduring memories that are forged through their exploration.
I created this space for the sole purpose of sharing travel experiences, ideas, recommendations, as well as cautions. My goal is to post one story per week. If you are a veteran road-tripper, I hope you will find a connection to a fellow traveler in these posts and perhaps feel open to sharing some of your own stories of travel. If you are an aspiring road-tripper, I hope you will find inspiration in these stories as you construct your own travel goals and prepare to create your own memories of being on the open road.
Here is a memory from my recent travels through Virginia -- a lovely drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
. . . Until next time, dear travelers, may all your journeys be safe and rich in experience!