Thursday, July 6, 2017


For our family summer road trip, we ended up flying to our location first. In this case it was Salt Lake City, Utah. We arrived very late and didn’t arrive to our hotel (the Hyatt Place Salt Lake City/Farmington/Station Park) until after 1:00 in the morning. That short trip netted us our first two new counties of the trip: Salt Lake and Davis. Since we had a long day of travel scheduled for the next day, we went to bed immediately.

In the morning we got up earlier than we wanted to and set out due south. Our destination was Bryce Canyon National Park. We stayed on I-15 for quite awhile, picking up Utah and Juab Counties along the way. We then took a less than direct route (as all county collectors do) and head toward the town of Fayette, and Sanpete County.

We then went straight to our hotel in Richfield – the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Richfield. It was a little too early to check in. So we got lunch at the Arby’s next door to kill some time. After checking in we headed over some mountains to the east and ventured into Wayne County – one of the least-visited counties in the state. We then turned around and headed for Bryce Canyon on HWY 62. We picked up Piute and Garfield Counties on the way.

The sights in Bryce Canyon were amazing. However we were disappointed that a large portion of the Park was closed for road repairs. However the “big ticket” items that people want to see were open for hiking. And in spite of the heat, that’s exactly what we did. We highly recommend the Navajo Trail Loop. It’s only 1.3 miles. And if you get there in the late afternoon like we did, the sun is actually behind the canyon and won’t beat down on you. We had shade for almost the entire walk. And the views were breathtaking.

Since a good portion of the Park’s roads were closed, we were not able to get to a place called Rainbow Point, on the southern end. And that happens to be in a different county from where the Park begins. So after we left we had to find another way around. So we crossed over HWY 12, turned south on HWY 89, drover another 18 miles or so and entered Kane County. From there we turned around and went back to our hotel for the night.

The next day we drove to Moab and checked into our hotel – The Homewood Suites by Hilton Moab. We didn’t pick up any new counties on the way. But we got there quickly thanks to the 80 MPH speed limits! We did pull over in the town of Green River to view an odd piece of art in the middle of nowhere. It’s entitled “Ratio.” It’s based on the mathematical Fibonacci sequence. It took us awhile to figure out how. But we eventually got it. Essentially it’s a 44-foot pile of concrete cubes – which was cool! We also did a brief stop in the ghost town of Cisco. But it was pretty uneventful. After we checked in to our hotel we went back out and headed to Arches National Park, which was about five minutes from our hotel. Once again the views were incredible. The heat rose to 113 degrees. But that didn’t stop us from doing a couple of hikes. We walked to the Double Arch. We also did the walk to the Upper Delicate Arch Viewpoint before calling it a day.

The next day was our longest day of driving. We drove east into Colorado, then headed north on HWY 139. We picked up Rio Blanco and Moffat Counties on the way. Once we got to Dinosaur, Colorado we headed back into Utah and picked up Uintah County. We then made somewhat of an unscheduled stop at Dinosaur National Monument, where we got to see and touch actual dinosaur bones.

After leaving the dinosaur bones we drove to Vernal and went north on HWY 191. About 25 miles later (and a lovely drive through Ashley National Forest) we crossed into Daggett County. We then turned around and headed back.

From there we headed south and west, picking up Duchesne and Carbon Counties on the way. Just north of the city of Castle Gate we turned and headed northwest back to the Salt Lake City area. We spent about four minutes driving through Wasatch County along the way. But we got it! We spent the night at the Home 2 Suites by Hilton Place Salt Lake City – Murray.

The next day our destination was Idaho. We started out by heading east on I-80 and picking up Summit County. We then got on I-84 and headed towards Ogden, picking up Morgan and Weber Counties on the way. North of Ogden we entered Box Elder County, before getting off the interstate to head towards the city of Logan. About 10 miles later we entered Cache County.

After passing through Logan we continued north on HWY 91. About 15 miles later we entered the state of Idaho, and Franklin County. While there we stopped in the city of Preston in order to visit several of the sights where the movie “Napoleon Dynamite” was filmed. The city has certainly embraced its small claim to fame.

After leaving Napoleon’s domain, we headed north on HWY 34 until we reached Caribou County. From there we double backed, cut across a middle of nowhere empty gravel road (Oxford Rd.) until we got back to HWY 91. We took to the city of Downey, then headed west to get back on I-15 to head back to Utah. We picked up Oneida County, ID. on the way. That night we stayed at the Hyatt Place Salt Lake City/Farmington/Station Park once again. But before we settled in for the night we decided to venture over to Lagoon Amusement Park, which was literally across the interstate from our hotel. They have discount rates after 5:00. So we spent the last six hours of our night riding the roller coasters. We recommend the Cannibal above all. That first drop is a doozy!

The next day we hopped in the car and drive to Wyoming. We’d run out of time the day before. So we had to delay it until our last day. But we reached the border and picked up Unita County. We then went straight back to the hotel to pack up and leave. As we headed back south towards the Salt Lake City Airport, we took one final side trip – with good reason. We got onto I-80 and headed west about 10 miles until we crossed into Tooele County – which completed the state of Utah for us. We also stopped to walk over to the Great Salt Lake. And just like the first time I visited it, it stunk a little. And there were (literally) millions of brine flies at the shore line.

All in all we visited a total of 26 counties in four states. And we completed our 11th state. 39 more to go! What’s next? Well we’ve already taken a long weekend getaway to northern Minnesota and eastern North Dakota. That blog entry will be coming soon. Stay tuned!

                                                NEW COUNTIES - 26
                                                TOTAL COUNTIES FOR 2017 - 110
                                                ALL TIME COUNTY TOTAL - 1631

7/17/17 UPDATE: We recently realized that in putting our county list together, we had inadvertently failed to include two counties that we had previously entered. On a summer, 2014 road trip, we went to Disneyland in California (Orange County). And upon leaving Disneyland for Las Vegas, we entered Riverside County as well. So even though it says 1631 total counties in this post above, the actual number at the time was 1633.

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