Thursday, December 22, 2022


To escape the ever-decreasing temperatures, we decided to take a long weekend to Texas – a state where we still have a lot of counties to collect. Texas has more counties than any other U.S. state – 254 in all. And it takes many visits to complete it. So, what better time than now?

We flew out on a Thursday night, rented a Silver Volkswagen Atlas upon our arrival, and spent the night in Dallas at the Hyatt Place Dallas / Las Colinas. On Friday, we spent the day in the hotel, as I had to work. But for dinner, we decided to try the Brasao Brazilian Steakhouse, which was basically a block away from our hotel. If you like endless high-quality meat, I cannot recommend anything higher. Be sure to check it out! After dinner we toyed with the idea of picking up three new counties northwest of our hotel. But instead, we decided to grab them in the morning.

On Saturday morning, we got up early to start our county-collecting day. We headed northwest through the city of Denton and continued on until we reached HWY 455. From there, we drove a few miles farther and crossed three counties within a few minutes of each other – Wise, Cooke, and Montague. They all met at a tri-point, a little northwest of the small city of Slidell.                                                     

From there, we doubled back east, driving (what seemed like forever) on the north side of the Dallas metro area. We eventually found ourselves on HWY 69 heading southeast, as we entered Rains County. At the city of Emory, we continued east and entered Wood County as we approached the Lake Fork Reservoir. From there, we continued on to the town of Winnsboro. Weaving north through the town, we entered Franklin County. Turning northwest, we found ourselves in Hopkins County one mile later.        

For the remainder of the day, we headed mostly south, picking up Camp, Upshur (where we picked up lunch at the McDonald’s in Gilmer), Gregg, Rusk, Smith, and Cherokee Counties. As we neared the city of Alto, we turned left on HWY 21, drove about two miles, and crossed into Nagodoches County. We then turned around and headed back, moving south and west through Houston, Trinity, and Walker Counties. As we reached the city of Riverside, we were supposed to take a left turn to pick up San Jacinto County. Unfortunately, we weren’t paying attention and drove about five miles past our turnoff. When we realized our mistake, we double backed to Riverside, found HWY 980, drove another five miles, and picked up the new county. At this point, we had an almost straight shot to our destination city of College Station. However, we had one more county stop to make. As we headed west on HWY 30, we turned off on a gravel side road and did a few twists and turns until we crossed into Montgomery County. Much to our surprise, there was county sign and a paved road!

Our destination was the Hyatt House Bryan/College Station. However before checking in, we stopped at Texas A&M University. Why? We had to visit the grave of U.S. President George H.W. Bush, who is buried on the grounds. We only had about 30 minutes to spare. So, we did a quick run through his library building before walking around a small lake behind it to reach his final resting place.

That evening, we dined at a small diner-type place in Bryan called Third On Main. Their menu items are a little unique, but they were quite tasty. We recommend checking them out!

On Sunday morning, we set out for San Antonio. Our three-hour drive was a straight shot, as we'd already been to all the counties in the area – a very unusual situation for us! So, off we went, stopping in New Braunfels for lunch at Whataburger. Our hotel was the Hyatt Regency at the San Antonio Riverwalk. We had some time to kill before check-in. So why not get a few new counties? To that end, we found the Packers/Bears game streaming on my phone., and as the Packers won, we picked up Bandera, Medina, and Frio Counties, which are all to the west of San Antonio. When we drove back to the city, we checked in and were happy to discover that our room faced the Alamo. We’d visited the Alamo a couple times previously. Why not tour it again? We walked the Riverwalk and basically crossed the street to get there. On the way back, we stopped at Casa Rio for a Mexican dinner next to the river. We fed a few chips to a giant duck named Howard.

On Monday, we started our trip back to Dallas. Naturally, we didn’t take the direct route. To that end, we headed north on HWY 281 out of San Antonio, eventually crossing into Burnet County. A few miles later, we turned left on HWY 71 and drove straight into Llano County. At the city of Llano, we turned north onto HWY 16, crossing into San Saba and Mills Counties. We stopped for a quick snack at Donut City in Goldthwaite. I recommend the Jalapeno bagel dogs. Great prices too! From there, we headed east on HWY 84, entering Hamilton County. A few minutes later, as we exited into the city of Evant, we entered Coryell County. From there, we went south on HWY 281 for a little over a mile until we crossed into Lampasas County. At that point, we turned around and headed on an (almost) straight shot into Dallas. There was one final stop however. In the town of Hico, we got off the main highway, went east on HWY 6 for about three miles, and entered Bosque County – our last new county of the trip.

As we got into Dallas, we found ourselves with some extra time before we needed to go to the airport. So, we drove downtown and drove through Dealey Plaza, the site of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. We didn’t have time to stop and explore some of the history there. We’ll save that for a future trip. We did however stop for lunch at Heim Barbecue – right across the street from Love Field. Again, we highly recommend it!

When it was all said and done, our weekend getaway netted us 30 new counties. So, what’s next? Well, we have a trip to Las Vegas, Utah, and Arizona planned for late February. However, it won’t net us any new counties because we’ve already finished all three of those states. County-wise… stay tuned!

                       TOTAL COUNTIES FOR 2022 - 203
                       ALL TIME COUNTY TOTAL - 2409

Monday, October 31, 2022


We decided to take a three-day weekend and visit a place where we still have a fair number of counties to collect: Kansas. So, on Friday night after work, we drove to the Hyatt Place in West Des Moines, Iowa. On Saturday morning, we headed toward Kansas and the first new counties of our trip. Traveling west on I-70, we picked up Douglas, Shawnee, Wabaunsee, Geary, and Dickinson Counties. We even saw some army helicopters in the air near Ft. Riley Army Base. We continued to drive all the way through Dickinson County until we reached exit 266 near the city of Solomon. We went north a couple miles, hugging both Dickinson and Saline Counties, before heading west another mile to pick up Ottawa County. The unpaved road was littered with something we later learned were Osage oranges.

From there, we drove to the city of Abilene, Kansas, where we visited the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library & Museum to pay our respects to the 34th president.

Leaving the museum, we traveled south and west to pick up Morris County. We continued south and west, stair-stepping our way to pick up both Marion and McPherson Counties. We then headed directly to our hotel, the Hyatt Regency Wichita. We drove through Harvey County on the way. As we neared the hotel, we decided to pick up a bonus county to the south. We drove through Wichita, headed southwest on HWY 15, picked up Cowley County, then turned around and headed back to the hotel. It was a beautiful downtown hotel right on the Arkansas River. We ate a nice dinner at the Harvest Kitchen, located in the hotel.

On Sunday morning, we drove east out of Wichita on HWY 400. We picked up Greenwood County, then turned south on HWY 99 for two miles to pick up Elk County. We continued east and picked up Wilson County before heading farther north near the city of Buffalo to cross into Woodson County. We continued east and north and basically stair-stepped our way to pick up Neosho, Allen, Anderson, Linn, and Bourbon Counties.

We crossed into Missouri near the far southwest corner of Bates County and then headed right for one mile until we crossed into Vernon County. After briefly driving north on I-49, we got off and headed toward Appleton City, which was just inside St. Clair County. A few miles later, we turned north to cross into Henry County. We then traveled south on HWY 13. There weren’t a lot of food options, so we stopped at the BP in Lowry City, where I picked up a hot dog.

At Osceola, we went east on HWY 82, eventually hitting the tri-corner of St. Clair, Hickory, and Benton Counties. At that point, we headed a little south to HWY 54, then went east into Camden County. A few miles in, we turned south and drove five or six miles until we crossed into Dallas County. From there, we headed northeast all the way to the beautiful area of Osage Beach. We then headed southeast to our hotel, the Hampton Inn St. Robert. Along the way, we picked up Miller and Maries Counties.

On Monday morning, we started our long trip back to Wisconsin. However, we had one final county stop to make. As we headed toward St. Louis on I-44, we got off near the town of Sullivan, headed a little bit to the east, and crossed briefly into Washington County—our last new county of the trip. From there, it was a straight shot home, but we did stop for a pizza lunch at Monical’s in El Paso, Illinois.

So when it was all said and done, we had picked up 32 new counties. We also crossed over the 75% completion mark! So, what's next? We have a long weekend getaway in Texas planned for December. Stay tuned!

                 TOTAL COUNTIES FOR 2022 - 173
                 ALL TIME COUNTY TOTAL - 2379