Saturday, March 31, 2007

Chicago Trip, Day 6

Day 6 was my last day of training. As such, I figured that it was likely that we would be ending kind of early. In fact one of the guys in my class had a plane to catch and had to leave by 3, so we ended right around there and I headed off.

At the I-355 toll plaza, I used my I-PASS and it actually worked! I headed south on I-55. The only new county I picked up for quite awhile was Livingston (#92) - all the other ones I had already visited on my various trips. Around 4 or so, I was getting a bit hungry. I noted that I was passing the exit for Dwight, which I have heard from many sources is the tourism capital of Illinois, if not the world. Also, very conveniently, it had a coveted Arby's, so I pulled off and went to get some dinner. I got out (rather than using the drive-thru) and ordered my standard Beef and Cheddar value meal, with a vanilla shake. The girl at the cashier's station hit some buttons and came back with "$9.34". Wha-huh? I expressed some disbelief that this could be possibly right, but she was staunch in saying that yup, that was indeed right. The base combo meal was $5.99, and I did "value-size" it, and I would expect somewhat of an upcharge for getting a shake instead of a pop, but there was no way it was coming up 9 bucks. We went back and forth for awhile, and I didn't want to get too irate in order for my food to remain spit-free, but eventually she hit some more buttons and came back with $7-something. That still seemed a bit high, but I went with it.

I continued back on I-55 South for about 100 miles or so, passing the Bloomington-Normal metroplex until exiting the highway at US-136 west. I followed that west into Logan (#93), Mason (#94), and then, crossing over the Illinois River, Fulton (#95). Immediately after crossing the Illinois river, I turned back around into Mason County and headed south into Cass (#96). At Beardstown, I got on to US-67 West into Schuyler (#97) and then IL-103 to US-24, which got Brown (#98) and Adams (#99). A county road then took me north into Hancock (#100), which was of course my 100th county of the trip, as well as the 3rd straight county (and 8 out of 14 for the day) that shares a name with an Ohio county.

I was talking to Carolyn on the phone right now and she commented about how Illinois was a bunch of county-name stealers. Since of course Wikipedia has pages titled List of Ohio county name etymologies and List of Illinois county name etymologies, I thought I'd do a brief breakdown of all the counties that the 2 states share.
  • Adams - Ohio named for John Adams and Illinois for John Quincy.
  • Brown - both for Gen. Jacob Brown
  • Carroll - both for Charles Carroll of Carrolton
  • Champaign - in a truly craw-sticking moment, the Illinois Wikipedia page says "Named for Champaign County, Ohio" The nerve!!
  • Clark - both for George Rogers Clark
  • Clinton - Ohio for VP George Clinton, Illinois for NY Governor DeWitt Clinton
  • Crawford - Illinois for Sec. of War William Crawford, Ohio possibly for him or also for a different William Crawford
  • Fayette - both for the Marquis de la Fayette
  • Fulton - both for steamboat inventor Robert Fulton
  • Greene - both for Nathaniel Greene
  • Hamilton - both for Alexander Hamilton
  • Hancock - both for John Hancock
  • Hardin - Ohio named for John Hardin, who was killed by Indians. Illinois' page says it was named for Hardin County, Kentucky, which was named after Hardin. At least Ohio has some reason for it - he was killed in nearby Shelby County, OH.
  • Henry - both for Patrick Henry
  • Jackson - both for Andrew Jackson
  • Jefferson - both for Thomas Jefferson
  • Knox - both for Henry Knox
  • Lake - Ohio for Lake Erie, Illinois "for the many small lakes in and around the county" i.e. LAAAAAAAAAAAAAAME
  • Lawrence - both for James Lawrence, best known for his cry "Don't give up the ship"
  • Logan - Ohio forGen. Benjamin Logan "who fought Indians there", Illinois for John Logan
  • Madison - both for James Madison
  • Marion - both for the Swamp Fox, Francis Marion
  • Mercer - both for Hugh Mercer
  • Monroe - both for James Monroe
  • Montgomery - both for Gen. Richard Montgomery
  • Morgan - both for Gen. Daniel Morgan
  • Perry - both for Commodore Perry, but this seems a little like county-stealing too, as the battle of Put-in-Bay, for which Com. Perry is famous, is AT LEAST IN OHIO.
  • Pike - both for Zebulon Pike
  • Putnam - both for Israel Putnam
  • Richland - Illinois "named for Richland County, Ohio" GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR
  • Shelby - both for Isaac Shelby
  • Stark - both for John Stark
  • Union - Ohio - for the Union of 4 counties from which it was formed (Delaware, Franklin, Madison, and Logan). Illinois - for the federal union which was threatened by the Civil War
  • Warren - both for Joseph Warren
  • Washington - both for George Washington
  • Wayne - both for Mad Anthony Wayne
So a lot of these were just named for the same famous person. I can handle that, I mean it's not Illinois' fault that Ohio already had a Washington County. 30 states have a Washington County (and there is also a Washington Parish, Louisiana). But still, the county stealing of Champaign and Richland is pretty lame. Of course the Ohio reasons for those 2 counties ("For the French for "plain" as the land there was very flat" and "For the fertile soil there") are pretty lame too.

Also, when looking through the Illinois page, I have some definite questions about some of those etymologies listed. At least the Ohio one has actual sources from real books. For instance, let's take a look at Union County, Illinois, supposedly named "for the federal union which was threatened by the Civil War". On the surface, that sounds okay. Until you realize that it was formed in 1818!! I'm definitely going to have to call shenanigans on that one.

But anyways, back to the trip. I believe we left off in Hancock county. Oh, okay one more side-trip. Hancock is the site of many historical Mormon events, like Nauvoo and Carthage Jail. We've never been there, although we do want to go visit one day. So I'm talking to Carolyn about this and she starts talking about how if we go now she is going to pick up all these counties that I already have. So I made the vow that if I'm visiting Nauvoo, I'm going to loop south around through Kentucky and Missouri and Iowa, just to pick up some extra counties.

Back to the trip - IL-61 to US-136 to US-67 netted me McDonough (#101) and Warren (#102) and then 2 out and backs (on IL-116 and US-67) got me Henderson (#103) and Mercer (#104)

Then it was just a matter of US-34 to I-74 East to the Toccos where I was staying the night, with the final county of the evening being Knox (#105). As I was driving there, for the first time, I did start to wonder just what I was doing and why. Now, when I say for the first time, I mean the first time I wondered that. Pretty much every time I explain this obsession to other people, THEY wonder that.


Carolyn said...

So what's the answer?? Why are you doing it? Why, oh why, all the counties? They don't care! They don't love you and they aren't your friends! And they don't care that you're spending tons of gas money to "visit" them!! And it looks like you're going to visit Nauvoo by yourself mister!

Harmony Packer said...

Dang, you just passed me up on the number of counties visited. I take some satisfaction, however, in knowing that I have never taken a trip just for the sake of getting counties. Call me a purist if you want, but all the counties I've gotten have been on the way to or from somewhere I was going anyway. Granted I've altered routes to get new counties, and I will again, thanks to you introducing me to the whole mob-rule county-counting thing in the first place, but I have yet to reach your level of obsession. :-) Carolyn, life is never dull with Dan around, is it?