Tuesday, April 17, 2007

On the way home

On Wednesday morning, one of the first things I did was check out the weather. I couldn't help it as I walked out of the hotel in the morning to find snow. Yes, it is still April. Weather.com had a snow advisory for much of central Wisconsin, with areas like Madison expecting 7-10 inches.
Ouch. Luckily my class was only a half-day on Wednesday, so I was able to get an early start. I think that if I had left in the afternoon the combination of regular Chicago rush hour with all the snow would have just been murder. As it was, the Interstates were certainly not clear - there was stop and go traffic as I made my way from downtown out I-90 westbound into Wisconsin. One downside of having picked up a bunch of these southern Wisconsin counties in previous trips is that it took me about 3 hours (and about 175 miles) before I hit my first "new" county - Marquette (#51). A few miles later, I exited I-39 north and headed east on WI-23. It was about a 16 mile one-way jaunt to pick up Green Lake (#52), but there was no other better way to do it. If you look at the Wisconsin county map, you can see that most of the counties are twice the size of Marquette and Green Lake. I'm not sure why they decided to split them so small, but it's annoying. I had looked for ways to cut out some mileage on the way back by diagonally getting to I-39 one exit further north (either by county roads or a jaunt on WI-22), but with the snow, I decided to just go back the way I came.

Continuing on I-39, I sauntered through Waushara (#53) and Portage (#54) before setting out for my 2nd out and back of the day, this time on County Road W, westbound to pick up Wood (#55). The road itself was not too bad (you could typically do 30-40 mph), but there were MAJOR snow drifts on parts of the road that made driving "interesting". At CR U, I turned right and did a little British-style driving to make sure I was in Wood. Driving through Kellner, WI, I got myself a bit unsure of where I was headed, but stayed the course and found myself on WI-54 eastbound, headed back to I-39. In Plover, I stopped to refuel and get some Wendy's. Here you can see a bit of the weather I was dealing with:

Somwhere in Plover, I first started seeing signs that WI-54 was closed for construction. As I started looking at the map to try and find an alternate route, I saw another sign that listed that it was open to I-39. Since that was as far as I was taking it, I breathed a sigh of relief. Continuing on I-39 and then US-51 northbound picked up Marathon (#56) and Lincoln (#57). In Merrill, US-51 ends its limited-access-ness (at least according to Mapquest), and I took the last "exit" to WI-64 and then WI-17, and headed northeasterly. After about 20 miles I got into Langlade county (#58) and I started looking for my turnoff on to CR Q. Just after the county line, I saw a turnoff to the right, but I continued straight because I was expecting to go left. It took me about a 1/2 mile or so to realize that I had missed my turn. Within a few miles I picked up another county, Oneida (#59), and after one near false-start, successfully navigated my way around the northern side of Pelican Lake to US-45. I believe it was here that I saw a sign for a "Church of Jesus Christ Restoration Branch". My first reaction was that this was some sort of LDS splinter group. I tried to do some Googling to verify this hypothesis, but was unable to confirm. So, either it's some other similarly named church, or it's just too small for me to find (I mean this was a hand-made sign staked up on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere...)

CR Q goes around the north side of Pelican Lake, with CR G going around the south side. Both dead-end into US 45, but about 6 miles apart. Since I was heading north, CR Q seemed like the logical bet, but the online mapper had suggested CR G. I wasn't sure if that was a particular reason or not (like CR Q didn't really exist or was in crappy condition?) but when I got to the T-intersection at the west side of the lake, there were signs pointing left for US 45 north and right for US 45 south, so I took CR Q around the north side. It wasn't a problem, except for the general snowiness.

A few miles north, I did an out and back on US 8 to pick up Forest (#60) and then continued for another hour or so north on US 45, picking up Vilas (#61) and then on into Michigan. Ahhhh the good ol' U.P. Before this little trip, the sum content of my knowledge of the UP consisted of the fact that my aunt Bonnie was originally from there, and that Michigan was forced to accept it in exchange for a strip of land on the Ohio border following the Toledo War. That may be a slight exaggeration. I continued on US 45 into Gogebic (#62) and Ontonagon (#63) counties, then took M-26 into Houghton county(#64). In the city of Houghton, I crossed the Portage Lake Lift bridge over the Portage waterway. I did not notice this when I crossed (it being dark), but from the Wikipedia page and picture, it appears that in the summer, the bridge raises to an intermediate level to allow boats to cross under while still maintaining road traffic. After crossing over into the town of Hancock, I turned left onto US-41 and followed that north to Keewenaw (#65). There was not a county welcome sign (that I saw anyways). My map had me looking for the "town" of Kearsarge, which I did not see. I should have been looking for Allouez (which was on my map but I just didn't notice it). I passed through there and when I got to Mohawk, MI, I saw that it was definitely in Keweenaw county, so I turned around. There was a welcome sign for Houghton County going southbound though. I followed US-41 back the way I came, back over the bridge, and then into Baraga (#66). At this point, it was about 1:30 a.m. CDT, and I was feeling a bit tired, so I pulled into some gas station and took a little nap. I ended up sleeping for about an hour and then set on. No more than a minute after I was back on the road, I passed into Marquette (#67). A few miles later, I turned right on to M-95 and made my way into Dickinson (#68) and then an out and back on M-69 West into Iron (#69). The original plan had me then taking M-69 east, but I found that it was a much better option to continue on M-95 south into Iron Mountain, and then make 2 short out and backs on US-2 West and US-141 South to pick up the final 2 Wisconsin counties on my trip, Florence (#70) and Marinette (#71). Trying to get these couunties from the Wisconsin side would have added significantly more time to my trip.

Back in Michigan on US-2 eastbound, I travelled uneventfully into Menominee (#72) and Delta (#73) into the city of Escanaba. I then rejoined US-41, this time going northbound, into Alger (#74). Then it was M-67 northbound, and just before I made the turn on to M-94 east, I pulled into another parking lot to take a nap. At this point it was about 5 a.m. (EDT now). I slept for about an hour again, and when I woke up and tried to pull out, the wheels just spun. I had been able to pull in due to my initial momentum, but with 3-5 inches of snow on the ground, I wasn't going anywhere from a standstill. I tried forward and reverse, but nothing. By now it was light out, and there were some cars driving by as I surveyed my options. I put it in neutral and got out of the car (it was still snowing lightly). I rocked the car back and forth a bit. Of course I couldn't move it by myself, but I moved it a bit. I got back in and I don't know if it was that or something else, but I was able to put it in reverse and spin myself a bit backwards, and then once I put it in drive I started going. Phew.

After a brief jaunt on M-94, I began an 80 mile trip on M-28 eastbound, through Schoolcraft (#75), Luce (#76) and Chippewa (#77), then M-123 to Mackinac (#78) and finally on to I-75 southbound. By this time, I was running kind of low on gas so I kept a lookout for gas stations. I figured there might be one at the onramp to 75, but nope. I crossed over the 2-mile Mackinac Bridge and my Upper Peninsula became AWFUL BLUE. The bridge was pretty cool. I was going to take a picture but you know, I've done that before and it just doesn't come out very exciting. Still, travelling between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron was kinda neat. The very first exit in the Lower Peninsula had a Shell station, but I couldn't tell if there was re-entry to 75, so I didn't stop. As I passed by, it did look like there was, but it was hard to tell since the interchange was an odd design. Passing through Emmet (#79) and Cheboygan (#80), I remained on the lookout for gas stations. The next 3 exits (about 20 miles) had no services! Finally, I was able to score some at the M-68 exit. The Interstate itself was not plowed very well - I was actually behind a pair of plow trucks, but even behind them it was still barely one lane wide. Inside the gas station, I took a pic of one of my favorite grammatical mistakes

At this point, I decided to punt on part of my plan. Originally, I was going to continue down 75 a bit to do an out and back to the west, picking up Otsego, Antrim and Charlevoix counties before heading east, but I decided that those counties would still be there later (deep breath), and in an effort to get home a little earlier, I instead headed east on M-68 into Presque Isle County (#81) and shortly thereafter, went south on M-33 into Montmorency (#82). From here on, the roads were pretty clear. I'm not sure if the more southern parts of Michigan just didn't get as much snow, or if I just gave the snowplows enough time to clear it out. I spent some time trying to find CR 624, which was going to cut off a few miles by taking a more direct route to M-32 east. With the snow, I debated whether or not to just stay on M-33 to M-32, but in the end stuck with the plan and went with the county roads. The county roads were not plowed as well (but still not that bad) - I think that in normal weather, taking these county roads would definitely be worth it, but with the snow, it was probably about a wash.

Just east of Hillman, I made it to M-32 and Alpena (#83) and then followed M-65 south into Alcona (#84). A brief out and back on M-72 got me Oscoda (#85) and then back on to M-65 into Iosco (#86) and Arenac (#87). Somewhere in here, I took my 3rd nap of the day, at a Shell station. Afterwards, I turned westbound on to Maple Ridge road which took me close to I-75. Before getting on the Interstate, I did an out and back south and northbound to pick up Ogemaw (#88) and Gladwin (#89). On I-75 southbound, I saw a sign

This is actually a replica that I found online from some other prison, but that's what it said (more or less). I took I-75 through Bay (#90) to M-84, which I followed southbound into Saginaw (#91). Turning around just south of the county line, I encountered my first instance of a Michigan left interchange. On the road, I thought that this was a new type of intersection which I had recently read about (a Continuous flow intersection), but it appears that these are different (though similar) types of interchanges. The Michigan left has been around for about 40 years, and is named that because it's not very common except for in (wait for it) Michigan. I saw several of these, especially later in the day as I went through Detroit.

Back on M-84 north, I skirted the southern edge of Bay City, where, hearkening back to the prison sign I saw earlier, I saw a billboard mentioning a wanted criminal named (I kid you not) Lando Calrissian Jones. East of the city, I passed a Meijer and made my way to M-25, which I took into Tuscola (#92). At Unionville, when M-25 headed north, I continued straight on Bay City-Forestville Road, which I took into Sanilac (#93). A brief out and back on M-53 picked up Huron (#94) and then I continued on M-53 south for 50 miles into Lapeer (#95). At Almont, MI, I did an out and back on Almont Road to pick up St. Clair (#96). I got lucky there as the road was not well marked in the city limits, so I took a guess as to which road was going to turn into the road I needed. Back on M-53 I entered Macomb (#97) for my final (new) county of the day. On the entry to Detroit, I passed by 32 mile road, which was the first time I noticed the Mile road numbering system, the most famous of which is 8 Mile.

From then, it was just a trip home on I-75. I did take my 4th and final nap of the day just over the Ohio border in a Meijer parking lot. Of cousre I stopped in first to check if there were any good sales for the week! I ended up getting home just after 11, so with the exception of my 4 hour-long naps, and taking the time zone into account, I was driving for 34 consecutive hours.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Chicago Trip 2, Day 3

Day 2 (Sunday) was a day of no (new) counties. At this point in my trips to Chicago, it takes quite a bit of work to pick up some new counties. I spent the day going to church, checking in and just relaxing.

But Monday was a day of some action. I left training and headed north. I had allowed 30 minutes in my schedule for "traffic" and heading north on I-94 did provide some traffic. Still, it wasn't that bad, but it didn't clear up until I was nearly in Wisconsin.

In Milwaukee, I headed up US-41 north, being the first of many (many!) limited-access highways I would travel today (not including Interstates which are of course also limited-access). About 2:30 into my trip, I picked up my first new county of the day, Fond du Lac (#38), which was followed shortly after by Winnebago (#39)

At this point I got onto US-10 / WI-441, which is (another!) limited-access highway, serving as a circular bypass around Appleton, WI. I got off at Oneida Road, which is a county-line type road. I attempted to take a sign of the county sign (Calumet (#40)), which was located up on the highway (while I was on the offramp) but traffic behind me was not amused and my camera was not cooperating. In any case, as past experiences have noted, it probably wouldn't have come out very well anyways :-)

Turning right around on Oneida Road, I got back on to WI-10 west. I got off on US-45 west, a road which for the first bit straddles the line between the counties of Outagamie (#41) and Waupaca (#42), before swerving to pick up both of them. At Clintonville, I headed NE on to WI-22 into Shawano (#43), and in the city of Shawano, I headed north onto WI-47/55. This took me into Menominee county and reservation (#44). Menominee county is coterminous with a Menominee Indian reservation. I enjoyed it for about 30 seconds before turning around. Of course it did get the Mah na mah na song stuck in my head for the rest of the night.

A note about that song. It's very catchy of course. If you haven't heard it, the Muppet version is of course the best, which you can watch on YouTube here. Warning: It is very catchy and if you watch it you will be singing it all day. Warning #2: If you come to my house, please do not sing it. If a crazed lunatic came up to me and said that if I didn't make one member of my family cry within the next 30 seconds, he would kill my entire family, this is how I would do it. I'm not sure why it is, but singing this song will cause my daughter to burst into tears. Which of course can be a problem since it's so dang catchy, it's hard to remember not to sing it.


Returning back on WI-47/55 into Shawano county, I turned left at the main intersection to continue on Business-29. The next step of my route had me going onto 29-East, another! limited-access highway. I had passed WI-29 south of Shawano, but I thought if I headed east on Business-29 it might bring me to 29 faster (and further-east). In the end, it was probably a wash - both ways were 25 mph for a few miles. I got off the highway at WI-160, which took me into the town of Pulaski. If you take a look at that link, you will see that the city of Pulaski somehow decided that it wanted the entirety of its city limits to be in Brown county (#45), so it took a chunk out of Shawano and Oconto (#46) counties. That meant that I had to take a short out-and-back on WI-32 north to pick up Oconto, but that wasn't a problem.

I took WI-32 to CR B East. Quick addendum on my post of yesterday, where I complained that county roads were numbered only on map sites and not "on the ground". Well, I mean except for Wisconsin. Wisconsin is all about the lettered county roads. I soon got on to US-41 south to I-43 south, which I took for a few miles circling around the frozen tundra of Lambeau field. Well, Green Bay anyways. I did not actually see the frozen tundra, since it was late and I didn't feel like making a detour, but I have no doubt that it was, in fact, frozen, given that it was snowing off and on all evening. Yes, it is April 9th, why do you ask?

I exited I-43 on to WI-57, which was a (nother, and this time un-marked) limited-access highway. By now, I was running low on gas, but gas stations were not prevalent. I really was not going to enjoy running out of gas up in the "point" of Wisconsin. I spent a few minutes on Google trying to figure out what 'Sconsinites call that little point that sticks out north of Green Bay. If anybody knows, leave it in the comments. I missed the turn off to one gas station, but then found another. It was a bit off of the highway, which was kind of annoying, but when I got there, I could tell why I had been led there

County sign!!! That would be Kewaunee county (#47). Back on the highway, I followed it north to get the county that's at the tip of the whatever-it's-called, Door (#48), and then it was time to turn around.

I thought that I was done picking up counties as I headed back to Chicago on I-43 south, but I had forgotten that I-43 would take me through Manitowoc (#49) and Sheboygan (#50), a total of 13 new counties for the day

Monday, April 09, 2007

Chicago Trip 2, Day 1

I got the rental car earlier this time, so I thought I'd get out a bit earlier this time. But when I went to load up the car, I found out that my hands-free cell phone earpiece was missing. I thought that I must have left it up in my car up at work, so I decided to drive up to Mason to get it. Of course, when I got there, it wasn't there either....

So then I drove down to church to score a free breakfast, said good-bye to the fam, and then (after a trip to Meijer) was on the road. I ended up officially "starting" my trip at 9 AM EDT.

The first part of the trip was the same as last week - down I-71 to Louisville. But this time, instead of turning west across southern Indiana, I continued southwards into Kentucky. After looping around "the 'Ville", I headed west on US-60. I passed by Fort Knox and the city of Radcliff, where I used to live back in the dizz-ay. That picked me up Meade (#1) and Breckinridge (#2). Near Hardinsburg, I got on to KY 261, which cut the corner of Hancock (#3) and then into Ohio (#4). KY 261 dead ended into KY 54, which I took southwards into Grayson (#5) and then to KY 79 and then the Western Kentucky Parkway. The WK Parkway did another cool corner-cutting, this time of Butler (#6), then back into Ohio county and then Muhlenberg (#7). Kentucky has a lot of these parkways. They all used to be toll roads (and some of them still are). But in a pretty cool thing, once the tolls have paid for the construction costs, by law, they must be turned into free roads. In another little tidbit, by law, free limited-access roads are not allowed to have commercialized rest stops. That is why rest-stops on I-71 for example only have bathrooms and picnic benches, rather than McDonalds and Shell. By federal regulations, commercialized rest-stops are only allowed on toll roads (more info here). But, the WK Parkway was grandfathered here because its rest stop was built when it WAS a toll road. When I saw that the rest stop contained an Arbys, I knew I had to stop! Tragically however, the shake machine was broken.

Back on the road, I soon exited the parkway onto US 431 South into Logan county (#8). Immediately after the county line, I went SW onto KY 1293 and then west on KY 107 into Todd (#9) and Christian (#10). I turned off of 107 onto KY 800. At this point, my route had me taking the Pennyrile Parkway north and then back on to the WK parkway. But in looking at the map, I thought that if I took KY 1348 to KY 109, I could cut off a few minutes (by going diagonally NW instead of N and then W). Since the state roads had been a pretty good quality, I decided to go for it. It turned out pretty well - but I don't think it saved me much time. I did pick up Hopkins (#11) and then moved west on the WK parkway into Caldwell (#12). I got off on KY 91 and then in Fredonia, transferred north on US 641 into Crittenden (#13), and then back south on 641 into Lyon (#14).

Next was an out and back on I-24 East to KY 139 south into Trigg (#15) and then back on I-24 west into Livingston (#16) and Marshall (#17). After crossing over the Land between the Lakes, I headed south on the Purchase Parkway. At Benton, I got onto US-641 Spur. After a few miles, I was supposed to turn onto KY 783, but I apparently missed that. I was then supposed to get on to KY 80. Strangely enough, KY 80 is now called KY 402, though luckily both routes were signed. I went west on that and then an out and back on KY 299 to Calloway (#18). Back on KY 80 into Graves (#19) and then after a brief jog on KY 131, I rejoined the Purchase Parkway into Hickman (#20) and Fulton (#21). The original route had me taking KY 307 North here, but instead, I took it south through the town of Fulton. Why would I do something so crazy? More counties of course!

I had noticed a few days ago that my route would take me right here towards the KY-TN border. So I thought hey, bonus county in Tennessee! But then a careful examination of the map showed that not one, but TWO counties in Tennessee. I had a bit of trouble getting lost in Fulton, KY (or was that South Fulton, Tennessee?), but eventually I did make it into Obion and Weakley counties, Tennessee (#22 and #23). I was on KY state route 129, which runs along the border, but because it was a Kentucky route, it only gave me Kentucky county markers. KY-129 was quite the king of roads - in the 2 miles or so I was on it, it went through 5 counties (3 KY and 2 TN), though you'd have to of course travel British style to pick up all of them. After retracing my steps (well only the steps that weren't part of the time I spent getting lost) back through Fulton, I did take KY 307 north back through Fulton and Hickman counties and into Carlisle (#24). East on US-62 got me into Ballard (#25) and McCracken (#26) and then KY-286 took me back to the Ohio River.

At Wickliffe, KY I joined 3 US Routes: 51, 60 and 62. I crossed over some river which I thought was the bridge over the Ohio, which freaked me out because then I thought I had missed my turn. But it all worked out. About 3-4 miles later, I actually crossed over the Ohio, into Illinois and Alexander county (#27). Although I wanted to head north, I instead headed south. Why? Say it with me everybody...."MORE COUNTIES!!" A quick turn south crossed over the Mississippi (as the crow flies, approximately 482 miles further south from the last time I crossed it) and I was into Mississippi County, Missouri (#28).

That picture kind of looks like it was taken out the car window with one hand while the driver was going over a big bridge at 50+ mph. Hmmmmm... Anyways - back into Illinois, I went through Cairo, Illinois, which Wikipedia told me is pronounced like the syrup, not like the city in Egypt. The one thing I knew about Cairo is that it was the site of the confluence of the Ohio and the Mississippi, which I thought was picture-worthy. I-57 got me into Pulaski (#29). I got off at Exit 18 and went eastbound through various county and state roads through the city of Karnak and Massac county (#30). Then I took US-45 into Johnson (#31) and then I-24 north one exit and on county roads back west into Union (#32). Then I took I-57 North into Williamson (#33) and Franklin (#34).

At some point here I had just gotten gas (and dinner) and I was talking on the phone to Carolyn and she got a call on the other line. She got a call on the other line and clicked over. After a few minutes she clicked back and told me that it had been Citibank. Apparently she had just gone out and gotten gas for the van, using my same credit card. Since it is probably not very common that the same card is used to buy gas in 2 states a few hundred miles apart within an hour of each other, it had been flagged as potential fraud. She had told them that it was all good, but I was impressed that they had taken the time to call, so.... Yay Citibank!

Anyways, I took the IL-149 exit and headed west through Zeigler and Royalton, where I turned on to CR 13 and into Jackson (#35), where it became CR 14. In scenic Elkville, I turned on to CR 8. One annoying thing about the difference between Mapquest and actual roads on the ground is that Mapquest likes to call roads things like "CR 8". Whereas there are very rarely signs for county roads with their actual numbers - county roads have actual names (like, in this case, W Board Street). Now, to be fair to Mapquest, if you zoom in far enough it does say that, but the wide-out view just has the little square 8. I took CR 8 west and then got onto IL 13/127 northbound, following IL-13 when they split, getting Perry (#36) and Randolph (#37).

One good thing about driving around on rural roads in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night is that nobody seems to care if you just stop in the road, get out of your car and take (a few) pictures. Not that I know anything about that, of course. Of course, as you can see, it still didn't really help my picture-taking skills. If you scrunch down and kind of look at the picture from the bottom, you can kind of tell that it says Randolph County. The rest of the night was just heading north to get to the Tocco's in Peoria, where I stayed the night. I was awful tired, but not too tired to get a chuckle out of the sign they put on my room.

Friday, April 06, 2007

The law of conservation of counties

I subscribe to the law of conservation of counties. It is, of course, only natural that I subscribe to such a law, given that I invented it.

What the law of conservation of counties says is that if you're visiting a county, you should make sure that you aren't cutting off any other counties in the same area without visiting them.

For instance take a look at the Ohio counties visited map of a guy named "bpowell". He spent all that time in Ohio, visiting those counties, and left one on the table. Now, if he ever wants to visit Champaign County, he's going to have to detour out of his way 2-3 hours to get it. He's been in Miami, Darke, Logan, Union, Madison and Clark counties. Surely during one of those adventures he was within 10-15 minutes of Champaign and could have made an appropriate detour.

Now, you could certainly subscribe to the theory that you shouldn't care about counties at all, and that's certainly viable. But, if you're already going to care, then you need to take these things into account.

So when I plan routes, not only do I look for the best routes, but I try to make sure I'm not leaving any of these rogue counties.

In looking at my map, I only have a few of these instances:
  • Union and Fayette counties in Eastern Indiana. I have a plan to get those next week.
  • Bracken County in N. Kentucky - I will hit that the next time I'm on the good ol' Double-A.
  • The southern part of the Delmarva peninsula. If only my dad had realized when we went to Ocean City when I was a kid that I would be orphaning Somerset, Accomack and Northampton counties!!!!! I'm sure he would have made the appropriate detour.
  • Madison, Culpeper, and Rappahannock counties in N. Va. Sometimes, I just don't know what's wrong with me...
Anyway, stay tuned for the first installment of my trip - probably being posted Sunday afternoon / evening.

Chicago Trip 2: Electric Boogaloo

If you missed out on the chance to see my exciting adventures in Chicago a few weeks ago, you can read about them here:

Day 0 | Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7

Or you could, you know, scroll down. For some reason, when doing the blog, at the end it said 124 counties, though a comparison of my before and after mob-rule maps (which you can see on the Day 7 post) clearly says 128 counties (counting the Edgar County, IL debacle)

So I am being sent back to Chicago this upcoming week. As always, stay tuned to this blog for daily updates. The goals for this week are 97 counties. I don't want to spoil things, but let me just leave you with the following anecdote.

Suppose that you asked 100 people, Family Feud style, and asked them what places one might be likely to visit on the way from Chicago to Cincinnati, that the top 5 answers on the board would not include the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that nary a single soul would have even considered thinking about mentioning it, much less getting it past the part of their brain that censors out stupid ideas.

And.... let's just leave it at that for now :-D

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Chicago Trip, Day 7

The final day of my trip had arrived. Carolyn had a book club Friday evening, so she had instructed me to get home in time (7:30 or 8 or so) for her to go to that. As such, I got up ear-lie and was out the door by 6:45 AM.

South out of Peoria on I-155, I got off at Exit 115, followed some county roads west and then south to pick up Menard (#106) and then back onto I-55 to Champaign, where I took I-72 westbound into Sangamon (#107), Morgan (#108) and Scott (#109).

At some point in there I was feeling kind of tired, so I pulled off at a gas station and took a little nap for about 1/2 hour. This would come back to haunt me. I headed down IL-100, which I think is Illinois' answer to the king of all roads. While not nearly as nice as the King, who winds through 11 counties in 119 miles (and 8 counties in only 58!), IL-100 did wind through 4 counties in 40 miles - the aforementioned Scott, Pike (#110), Greene (#111) and Jersey (#112). As has been noted before in this space - the king likes to jog - that's how he gets so many counties.

At Hardin, IL, I crossed over the Illinois River on to IL-16 which I followed for 30 miles into Macoupin (#113). Near Royal Lakes, I pulled an audible, that in retrospect was probably a bad move. The plan had been to continue on IL-16 until it reached I-55. In looking at the map though, it seemed like if I cut south, I would spend just about the same number of miles, but end up 8 miles south on I-55. The roads I followed though turned out to be through cities - including in Mount Olive where EVERY BLOCK had a stop sign. The historic "Route 66" markers were not enough to ease my pain. I eventually did find my way into Morgan County (#114), though I did not see the county line sign until the way back - I ended up going about 2 miles too far.

Then it was time for more Interstate fun. I-55 took me through Madison county (previously visited) and then I toured the eastern part of the St. Louis beltway, picking up St. Clair (#115) and Monroe (#116) before heading east on I-64 towards home.

And here I experienced another annoyance. On my trip here, I had done an out and back to
pick up Clinton county, but now I sailed through Clinton on I-64, rendering my previous out and back worthless. It is annoyances like this that I strive to avoid, which is one reason why I hate to leave counties on the table, so to speak. After Clinton came Washington (#117), which I had not realized I was going to hit, and means one less county needed on next week's journey, though it does leave Randolph County kind of annoyingly "out there".

Anyways, Washington was the last (new) county in Illinois, leaving me at 92 out of 102 - just 10 left for next week's adventure, should that come to pass. As I crossed into Indiana, another out and back from last Saturday was rendered meaningless, as I sailed through Posey County, IN.

A few miles into Indiana, I got off at IN-37 for a quick out and back into Pike (#118), though again, I went further than I needed to due to not having a printed out map of where the county border exactly was. No more new counties until I headed north on IN-37 into Orange (#119). At this point I realized that somehow, I had gotten behind schedule. I don't know if it was poor planning, or the hour I lost moving east, or the nap or what, but I pulled an audible, giving up on Lawrence county and headed east on IN-56 then north on IN-39 and east on IN-256 through Jackson (#120) and Scott (#121).

At I-65, I saw signs that IN-256 was closed to thru traffic. I pulled off to the side of the road and found a workable alternative North on 65 then east on IN-250, getting Jennings (#122) and Jefferson (#123). Maneuvering around the Jefferson proving ground ( Some sort of military base it appears) got me on to IN-62 to pick up my final county of the trip, Switzerland (#124). I was trying to get home as fast as I could, but these last few roads (IN-250 and IN-62) were QUITE windy. Then I ran into Friday night casino traffic in Lawrenceburg, so I got home a bit later than I was hoping.

All in all, it was quite a crazy week. I dropped off the car Saturday morning and the guy was like "You did some driving!" It was 3581 miles total for the week. For a comparison, that would be longer than the longest Interstate in the US (3099 miles) as well as longer than the distance between Seattle and Key West (3510 miles). Hee hee I'm silly.

The before map:

And the after: