Thursday, July 26, 2007

3,141 Postcards

So I was sitting around, wondering what new "everywhatever" I could do from my couch that would still have the "cool factor" that you hear Dan talk so much about, and I came up with this idea:

I'm trying to get a postmarked postcard from every county and county-equivalent in the United States sent to me. It can be sent by anyone, but it has to be postmarked from a zip code within the county. Ideally, I would like the postcard to be about the county it was sent from, but it's not a requirement.

I've set up an separate blog to keep track of all of those postcards, as to not clutter up Dan's excellent blog. You can keep up with it here:

Right now I'm going through and soliciting local Chamber of Commerces and Visitor's Bureaus to see if they will send me one for free. Once I get a P.O. Box, I will allow unsolicited postcards to be sent to me from loyal readers :)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Every Municipality in Harris County

Carey here,

Last Sunday I completed my trip of Every Municipality in Harris County in 5 hours, 6 minutes, and 26 seconds. As stated in the previous post, I had 34 cities to cover, with almost half of them not even having 5,000 people living within the Harris County borders.

Myself and two random people, Kelly and Karen, whom I met through a road trip group, gathered at On the Border in the northwest side of the county for lunch to fuel up for the drive. The restaurant was in a Census-Designated Place (not a city!) called Cypress, which is the epitome of suburbia. Every single store was a chain and every single house looked identical. I felt like I was in some kind of twilight zone...

I made sure to have lots of carbs and protein (steak quesadilla, yummy!), as I would need it sitting in the car for 5 hours. I don't know if this is actually helpful from an energy standpoint, but I like to rationalize eating anything that's not very good for me.

We set off due northeast on the aptly named Cypress-Tomball Road to the start point. Before we even got there, Kelly had to go to the bathroom. I forgave him since we hadn't started the timer yet :) So we made it to #1 Tomball without incident. So far I've already spent almost an hour in the car without starting the official timer. I wasn't looking forward to the drive back to On the Border, then back home again, but that comes with the territory. As soon as we crossed 249 heading towards Waller, I started my trusty Pampered Chef kitchen timer.

The drive out to Waller from Tomball (on the also aptly named Waller-Tomball Road) was nothing but trees; there weren't many signs of civilization. At #2 Waller we turned the corner and went south towards Katy. Keeping up with the road naming scheme, I was looking forward to the road being named Waller-Katy road, but for some reason it was called Katy-Hockley Road. I had no idea where Hockley was, but I sure hoped I wasn't heading towards it!

I hit my first blunder of the day when I turned a corner that didn't seem like I was supposed to turn at. So I turned around and went in the direction I thought I was supposed to go. Then I saw the freeway from the direction we came from, which I knew couldn't be right. Well, after that I just had to stop and look at a map. Turns out the first turn I thought I wasn't supposed to take was actually the correct direction. I turned around again and shamefully accelerated back to the route.

Katy city limits were well marked, with a sign as well as a different color pavement (usually a clear indicator that road maintenance has changed hands from one governmental body to another). We turned around after crossing the border to #3 Katy and went down Clay Road back towards Houston. Little did I know at the time that I was not following my own directions. When we hit Beltway 8, I told everyone that we had hit city #4 Jersey City and turned towards Houston. I jumped on the toll road then, suddenly... too suddenly, I-10 arrived. I looked at my directions and found that Clay Road was actually the boundary for Houston after we were supposed to hit Jersey City further north. So, without any fanfare, I told our group that we had actually been in #4 Houston for a couple of miles now. So I got off the toll road, turned around for 4-5 miles to get now #5 Jersey City. Then I turned around again, got on the toll road, again, and set off to begin our tour of cities that are completely surrounded by Houston.

The Memorial Villages are 6 of said municipalities, all grouped together, completely surrounded by Houston. First we hit #6 Hedwig Village, #7 Piney Point Village, #8 Bunker Hill Village and #9 Hunters Creek Village, then we crossed the freeway and hit #10 Spring Village and #11 Hilshire Village. We hit all 6 of them in under 15 minutes. The interesting thing about all these villages is that they are all independent municipalities, but they all share police and fire service separate from Houston. This was a very posh area; we saw quite a few very large mansions. Looking at some of the census demographics of the area, the median income of the villages ranged from $66,000 for Hedwig Village (a lot of Shopping Centers) to $185,000 for Piney Point Village (a lot of Mansions). It was a nice drive with lots of trees and beautiful houses.

Next up were the tri-cities of #12 Bellaire, #13 Southside Park, and #14 University Park. These cities are also in a cluster completely enveloped by Houston. A lot of business professionals live in Bellaire because they have one of the best schools in Houston ISD. University Park has a lot of early-retired rich people who want to live close to Rice University while their children go there. Just like the villages, it's way out of my price rage! Southside Park is so small I don't even really know what's in it.

Now we headed southwest to the annoying portion of our trip: Cities that really have no business being in Harris County. We went down US-59 and got off at the Beltway frontage road. We turned on a Stafford Road and went down one block to hit the tiny tiny area of #15 Stafford that was in Harris County, or so I thought. While writing this I was remembering that I needed to be in a little subdivision to be in Stafford in Harris County, and we never went in one. I went to my trusty TxDOT map and was able to take a sigh of relief. I had changed my route because there was a second, easier portion of Stafford to get to. Crisis averted, it counted!

After Stafford we got back on the Beltway towards Clear Lake and ran through #16 Missouri City, which is also mostly in Fort Bend County, but just happens to peek into Harris County. Then we hit I-45 and took it south, exited and hit #17 Pearland, which is mostly in Brazoria County. Now we were starting to get into true middle-middle class suburbia. All the houses looked under 2,000 sq. ft., and only half of them were kept up. Most of the cars parked on the road looked about 6-7 years old, and there was a not-so-spectacular-but-still-OK park nearby. Of course a lot of people are starting to move to move from the Clear Lake area (upper-middle class) to Pearland because of its low cost and proximity to Houston, so I have a feeling those property values are going to increase.

And finally we went far enough down I-45 to get to what's called the "Clear Lake" area, which is named after the lake the area surrounds. That lake happens to also be the Harris County/Galveston County border, so I only have to hit the cities on the northern portion of it. The municiaplities are going to come fast and furious now, since we're mostly past the reaches of Houston's gigantic land-grabbing hands. Only Clear Lake City was swallowed by Houston, the rest remain unscathed. So I exited NASA Road 1 and was immediately in #18 Webster, which is where I got married not too long ago! We took a right on NASA Road 1 and immediately after hitting the border for #19 Friendswood (mostly in Brazoria County), we took a left into Challenger Seven Memorial Park, the boundary for #20 League City (mostly in Galveston County).

Then we begin our tour of NASA Road 1. This was the kingmaker of this trip: A straight road that goes through many municipalities, as well as (of course) the NASA Space Center! NASA is to us Houstonians like the Statue of Liberty is to New Yorkers. We consider it a tourist attraction, so we never actually go there unless we have out-of-town company or it was a school field trip. I've lived here 4 years and I've never been. My wife has been, but only on one of those school field trip. I've even passed right by it dozens of times when we were making trips down here from Baytown every weekend for wedding planning. But I digress...

Along NASA Road 1, we went through the main portion of Webster, then #21 Nassau Bay (Kelly really enjoyed saying the word "Nassau" for some reason), #22 Pasadena, #23 El Lago, a quick u-turn left on Kirby Drive to catch #24 Taylor Lake Village, then at the end of the road, #25 Seabrook. It was a beautiful drive along the northern border of the lake. We saw marinas everywhere. This was very much a marina community. Pam and I actually looked in this area to live when we first moved down here, but it was so much more expensive than Baytown was, so we decided against it.

Next was TX-146 going north. This is a road most people in the Houston area don't really need to go on. It's lined on both sides with refineries. If you're coming from Louisiana and going to Galveston and didn't want to take the ferry, this is the way you'd take to get there. But who doesn't want to take a ferry!? We drove straight through #26 Shoreacres and exited at Main Street after #27 La Porte.

The next city, Morgans Point, always seemed like an anomaly to me. From the freeway, as well as a satellite's point of view, it just looks like a large shipyard. A very large shipyard. It hardly seems like there could be enough people living there to justify incorporation. We crossed the city limits to enter #28 Morgans Point and, lo and behold, there was the city hall/police station/courthouse building on our left. There was even a single Morgan's Point Police Department patrol vehicle. We only saw a couple of houses to our right, so we knew at least someone lived there. After the trip I looked up more specifics of the city: In 2000, they had 336 people and 111 households. The children attend La Porte ISD. And the Morgans Point police are dispatched through the La Porte Police Department. They boast a property tax rate of 0.54%. City Council meetings are the first Thursday of each month and the municipal court is only in session one day a month on the first Tuesday of the month. They have garbage and even curbside recycling pickup. Who knew?

Next up was a Houston Landmark, the Fred Hartman Bridge. I swear, every time I see a commercial about Texas trucks, I see this bridge in one of the Texas landmark montages. The funny part is that this bridge is completely surrounded by oil refineries and shipyards. Even on that website I liked you too, it takes care not to show you the surrounding area. But one of the most interesting things about all the oil refineries is that, for safety, they are brightly lit all night. If you cross the Fred Hartman Bridge at night, it's one of the most spectacular visuals you could see of something so ordinary during the day. If you're ever in Houston, you should check out this bridge at night at least once.

Once we crossed the bridge, we immediately exited into the city where I lived for three years, #29 Baytown. Oddly enough, the fastest route back to the remaining cities was back over the bridge (because of the natural barrier of the Bay), so we turned around and headed back. Next was westward on TX-225 towards Houston. On the freeway we crossed #30 Deer Park and Pasadena again. Deer Park/Pasadena are famous for their roles in the 1980 movie Urban Cowboy, with John Travolta. Gilley's, the bar from the movie, was an actual working bar and remained in operation until a fire destroyed a portion of it in 1990. The bar was closed, but the structure remained until it was finally torn down in 2001. Unfortunately, I never got to see it myself.

We went down Shaver Street/Main Street in Pasadena to grab the most out-of-the-way city, South Houston. This is another small city that's surrounded by Houston on one side and Pasadena on the other. I made my last blunder of the day by missing my turn onto a road that was named something other than what the map said. We passed South Houston High School on our right and figured if we were in the Parking Lot of that, we would be in South Houston. I double checked when I got home and we were, indeed, in #31 South Houston, barely.

On the way back we went to the hottest Subway I had ever been to in my life. It was obvious the A/C wasn't working, but I thought it would of been too hot to even keep the store open. It was a relief to finally get outside, where it was 93 degrees in the afternoon sun. It must of been in excess of 110 degrees inside. It was not pleasant at all.

We drove all the way up main street to the last remaining automobile tunnel in Houston, the Washburn Tunnel. This is another one of those landmarks that most people who live here never go on. It's in between the I-610 loop bridge and the Beltway 8 toll bridge, so you can always just take a freeway across rather than take the tunnel. Luckily for me, the next two cities were just across the tunnel.

We took a left after the tunnel and we were in #32 Galena Park. This was definitely a lower-income area, as all the houses were small and run-down. The one thing that really caught my eye is that all the street signs were black on yellow. I had never seen a color scheme like that before. We turned on Main street and, after an open stretch of nothing, crossed into #33 Jacinto City. Jacinto City was like Galena Park, but a little more fixed-up.

The last city was pretty uneventful We took I-10 to I-610 to US-59 towards Cleveland (Texas). We got off near the airport, took a right into an area with lots of trees, and picked up the final city, #34 Humble (pronounced "Umble" for you northerners). The landscape in the northeast looked just like the northwest: lots and lots of green trees.

I stopped the timer at 5 hours, 6 minutes and 26 seconds and we drove 30 minutes back to the restaurant. I was really kicking myself for making those screw-ups at the beginning, but not enough to want to try a second attempt :) On to the next project, which will probably be the Every Local Bus in Houston trip.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

ECF planning

So the planning is on for ECF. What is ECF, you might ask? After much careful thought and deliberation, I have decided my latest craze shall be named Every Cincinnati Favorite, or ECF for short.

Busken, Graeters, Larosas and Montgomery Inn all had nice pages with hours of operation for all their stores. Skyline? Not so much. I sent them an email asking if they had that anywhere corporately, but the response I got was pretty much "Nope". So, while it wasn't quite the "Screw you" that Carey got from Houston Metro, it was also not the "Oh, here they are all and here's some free gift cards too". So I just got off the phone with 35 Skylines asking them for their hours on Fridays. And only one of them gave me the hours that the particular person was working, though a few tried to give me hours for Saturday.

I have decided that Friday must be the day to do this. Most stores have extended hours on the weekend (Fri/Sat), and the reason it has to be Friday instead of Saturday is that the Busken at 8th and Walnut is closed on Saturdays.

I think my plan is to do all the early stores starting at 6 am till 10 am. There are 14 Buskens and 11 Graeters (2 Graeters don't open till 11). Here's a map with those 25 locations. I looked up the actual driving directions for a route starting in Hebron (SW near the airport in KY) and ending on the west side of town, and it was 3 hours 49 minutes
. Taking out the 4 stores on the south east side drops it to 2:52 which is what I would probably do. 3:49 is just driving time and doesn't include stopping in each of the stores nor traffic which could be troublesome. Depending on how my trial runs go, I might take out the 2 Springdale stores (far north).

What? Trial runs? Mwahahaha. Yes, I may go on a trial run of this part this upcoming Saturday.

Anyways, now that I have all (but 2) hours of operation, here is a breakdown. As mentioned there are 25 stores that open before 10 am. The others open at 10, 10:30 and 11.

Closing times:
Of the early stores, 9 close before 6 p.m. This shouldn't be a problem since I should be hitting those first thing. Though actually 1 or 2 of the ones I wanted to skip in the morning are among these 9 - I'll have to remember those. Also I bet that the 2 Skylines that I didn't get an answer for close early (i.e. they were closed when I called just now) - they're downtown so it wouldn't surprise me.

8:00 - 1 Skyline (7th and Vine downtown)
9:00 - 3 Skylines
10:00 - 1 Graeters, 5 Skylines
10:30-10:45 - 8 Graeters, 1 Montgomery Inn
11:00 - 5 Buskens, 4 Graeters, 2 Montgomery Inns, 2 Skylines
11:30 - 1 Larosas, 1 Skyline
Midnight - 25 Larosas, 7 Skylines
12:30-12:45 - 5 Larosas
1:00 - 3 Larosas, 4 Skylines
2:00 - 1 Skyline (Oakley)
3:00 - 8 Skylines
3:30 - 2 Skylines (Kenwood and Plainfield Rd)
4:00 - 1 Skyline (Clifton)
24 hours - 1 Busken

If the numbers don't add up, and they probably don't, sue me. It's interesting trying to find a rhyme or reason to some of the closing times. Like it doesn't surprise me that the Clifton Skyline is the latest closing - all those UC students. But why does Norwood close at 10? Don't Xavier students need their 3-ways and Coneys?

Also, the times for Skyline were their dining hours - some of them had drivethrus that stayed open later. I'm not sure how I feel about drivethrus - kind of defeats the whole purpose of visiting every restaurant. Though I used the delivery / carryout hours for Larosas, as opposed to dining areas, because at least there you're actually going IN to get your pizza (or your garlic sticks or 20 oz beverage, as the case may be)

I think this is definitely doable, and one of the cool factors is that it's going to be close. It will take some excellent logistical planning and execution to make it happen in one day. There's something cool about having a 24 hr deadline rather than just going as fast as you can without a deadline. Good thing I'm the (self-proclaimed) world's #1 expert on such matters...

And, one final point, Carolyn has decreed (and if there's anybody who knows her way around the middle of the night, it's her) that 3 a.m. is still night time, but 4 a.m. is morning.

EDIT TO ADD: There was a missing Skyline!!! After talking to Amy at work, she was remembering one downtown on 4th street. I double checked the website, and it was there, but only listed as a Downtown store. The other 2 downtown stores are also listed in the general Cincinnati category. That would have been a disastrous faux pas to not include that one. Naturally, this just cements Skyline's place as "worst website evah"

Monday, July 23, 2007

Cincinnati Favorites

So after watching Mark Malkoff's record-setting performance of 171 Starbucks in Manhattan, I dusted off a few of my plans. The first one I thought of was the plan to visit every Kroger in the area. There were 108 Krogers in what Kroger considers the Cincinnati "area" (which goes from Batesville to Maysville to Hillsboro to Sidney), and IIRC, the estimate was 22 hours or so to visit all of them (and that's just driving time - not including time to actually go in and buy something).

After ruling that one out, I remembered the 58 Krogers in what I considered Cincinnati. That came in as somewhere around 8 hours of driving time (much more realistic), but I had dismissed it as lacking "cool factor". Upon review of the Starbucks video, I may need to reconsider that. I think that there is definitely some cool factor involved.

But what has currently grabbed my fancy is visiting every "Cincinnati Favorite". Though there are more brands listed on the aforementioned website, I narrowed it down to Busken, Graeters, Skyline, Larosas and Montgomery Inn. With apologies to Sturkey's and Glier's, whatever they are, if after 10 years of living here I have never heard of you, you don't qualify!

So I then set my sights on acquiring the store list. As I already knew, this can be one of the most challenging parts of the whole endeavor. Larosas has an EXCELLENT page - a full store list with Google Maps mashup! I was even able to get latitude and longitude coordinates off of it, so that was nice.

The other sites weren't that bad - I eventually was able to get a full list, but then I ran into another problem. Skyline's store list contains stores inside Kings Island, the Zoo, Coney Island and Great American Ball Park. After thinking about it for a bit, and an (unrelated) trip to Kings Island (where I of course did some reconnaisance work), I decided that those stores don't count. After all, there are also Larosa's and Graeter's in Kings Island, and neither company lists those locations on their official store listings. If Skyline wants to artificially inflate their store count, that's their own business. So I decided (and I do declare myself to be in the best position to arbiter) that only stores that are open to the public are counted. Skyline also lists a store inside the IRS building in Covington, but a quick phone call confirmed that they are open to the public, so they're in.

Then I turned my sights to boundary locations. What, exactly, is considered "Cincinnati". It was easy to rule out locations in places like Oxford, or Hamilton, or Batesville, or Lebanon, or Walton. But as you start getting closer, the line becomes much hazier. If you count Mason, then what about Landen. And then if you count Landen, well what about Maineville? How about Amelia or Goshen? Independence or Alexandria, KY? Lawrenceburg or Bright, IN? There were somewhere around 150 locations to visit, depending on where you drew the line.

But then I decided to just make the boundary the 275 loop. It's a nice definitive boundary without any room for wiggling - either it is inside or it isn't. And that still gives 104 stores. I didn't think that 150 was doable in 24 hours, given the fact that many of them don't even open until 10 a.m. (the exception being Busken). So you don't really have a full 24 hours - it's more like 15 or 18, though I did see a few Skylines that were open till 3 a.m. on weekends and the Hyde Park Busken is open 24 hours a day.

The rules, just as in the Starbucks movie, are that you have to visit every store, and you have to buy something at every store and consume at least part of it. If you happen to come across a store after closing time, then if you can get an employee to sell / give you something, that can count. More codified rules will be written as necessary.

Stay tuned!

Friday, July 20, 2007

171 Starbucks!!

Yes there are indeed more folks out there like me. Mark Malkoff, a NYC resident, came up with the plan to visit all 171 Starbucks in Manhattan in a single day. After a few false starts and much planning, he pulled it off on June 29, 2007.

You can watch the 10 minute video recapping the event at the appropriately named

The rules were that he had to make a purchase at every store, and consume at least part of it. He managed to do the first 14 hours or so on bicycle, but then, hopped up on caffeine and with a hobbled leg, he did the last part in a car.

Due to bad luck and / or some delays, he arrived at 2 stores after they were closed. One was shown in the video as closed at 10:12 p.m., although the store sign said they were open till 11. The employee, after much begging and attempted bribery, parted with a biscotti for $1. At another closed store, it took $80 for a pound cake!

He ended up spending over $369, but finished nearly 23 hours after he started.

Definitely awesome, and it has renewed my vigor in some of the other tasks that I could do around here. Perhaps Every Kroger isn't such a bad idea, or maybe Every Larosas!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Old comment!

So no more than 10 minutes after the posting of my last post, I get an email with a notification of a comment on my blog. As a side note, if you use Blogger, you should definitely turn the feature on that emails you on comments - otherwise you may be missing some.

This was a comment on my first post on this blog from a fellow county-counter. He actually also lives in the Greater Cincinnati area (nearby),but has racked up over 2500 counties. So a leeeetle ahead of me.

Anyway it was good to hear from another county enthusiast. He has his own blog about the subject which I highly recommend.

One of his posts is an article from the Pioneer Press, in St. Paul, Minnesota. It talks about us crazy people and also mentions

"There's a guy who has a Web page about his whirlwind visit to all 88 counties in Ohio — he did it in 24 hours."

Woohoo I'm famous!!!!!!

County game

Not quite an every whatever, but close. Here's a little game:

Take your basic county map of Ohio.

Starting at Adams, and ending in Wyandot, make your way through all 88 counties in alphabetical order. Obviously this is impossible to do all in one trip, but the game is to see how few "strikes" you get. Every time you have to start over (i.e. you reach a county that has no non-visited adjacent counties that are after it alphabetically), you choose an adjacent county that is before it alphabetically, and count yourself with one strike.

I'm thinking that for Ohio the "magic" number would be somewhere around 12-15.

Oddly, there do not appear to be any states that you can do this without strikes, unless you count Hawaii which has kind of "fuzzy" borders due to the water. Delaware and Rhode Island (which have the fewest counties at 3 and 5 respectively) are doable with a single strike, as is Connecticut (8 counties).

New Hampshire (10 counties) is an interesting case:

Without the rules of having to start and end at the alphabetically extreme counties (Belknap and Sullivan), it's doable with one strike (Belknap-Carroll-Coos-Grafton-Merrimack-Sullivan, Cheshire-Hillsborough-Rockingham-Strafford). But if you force those boundary conditions, it takes 3 (Belknap-Carroll-Coos-Grafton-Merrimack-Strafford, Rockingham, Hillsborough, Cheshire-Sullivan).

I like the symmetry of starting and ending in the extremes so we're doin' it baby!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Every Municipality (in Harris County, Texas)

Carey here (not Dan).

As usual, I like to like to use Dan for inspiration and I borrowed his every city in a county idea to my own county, Harris County, Texas.

They say everything is bigger in Texas, and our counties are no exception. Harris County is 1,778 square miles and third largest in the country by population. This is compared to 413 square miles of Hamilton County, Ohio. Needless to say, it's going to be a much longer trip. However, there will be fewer municipalities to hit, since the city of Houston alone takes up 33.8% of the entire area of the county.

Texas is a little different in Ohio in that they don't have "villages" or "townships." All we have are cities and unincorporated county areas. These unincorporated areas are basically the same things as townships. They don't always have a set border, but they are considered census-designated places.

From speaking with Dan, I think these are the ground rules we came up with, which is pretty much what he's already discussed in the previous post:
  • Municipalities are usually defined by state statute. Anything considered an unincorporated area (i.e. township) by the county doesn't count towards the goal, as they do not always have defined boundaries.
  • If a city is split into two or more disconnected parts, you only have to visit one of the parts to count the city.
  • You are allowed to leave the county, but any city you pick up outside of the county doesn't count towards the goal. You must be inside that city inside the target county.
  • If any part of a city is in the County, it must be hit.
So, with these ground rules in mind, here is the list of municipalities in Harris County that require visiting:
  • Baytown
  • Bellaire
  • Bunker Hill Village
  • Deer Park
  • El Lago
  • Friendswood
  • Galena Park
  • Hedwig Village
  • Hilshire Village
  • Houston
  • Humble
  • Hunters Creek Village
  • Jacinto City
  • Jersey Village
  • Katy
  • La Porte
  • League City
  • Missouri City
  • Morgan's Point
  • Nassau Bay
  • Pasadena
  • Pearland
  • Piney Point Village
  • Seabrook
  • Shoreacres
  • South Houston
  • Southside Place
  • Spring Valley
  • Stafford
  • Taylor Lake Village
  • Tomball
  • Waller
  • Webster
  • West University Place
The shortest path I could find was 205 miles and estimated 5.75 hours. See my map here

And I have a date set! It looks like I'll be attempting this route on the afternoon of Sunday, July 22, 2007 with a few people I know who wanted to share in the world record. I'll report on the trip afterwards.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Every Municipality

So a new thing I've been tinkering with - every municipality! I started with Hamilton County, of course because hey that's a cool place to start! As with the Every Zip code problem, one problem with EFM is getting a list of all the municipalities, as well as finding the actual borders.

Each county in Ohio is broken up into (generally rectangularish) townships. Hamilton County has 12 townships. I believe there used to be 14, but Cincinnati Twp and Mill Creek Twp have been completely annexed by the city of Cincinnati. When a county was first formed / surveyed / whatever, it only had these townships as organizational units. As cities and villages are incorporated, land is taken away from the townships to form said cities / villages.

In very urban areas, this can lead to some odd township boundaries, or even removal of the township. As I mentioned before, there are 2 historical townships in Hamilton County that no longer exist. Or Columbia Township which now only exists in several small islands, since the rest of it has been annexed by other cities.

So, the list of places to visit:

  • Blue Ash
  • Cheviot
  • Cincinnati
  • Deer Park
  • Fairfield
  • Forest Park
  • Harrison
  • Indian Hill
  • Loveland
  • Madeira
  • Milford
  • Montgomery
  • Mount Healthy
  • North College Hill
  • Norwood
  • Reading
  • Sharonville
  • Silverton
  • Springdale
  • St. Bernard
  • Wyoming

  • Addyston
  • Amberley Village
  • Arlington Heights
  • Cleves
  • Elmwood Place
  • Evendale
  • Fairfax
  • Glendale
  • Golf Manor
  • Greenhills
  • Lincoln Heights
  • Lockland
  • Mariemont
  • Newtown
  • North Bend
  • Terrace Park
  • Woodlawn

  • Anderson
  • Colerain
  • Columbia
  • Crosby
  • Delhi
  • Green
  • Harrison
  • Miami
  • Springfield
  • Sycamore
  • Symmes
  • Whitewater

Now you might ask yourself: "Why Dan, I live in Mack, or Dillonvale or Finneytown - you missed my town on your list!!". And the reply of course is that you do not live there. You live in Green Township, or Sycamore Township, or Springfield Township (respectively). Those are what are called Census Designated places. Or, in other words, they just don't really exist, outside the minds of the people that live around there.

I have nothing against CDPs (other than that they would make my trip longer), but the problem with including them is that their borders are abstract and/or nebulous. To take some examples of some west-side Hamilton Co. neighborhoods. Where's the border between Mack North and Mack South. Or either of them and Bridgetown. Or Covedale, Dent, White Oak or Monfort Heights? You may think you know the exact border, but I guarantee you that out of 10 people, at least 5 would give different borders.

So, I have decided to stick with actual municipalities, with elected officers and official boundaries and such. Similarly, I chose to treat Cincinnati as just one city, rather than try to divide it up into neighborhoods - same kind of border problem. Maybe for my next trick I will visit every ward in Cincinnati (I believe there are 25).

And again, you might ask yourself: "Why Dan, Loveland and Milford are in Clermont County, not Hamilton, and Fairfield is in Butler County! I thought this was a Hamilton County thing?!?". Actually, most (local) people know that Loveland is partially in Hamilton County, as well as Clermont and Warren, as one of only 5 cities in Ohio that are in 3 counties. And Milford has a tiny sliver in Hamilton County, near the former terminus of the Little Miami Bike Trail. But Fairfield?!? Even the Wikipedia doesn't know it's partially in Hamilton County. In browsing the city's website as well as the county auditor's website, I am forced to agree that there is a tiny section (less than a block long) of Winton / Gilmore Road of Fairfield that is in Hamilton County - near 275 and the Cincinnati Mills mall.

Here is a map of the various places in Hamilton Co (click to enlarge)

Note that it includes CDPs.

and here is my first draft at a route

Isn't Google Maps new feature of being able to auto drag and drop maps and directions cool! It's like they're listening right to me! This nearly eliminates the need for places like and