Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Atlanta Trip

So I took a trip down to Atlanta for my friend (and fellow county counter) Jim's wedding. Because I am clearly demented, obviously I could not take the "normal" way to Atlanta (duh).

But I also had Carolyn with me, and in the weeks leading up to this trip, I professed to her that I loved her more than I love counties, so nor could I take the county-cramming-est way either.

Clearly, a compromise of some sort was in order! Also making things easier was that the hotel was not actually IN Atlanta, but more to the NE of town, so I decided to go down 75 to Knoxville and then instead of continuing down 75 to Atlanta, cutting east to go around the mountains the other way and then in to Georgia on I-85 (our hotel was right off I-85).

Things started off well - we set off bright and early Friday morning and headed south. At Knoxville, we took 640 to I-40 East and headed into North Carolina (Haywood County - #1, passing all the signs for all the Gatlinburg / Pigeon Forge attractions that we saw last summer.

I had tossed around a few ideas of ways to go, but in the end, decided that less counties while still following the Law of Conservation of Counties. So we got off the highway on US-74 South. 74 was a nice highway and we made good time. The plan was to take it past Waynesville and then hop on the Blue Ridge Parkway heading south (east?), which I thought would give some nice views and maybe a place to get out and stretch the old legs.

Problem was, when we got there, it was CLOSED! (for the winter I guess). Google did indicate that it was seasonally closed, but I didn't put it together that it would already be closed in early November. Buncha wimps. The big problem is that I didn't have any map / atlas type info with me, nor do I have one of those new-fangled fancy phones. Luckily there was a rest area / visitor information area about 1/2 mile back on 74, so we turned around and stopped in there and picked up a map.

The original plan was to take the Blue Ridge parkway to SC 215 to US 64 to US 178 into South Carolina, but with the parkway closed, we took an audible and continued south on 74 through Jackson NC (#2) and then went south on SC 107 near Sylva, NC. Then in the lovely hamlet of Tuckasegee, we turned on to SC 281.

This was a bad road. I mean, the road itself was okay, but it was just a VERY winding road and Carolyn started to get a little sick from all the switchbacks. Eventually, we made our way through Transylvania NC (#3) over to US 64 and then US 178 which took us into Pickens SC (#4). US 178 was pretty winding as well, but eventually we made it through the clear onto SC 11, which was a nice flat road, which perked up spirits in the car. That took us into Oconee county, which I already had. There was a slight detour onto SC 24 and SC 59 which was supposed to pick up Anderson County, but I messed up the turn at Fair Play.

We got on to 85 South and into Georgia, which picked up Hart (#5), Franklin (#6), Banks (#7), Jackson (#8), Barrow (#9) and Gwinnett (#10).

That was all for the trip there, and while at the hotel over the weekend, I re-examined our route home, to make sure that we would not run into such mountainous conditions. It looked like we were all good, so we continued as planned. Rather than taking 85 South into downtown Atlanta to pick up 75 North, the plan was to head more or less northwesterly, picking up 75 near Cleveland, TN.

We started off on 85N to 985N, picking up Hall (#11). Back on GA 347 West and GA 13 South to GA 20 West into Forsyth (#12). Then on to US 19 / GA 400 which was a nice divided highway, to GA 369 and then GA 9 for Dawson (#13). In Dawsonville, we turned on to GA 53 West, which was a bit of a tricky turn, and probably the most winding of any of the roads of the day (but still nothing like the ones in NC on Friday). GA 53 took us into Pickens (#14) and one (of the many?) "Appalachian Highway(s)" - GA 5 / 515. That was a very solid road which we took for awhile (through already visited counties) till we cut over on GA 136 over to US 411, which we took up into Tennessee and then through Cleveland on to 75.

Here's a subset of my county map, with the new counties on this trip marked in blue. You can see where I messed up Anderson SC - it's the county that would connect the 2 blue segments

Monday, August 23, 2010

Every County in New England in 20 minutes

Here it is folks - the results of assembling 12,000+ still frames shot over our 26 hour journey to every county in New England into a 20 minute video with corresponding soundtrack.

I'm pretty pleased with how it came out, so find yourself a 20 minute block of time, and get some popcorn. Unfortunately, the video here is a little small and blocky due to file size restrictions...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Wheels up +24

We've just passed the 24 hour mark since taking off on a Cessna from the Vineyard yesterday. It's been an arduous journey, and we're 62 counties and 10,700 images into it, but we've come up short on the (never realistic) goal of completing all New England counties in 24 hrs.

We think we'll wrap up by around 10am, and will have seen some good sights, had some good conversations and plenty of laughs, and then we'll have 6 hours to get home. We were only pulled over once and got a warning, and we haven't hit any wildlife

All in all, we're doing well and thinking of new procedures to incorporate sleep hours in future trips.

It's finished.

If we told you it took less than 24 hours, you'd believe us, right?


No sleep til 8 road.

Friday, August 13, 2010

No service!

Sorry for the lack of updates from rural, serviceless Vermont. We're through 27 counties, with Rutland coming right up. 

We made a big error on 100/155, costing us major pansy time, which is going to be hard to make up. 

The sandwiches are receiving rave reviews. And Kevin knows Calvin Coolidge's tomb like the back of his hand. More asap. 

Sorry this post is old bad service. Bethel mountain road!

Tweet fail

So twitter search is having big problems, thus updates on #efnec are not coming through to the website. You can, however, follow @TheDanMiller, @JimTocco, and @DrJayBoston to get updates.

Sorry, I know you're waiting with bated breath.

First mistake

I'm not going to assign blame to any particular person from Virginia, but we missed Exit 5a off of 95 in RI. This cost us as we had to take 138 N (a slow going road) instead of 165 W into New London, CT. We lost about 8 mins along the way.

Dan's just going to turn up the awesome.

Rhode Island bound

We are rolling down US6 in the Ford Escape (or similar), 18 minutes ahead of schedule. Let me take this time to explain the photography situation.

First, we have Jim and Jay on the iPhones, tweeting pics throughout. Check the twitter feed (#efnec) and the photos page at http://cns.bu.edu/~jbohland/ne.html.

In addition, we have a webcam hooked to the roof of the Ford Escape (or similar) with an industrial strength suction vise, with USB cable through the passenger window. This camera will be snapping photos every 6 seconds from here on out, about 14,000 in total. We'll make that into a time-lapse video and put it up after we return to Cambridge.

Tune in for further updates.

Charting a course to the Vineyard

This is Dan (posting under Jay's account).

We had a good night. Yesterday (Thursday) afternoon I got to Jay's office, dropped off my car, and rode the T to the airport (where Jay managed to make us pay 2 fares each), and of course by "make us pay" I mean make himself pay for both of us.

Then we picked up Jim and Kevin at the airport, rented the Escape (or similar) and drove back to Jay's house (on Jay St., of course).

We packed up, and drove to Hyannis. We drove around the traffic circle a few times (Big Ben. Parliament.) and eventually parked the Escape (or similar) at the long term parking lot (backing in of course to save those crucial seconds)

Then we had a friendly Russian cab driver drive us over to the Sleepy Hollow Motor Inn in Woods Hole, where we stayed the night.

4:30 this morning came awful early, and after showering and getting ready, we walked down to the Steamship Authority ferry, which is where we're at right now.

We're using the ship's free wi-fi to post this while we are on the way to Martha's Vineyard (Dukes County). As soon as I finish posting this, we'll be making our way to the front of the exit line so we can hurry and call a cab to take us from the ferry landing to the airport.

Jim is ready with the official time, which will start as soon as we are "wheels up" on our flight to Nantucket. There may not be many updates until we get back as we won't have Internet. But you can check out our progress at the website http://cns.bu.edu/~jbohland/ne.html

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Website to track us

Jay spent the day making a website to track us. It has links to this blog, as well as some Google Latitude tracking us


EFNEC food preparations

Email from Jay

Let me announce the food and beverage options for our voyage:

Buffalo Turkey with Provolone and Romaine on Oat and Honey Whole Wheat
Multigrain (2 available)
Buffalo Turkey with Provolone and Romaine on a hard roll (2 available)
Pepper Crusted Ham with Provolone and Romaine on Oat and Honey Whole
Wheat Multigrain (2 available)
Pepper Crusted Ham with Provolone and Romaine on a hard roll (2 available)
Combo Buffalo Turkey and Pepper Crusted Ham with Provolone and Romaine
on Oat and Honey Whole Wheat Multigrain (2 available)
Combo Buffalo Turkey and Pepper Crusted Ham with Provolone and Romaine
on a hard roll (2 available)
Dimitrio's of Cambridge, MA Cheese Pizza, served cold (8 slices available)

Assorted mini-muffins (12 available)
Fresh bananas (5 available)
Trader Joe's Reduced Fat Vanilla Yogurt, 6 oz tubs (4 available)

Assorted apples (3 Granny Smith, 3 Fuji, 2 Pink Lady available)
Dried fruit and nut mix with Cashews, Almonds, Walnuts, Cranberries,
Blueberries (2 lbs. available)
Assorted Shaw's Crunchy Granola Bars (2 Maple Brown Sugar, 2 Peanut
Butter, 2 Oats & Honey available)

Cape Cod Robust Russet Potato Chips (15 oz available)
Shopper's Value Salted Pretzel Rods (approximately 25 rods available)
Sour Patch Kids Soft and Chewy Candies (14 oz available)
Twizzlers Strawberry Twists (approximately 20 twists available)

Jen's Homemade Double Chocolate Brownies (approximately 10 available)

BEVERAGE CART (precise quantities to be determined by available cooler space):
Shaw's Natural Spring Water, 12 oz bottles
Adirondack Mandarin Orange Seltzer Water, 12 oz cans
Diet Dr. Pepper Cherry, 12 oz cans
Diet A&W Root Beer, caffeine free, 8 oz cans
Monster Energy Drink, 16 oz cans
Assorted Gatorade sports drinks, 32 oz WIDE MOUTH bottles

p.s. This is on me to make up for all y'all having to fly / travel.
See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

EFNEC route

So EFNEC stands for Every Freakin New England County. It's the 3rd such trip that we have done, having done Ohio and Alabama previously.

So while the exact route must remain top-secret, for proprietary reasons, I thought I'd share a bit of noodling.

The problem, as I've mentioned before, is the 2 Massachusetts counties that are on islands.

So we'll be starting there by taking a ferry to Martha's Vineyard, then a plane from MV (Dukes County) to Nantucket (Nantucket County) and then another plane from Nantucket back to the mainland.

As a side note, one of my friends was simultaneously jealous when I told her I was going to Martha's Vineyard and appalled when I told her I'd be there for about an hour :-D

After landing in Hyannis, we'll drive west through RI and CT, then north through MA and VT. Upon reaching Grand Isle county in the far northwest of Vermont, we'll head southeast back towards Boston, before taking the final leg of the journey northeast into Maine.

We will end on a "road" that is called "Eight Road". As you might imagine, in some rural areas, there is a fun game to be played called "Is this a road, or someone's driveway?"

We will be attempting to live update from the road both on this blog as well as on Twitter at


Happy Trails!

Monday, August 09, 2010

Every County in New England

So..... it's been awhile since anyone has posted here, right?

To break my silence, I bring you news of an Every Freakin New England County (EFNEC) trip. The problem with New England is that there are 2 counties in Massachusetts (Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard) that are on islands. Total is 67 counties.

In doing calculations, it seemed like there was no way to do the whole thing in 24 hours, so we re-defined the project as 24 hours upon reaching the mainland, which does look doable.

So plans have been made and locked up, and we will be starting with a 6 am ferry to Martha's Vineyard this Friday.

More information coming, including ways on how to follow our adventures.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Every Town in Utah

My friend Harmony sent me a link to some friends of hers who are blogging their visits to "Every Town in Utah". Not sure how many towns there are there, but that sounds like fun!


Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Every Super Neighborhood in Houston - Trip 11 (and 11b)

Ok, I actually did this trip back in mid-October, and I finished the map right after the ride, but I neglected to do the actual write-up. Since we're doing the big 50-mile Clear Lake trip 12 this weekend, I figured it would be prudent to finally get this written.

This ride was on an absolutely gorgeous day. We started out in the upper 40s and ended in the lower 60s. It may be chilly for just standing around, but it was just about perfect for cycling.

We took a path I've taken many times before when heading west. The first stop was actually a mistake stop in Spring Branch Central, not Spring Branch West:

And here is the picture from Trip 11b, completed in mid-January, which was a make-up trip solely to pick up the #10 Spring Branch West that I missed. It was completely uneventful and didn't deserve it's own writeup, but here is the photo:

[picture to be uploaded tonight]

We took a left on an extremely busy road (Gessner) and was looking for the Memorial Hermann Hospital to pick up #16 Memorial, but instead saw a sign for the Memorial City Mall across the way, which had a much better angle and light:

After taking a nice ride on a fairly fast road all the way through Memorial, past the beltway, we arrived at Highway 6, the furthest distance we've ever gone (as the crow flies). We crossed I-10 and found a giant duck. I took a photo to add to the "me and giant birds" collection:

Then just a block north was our furthest-point destination of #9 Addicks/Park Ten:

Went down highway 6 a bit (an extremely busy and scary road), and zig-zagged our way down a fairly large detour to pick up #17 Eldridge/West Oaks.

I scoured the internet for something that said Eldridge on it that was closer to our intended route, but couldn't find anything. Likewise, when we were at Eldridge and Briar Forest, two fairly large roads, there were shopping centers everywhere, and not a single peep of the word "Eldridge."

A quick jaunt down Briar Forest Drive got us to the Abbey in #18 Briarforest:

We took a quick breather at a convenience store nearby and crossed Westheimer into a very commercial area, and then at Wilcrest and Meadowglen we found #19 Westchase:

Then we barely clipped #20 Woodlake/Briar Meadow, but they were nice enough to put a sign up for us:

After zig-zagging through the Galleria area, avoiding major roads because it's one of the most traffic-ridden areas of Houston and it was getting to be Sunday afternoon (and so all the shoppers and post-church eaters were everywhere). Then, at the very far edge of the neighborhood, we got #21 Greater Uptown:

And after that it was a pleasant ride home on a pleasant day through Memorial Park, with the exception of the flight of stairs we had to carry our bikes up because of construction. Not the best thing when you've already gone 35 miles!

Stay tuned for next week, where we will be doing a very long and very straight ride down to Clear Lake. 66 down, 22 more to go!