Tuesday, July 09, 2013

South Carolina: Complete

We spent the holiday weekend in Jacksonville with family and such. It was a great weekend, and Marla was well-behaved throughout, except for after it was time to leave the beach, and the fact that she's now learned the word "no".

But on the way down to Jacksonville last Thursday, I decided it was a good time to take care of some outstanding statistical business: visiting the five counties in South Carolina I had yet to visit (the dark yellow ones on this map). Those five counties are pretty far out of the way, which means we'll never just go there by chance. Incorporating them into a Jacksonville trip adds a full three hours to the drive time. But hey, Marla woke us up at 1:30 AM Thursday morning, so we had lots of time!


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It's done! South Carolina is the 5th state in which I've visited every county, joining Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, and North Carolina. Hooray! And since I had previously finished off all of the interstates in South Carolina, that means I can now start tracking all of the US highways that I've driven in South Carolina, according to the rule I made up last year - once I finish off all counties and interstates in a state, I move on to US routes. By my count, I've driven 1,002 of 3,651 (27.4%) miles of US highways in South Carolina. (I thought it'd be higher than that, actually, given how many times I've gone there over the years. I'm currently at 67.1% in North Carolina.)

So, what's next? Here are some other states that I'm close to finishing off completely, both in terms of counties and interstates: (North Carolina, South Carolina, Delaware, and Connecticut are already complete for both categories.)

1) Maryland: Next time we head to the Northeast, I'd like to finish off Maryland. I only need one more county (Carroll), plus I-70 between Frederick and Baltimore (which itself passes through Carroll County), and also I-83 inside the Baltimore Beltway. And that'll be that for Maryland. It's definitely the most practical remaining state to complete, and it's my top priority next time I'm heading up that way.

2) New Jersey: I only have one more county (Cumberland), plus a little bit of I-95, I-80, and I-76. It'll take some effort to finish off those interstates, but New Jersey is a relatively small state, so it could theoretically all be done in one trip.

3) West Virginia: I've already finished all the interstates in West Virginia; now I just have four counties to go. Lincoln and Boone can be wrapped into a Toledo trip, and Jefferson could be incorporated into my next Northeast trip (just like the Maryland stuff). Tucker County, however, is deep in the mountains, and is a pain in the butt to get to. I'll have to think about that one.

4) Florida: Driving I-75 from Tampa to Fort Lauderdale, plus a side trip to Hendry County, would complete Florida. (In addition to Hendry, I'm also missing Collier County, which is along I-75.) Problem is, Tampa to Fort Lauderdale by way of Naples is not a short drive, and southwest Florida is pretty far away from home to begin with. Sure, we go to Florida to see family twice a year, but that's north Florida. This couldn't be done in a day trip from Jacksonville, and I'm not sure I'd really want to, anyway.

5) Pennsylvania: I can sort of see the finish line in Pennsylvania - 3 counties and 261 interstate miles to go. And, Pennsylvania isn't that far from home. But those three counties are out of the way, and the interstate mileage I'm missing is almost all on east-west interstates that I'll never have a good reason to take, other than just to do it.

6) Vermont: Only one county (Grand Isle) and one interstate (I-89) to go. Pretty easy, except that I only go to Vermont once every ten years. So, maybe in 2022, I guess?

(Side note: Even though I'm not that close on a percentage basis, New Hampshire and Rhode Island would be pretty easy to complete, too, because they're, you know, small.)

7) Maine: I've already taken care of the counties, and all that remains of Maine interstates is 16 miles of I-95 in northern Maine (which I bypassed in 2007 in order to go visit one of those counties). But, I go to Maine even less frequently than I go to Vermont, so...

8) Virginia: Obviously, proximity to home is a plus. But I still have 16 counties to go in Virginia, and they're scattered all throughout the state.

(Side note: the city of Bedford recently merged with Bedford County, effectively reducing the number of county-equivalents in Virginia by one. But the city of Bedford was one that I had already visited, of course. Why couldn't one of those other annoying independent cities have merged with the surrounding county, like Falls Church or Manassas Park or something?)

9) Ohio: This is the only other state I could see myself finishing off within the next, say, eight years. Like Virginia, I have a ways to go in Ohio, especially with interstates (467 miles).

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