County Counter Extraordinaire

On May 1, 2011 · 32 Comments

Fritz Keppler of Arlington, Virginia recently discovered my humble Twelve Mile Circle blog as he searched for the boundaries of the Sandoval County exclave. He’s quickly become a regular reader and contributor in the comments section over the last few weeks. One early comment caught my eye in particular. I fixated on its enormity as it had an opportunity to sink into my consciousness. As you know I’m a relentless counter of things, whether they may be waterfalls, lighthouses, fortifications, ferries, breweries & brewpubs, or all the many geo-oddities you see featured on these pages. In particular, I have a soft spot for County Counters even though I’ve barely cracked a thousand on my own.

Fritz not only counts counties like many of us here on the 12MC do, but he also counts all the possible crossing combinations between counties in both directions. His accomplishments are a complete order of magnitude beyond what I’ve ever even attempted to do, and much more successfully accomplished I might add. I feel like such a slacker compared to Fritz and I will now use his example as positive motivation.

Here is the comment that knocked me over:

… [i] have as a more recent goal to try to cross all 18,769 places where counties abut upon one another (or foreign states or provinces) by line or point. I’ve managed to cross 15,074, and there are quite a few without roads/paths or bridged waterways which will remain uncrossable, but it’s fun to try to do it.

I contacted Fritz off-line to see if he might be interested in answering a few questions, and sharing his experiences with the 12MC audience. He graciously accepted the opportunity for an interview and you will see the amazing results below. I am sure that you will have questions and comments of your own so please feel free to post them so that Fritz can see them. Also, he might be willing to share the spreadsheet template he developed to track his boundary crossings, assuming you’re prepared to take your County Counting to the next level, and if you ask kindly.

I’m even more impressed after the interview. I think you will be too.

How did you get started with county counting? How long have you been doing this? When did you switch to counting county border crossings?

Actually it all goes back to when I first started traveling with my parents. I’m from New Orleans originally, and the first time we traveled to Mississippi, I noticed on the sign they had the words "Hancock County" written, so I asked my Dad what a county was, and he explained that it was like a parish in Louisiana. I found that exotic, and started marking gas station maps with our travels (they were free back then!). I kept these, and eventually in high school I started noting what counties I had been in, and approximately when and in which order. And first handwritten, then typewritten, eventually on computer.

In the Extra Miler Club, of which I am a member, one of the people there mentioned something about crossing lines, and suggested a list of possible lines. However, he only considered simple lines, not including what direction crossed. And I found that his data was a bit deficient for my purposes, so I started going over my DeLorme Street Atlas (I think at that time 7.0) and examining each and every line, and noting whether they appeared to be crossable or not. Basically, if a road was indicated with a name or number I counted it crossable, but if it had no name I decided at the time that I would consider it at least temporarily "uncrossable". Some of these lines have proven to be easily crossable later, but others not. (I use the quotation marks on purpose, since in effect all lines are crossable, it just depends upon how much time, effort and expense is to be expended in crossing them.)

Establishing this database started in summer 2001. It took quite a few months. In the meantime, when I learned of the establishment of Broomfield County, Colorado on 15 November 2001, I decided to go there to be present on that date. (I missed the establishment of Cibola NM in 1981and La Paz AZ in 1983, because I didn’t hear of their coming into being until after the fact.) My database of lines was not sufficiently developed at that time, so on my way out there I missed several vectors of crossing, some of which I have crossed since, but not all. I was present at the newly established courthouse of Broomfield County at midnight on 15 November (with only street sweeping vehicles to help celebrate the event), and before going to sleep that night I crossed all the lines that the new county abutted against. (Earlier that evening I had crossed the Adams/Boulder line, which would become extinct after the new county was established.) I also went to the highpoint that evening, as well as the next morning.

Upon return from this trip, I was able to get my database into sufficient shape that I began to take trips throughout Virginia and nearby states for the sole purpose of crossing lines which I had missed in previous journeys. Nowadays, whenever I go anywhere, I try to plan a route to cross as many new lines as possible. I feel obliged to cross the line in both directions, so I turn around and cross in the other direction, then resume my journey. This has occasionally led to my being stopped by police and the Border Patrol, especially near the Mexican border, and I showed them my maps and records. Never any real problem, mostly they are amused or baffled.

What was your most memorable new county or crossing?

Most memorable county probably would be Broomfield, see above, since I took a trip of several thousand miles just to get to it!

Most memorable line, I would have to say it involved crossing from Richardson, Nebraska to Doniphan, Kansas, and then on a short ways to cross into Brown KS before returning the same way. It was fairly late in the evening, and these lines were on the Iowa Sac and Fox Indian Reservation. My movements were apparently suspicious, so after I had crossed back from Brown and before I got back to Richardson, I was stopped by the tribal police, who questioned me, looked at my maps and records, and even had a German Shepherd sniff my car for drugs. Apparently there was some difficulty with white people dealing drugs to the tribe members. The policeman was quite polite and respectful, asking permission for the dog to inspect the car, but I’m sure that if I had not given permission, things would have deteriorated quickly. Of course they found nothing, and I continued on my way, crossing over into Holt County, Missouri before stopping for the night. Not expecting such a thing to happen, I was a bit perturbed.

More happily, up in Adirondack Park NY last October I was looking for a way to cross the Hamilton/Saratoga line, which I had considered to be "uncrossable", but it looked like it might be doable. So I drove to the end of a road there and was looking for any trail, when a nearby homeowner whistled to attract my attention. I went over to him, and explained what I was doing. Once he was assured that I was up to no mischief, he walked with me a ways to show me an old logging road which led up to the ridge where the line was. The old road was in poor shape, but I was able to find the line with the help of my GPS (DeLorme, with built in Topo Maps). It was very kind of that man to help me.

Which one was the most difficult?

So far, I would have to say this involved the line between Oglethorpe and Oconee in Georgia. My map indicated that a road crossed the Oconee River, but when I got there, the road stopped and the river unbridged (apparently never having had a bridge at that site). Having come quite a ways to get to this point, I was determined to cross the line, so I waded the river. Fortunately the water was only waist high, and it was summer (2008) and the water was warm. But I didn’t know in advance how deep the water would be, so I took a chance. Only one other line, in West Virginia, did I have to cross a stream by foot, but this was a small stream (Little Kanawha River) and had lots of stones to hop across.

How do you plan your crossing adventures? Do you put together detailed plans in advance or do you take a more ad hoc approach when arriving in a new area?

I generally plan a detailed route in advance, trying to cross as many lines as possible when going anywhere. There are not too many "crossable" lines left to be crossed east of the Mississippi (except a fairly large number in extreme south Florida, four of which I have crossed in one direction back in 1959(!), so I have to cross in the other direction sometime). I can of course change my plans when necessary, if I see that a line might be accessible that I didn’t see when making my route. I have a series of paper maps showing borders only (made from DeLorme Street Atlas), with a short black line showing all "crossable" lines needing crossing in both directions, a red line with an arrow if I require one direction only, a green line if the line is "uncrossable" due to lack of road or trail, and a blue line if there is an unbridged or unconveyanced watercourse blocking access to the crossing. An "X" marks the quadripoints that I have not yet accessed, using a similar color scheme, and a blue circle indicating the infamous quintipoint in Lake Okeechobee.

What do you like to do when you’re not counting?

When I’m not at work (for the German Armed Forces Command at Dulles), I enjoy participating in a number of forums online, particularly one for fans of the movie Brokeback Mountain, where I’m a moderator. I’m afraid that Facebook has come to take up an increasing amount of computer time, ever since a friend from college finally succeeded in getting me to join that. Other than reading, that takes up just about all of my spare time! Due to the Internet, my partner and I seldom watch TV or go to movies anymore.

I’ve seen instances where people will try to visit every county in a given state in a single 24 hour period. Have you participated in similar extreme counting marathons?

I have also heard of people doing this, but for some reason I have not developed any interest in participating in such an endeavor. I don’t put any time constraints on my travels, other than when trying to get together with friends and participating in various events, and of course the major constraint of vacation time from work (I do get 26 workdays off per year, which helps!)

What tools are absolute necessities on the road (e.g., specific maps? GPS? Good music? an RV?)

I use AAA paper maps for planning purposes, and for greater detail I have a complete set of DeLorme paper street atlases. I didn’t get a DeLorme GPS with built-in topographical maps until 2007, so before then I had to pretty much guess when lines were unsigned. In several places I had to drive back and forth quite a few miles on a road to make sure that I had actually crossed the line. In one place in Texas the GPS indicated the line at one location, and the signage at another. I would go by the signage in questionable cases, but I did cross the line both ways in both places, just in case.

On the road I have some CD’s (I especially love playing Western movie soundtracks when travelling out West!), but other than listening to the NPR news programs in the morning and evening, I tend to listen most to XM Sirius Radio Classics, old-time radio dramas and other shows. Quite addicted to that! At home I regularly listen to the Big Broadcast Sunday nights on WAMU.

Believe it or not, I just drive a regular subcompact car, currently a Toyota Corolla, before that a Honda Civic and a Saturn SW1 wagon. An RV would come in handy on some of the roads I’ve been over, but I just can’t afford such a vehicle. No major vehicle problems so far, though I have ruined a number of tires because of the condition of the roads I was driving on.

How do you keep track of what you’ve counted?

When I was growing up, I just marked maps, then handwritten lists, then typewritten, and finally starting in 1981 by computer. On my old TRS-80 model III I wrote a program to keep track of the counties I had entered in order, assigning a US and state number in chronological order to each county. Eventually I added years and months, though not days, particularly. I assign a number to a trip using the year and month then a sequence letter or number, usually separating from the month by using a colon rather than a space. If I do not know the exact sequence of a particular trip, I assign and X, Y or Z to it (or the numbers 24, 25 or 26 using the year-month-day format). It took a long time, but I kept decent records of my travels even before I started making lists, and before then my mother made scrapbooks of our family trips with years and dates. When I got my first regular PC in 1997, I started using Excel to keep track, and continue to do so to the present. When I started keeping track of the lines, it was fairly easy to write a database noting each county next to another one as representing a line, unless the trip involved travel by air, in which the lines of course do not abut.

On the road I keep track of every county entered in a small notebook (one end of the book with the counties, the other end for fuel and other expenses, times of starting and stopping each day and latitudes/longitudes of stopping points), and then when I get home I enter the data onto the computer. The computer then points out any new lines crossed, though I know in advance which ones are new, of course. (On longer trips nowadays, with the small laptop that I use, I sometimes enter the data every few days, as well as download the GPS tracks onto the computer, too.)

Some people count rather casually; others need to snap a photo or stop for a meal or get out of the car for it to "count." Do you have any special rules?

View Larger Map

Not particularly, for me being present in a county is enough, as long as I’m either in a vehicle in contact with the road or with my feet touching the road or ground. Naturally, flying over does not count! But I have entered most counties more than once, since back in 1984 I decided to try to get to every remaining unentered county seat (which I accomplished in 1993) and to drive, ride or walk at least 10 miles in each county. (When I flew to Kotzebue back in 1996, being unable to rent a car or even a four-wheeler, I had to walk around the town quite a bit to get in this distance!) When going to a county seat I try to at least see the court house, occasionally taking a picture or video of it, but this is not part of my "rules". (By the way, I count as valid counties all the ones that the Census Bureau recognizes, including all the Census Areas in Alaska, as well as any counties currently extinct that I visited before they went extinct. So my list is in total 3,147 which included the former Yellowstone National Park section in Montana as well as the former cities in Virginia of Nansemond, South Boston and Clifton Forge. (Any county or equivalent which is disbanded before I had the chance to enter it is of course not counted, but in many cases I try at some point to visit the area where it was located, such as the former Washabaugh County SD. I have yet to get to the land once occupied by Armstrong County SD, but still hope to do so at some point. I am also trying to enter every county once again in the 21st century (OK, for me 2000 is good enough), but I still have 106 to go.

How do you deal with county tripoints and quadripoints? I imagine many of them are on private land far removed from roads. Do you attempt to reach them or do you declare "close enough?"

I have been to several tripoints, especially when they involve state meeting points, but since the respective counties also abut at lines, I don’t feel any obligation to expend much effort to get to a tripoint, unless there is something else interesting there, such as a marker or similar. Quadripoints represent a special challenge, "close enough" doesn’t count; I try to get to every one. Before I had the GPS with topo maps, in a few cases I had to really guesstimate the exact location of the point, so good faith efforts do count. And I’m pretty sure that I have reached all the quadripoints I went to before getting the current GPS. If there is any kind of a marker, I walk from one county to the other over the point stepping on the marker if possible. If not, if there are intersecting roads and the maps indicate that the line is on the road, I just eyeball it, crossing catty-cornered from one end of the intersection to the other and back, then crossing the point from the two remaining counties.

One time, at Allentown, Georgia, I knew there was a nearby quadripoint (Wilkinson/Laurens/Bleckley/Twiggs) without obvious public access, so I went to the town hall. It was closed, so I phoned the number indicated on the door. The mayor was out of town, but he gave me the number of another resident, and I called him. (This was several months before Christmas, and he played Santa Claus in various places and looked the part.) From his house we went the short distance in his golf cart to the monument at the quadripoint. It was too tall to walk over, so I had to rub my hand in all four directions atop it to cross the points. So, by foot if possible, by hand if necessary.

Last November I discovered through photos that the meeting point of Hampshire, Hardy, Grant and Mineral counties in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia was more accessible than I thought, so I drove there. It’s on private land, but the gate was open, so I drove up it hoping to get permission to go to the point, and as it turned out a landowner was in her car near there, and she not only gave me permission but showed me the small stone at the exact quadripoint! It was on a ridgetop with beautiful views. Very nice of her.

How do you handle independent cities? Do they count, or not?

Definitely. Anything that the Census Bureau counts as a county equivalent is good enough for me.

I imagine it may raise a few eyebrows with the authorities when you attempt to cross between each border county into either Mexico or Canada. Has this been a problem?

Only marginally. Of course, only the outbound vector from the US county to the foreign division counts (which is why the total count is an uneven number), so upon return to the US, when possible, at the border I back up or turn around to cross from the US to that province or estado. This has raised eyebrows and/or caused some questioning, but after explaining what I was doing, this has always sufficed. In all cases, so far, I was the first person the Customs official encountered doing such a thing! As I indicated earlier, I have had a slight increase in being stopped and questioned by the Border Patrol while turning around and crossing lines close to the Mexican border, but have never had any real difficulty.

You’re closing in on all of the feasible crossings. What will you count next? (Municipalities? Townships? Canadian counties?)

As a matter of fact, I do keep track of Canadian counties/census divisions using Microsoft MapPoint (the only map program I have so far that indicates them), but not as seriously as US counties, and I do not keep track of lines, at least not yet! There are always more things to count, too! For example, in going back over my records, I have created another database of which counties I was present in each month, so that would be 3147 x 12, or 21,627 possibilities (less months in extinct counties that I was not present there in), of which I have only 16,106 combinations, or only 42.7%. So a long ways to go!

Do you have any advice or words of wisdom for people who have just started county counting?

Haha! Not really, if such a project is of interest to any person, the best way to start crossing is to start crossing. One can include lines already crossed, or start afresh. One can make up the rules as one goes along (one vector or both, as desired), as long as one is consistent in applying them. It’s like playing solitaire, cheating is possible and easy, but to what end? If one likes to go down roads that one would have never though of traversing otherwise, crossing lines is as good a reason as any!

On May 1, 2011 · 32 Comments

32 Responses to “County Counter Extraordinaire”

  1. Fritz Keppler says:

    Thank you, Tom, I really enjoyed the experience of being interviewed for your wonderful website!

    And I’m afraid I have to note an error, caused by my own haste, nothing to do with the interviewer at all. In the question of what to count next, the figure of 21,627 are the county-months combinations to go, not the actual total, which should be 37,733. Again, the reason for the discrepancy from 3147*12=37764 is due to the fact that I can no longer enter one of the four extinct counties in my listing after the time that the county/equivalent was declared extinct (Nansemond VA in 1974, South Boston VA in 1995, Yellowstone National Park MT in 1997 and Clifton Forge VA in 2001).

    • Harry says:

      Route 616 in southern West Virginia ,
      Drive 23.3 miles, 56 min

      Oakview Rd
      Berwind, WV 24815

      Head northwest toward State Rte 616
      Entering Virginia
      236 ft / 11 s
      Continue on State Rte 616 to Co Rd 83/09/Dividing Ridge Rd
      19.1 mi / 45 min
      Continue on Co Rd 83/09/Dividing Ridge Rd. Drive to Panther Creek Rd
      4.1 mi / 11 min

      Turn right onto Co Rd 83/09/Dividing Ridge Rd
      Continue to follow Dividing Ridge Rd
      Entering Virginia
      0.4 mi

      Slight right at Cricket Rd
      Entering West Virginia
      0.2 mi

      Continue onto Co Rd 83/09/Dividing Ridge Rd
      Passing through Virginia
      Entering West Virginia
      0.8 mi

      Slight right to stay on Co Rd 83/09/Dividing Ridge Rd
      Passing through Virginia
      Entering West Virginia
      0.6 mi

      Turn left onto Panther Creek Rd
      Entering Virginia
      1.2 mi

      Continue onto Panther Ridge Rd
      Entering West Virginia
      0.4 mi

      Continue onto Panther Creek Rd
      Passing through Virginia
      Entering West Virginia
      0.6 mi

      Panther Creek Rd
      Sandy River, WV


      Arizona on the western side of the Colorado River near Yuma

  2. KCJeff says:

    Amazing. I too had some questions when I saw Mr. Kepplers comments, thanks for doing the interview. My head hurts just thinking about the logistics and possibilities. You sir are in a league of your own. I am anxiously awaiting topping 1000 counties later this month on a road trip to Wisconsin. I can’t imagine turning around and back-tracking every 15 miles or so. Good Luck and godspeed!

  3. Ina Holthaus says:

    I thouroughly enjoyed this article. When Mr. Keppler (I have known Fritz since early 1970)first started *counting counties* I thought it a bid odd but then I realized it was a wonderful hobby. Now reading about it here got me thinking – maybe it’s not too late for me to get started.

  4. Jon says:

    Amazing! I have the less ambitious goal of collecting state abutments, and had a great time driving through the plains states a few weeks ago for that purpose. Tom was kind enough to promote my hobby on his blog a few years back. Do you have any stats on miles driven/walked/swam in your endeavors?

    • Fritz Keppler says:

      Thanks, Jon! I was keeping track of state abutments before I started on county ones. Those I’m missing are the usual difficult suspects, namely Illinois and Michigan, Pennsylvania to Ontario, New Mexico to Sonora, Arizona to Baja California, Alaska to Russia, and Florida to the Bahamas and Cuba, of which only the former Florida line would be easy, or in many cases legal, to do. I haven’t kept track of the distance covered in actively crossing lines, though I do keep records of the miles accumulated by the seven vehicles I have owned since my first one in 1970, when I was in the Army, and they total so far to around 1.8 million miles. No idea of the distance in other vehicles or by rail and bus. Stretches walked or swum would be quite minimal, probably less than 200 miles in all.

      By the way, just last December I took a rail trip to California in conjunction with a Brokeback Mountain Forum event at the Autry Center in Los Angeles. During this trip, one of the new lines I crossed was from Jackson to Ray County MO, which is easily crossable only by rail (no road bridge between the two). I had taken a rail trip in the other direction in 1995, before actively crossing lines.

      • KCJeff says:

        I reside in Clay County Mo that borders both Jackson and Ray counties. I too have taken Amtrak from KC to Chicago and made that very border crossing. I never would have thought that one of the unusual/difficult crossings would be in my own back yard! Since I have that one crossed off, maybe I will start counting my crossings, should be able to complete my home state within the next decade! Thanks for this exciting tidbit to start my documentation.
        Also here in Clay county is a village named Claycomo. Short for CLAY COunty MO. Always found that odd.

    • Jon’s contribution continues to be one of my favorites. It’s definitely worth checking out or revisiting.

      • Jon says:

        Thanks Tom, you’re too kind. I have a new map to send you. MT/SD is the only land crossing to my knowledge accessible only by dirt road. (Fritz can surely correct me.) That was an adventure especially in a compact rental with 1/8 tank of gas.

        • Jon, please send me the new map and I’ll be sure to upload an addendum to the original article… would love to hear more about the dirt road adventure, too!

        • Fritz Keppler says:

          You’re exactly right about that dirt road. I remember it well driving it back in September 1988. And even though I wasn’t crossing county lines back then, I was counting initial state lines, so I drove the road (which doglegs at the state line, proceeding north/south for a short way before continuing on into the respective states) in both directions, initially from Montana into South Dakota. This refers specifically only to the Carter MT – Harding SD line, and there are two other county lines at that state line remaining for me to cross, namely Carter/Butte and Fallon/Harding. Previously I had considered the latter to be “uncrossable”, but a study of aerial photos indicates that this line should indeed be crossable without too much difficulty, depending on road conditions. Roads across all three county lines remain unpaved.

      • Fritz Keppler says:

        Been meaning to say how much I appreciate your article about Jon’s state line crossings. It’s a great way to start! I hope someday, when I’m rich and famous 😉 , to hire a boat on the shore of Lake Michigan in Indiana and sail up to cross the line between Illinois and Michigan (Cook County / Berrien County) as well as the other county lines in all three states otherwise uncrossable.

  5. Fritz Keppler says:

    For the sake of completeness, the total line count is now 15,076. On Easter Sunday I went down to Marine Corps Base Quantico, to the homonymous town on the bank of the Potomac River. There I was able, with the help of MapQuest aerial photos and my GPS, to walk along the dock in the marina there to its farthest point from the shore, thereby crossing the Prince William VA – Charles MD county line for the first time. The road on the marina, according to MapQuest but not my GPS topo map, is on landfill that is considered to be still part of Virginia. I walked along that road also, just in case. I have been checking these aerial photos for the possibility of finding lines and points that I have heretofore considered “uncrossable”.

  6. Tim Gohmann says:


    CONGRATULATIONS!! Finally you have gotten some recognition from all of that work. Now you can share the adventures some of us have been hearing about since college.

    Keep up the good “crossings!”

    • Fritz Keppler says:

      Danke sehr, Tim! (This is the guy most responsible for me getting on Facebook!)

      And only really old friends call me Fred!

  7. Fritz Keppler says:

    Again, for accuracy’s sake, I haven’t (yet) swum across any county lines, though I have waded across some small streams, as indicated above. And in other cases I have walked along trails or vehicle-inaccessible roads to cross lines, and taken various water conveyances, including ferries, ocean liners (New York harbor) and canoes.

  8. Fritz Keppler says:

    If I might, another comment I’d like to make about quadripoints. As far as I can tell with my DeLorme Street Atlas, there are 185 points in total, of which I have managed to get to 51 so far, by far the majority reached by road. An additional 35 appear to be accessible or at least approachable by road. The first one was of course the place where four states meet in the Southwest, which I went to in 1971 during Army days. The second was not until 2003, after I had started to cross lines intentionally, up in the Texas panhandle. In addition to the two quadripoints discussed in the interview, I have gone to three additional ones that required the GPS to find, namely the meeting points of Elk/Warren/Forest/McKean in PA, Johnson/Saline/Pope/Williamson in IL, and Lake/Oceana/Mason/Newaygo in MI.

    Another interesting point, which I have not reached yet, is reminiscent of the Polk/Pennington line in MN, which is referred to in another posting here, being crossable at two widely spaced lines with Red Lake County intervening. The counties/city of Carson City, Storey, Lyon and Washoe NV meet at a single point, but there is a line east of there where Storey County stops and Lyon and Washoe abut by line, which I have managed to cross.

  9. Fritz Keppler says:

    Another somewhat unusual county line crossing occurred, after several attempts in previous years, in November 2009. The line between Campbell and Amherst Counties, Virginia, is unbridged except for an abandoned and trackless railroad trestle a short ways north of US 460 east of Lynchburg. I tried to walk atop this trestle, which is not posted or otherwise signed, a few times previously but because the attempts were during warm seasons the approach was blocked by brambles and undergrowth. During my successful crossing the way was clear because the vegetation was considerably less. The trestle is not in the greatest shape due to missing boards and a few instances of rotting wood, but it is traversible without too great difficulty.

  10. Rick Peters says:

    Fritz: I’ve finally had a chance to read your interview (while in Montreal,no less). What a great description of your hobby! Of course, I have first-hand knowledge of it, having seen your database, enjoyed hearing some of your tales and seeing videos first hand, and even accompanying you on a couple of your more local collection jaunts from time to time (and soon to go on another). But this interview really distills the overall process into a clear, concise explanation of how you go about collecting crossings. However, I do think I’ll be content, at least for the time being, with collecting states; I’ve still got way too many of them to go!

    • Fritz Keppler says:

      Thanks, Rick! Everybody’s got to start somewhere! And who knows what you may be interested in doing once you’ve bagged all the states!

  11. Fritz Keppler says:

    Recently I travelled with my friend Rick (who posted above) on a whirlwind trip to New York City from his home in Frederick, Maryland. We visited the World Trade Center construction site and the new High Line park (an abandoned elevated railway converted to a beautiful and green urban park with spectacular views). But of interest here is the fact that the NY Waterway ferry which we took from Belfort NJ to lower Manhattan crosses the Monmouth County NJ/Richmond County NY (Staten Island) line, both ways. So that was my final “crossable” line for NJ and NY.

  12. Fritz Keppler says:

    Just got back from this year’s vacation, visiting friends in Merced, California and San Francisco, as well as attending a ballet premiere in the latter city. It was pleasantly cool there, as expected! The main purpose of the trip of course was to collect more county lines, a total of 398 new ones, including some that I had previously considered “uncrossable” (and nearly thereby getting stuck in the mud in Nebraska), including taking the ferry from SF to Vallejo thereby crossing the San Francisco-Contra Costa County line. Nothing particularly exotic during this trip, but the total count now stands at 15,619. 1204 easily crossable to go, plus 1936 mostly “uncrossables”.

  13. Fritz Keppler says:

    Oh, and I missed the earthquake, on the road in Iowa at the time rather than California.

  14. Fritz Keppler says:

    An update, if I might. I recently took a trip to Chicago for a Brokeback Mountain Forum gathering and book reading, then visited a friend in Columbia MO. During my visit to the latter, while he was at work, I took day trips up to Iowa and back to Illinois to get in new lines, and took a circuitous route back home to Arlington to get in some more. I took the Meyer IL-Canton MO ferry as well as the Illinois River ferry at Deer Plain in order to cross those new county lines. During this trip I was able to add 123 new lines in IL, IA, MO, KS, AR and KY, finishing off the states of IL and MO (except for some still “uncrossable” lines, as defined earlier), for a total of 26 completed states. The new total is now 15,742 out of (now) 16,839 crossables. Total “uncrossables” now stand at 1920. This time I didn’t destroy any tires going over some rocky roads in Arkansas and Missouri.

  15. Fritz Keppler says:

    Also visited two more quadripoints in IA and KS, for a total of 58. There are 27 more fairly accessible quadripoints to go, plus another 100 (including the quintipoint) which are inaccessible, either because of no road access or location on water.

  16. Fritz Keppler says:

    (For what it’s worth, as of a trip to the Great Dismal Swamp last weekend when I managed to traverse the lines between Suffolk City VA and Camden County NC as well as Camden and Gates NC [yes, it was muddy], my current count is 16,661 lines crossed, with 307 crossable lines to go and the number of “uncrossables” has been reduced to 1,791. I’ve been doing some research with the Census Boundary and Annexation Survey maps, and have come across some lines and points that were unknown to me, so I’m in the process of updating the total number of lines.)

  17. Fritz Keppler says:

    Last summer my friend Rick and I took a trip up to New York City in order to get in a few more lines, namely the water crossings between Bronx/Nassau and Westchester/Nassau Counties. To accomplish this, we went to City Island in Bronx, rented a boat and proceed just before dawn to Execution Rocks Light, crossing both of these double lines on the way. City Island is quite a fascinating place, you’d never know you were in New York City, though it doesn’t quite look like a New England fishing village as is sometimes advertised.
    The total count of crossed lines now stands at 16,767 (didn’t get the opportunity to cross many last year, since my main vacation that year involved a trip to the Holy Land). The total number of lines now stands at 18,761, modified a bit after I came across a US Census database of adjacent counties. I once thought that Tucker WV and Garrett MD touched one another, but found out that they did not, so I had to eliminate this double line from my list of crossed lines.

    • January First-of-May says:

      Weird how you missed that one. Mob Rule says it’s about a half-mile gap. Does that mean you thought Preston WV and Grant WV didn’t touch each other?

      I have an old file with a database on which countries touch each other (supposedly, some guy carefully checked everything), but it’s nearly a decade out of date, IIRC it doesn’t count quadripoints, and I wouldn’t entirely call it perfect either.

      • Fritz Keppler says:

        Yeah, I really don’t know how I missed that one. I’m glad that I found the census database so as to correct the error!

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