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Author Topic: Recent county-collecting trip (Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio)  (Read 864 times)

A.J. Bertin

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A few months ago I decided to take a multi-day solo road trip for the first time in 4 years. I ended up taking this trip a couple weekends ago (July 14-16, 2017). I had intended on collecting 30 new counties but was fortunate to get 29 out of those 30 counties (8 in eastern Indiana, 15 in northern Kentucky, and 6 in western Ohio). I had a lot of fun. The first day I was rather ambitious and had to cut my route short - hence why I was only able to get 8 counties instead of the 9 in Indiana I wanted.

My route on Day 1 (July 14):

US-131 south from Grand Rapids, MI -> SR 13 in Indiana (south) -> SR 120 west -> SR 15 south -> SR 16 east -> SR 13 south -> SR 15 south -> SR 18 east -> SR 3 south -> Muncie area for lunch -> US-35 south -> SR 1 south -> SR 44 east -> SR 101 south -> SR 1 south -> US-50 west -> SR 56 west -> SR 156 west -> SR 56 west -> across the Milton-Madison Bridge into Kentucky for a pit stop and then back to Indiana -> SR 56 west -> SR 7 north -> SR 250 west -> SR 3 south -> SR 56 west -> I-65 south -> avoiding the toll bridge and driving through downtown Louisville -> I-71 -> KY 227 north to my hotel and in Carrollton for the night.

Notes from Day 1:

This day was rather ambitious for me. I left home in Grand Rapids at 6:30 a.m. and didn't check into my hotel in Carrollton KY until something like 7:30 p.m. It gave me a different perspective of Indiana that I had never seen before. (Usually my experience with Indiana involves taking US-31 and I-65 through the center of the state, or it involves clipping the northwest corner of the state on I-94, so it was nice taking a different route through Indiana for a change.)

I was extremely frustrated with all the road closures and detours in this state. The first one was north of Wabash on southbound SR 15 (hence my rationale for taking SR 16 east to SR 13 south to Wabash and back to SR 15). I swear... there were at least three more occasions when I encountered some kind of detour that I had to get around. I can't remember the locations of all these detours, but one that was especially frustrating was the last one I came across. The hours were quickly passing by, and at some point in the afternoon, I made the decision to cut my route short. (The route I had planned originally was to take SR 7 north from SR 56 up to the city of North Vernon, west on US-50, south on SR 135, east on SR 60, and to I-65 from there. That would have given me Washington County.) I figured I could still get Jennings County by taking SR 250 west from SR 7. I was going to take SR 250 all the way to I-65, but SR 250 was closed somewhere west of SR 3. I was bummed because I felt like I had cheated Jennings County by only getting a small corner of that county. Oh well... I still counted it.

I enjoyed driving through several of Indiana's cities: Goshen, Warsaw, Wabash, Marion, the outskirts of Muncie, and more. The scenery started becoming really nice down around Brookville, and I found myself rather attracted to the Lawrenceburg/Aurora area. I briefly got out of my car in Aurora to take a few photos of the Ohio River, and then when I got to Rising Sun, I did the same thing. Rising Sun is a neat little place. Brian Rawson-Ketchum had recommended that I eat a meal at the Empire House Hotel, but by the time I arrived in Rising Sun, it was already around 3:30 p.m. (Too late for lunch, too early for dinner, and I wasn't really hungry at that point. But I certainly enjoyed walking around the town for about 10 minutes or so. I definitely want to go back there.)

I was taken aback by the amount of traffic that crosses the Milton-Madison Bridge. I stopped for gas at the BP in Milton which is right by the bridge, and that stop took a while. Quite a few people were there. And then I was frustrated crossing back into Indiana in Madison due to the lack of a traffic light at the corner of Harrison and 2nd Sts. (shortly after you get off the bridge). It took a while to get through there. Madison seems like a cute little town.

After taking my abbreviated route to I-65 and south to Louisville, I finally hopped on I-71 after hopping off the I-65 bridge because I refuse to pay that toll. (I don't do electronic tolling and don't want to have to deal with a bill coming in the mail later.) My little jaunt through downtown Louisville from US-31 over to I-71 really wasn't bad at all... especially for 6:30 p.m. on a Friday. I-71, on the other hand, was kind of a pain going northbound out of Louisville. That section of I-71 needs more lanes. There were several times along the 44 miles I drove on where the traffic slowed down significantly.

I stayed at the Red Roof Inn in Carrollton and had a bit of time to explore downtown Carrollton before crashing for the night.

These were the new Indiana counties I got that day:
  • Wabash County
  • Blackford County
  • Fayette County
  • Union County
  • Ohio County
  • Switzerland County
  • Jefferson County
  • Jennings County

And these were the new Kentucky counties I got that day:
  • Oldham County
  • Henry County
  • Trimble County
  • Carroll County

My route on Day 2 (July 15):

I-71 north from Carrollton -> US-127 south -> KY 35 north -> I-71 north -> I-75 north -> I-275 east -> KY 9 south -> KY 1159 south -> KY 10/19 south -> KY 19 south -> US-62 west -> KY 32/36 east -> US-68 north -> KY 165 east -> KY 32/57 east -> KY 57 north -> KY 9 north -> around the Maysville area for the night.

Notes from Day 2:

As I was planning this trip, I had asked some of my Facebook roadgeek friends for advice. H.B. was one of my friends who knew what I was trying to accomplish, so he happily gave me this exact route suggestion which I followed. The first thing I noticed was that it only took me 4 1/2 hours to complete this route... a far cry from the crazy 13-hour drive I had had in Indiana the day before. Instead of going all the way to Carrollton on Day 1, I should have crashed somewhere around Madison, Indiana. That way I would have been able to easily get that ninth county I was hoping to get in Indiana and still had enough time to complete this route in Kentucky and have enough time to explore the Maysville area on Day 2.

Maysville is a neat area, and I truly enjoyed seeing it. The two bridges that cross the Ohio River in that area are very nice. I really liked the old suspension bridge that connects Maysville with Aberdeen OH, but I was also very impressed with the new bridge that carries US-68 over the Ohio River.

One thing that I was extremely confused about was the routing of US-62 through town. Business US-62 used to go through downtown Maysville but now only shows up (at least according to the signs) on the Ohio side of the river. Currently it's mainline US-62 that goes through downtown Maysville. Google Maps is wrong. After I got home, I reported some errors to Google which they will hopefully fix. I could tell from some of the BGS's in Maysville that the routing of US-62 had changed, but I couldn't exactly tell what happened. H.B. explained that to me after I returned home. Very convoluted story.

I spent a fair amount of time on Day 2 on the Ohio side of the river. I drove up to Ripley OH and enjoyed some ice cream at a '50s-style diner there. It was nice to freely cross both bridges several times throughout that day. One day I'd like to go back and spend more time in the Maysville area.

These were the new Kentucky counties I got that day:
  • Gallatin County
  • Owen County
  • Pendleton County
  • Bracken County
  • Robertson County
  • Harrison County
  • Bourbon County
  • Nicholas County
  • Fleming County
  • Lewis County
  • Mason County

And these were the new Ohio counties I got that day:
  • Brown County
  • Adams County

My route on Day 3 (July 16):

US-62 north across the Ohio River (including Business US-62 on the Ohio side) -> US-52 east -> OH 247 north -> OH 32 west -> US-62 east -> OH 73 west (after exploring a bit of the north side of the city of Hillsboro) -> US-68 north -> US-33 west -> OH 65 north -> OH 15 west -> US-6 west into Indiana -> SR 9 north to Michigan -> M-66 north -> US-12 west -> US-131 north to home.

Notes from Day 3:

Overall I had a very pleasant drive home. OH 247 was a very fun road to drive on. I was impressed with the fact that OH 32 was basically an expressway, and I enjoyed the portion of OH 73 that's a freeway outside of Wilmington. I had never been to Xenia before, so that was a neat city to drive through, and I also enjoyed the US-68 freeway outside of Springfield. Not really much to note from that drive. I eventually made it to Bellefontaine and then drove through downtown Lima for the first time. In the town of Ottawa OH, there was some major flooding on US-224 just west of OH 15. (It didn't affect my trip at all.) I eventually had lunch at Sonic in Bryan. Funny enough... I had just been in Bryan OH the previous weekend with a friend of mine. Eventually I meandered home from there. After leaving Maysville at around 6:30 a.m., I arrived home around 4:30 p.m. after driving pretty fast... particularly on US-131. I really wanted to get home as quickly as possible.

These were the new Ohio counties I got that day:
  • Highland County
  • Clinton County
  • Champaign County
  • Putnam County

One of the things this trip made me think of was my appreciation for county seats in Midwestern towns that have majestic-looking courthouses. I love the way those courthouses look... especially how they seem to greet you as you enter the town. I came across many of those... particularly in Indiana and Ohio.

I am very much looking forward to the next time I can go on a solo multi-day road trip. Not sure when it will be, but probably not for a few years. I'm also not sure I'll be as ambitious as I was on this trip. My county total is now up to 1,033 which is good, but when I look particularly at the states surrounding Michigan, there are lots of counties that shouldn't be too tough for me to collect.

Total mileage for the trip: 1,270.9 miles
-A.J. from Michigan


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Re: Recent county-collecting trip (Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio)
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2017, 10:47:15 PM »

Sounds like you had a good trip.
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Re: Recent county-collecting trip (Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio)
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2017, 09:16:58 PM »

Some of the courthouses in rural Indiana are really awesome. With some, it's hard to imagine that the county ever had enough money to build them.


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Re: Recent county-collecting trip (Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio)
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2017, 06:33:39 AM »

Absolutely true, especially in the eastern counties off the interstates and sometimes even off the U.S. routes.  It does make you wonder if priorities were misplaced by an inordinate amount of county pride.

Isn't Indiana where the courthouse is that has the tree growing out of the tower?
Please note: All comments here represent my own personal opinion and do not reflect the official position(s) of NYSDOT.


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Re: Recent county-collecting trip (Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio)
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2017, 04:09:16 PM »

Greensburg, Indiana has the tree on the courthouse roof


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