The County Voice

3108 County Visits
A Michigan Couple Hits the Road

At CSAC, we try to visit as many of our 58 counties as we can every year. We don’t usually get to all 58, but we try. So we were somewhat in awe last week to read about Jennifer and Jonathon Riehl of Michigan, a couple in their early 30s who recently finished visiting every county in the contiguous United States. That’s 3108 counties across 48 states. They did it all in nine years, putting more than 500,000 miles on the same green 1999 Dodge Intrepid.

I recently contacted Jonathon Riehl by email, to ask him about their experiences in California. It turns out they counted visits to several counties they each had made as children, and Jennifer has family ties to both Orange and Nevada Counties, but they still had a lot of ground to cover.

“Northern California was completed close to last,” wrote Jonathon. We just finished the rest of the counties north of San Francisco on a trip over Thanksgiving 2014, again from the UP (their home in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula) to Austin, this time via Oregon and California.  We did a couple of passes through the mountains to zig zag and complete the remaining 17 counties of the 58.  Our final county in California was Yuba.”

He said they had great experiences in California, and saw some beautiful scenery, but one memory does stand out. “As much as we liked Yosemite and Sequoia, we expected these to be spectacular.  But the drive and hike through Kings Canyon far exceeded what we had hoped for.  The park was spectacular and we caught the sunset on the mountains as we drove back out on CA-180.”

And they loved California’s diversity. “From San Francisco County, where we took just about every mode of transit while wandering San Francisco, to Lassen County seeing the snow-capped peak of the volcano, to Imperial County and the Salton Sea and the drive from there on CA-78 into San Diego County through the mountains, we enjoyed all of our experiences.  We could list something memorable from every county we visited, and we would love to visit any and all of these counties again.”

Well, the Riehl’s plan to visit Alaska and Hawaii next, so they can say they’ve visited every county in the country. They might be able to drive their old Dodge to Alaska—but I’m pretty sure they’re planning to fly to Hawaii. And as for visiting California again—come back anytime you like—if you’ve forgotten the way, I bet the Dodge will remember.

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