54 Counties in Indiana, Kentucky, and Illinois

Trying to plan a trip in the spring has been challenging. The weather has been very volatile and extreme. It has been unseasonably warm here, but there's always the threat of snow. To the south, there are tornadoes. To the west, it has been a paradox. There's either a high fire risk or blizzards. It seems like there isn't a great place to go right now.

I figured Indiana would be a sweet spot. It's a bit north of the most active tornado areas. It's south of where the winter storms usually hit this time of year. As far as I can see, there are no fire risks. It is also one of the closer states to Wisconsin.

I had 56 counties left to complete Indiana, so that was my goal. I planned the trip a few weeks in advance, hoping the weather would hold out. I took the Friday before and also part of Monday off. I kept watching the forecast. It seemed like everything would fall into place.

I packed up the car the night before. I was ready to hit the road around 8 AM on Friday.

The first county in Indiana was a little over four hours away. I took the Illinois toll road to make the best of my time.

Before you know it, I was in Indiana!

I stopped at this cool rest stop. It was modern and was probably built in the last few years.

Soon I was in the area of flat nothing.

My first stop was White County.

Up next was Carroll County

I was happy they had higher speed limits on some of the highways.

Those higher speed limits got me to Cass County.

On the way to my next county, things got interesting. It seems many people have forgotten how to be patient and obey the rules of the road. I got behind a truck trying to turn left on a busy, divided highway. It was obviously a challenge, and we had to wait a while. Some people took it upon themselves to start going around the truck, causing a traffic jam in the median.

I (as patiently as I could) waited for the truck. They were eventually able to turn after the traffic jam, and I got to go.

That was a bit of a delay, but I soon made it to Howard County.

I saw a cool bridge on the way to Miami County.

I drove into more flat nothing on the way to Wabash County.

Soon, I was in Grant County.

You could tell they were hit with some heavy rain earlier on the way to Blackford County.

Up next was Jay County.

For some reason, a dump truck decided to block the road on the way to Randolph County. I had to take a side road to get around them.

I swear it seemed every roadblock (literally) was getting in my way to Muncie. It appears that some strong storms must have come through a few days before. Strong enough that they closed down roads to repair power lines.

They had the roads closed but no detour signs. I ended up going down some back roads in hopes of finding my way back to an open main highway. I ended up following a truck down these back roads. The roads to return to the main highway were closed, so I kept driving. The truck I was following had Indiana plates, and I could see they were doing the same thing and knew where they were going.

I kept following until we found that we could turn on a main highway again.

After all of that, I got behind a guy hauling a dryer. He was doing well under the speed limit.

Eventually, I reached Muncie, where the Delaware County Courthouse is.

Thankfully, the roads to Madison County were open.

The sky had some cool colors in Henry County.

For some reason, despite my phone saying "5G," it wouldn't work for Google Maps at the courthouse. I had to drive down the road to the Kroger.

I was then able to find the nearest rest stop. Luckily, it was very close to my next county.

I drove into the dark and eventually made it to the rest stop.

My first order of business was getting something to eat. I grabbed the Costco bag of mixed nuts.

I checked the weather and saw that I was probably smart visiting Indiana. It was clear, and further south, it looked like they had some strong storms.

I then set up my fan and light.

I researched places to get breakfast.

I then realized the sunrise was a bit later, so I got a good idea of when to start in the morning.

I then went inside to brush my teeth and get ready to sleep.

The vending machine inside had some interesting options. You could get sardines or a Hot Wheels car. Then again, I often eat stinkier foods when I'm out on road trips. I can have those foods, and Victoria doesn't have to smell them. The Hot Wheels car is perfect for an antsy child (been there, done that).

After getting ready to sleep, I went back out. I knew I was in the rest stop's sleeping area, with a camper parked close to my car.

The following day, the windows were pretty foggy. It took a while to defrost them.

I was soon on the road.

I got gas at this older-looking gas station.

I then went to the Big Boy restaurant. I see I was the only one there at the time.

I got the Breakfast Boy Sandwich and some Dr. Pepper.

You can tell Indiana is a bit of a Southern state with its to-go drinks. That was never a thing in Wisconsin. I first learned about it when I traveled in The South. I appreciate the fact they give you a soda for the road.

I sipped my Dr. Pepper and then made it to Wayne County.

On the way to Union County, some nice colors were in the sky.

It got really foggy for Franklin County.

Next was Fayette County.

Everything was much clearer for Rush County.

I was soon in Hancock County.

Then came Shelby County.

The sun was high in the sky, going to Decatur County.

The terrain alternated between hilly and flat on the way to Bartholomew County.

Traffic got a bit heavy on the way to Jennings County.

That didn't slow me down on the way to Ripley County.

I took the scenic way to Dearborn County.

One travel tip I have is to utilize any available public spaces. This includes rest stops, parks, and, in this case, libraries. This library was across the street from the courthouse, so I went inside to use the bathroom.

An added benefit of a library is they usually have good WiFi. This one was top-notch!

After my brief library visit, I hit the road and drove alongside the Ohio River to reach Ohio County.

On the way to Switzerland County, the roads were windy. I felt like I was in Fast & Furious with the sheer amount of shifting I had to do.

Another gas stop and I made it to Jefferson County.

One thing I did at the gas stop was buy some air fresheners. The car can start smelling not so nice when you're effectively living in it. My shoes were probably the worst example of this. I stuck the air fresheners in the shoes while I drove to Scott County. I drove in my socks.

Madison, Indiana, reminded me a lot of Galena, Illinois. It was historical, and it seemed like a lot was going on.

After a little bit more driving, I was in Clark County.

For the most part, I extensively plan my itinerary. It's the only way to ensure that I don't miss any counties and to maximize the limited time I have to travel. One thing I've been more impulsive about is going to Saturday night mass.

I know Saturday Vigil Masses can start at 4 PM at the earliest. I'll just watch where I'm at traveling when it gets to be around that time. From there, I'll use the Mass Times app to find a nearby church with a mass around whatever time it is.

It was a little after 4, and I realized I could make the 4:30 mass at St Francis in Louisville, Kentucky. I found it interesting that this was the church that lined up with where I was at. This is the same name of the church I attend in Belleville.

I was going to make it just in time. I hurried to drive into Kentucky.

I had to fight traffic to get there.

I then had to walk a few blocks because there were a lot of cars. This should have been my first sign that something was up.

I did make it there with a few minutes to spare.

I noticed a bunch of teenagers lined up outside the church before going in. When I went to find a pew, the place was packed. It was also very loud with people talking. Since I also attend Methodist services, I figured people were just a bit more social in Kentucky. Catholics there were a bit like their Protestant friends and talked before mass. It's always been dead silent at other masses.

With that being said, everyone was dressed up. Then there was me. I was in a T-shirt and jeans. I cleaned up the best I could, but obviously, I had been sleeping in my car. I used air fresheners to ensure my shoes didn't stink too badly. I was definitely out of place there.

The mass started, and there was a procession of the teenagers that were lined up outside. At the end of the procession was the Bishop. I realized that I had just crashed a confirmation!

The mass took an hour and a half and ended at 6:00 PM.

Usually, I don't rush as much to church as I did there. I'll usually end up bumming around town for half an hour or longer, waiting for mass to start. I thought that I was going to make good time by cutting it close.

I think God played a little practical joke on me to teach me a lesson: to slow down and not rush. If I had slowed down and gone to a 5 PM mass, I would have gotten out at the exact same time.

From there, I headed to the Jefferson County, Kentucky Courthouse.

Talking about slowing down. I later realized that in my rushing, I forgot to get to the Floyd County Courthouse. I accidentally skipped that when I returned to Indiana and went to Harrison County.

Up next was Crawford County. I usually don't get bothered when I visit courthouses. Out of the 900+ courthouses I've been to, I've only been asked what I was doing 2-3 times. Maybe I'm on some secret government watch list. I wouldn't know if I am since I'm left alone.

I did see some county employees outside. It appeared they were taking a smoke break. I made sure to mention what I was doing to be proactive, and they didn't seem to mind.

It was now getting dark, and I needed a place to sleep. I found another rest stop where I could stay.

The exit before the rest stop had a McDonald's. McDonald's is always reliable regarding Wi-Fi, and this one was no different.

I needed to back up my pictures, so I let Dropbox sync.

There was a big crowd of teenagers there, so it took a while for me to get my food. It really didn't matter since I needed time for my pictures to back up. I kept remembering the lesson I learned earlier. I need to slow down a bit. The food eventually came out.

I slowly ate while my phone kept backing up. I was there for nearly two hours when everything was done.

I then headed to the gas station and filled up.

I was soon at the rest stop. Unlike the rest stop I stopped at upon first entering Indiana, this one looked like it was out of the 70s.

I appreciated that I was able to fill up my water jug easily.

Another travel tip I reaffirmed is to find an area with rest stops on both sides of the road. After I had filled up my jug, I walked back to my car. A few stalls down, there was a rusted-out minivan parked. The guy was loudly swearing at someone on the phone. After he abruptly hung up, he started asking me for money.

This didn't seem like a great situation, so I put in directions to the other rest stop.

That one was a lot calmer.

I checked when sunrise would be and made a plan for the morning.

It was a quiet night with me, and a not-rusted van was parked for the night.

I got going for the day and realized that my car had turned over exactly 165,000 miles.

My first courthouse of the day was Perry County.

I then snuck into Kentucky and got to Hancock County.

I was then back in Indiana and soon at Dubois County.

I stopped to enjoy some scenery before getting to Martin County. The natural scenery was nice, but the courthouse looked like a bomb shelter.

It appeared that Orange County was getting a nice facelift.

It was open roads to Washington County.

Soon, I was in Jackson County.

More driving got me to Lawrence County. It was pretty packed around that courthouse square!

I then made it to Monroe County.

The roads started to get windy again when I started driving.

I found a parking spot near the Brown County Courthouse. I didn't realize you had to pay until after I parked. The parking attendant informed me of this as I was getting out of my car. I said I would leave and find another spot since I was just going to take a picture of the courthouse and leave.

He then said, "I'm here to charge the all-day people. I can't charge you for that! Go get that picture!" I quickly did that and then hit the road.

Up next was Johnson County.

One thing I've found is most of Indiana is a dead zone for good gas stations. Maybe I'm spoiled with Kwik Trip in Wisconsin. It seems finding hot grab-and-go sort of food is a challenge. The Marathon stations are everywhere there and are sorely lacking.

I got gas at one but didn't find any hot food.

I then made my way to Morgan County.

It seems the best you'll get in most parts of Indiana is a Circle K.

They have a hot dog roller and some heated food.

I was really craving pizza but didn't see it. I settled for some sandwiches instead.

My GPS then took me on some slower 40mph roads.

I saw a gas station that had pizza. I guess I should have waited a bit.

Shortly after, I was in Putnam County.

It was nice blue skies to Owen County.

Then came Greene County.

Things started to cloud up on the way to Sullivan County.

The sky was trying to peak through the clouds in Knox County.

Daviess County was still a bit overcast.

Up next was Pike County.

I was soon in Illinois.

Since it was getting dark, I was starting to try to figure out where I wanted to sleep. I could drive straight through, but I would have gotten home at about 2 AM. I called Victoria, and we started talking.

I looked at the county signs and realized I was in Lawrence County. If I weren't cutting my itinerary short, I'd visit this county after Crawford County. I looked things up and realized I was only a few minutes away from the courthouse. I changed the directions from the Crawford County Courthouse to the Lawrence County Courthouse.

I then made it to Crawford County before it got dark.

I then wanted to get my bearings and also back up my phone a bit. I figured I could get good WiFi sitting outside an AT&T store.

I guess I was wrong. I wasn't going to try Pizza Hut's WiFi, but I guess that was an option.

I then went to Huck's. This gas station chain is a lot nicer. I wish they'd move further east in Indiana. I think they'd clean up the competition compared to those crappy Marathon stations.

I started planning my route back. I found some rest stops along the way that would be good stopping points.

I also got some pizza!

The GPS decided to take me down some really stupid back roads. I found out it saved me about 1-2 minutes versus taking the US Highway. Google Maps seems to be getting dumber and dumber over time!

I made it to the rest stop and realized I had about 3.5 hours to get home.

I also checked the weather and saw I was in a nice sweet spot.

I fell asleep and got a decent night's sleep. I found it was cutting it close in terms of warmth with my blankets. It probably would have been an uncomfortable night if it had been any colder.

I then hit the road and drove over the famed Abraham Lincoln Bridge.

I made it to Wisconsin. I didn't need a road sign to tell me I was there.

Shortly after, I made it home. Someone was so elated that I could barely put my stuff down with her jumping on me.

I ended up getting 54 counties, so I'd say it was a successful trip. I do know I need to slow down a bit so I don't miss counties. I'm glad that the county I missed is on the Kentucky border. It'll be a good launching point for a future trip.

I'm glad the weather held out. It seems that has been the most significant factor to plan around lately. I'll have to keep that in mind for my next trip. Maybe that next trip will finally complete the rest of the counties in Indiana!

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