Oscar's road geek superlatives

I've done a lot of road trips throughout the United States and Canada. Those trips took me to all 50 U.S. states (last one was Hawaii in 1999) and their capital cities, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. I've also visited all the Canadian provinces and territories, including stops at their respective capital cities.

Within the United States, I've been to all 3142 of its counties or county equivalents (like parishes, independent cities, and Alaska census areas). I finished off my last U.S. counties during my trip to the Extra Miler Club annual meeting in Arlington, Texas on July 10, 2010. The site where I tracked my visited counties has a map illustrating how I got to 3142. By then, I had also been to a lot of the counties and equivalents in Canada, and in multiple return visits to Canada I set out to finish off the rest. On July 15, 2016, I completed that project, in Alberta's Improvement District No. 4 (Waterton Lakes National Park). Another map shows how I got there, though it doesn't show almost 400 rural municipalities and similar units in the "prairie provinces" (296 just in Saskatchewan), and some new county equivalents in other provinces, which bring my total to at least 769 depending on where you draw the line on what are "county equivalents".

I've traveled almost every mile of every Interstate open as of July 2016 (I'm missing a few miles of at least two new segments, and more new ones keep popping up here and there), including the little-known unsigned Interstates in Alaska and Puerto Rico, as well as many of the business (mostly non-freeway) Interstates. I've also been on about 64% of the U.S. route network (including business and other auxiliary routes), and all but a few miles of the Trans-Canada Highway system. A new site, still in development, has tables and maps showing most of my travels up to Ju;y 2016 on the Interstate and U.S. route systems, and also some of my travels on other highways in the U.S. and Canada, as well as a few in Mexico and Europe.

I've driven the three highest auto roads in the United States (the Mt. Evans toll road in Colorado, climbing to 14,150 feet at a parking lot just below the summit; the Pikes Peak toll road in Colorado, to its summit at 14,110 feet; and John A. Burns Way almost to the summit of Mauna Kea on Hawaii's Big Island, topping out at about 13,780 feet), as well as the highest through road (Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, peaking at 12,183 feet), and the highest Interstate (west portal of the Eisenhower Tunnels on Interstate 70 in Colorado, at 11,158 feet). I've also driven the lowest road in the United States, Badwater Road in Death Valley National Park in California, dropping under -270 feet.

Note: Click any photo below to view a larger version.

High road, low road:  On the left, the parking lot atop Mt. Evans, Colorado, the highest road in North America, photographed from the summit (my car is the sliver one in the center, closest to the bottom of the photo and pointing toward the bottom); on the right, me at the lowest point in North America in Death Valley, California, about a hundred yards from Badwater Road. Both photos were taken on the same cross-country road trip, in summer 1996.
Other extreme points of my travels include:
The End Of The Line (north): Me, wading into the Arctic Ocean, at the end of a van tour up Alaska's Dalton Highway, northernmost highway in North America. (My flight back to Fairbanks stopped at Barrow, northernmost place in the United States, but I didn't get off the plane or take any pictures.) (July 1994) The End Of The Line (south): Ka Lae, at the end of South Point Road on Hawaii's Big Island, the southernmost point and road in the fifty states. (October 1999)
The End Of The Line (west): This is as far west as you can drive from the rest of the North American highway network (via a long, expensive, auto ferry route to the Aleutians that only operates half the year), at the entrance to Port Lekanoff on Captains Bay Road in Unalaska, Alaska. (July 2007) The End Of The Line (east): This parking lot is at the end of the unnumbered highway to the Cape Spear National Historic Site in Newfoundland, easternmost point in North America (not counting Greenland). The new and old Cape Spear lighthouses, respectively, are in the background. (August 2003)

I've also been on more than a dozen coast-to-coast road trips, in 1986, 1991, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2008, 2011, 2012 (two trips), 2013, ande 2016 (three trips), as well as three others that came close (in 2008, stopping short of the Pacific by about 100 miles; in 2011, turning back in the Lake Tahoe area; in 2012, turning back in Banff National Park in Canada's Alberta province; and in 2015, turning back in Edmonton, Alberta after a side trip to southern Northwest Territories). I took other lengthy though not transcontinental road trips from Washington D.C. to Nova Scotia in 1989, to San Antonio via Orlando in 1992, to Colorado and northern New Mexico in 2002, to Newfoundland in 2003, to Colorado in 2006, to El Paso in 2008, separate trips to Kansas, Nebraska, and Fort Worth in 2010, separate trips to Salt Lake City and Edmonton in 2015, as well as a 2011 trip to Labrador and elsewhere in eastern Canada (including the remote Trans-Labrador Highway and the even more remote James Bay highway in northern Quebec), and return trip to Canada's Maritime Provinces in June 2013 and May 2015, a shorter trip to northern Manitoba in August 2013, and in 2014 a trip to south Texas and southern New Mexico. On the 1994 trip, I hit the beach and waded into the ocean on all four coasts (Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf, and Arctic). The 1996 trip included the highest and lowest roads in North America (respectively, to Mt. Evans in Colorado and the bottom of Death Valley in California). The 1994 and 1996 trips each lasted about two months (including stops such as to visit family), with over 17,000 miles driven. My second 2012 cross-country drive, all the way to Alaska with side trips to Canada's Northwest Territories, took about two and a half months, and covered over 24,000 miles (all in my gas-hog pickup truck, and many of them in high-gas-price Canada, so that trip really put a dent in my checking account). Putting a deeper dent in my checking account was an August 2014 trip to Canada's Nunavut Territory in the Arctic, which has no road connections to anywhere else so I had to fly up there.


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