Reid Williamson, 64, has been to every county in the United States, 3,143 of them. While we and our peers are mapping these units, he’s been methodically visiting them starting at age 14, when he received an atlas as a gift.
He is one of just 32 known “completers,” of the task, according to the Extra Miler Club.
There are all kinds of related missions individuals set for themselves: visiting all 30 major league ballparks, the 50 state capitals or the 58 national parks. Runners try to run marathons in all fifty states or on all the continents. Groups pop up to help those on the quest document their trips, share their stories and make new friends.
While the lower 48 were relatively easy for Williamson to complete, Alaska was a challenge. He took three separate trips to the state and endured a 21 plus day ferry ride to capture his last county, the Western Aleutians Census Area, home of Dutch Harbor.
Why do he and others collect such geographic achievements? The fun seems to be in the quest, the simple act of exploring and meeting new people. Williamson is currently on another quest, as part of preparing a book on Colonial churches. To date he’s visited every single Colonial house of worship from Maine to Georgia but one. His request to visit the remaining one, on a private estate, was politely declined.