I suppose that there is not nearly enough time to visit every courthouse or every covered bridge. So, I have some modest goals. I would like to visit every state and perhaps get a picture of a courthouse in each state that I DO visit. I would like to complete each state along the eastern seaboard at some point--knowing that states like Pennsylvania and Virginia will be long term projects rather than short term. I have completed a number of states--five of six New England states, South Carolina, Delaware, Florida, and Georgia. I may re-visit some to get better pictures as I have already done with some covered bridges. But the planning is almost as much fun for me as the trips.
Sometimes, there will be a trip planned with my wife. This past summer, she had a conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I planned day trips. I mapped them out in different directions. I wrote down mileages. I searched to see if old and new courthouses still existed. I looked to see if there might be some covered bridges along the way. I completed power points with pictures of the buildings that I hoped to see. I researched street addresses. I used the courthouse history site. I found a great courthouse book. And I adapted. I visited 45 of 83 counties during my 5 day trips--one of which was only an afternoon trek.
I keep a notebook that charts my path that also has a printed out power point, county maps with seats, a county outline map which I color in to show where I plan to go, and an accumulated mileage to get an idea as to where my day will end. I usually can reach 500 miles in summer and 400 in winter if I time it right. I reached 600+ miles on day 1 of my moving trip. If it is a continuous journey, I may have multiple states within the plan.
I also maintain power points of each state which I have printed out in binders which contain most of my photos. I take pictures of the county signs, monuments, downtowns, other interesting buildings, and even squirrels, in addition to the courthouse buildings. I try to get whole building shots, tower/cupola shots, entryway shots, and unique feature shots.
I have books for states I have completed and ones for states I plan to visit. The text in some books helps me to locate older buildings like the one in Catskill, New York, that once were courthouses. Not every state has such a book, but the ones I have purchased are of top quality. I have a Missouri book for a trip next February, for example. A second trip might occur next summer. But rather than trying to do the entire state of Missouri, I will get pictures in neighboring states as well.
Chronicling these trips in order of occurrence is not something I am led to do, which is a slight departure from what you've seen so far. Other than multi-state trips, I hope to focus on a state at a time. For example, I have made 3 trips to New York at different times, so I may start there. But if the pictures are on a multi-state trip, I may include them there instead. New Hampshire has seen covered bridge trips, combination trips with courthouses, and trips that combined either Vermont or Maine. Day trips have been the case for Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. I've added a few for Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia. And sometimes, something might be on the way to another destination with my wife, and I have successfully convinced her to divert the trip a bit.
I hope that you will enjoy the pictures and the stories. I can be found on Pinterest, where I have a number of boards devoted to downtowns, courthouses by state or region, covered bridges, historical buildings or monuments, and even lighthouses. In addition, I also have pictures on Flickr. So, until next time, happy travels--even if they are only in your imagination.