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Woman has visited every county in the country but one
BARRY COUNTY, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – A woman from Ohio will complete her lifelong dream this weekend in West Michigan.
For the past 22 years, Marge Brown has been attempting to visit every county in every state in the entire country.
There are 3,144 counties in the US.
Brown has just one county left to cross into and that’s Barry County.
“One phrase that keeps going through my head is ‘purple mountains majesty.’ America the beautiful, it's right here,” reflects Brown.
Brown began her county-hopping quest 22 years ago after discovering the Extra Miler Club. It's a nationwide group of chronic road trippers who share the common goal of entering all 3,144 counties.
So far, only about 35 people have finished it.
“I have about 20 to 25 books of my travels," Brown says.
She meticulously documents every trip, snapping a photo, logging the exact date and time she crossed the county line and finally coloring in the appropriate county on her massive US map.
“I remember one time my daughter called me on the cell phone and said, ‘Mom where are you?’ I said, ‘I'm in Iowa!,’” Brown laughs. “’‘I’m seeing the field of dreams. Picking up counties!’”
Brown has used all modes of transportation to complete her counties, including planes, trains and marine vessels.
“In order to finish Hawaii you need to go to a leper colony, Kalawao,” Brown says. “There are only three ways to get there: you can walk down 1700 feet, all switchbacks, or you can fly in or you can ride a mule. Of course I rode the mule!”
Brown says she likes to eat in local establishments and tries to avoid going on tours.
“We forge our own path,” Brown notes. “We make wrong turns and we find something beautiful!”
Brown plans to cross the Barry County line on Sunday, her 76th birthday.
She says it’s only fitting to take M-37 into her final county, since she was born in 1937.
And the Ohio native says she picked her last county strategically.
“My family has put up with a lot of not seeing mom and grandmom and great-grandmom, so I wanted my final county to be close enough where they could all come and see me walking across the county line.”
Once she completes this goal, Brown plans to visit Australia and Antarctica to finish off her continents.
She is also pretty close to another goal: golfing and going to church in all 50 states.