FRESNO, Calif. — A California man has spent the past couple months touring each of Wyoming’s counties — all from the comfort of his home in Fresno.
Pat Dodds has taken virtual tours through each county in Minnesota and South Carolina and will wrap up his tour of Wyoming next month.
Dodds posts photos, historical information and oddities about three times a week on his travel blog, everycounty.org. He said he was inspired to do so after physically traveling through all of Iowa’s 99 counties about 10 years ago with his teenage son.
Dodds, an Iowa native, said that tour occurred over two summers.
“We spent a total of about 30 days visiting the 99 counties of Iowa,” he said.
A former newspaper editor and longtime school teacher, Dodds said he’s interested in many places he can’t physically visit and his blog is a great way for him to learn about places he’d like to someday visit.
“Since I don’t have the time or money to go everywhere, I was inspired to do this online,” he said.
Dodds retired from teaching about five years ago, but still teaches part-time.
Growing up in Iowa, he said he’d visited Minnesota a few times but always wanted to learn more about it. So he went to Wikipedia and got to work.
Next he chose South Carolina.
“South Carolina is a place I was completely unfamiliar with,” he said. And he wanted to learn about somewhere in the southeast.
Next stop: Wyoming.
“Wyoming’s a place I’ve been through but didn’t know as well as I’d like to,” Dodds said. “As a kid I’d been to Yellowstone and Grand Teton.”
But what fascinated him about his project on Wyoming’s counties was the other mountain ranges and open spaces.
“I think I’m reminded that there’s a lot more [to Wyoming] than the northwestern corner,” he said. “Most people think of Wyoming as Yellowstone and Grand Tetons but there are other areas that are pretty spectacular.”
He said the project has taught him a lot and he hopes others will find it educational and interesting.
One thing he liked about Wyoming was its oddities.
“[It’s] something that Minnesota had a lot of and South Carolina had very few of,” he said. “Like the world’s largest jackalope in Douglas. Wyoming has a fair number of these oddities like that. I think there’s a two-story outhouse.”
The outhouse Dodds referred to is in the Grand Encampment Museum in Carbon County.
As for Uinta County, Dodds pointed out that the county is named after the Uinta Mountains, the highest east-west mountain range in the 48 contiguous states.
Dodds, who designed the site himself, mentioned the boom and how the population doubled in the 1980s and posts pictures and information on some historical buildings like the county courthouse, old post office, roundhouse and state hospital.
He also posted information about Bear River State Park and Fort Bridger.
His next stop will be Lincoln County, and then he’ll head to Sublette, Teton and wrap up with Park County.
Dodds said he’s not sure how long he’ll do his virtual tours. Each post takes him a couple of hours and he normally updates his blog three times a week.
Next on his itinerary is Maine.
Dodds has some regular followers — not entirely comprised of family members, he pointed out — who receive updates via email when he posts to his blog. And he’s received some press for his work, spiking his number of visitors into the hundreds at times.
To subscribe to his blog or take virtual tours of places Dodds has researched, visit everycounty.org.