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Exploring Minnesota, one county at a time

Retired California teacher is virtually touring the state

February 1, 2013
By Steve Browne , Marshall Independent

There's a lot to see in Minnesota - you could spend a lot of time visiting all 87 counties, and Pat Dodds is doing just that and blogging about his experiences. Last week he visited Lincoln County, this week he's in Lyon County and next he's visiting Redwood County, except he hasn't set foot in the state; he's visiting virtually from his home in Fresno, Calif.

Dodds started in the northwest corner of the state and is going west to east, top to bottom, like a typewriter.

"I'm retired from full-time teaching, I teach part time now and I love to travel," Dodds said. "I was trying to think of a good blog project and I enjoy research."

Dodds has lived in California since his family moved there from his native Iowa in 1964. He's never lived in Minnesota but often visited the Twin Cities, and his family owned a cabin in Rainy Lake near the Canadian border.

"A few years ago my son and I visited all 99 counties in Iowa," Dodds said. "When you travel you miss a lot, so we wanted to see everything. We visited the southern half the first summer and the northern half the second summer."

Dodds said he knew Minnesota somewhat and wanted to know it better, so he started in Kittson County and started across the state.

"My starting point is the Wikipedia article on the county," Dodds said. "That gives me the population, names of the cities and state parks. From there, I go to the Wikipedia articles on the cities, local tourism and city sites. In every county I usually try to e-mail at least one newspaper, the tourism site, local historical society and city or county government. I don't usually get much response from them though."

Dodds said he doesn't try to be comprehensive. The post on Hennepin County isn't much bigger than the one on Lincoln County.

"There's something to see everywhere," Dodds said.

Dodds has about 30 subscribers to his posts and gets about 40 views per day from non-subscribers.

"Sometimes it jumps way up and I never quite know why," Dodds said.

Lyon County was No. 60, so Dodds is almost three-quarters through the state. He plans to virtually visit another state when he's done but hasn't decided which one.

"I'm going to ask my subscribers which one they'd like to see," Dodds said.

Dodds' tour of Minnesota can be found online at "Every County: Minnesota" everycounty.org/

 
 

 

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