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Sunday, February 08, 2004

More places I remember


There are 102 counties in Illinois. Iíve been to most of them. But, better than that, Iíve been to courthouses in about half of them as demonstrated in blue on this little map I constructed. Fortunately, most of my courthouse visits were work related. One of the attorneys I worked for had a very lucrative title business on the side. That job took me to the far corners of the state. Another attorney dragged me with him whenever he had an out of county case.

I recall my first out of county trip like it was just yesterday. It was the winter of 1978. The small firm I worked for needed to get a very large mortgage ($$$) recorded in LaSalle County. Not trusting the mail, they sent me. I drove one of the partnersí 1972 Cadillac Eldorado convertible for the trip. A real beauty that car was.

Driving there, going to the recorderís office, going to the local title company, eating lunch, and coming back home, consumed the whole day. There was one other quick stop I had to make: The local auto mechanic.

There was a dusting of snow blowing the entire day. About 5 miles outside of Ottawa (the county seat), I pulled the car over to the side of the road and did something I had been itching to do since I left Springfield. I put the top down. I had never driven a convertible before and I really wanted to appreciate the feeling of what it was like to drive a convertible with the top down. Of course, that feeling would have been much better had the temperature been about 85 degrees instead of the low 20's.

I pulled the car back onto the road and drove about Ė oh, I donít know Ė 400 feet. Every inch of my body was freezing. Snow was blowing in the car. Snow was blowing in my face. I pulled the car over to the side of the road to put the top back up. It was stuck. The top was stuck in the down position. I pulled back onto the road. The few cars on the road that frigid day all honked and waved at me. I drove a couple more miles until I finally came upon a gas station which also had a mechanic. Fortunately, he knew just what to do to fix the problem. As I was drying the leather interior with paper towels, I could hear the guys at the gas station all having a good laugh. It took me the rest of the day to finally warm up. I never told anyone at the firm what happened.

I've never had my own convertible.

This is a supplement to my earlier states visited post.

Posted by Marie at February 8, 2004 11:23 PM


I've never owned a convertible, either, and I've ridden in one exactly once. Although that was a very cool ride from Bowie, Maryland, down to Shenandoah National Park. My friend who owned the car said "You don't just ride in a convertible you GET to ride in a convertible."

Posted by: Kem White at February 9, 2004 6:58 AM

I would definitely agree with that statement. Your trip brings this to mind: "See the USA in your Chevrolet..." I've blogged about that old jingle before. And now, as then, it's totally stuck in my head.

Posted by: Marie at February 9, 2004 3:51 PM

Love the convertible-in-winter story. I can identify with the impulse to put the top down.

Posted by: db at February 11, 2004 1:18 PM

And furthermore:

About the counties: I've lived in California now longer than I lived in my home state. But I've always been struck by the fact California has just 58 counties. Obviously, they're a lot bigger, generally, than Illinois counties (I still remember, I think, that McLean is the biggest county in the Land of Lincoln; San Bernardino is the biggest county in California, about 20,000 square miles; it's the biggest, I believe, in the Lower 48).

I was always intrigued by all those little counties down along the Ohio River in the bottom of the state. And with Jo Daviess County, in the northwest corner, which I think is the only county with two names.

Posted by: db at February 11, 2004 1:28 PM

Dan - I too think McLean might just be the biggest county. It certainly seems like it, anyway, when you're driving north on I-55.

Posted by: Marie at February 11, 2004 2:31 PM

Comment removed by Administrator due to inappropriate content and link.

Posted by: Admin at June 16, 2004 8:25 AM