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Last Updated October 2015
What is this?
From May 25-27, 2015, I took the time to drive the entire Delaware State Highway system. This is certainly the oddball state in the list of states I’ve clinched thus far – Washington, Wyoming, Arizona, Idaho, and…Delaware? I’d been wanting to do this for a long time, and finally accomplished it this May.
I don’t know if I’ll end up driving every mile of state highway in the country, but I realized that, at 27, with 46 states left, I needed to begin busting out a state per year for it to even be possible. I wasn’t going to be able to finish Montana in 2015, and thought this might be fun.
And, you know what? It was fun, but I don’t know that I’ll ever do a state in that grueling pace. I have the unique distinction of now having seen more of Delaware than most who have lived in Delaware their entire lives, but I don’t have any particular experiences attributable to the state other than having driven its highway system. Even now, 5 months after completion, Delaware is but a distant memory – a footnote in the story of life. Where other states I’ve clinched have had personal significance, I had never entered Delaware prior to May 2015 and don’t ever anticipate having a reason to enter it again.
Maybe that will be Delaware’s legacy, for me. It’s the state in which I entered just to drive the highway system, and I never was there prior and I was never there again. I’m going to intentionally avoid Delaware for as long as possible just to at least give it that significance. I can count on two hands the number of times I left the car in Delaware, and even two of the three nights I spent on the road while doing this were spent in Maryland.
That said, there are things to remember about this trek through the First State. Delaware is, surprisingly, among the most diverse states I’ve ever entered – with a stark divide similar to that of Washington state. Where Delaware north of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal is largely suburban hell outside of Wilmington, Delaware south of the Canal is flat, surprisingly treeless farmland. It’s a very stark and surprising contrast.
Wilmington was very different than I anticipated, Brandywine Country is beautiful, and Delaware 9 is probably my favorite overall state highway.
If I ever set out to clinch a state just to clinch a state again, I’m going to make sure to alternate a day of travel with a day of sightseeing, to provide more opportunity to really appreciate where I am, as opposed to driving 42 hours over the course of three days.