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If I enter a county, it counts; end of story. However, I will bypass the chance to enter the county in the first place if I can't do so "fairly." The most basic rule here is that just driving into a county and back out in order to claim it is a no-no. However, there are some exceptions even to that.

  • I can take any alternate route to get from point A to point B; as long as it's a "direct" -- read, "no looping back or turning around" -- route, it's all good. Thus, I can drive from Washington DC to Miami via Chicago if I want. It's the waypoints that matter, and I'll even go take a day trip driving around in a big circle for the express purpose of visiting places. I pick up a lot of counties doing this.
  • If I actually spend money -- and by that, I don't mean "buying a candy bar", I have to buy a tank of gas or get a hotel room or something substantial -- then even if I just dip into the county, it's okay. In that instance, I'm actually "visiting" a place in the county, rather than just claiming a couple of miles of pavement or whatever. However, even in this case, if I can exit the county by passing through it rather than going back the way I came, I'll generally do so.
  • Just "clipping" the corner of a county is okay, if I'm making an extensive trip on a given road which does so anyway; I won't create a route which specifically clips a county just to count it, however. (Specific example: I-20 clips the corner of Crane County, Texas. By driving I-20 from Dallas to its end in West Texas, I can legitimately claim Crane County, even though I was only there for about 150 seconds.)
  • There are some counties, mostly coastal counties, which you simply cannot drive "through" without going back the way you came. It's not unfair to claim a county in this manner, so when I have to, I'll pick them up. (Example: Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, which you can basically only enter via Louisiana Route 23.)
  • If I visit the county seat, regardless of any of the above, I'll count it.
And there you have it.

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