CATLETTSBURG, Ky. — A Kentucky Baptist youth pastor and his wife are embarking on a 120-stop journey beginning sometime in August.
Landon Copley, the youth pastor of Oakland Avenue Baptist Church, and his wife, Lori, will be exploring and experiencing every county in Kentucky over an extended period and plan on blogging about the experience.
“We don’t want to just drive through it,” he said. “We want to go to the historical sites, go to the courthouses and learn more about each county. It’ll bring awareness to the history of the state.”
Copley, who is from Lawrence County, Ky., estimates he has traveled to “60 or 70” counties in the state through athletics in high school and college. But many of those trips were short stays where he didn’t get to explore what they had to offer.
“Really, we kind of wanted an adventure and something to do with traveling,” said Copley, who estimates it may take them five or six months to complete the journey. “We decided to stay in Kentucky for a couple of reasons. Number one, this is our home. We’re going to take this adventure and kind of explore it.”
Copley’s ministry with the church in Catlettsburg limits his time away on weekends, which is why they plan on taking their time in covering all 120 counties.
Texas and Georgia are the only states who have more counties than Kentucky.
“I could have done big cities in Kentucky, which there aren’t very many,” he said. “Counties are so important in Kentucky. I’m from Louisa, but I tell people I’m from Lawrence County, Kentucky. County life is very important to more of Kentucky. It’s something that resonates with Kentuckians.”
Copley and his wife, a middle school teacher, don’t have any children yet, so that makes overnight jaunts a little easier.
“I love history and loved it when I was going to school,” he said. “When I went to Bible college at Clear Creek, I fell in love with church history,” he said.
Copley said he plans on marveling at some of the Baptist churches throughout the state, some of which are the oldest structures in the county.
“Many of those churches are the staples of the community and some of the oldest buildings,” he said. “Some of the churches have historical value in and of themselves Those churches will be some of the places we stop for sure.”
The couple is going with “no expectations” but look forward to sharing life with Kentuckians from every county. “Throughout Kentucky there are maybe six different regions they recognize. I expect the culture to be mostly the same although obviously Eastern Kentucky and the Bluegrass region are going to be different.”
Copley said he was working on the website where they will be blogging throughout the 120-county journey.