Every weekend, the kickstands go up and it’s time for a local couple to cruise on their motorcycle and explore a new area of Indiana.
Bryan Layton and his fiancée, Dana Claycamp, have set out on a journey to explore each of Indiana’s 92 counties.
During a visit to each of the counties, the Seymour couple take a photo in front of the county’s courthouse and post it to social media.
Once they’ve visited each courthouse in Indiana, they plan to pick their favorite and get married there in October 2020.
“We don’t ride interstates, so we take the backroads,” Layton said. “There’s a lot of neat history and pretty country when you get out of the confines of the interstates and major highways.”
Claycamp said the adventure to see all of the courthouses started as kind of a fluke. The two would go riding and end up stopped at a stoplight near a courthouse in small towns.
“We’d always talk about how neat they’d look,” she said.
That’s when Layton said they should start stopping and looking at all of the courthouses.
Then they decided to take a photo at each of them and upload them to social media.
They plan to print them out and make a collage with a map of the state with their picture in each county.
Their first stop was in Brownstown at the Jackson County Courthouse. Since earlier this year when they started, they have been to more than half of the counties in Indiana.
After the first few photos were posted, they decided to start a joke that they intended to get married at the courthouse in the photo, but no one was there to marry them.
“People will tell us that it’s because it’s a weekend or holiday, and we will just tell them it’s an inside joke,” Claycamp said.
The posts on social media are so popular that the couple will be out in public and see people who will ask which courthouses they visited over the weekend or ask about the pictures.
“There are a lot of people who follow us that we don’t even know,” Layton said. “It’s kind of shocking.”
Claycamp said she has been surprised so many follow their journey.
“We were just posting them, but it shows you don’t know who is reading your posts,” she said.
She said her niece gave them the idea to choose their favorite courthouse to get married in after visiting them all.
The two met after being introduced by friends Josh and Rhonda Clark. It was at a charity ride in 2016 that ended at Blake’s Place in Brownstown, and Josh asked to introduce him.
They met a couple days later after exchanging some messages on social media.
“It’s just spiraled into what it is,” Layton said.
The Clarks, who will serve as their matron of honor and best man, have joined them for rides as they set out to explore each county courthouse. The four plan to ride to counties in northern Indiana during a trip next month.
“You don’t hear about people doing stuff like this anymore,” Josh said. “They get to get out there and enjoy their togetherness, and we try to join them when we can.”
There’s a certain strategy for the routes throughout the state to make their rides as efficient as possible, Layton said. He maps everything out before they embark on the journey, which can sometimes last the entire day.
“It’s not random on how we do it, and I plan it strategically where we are not backtracking so we can see them on the way out and then on the way back home,” he said.
Those long routes also create a situation where time needs to be passed. No worries, the couple has created a game where they count dollar stores.
“Instead of the the silos game, it’s the dollar store game,” he laughed.
They’ve also met some friendly people along the way, like the two motorcycle riders who noticed the couple were on a roadway that was closed. They told them to just follow them and they would take them around the best route.
“Along the way they took us, we saw stuff we would not have seen otherwise,” Layton said.
They also met a man in Ripley County who has been to all but 1,000 counties in the United States and often see children wave and salute them as they pass.
Meeting those people in small towns who are proud of their courthouses also is a highlight, Layton said. He said he has been impressed with the variety of courthouses in age and different layouts.
“I’m amazed that a lot of the courthouses were built in the 1800s or early 1900s, and the structure’s size and mass is amazing,” he said. “They did it without modern tools or equipment.”
Some are huge and elaborate, and others are small that look like schoolhouses, he said.
Claycamp said she likes the courthouses but also finds an interest in the community around them.
“It’s not just the courthouses but the paintings on the walls and other stuff, like the little shops on the square, that take you back in time,” she said.
Their trips also slow down the fast pace of life, Layton said.
“When you get out of the busy part of life and be in a part where you can enjoy and relax, it’s very enjoyable,” he said.