My Former Great Trivia Feat

A stupid party game/trick I used to try to get people to play as a way of showing off some specialized knowledge I thought I had: Let’s name rivers! Specifically, let’s name X rivers in Y, where X is an uncomfortably high number and Y is a place I happen to know pretty well.

For instance: Name 25 rivers in Illinois (rivers bordering Illinois count). It’s been a long time, but: Chicago, Fox, Rock, Pecatonica, Apple, Mississippi, Illinois, Mackinaw, Big Muddy, Sangamon, Spoon, Vermilion, Kickapoo, Kankakee, Des Plaines, Wabash, Galena … and from here, with 17, I need help: the Ohio (a no-brainer), Kaskaskia (thought about this one, but wasn ‘t sure), Iroquois (same name as the county south of Kankakee County; forgot about it). That’s only 20. That means I have to look up rivers I may or may not ever have known existed: the Kishwaukee, the Green, the Saline, the La Moine, the Macoupin, the Cache. (For the really curious, here’s a map: Major Watersheds of Illinois.)

See what fun that is? The whole family can play!

If you don’t like rivers or Illinois, try counties in California. Or lost pets in Wichita. Whatever you know.

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13 Replies to “My Former Great Trivia Feat”

  1. That rules chairman sez: I recognize that the big rivers and many of the smaller ones have been channeled and plumbed to a fare-thee-well by the Corps of Engineers and other ingenious nature-improvers, but I draw the line at waterways and the like — the I&M Canal, the Sanitary and Ship Canal, the Cal-Sag Channel, and Deep Tunnel Project (it would be entertaining to try to navigate this last one) — that are purely artificial.

  2. Illinois rivers? Please.
    I’ll take on something meaningful –the California counties challenge:
    (Tiny) Alpine
    Del Norte
    Siskiyou
    Shasta
    Lassen
    Tehama
    Glenn
    Humboldt
    Mendocino
    Colusa
    Modoc
    Placer
    Nevada
    Sierra
    El Dorado
    Amador
    Calaveras
    Mariposa
    Stanislaus
    Sacramento
    San Joaquin
    Merced
    Yolo
    Solano
    Sonoma
    Napa
    Lake
    Contra Costa
    Alameda
    Marin
    San Francisco
    San Mateo
    Santa Clara
    Santa Cruz
    Monterey
    San Benito
    Kings
    San Luis Obispo
    Santa Barbara
    Ventura
    Los Angeles
    Kern
    Orange
    San Diego
    Riverside
    San Bernardino
    Imperial
    Inyo
    Madera
    Fresno
    That’s 50.
    How’d I do? I don’t even know how many there are. Is it 52?

  3. The California total is 58. Here are some others (not looking them up!): Mono, Plumas, Sutter, Trinity, Tulare, Tuolumne, Yuba. … Um, one more.

  4. Shame on me. Especially for missing Trinity and Mono counties, two of the more spectacular of our counties. Tuolumne’s cool, too, though I’ve spent less time there.
    Yuba? Yeah, whatever. What’s Yuba County got going for it? Nothing I can think of. Is Chico in Yuba County? Funny thing, looking up info about Yuba County just now, I find that Yuba City is in SUTTER County, another one that I missed. Sutter County, proud home to the smallest mountain range, I might add…. But what I remember Yuba City for is Juan Corona. Lots of talk about Zodiac and what a story that was in the early ’70s, but I remember Corona more vividly. The sheer numbers were gruesomely impressive.

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