Saturday, August 04, 2007

M2M and the License Plate Game

We are veteran players of the License Plate Game. It was a way to occupy the children (and ourselves) on cross-country trips and to sharpen observation skills. Until plates became so varied by either the state changing its design every few years or making money off special interests (college, charity), it was easy to spot a familiar plate two car-lengths behind. On only one of our 6 megalithic road trips did we capture all 50 states. The last into the fold? Nebraska. Go figure, as we were touring the western states.

So on this trip to Michigan, it was a given we'd play. At first it was easy, then there were days without any entries. Surprisingly, we were treated to RVs with tags from British Columbia and Alberta and what must have been an exodus of such from Massachusetts. By the end of the trip, though, we had only gathered 42, not including the Peoria and Cherokee Nations of Oklahoma.

It wasn't surprising what we didn't see: Hawaii, Alaska, Idaho, Utah, Nevada (okay, a bit surprising here), Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut. What was surprising was that we never saw much of anything.

For example, California, Colorado, and Florida are always easy. I don't think those people stay home in the summer. But this year they did. This year, with the price of gas as it was (and the prices were dropping as we rolled along; we paid more at home but at one other place), people either stayed at home or stayed close to home. As such, the Michigan campgrounds were covered with Michigan cars, a stray Indiana or two and one lonely (and our only find) of New Jersey.

I'd like to think we were someone's Texas because we sure didn't see many of those either.

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