A few days into our road-trip, to help pass the time, we started taking note of the different state licence plates that we saw. With 4 months in the U.S., we figured we might as well try and “collect” all 50! We covered a lot of ground and had a pretty good list going after the first week of driving (from Ontario down to Tennessee, then west to Texas). And the list was even longer by the time we got to California (Yosemite was a gold mine for rarely seen plates). But then, while in Bryce Canyon, Utah, a German tourist asked to take a photo of our Ontario plate; she was taking photos of all the different plates she saw! What a great idea. “We should have done that too!” Mig said to me. And so the game changed…
I have to admit that I wasn’t too thrilled to start our collection all over again. We only had 2-3 weeks left on the road and we had recorded some pretty obscure state plates; what were the changes of seeing Hawaii again?! Thankfully, our next destination was Zion NP – another huge tourist destination – and we were able to photograph about 2/3 of the plates that we’d already seen (including Hawaii!), as well as a few we hadn’t seen yet! By the time we had been to Antelope Canyon, Moab, Arches NP and Boulder, CO, we had all but 4-5 states. But they were going to be tricky. Two of them were southern states that we had driven through and seen in our first week! The other 2 were small north-eastern states that we hadn’t seen, let along photograph, in the 4 months we’d been on the road. Could this be done?
Our hopes were high after we drove up behind a Mississippi plate on the highway in the middle of Kansas and, amazingly, we saw Louisiana the next day! No way! But still no sign of West Virginia or Delaware – and we were told West Virginians didn’t travel much… It was our 2nd-last day and all the plates around us on the road were familiar ones (we could identify the state of a given plate in a split second now). Until I spotted a pattern and colours I didn’t recognize from a distance. Sure enough, I drove up beside the car, and woke Mig up with a start as I screamed and pointed “West Virginia, West Virginia!” But that was only #49. It was our last day on the road and the chances of seeing Delaware were pretty darn small. We were leaving Ohio, going through Michigan and in a few hours we’d be crossing the border into Ontario. We had to come to terms with the fact that we’d return home with only 49 states. How disappointing to have come so close!
Well I suppose you guessed by now that we did, nevertheless, manage to sight a Delaware plate in those last few hours. It was a ridiculously exciting moment. We were stuck in traffic leaving Columbus, OH, and the plate had a cover on it which obscured the view a little bit. So we slammed on the brakes to switch lanes so we could trail the car, double, triple check that it was, in fact, Delaware, and then take the final photograph of our collection! I couldn’t believe it. We had seen and photographed all 50 states in a matter of weeks.
I am very pleased that Mig insisted on starting our list over again with photos because now we have a pretty gallery to show you! See below. Of course he immediately started talking about ideas for the next photo project! haha!