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Counting license plates

Driving around on our college tour, one of the games that we occupy ourselves with is searching for different license plates on surrounding vehicles. Up to this point, we managed to see license plates of 35 US states, plus Washington, DC, and 4 Canadian provinces.

The most exotic – for a Yankee such as myself – have been Utah, Washington (the state, not the city), Alberta, New Brunswick, and South Dakota. The truck bearing South Dakota plates came into our field of vision less than 5 miles from our home on the way back from Upstate New York. That made our long day all the more exciting.

These are the 15 states of the Union that eluded us so far: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, West Virginia, Wyoming. I have high hopes that a few more of these will reveal themselves on our remaining journeys. Though not Hawaii, probably.


  1. John

    I’ve seen both Hawaii and Alaska in my town. You need to travel near a major Naval base with sailors from all over the US who may buy a car in the state of the base but register it in their home state.

  2. Ilya

    Oh, we’ll be in DC and Virginia area for one of our remaining tour stops. If NCIS is anything to go by, there are tons of sailors in that area…

    I’m quite positive I’ve seen both Alaskan and Hawaiian plates in my life before – just not on these trips so far.

  3. WendyB_00

    I regularly see several plates from both Alaska and Hawaii here in Atlanta. I suspect several are students at either GA Tech or Emory, both schools have very diverse student bodies from all over.

  4. Brian Greenberg

    When the kids were younger, I would print out maps of the US before a long car trip & give them both highlighters to color in the states they would find. On a trip to Boston, I pointed out that they would likely not see Hawaii, since the owner of the car would have to have it shipped to the mainland by boat (or some such enormous effort).

    Would you believe it? On our return trip home, we passed a Hawaiian license plate – on THE GARDEN STATE PARKWAY, no less! The kids were less impressed than I was – they just colored in another state. Me, I went fumbling for my camera, and by the time I found it, we had lost them in the traffic & I couldn’t get a good picture…

    Ah, well…

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