Friday, June 23, 2017

The best $1 I spent

Ryan loves long car trips. He also really loves to play games on long car trips.

His favorite is the license plate game. Really.

In the past, I'd wake up from a nap and he'd start listing states for me to document. After years of hastily scribbled lists in his reporter notebooks, I broke down last fall and bought an app that allows us to track them all.

The most we'd gotten was 47 during our trip to Florida in March.

We ultimately added Montana and Nebraska on our trip to Florida in March, missing only Utah, Nevada and Hawaii.

Unfortunately, that app wouldn't update with the new version of iOS. So I bought another license plate app, States & Plates, to use for this trip. (A free version is available, but I ponied up the money for the ad-free version.) Ryan loves this version because it allows you to pick a starting state (Arizona) and assigns points based on the distance to the different states you spot.

Admittedly, this quest for 50 does sometimes require cruising the parking lots of toursist spots (like those at the Grand Canyon).

At one point Saturday, he turned right when the sign clearly directed us to "Turn left to exit."

When I pointed out the mistake, Ryan just grinned and said, "But there might be a Nebraska plate in this parking lot" on the right.
There wasn't one in that parking lot, but we did finally locate a Nebraska - in the third parking lot we tried that day as we departed the park.

That was state no. 43. We found the elusive Hawaii plate while walking through a parking lot in Flagstaff.

Mississippi, the state that is unusually difficult even when traveling in the South, was spotted during a serendipitous walk through a YMCA parking lot in Phoenix.

And we eventually recognized a Louisiana. That state and California need to differentiate their primary plates. They use the same red script at top that ends with an "a." Even the "L" and "C" look alike from a car-length away. The difference? A blue border on Louisiana.

We finished the western trip with 48 (missing only Rhode Island and Maine). Now, to convince Ryan that we aren't perpetually playing (he wants to start over again back in Harrisonburg).

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