Exploring the world one word…and one mile…at a time

Staying Sane on the Road: Episode 1

This sign confused us. We took a right. We were wrong.

Since leaving New Hampshire two weeks ago, we’ve kept a small notebook in the car with pieces of information about our trip: gas purchases, mileage, expenses, lists of things to bring on the next trip, strange signs seen along the roadside, vanity plates…the list goes on.

The last page in our mini road journal includes a list of states and provinces labeled “The License Plate Game.”  The License Plate Game consists of writing down all unique states and provinces from license plates we see on the trip.  The goal is to get all 50 states and Washington, D.C. before we get home; provinces are just a bonus.  It’s not a competitive game as much as it is a team effort to complete the list, in part because it helps stave off boredom on the road and in part because it forces us to be aware of the little details around us.  We found two of the tough stragglers (Alaska and Montana) parked on side streets as we wandered around Key West yesterday.

In the 13 states we traveled through to get to Key West (NH, MA, CT, NY, NJ, PA, MD, WV, VA, TN, NC, GA, and FL), we recorded 44 different states plus Washington, D.C. and three provinces.

As we prepare to start the 30-hour, ~1,700 mile trip from Sugarloaf Key to New Hampshire, we have just six states left: HI, WY, ID, NM, UT, and ND.

We’ll be on the lookout for these last few states as we head back to the Northeast over the next three days.  If we don’t see them on this trip, we’ll just have to continue the quest when we drive out west later this summer!

P.S. In case you’ve wondered what it’s like to drive hundreds of miles through southern Georgia or northern Florida, take a peek at this…and then rewind and watch it 600 more times.

4 responses

  1. Ariana

    The license plate idea is fantabulous. Love the video, too! 🙂

    March 28, 2012 at 10:51 pm

  2. Jon

    Go straight!

    Back in 1997, we did a family road trip down to Alabama, first stopping in Blairsville, GA to pick up my sisters from their dad’s house. We stopped for the night in Bristol, TN. The next morning we picked up I-40, intending to take it to Asheville, NC and then twist our way down to northern GA. Turns out that there was a rock slide that closed the interstate through the Smokies (it happened again a couple of years ago), so we picked up US 321 and headed into Gatlinburg, through Newfound Gap and onto Cherokee, NC. Our Chevy Astro van amazingly made it up and through the switchbacks of the Great Smokies.

    My wife and I experienced the GA/FL drive the first year that we were married. We drove from her grandmother’s in Detroit down to my parents house in Orlando. My car was a manual, so I ended up driving the whole trip… my poor wife!

    March 28, 2012 at 11:58 pm

    • Great stories! We made the same drive through the Smokies when we headed south to Florida. We’ve been fortunate to get off the highway into some cities and towns. Johnson City, TN was nice. We’ll be in Michigan in August.

      Also, we test drove a manual Subaru Outback Sport. Happy we landed on the automatic Outback, both for space and not needing to shift on a 12 hour drive.

      March 29, 2012 at 11:46 am

  3. Rewind? Do people even know what that means anymore? 😉

    March 31, 2012 at 4:36 pm

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