Whenever we go on a road trip, my family plays the license plate game. My husband and I started this on a trip to Los Angeles from Chicago. It is very simple. Everyone guesses how many different state license plates we will see on our vacation. This includes any plates we see on the road and in parking lots. The time starts when we back out of our driveway and lasts until we get back into our driveway. Canadian plates do not count.

On our trip last week to Missouri, the five of us gave our best guesses. They ranged from 29 to 41. The first one was Illinois, but the very next one, found less than 2 miles from the house was California. The kids really get into it and notice them when they are looking out the window or when we stop for lunch. I keep a list and they usually ask, “Do we have Minnesota?” or “Hey, I found Rhode Island!” Everyone seems to enjoy it.

If you guess the right amount, without going over, you win. The prizes include a $5 bill or ice cream or something along those lines. This time I guessed 40. We hovered around 39 for a long time and then got to 40 on the way home. My son guessed 41 so he was hoping for one more state. We ran through the list and made a separate list of what we were missing. Turns out that in addition to Alaska, Hawaii and a few others, we were missing New York. Normally we see New York plates on every trip, but for some reason, no one found them this time. My son was bummed and kept looking. When we turned into our subdivision, I told him that I was sorry we never found it. He shrugged it off, although I could tell he was disappointed.

We got home and emptied the car. Before I bothered to vacuum out a week of crumbs, I decided to pick up our dogs from my friend’s house. The girls wanted to come with me. On the way back, we came into the subdivision through another way. Wouldn’t you know it? Sitting on the street a couple blocks from our house was a car with New York plates.