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August 10, 2011


I'm not surprised. I had a college roommate from Rhode Island. She came from a large extended family, many of whom had never left the state. OF RHODE ISLAND -- which is, what? 45 minutes on the diagonal?

Huh, Rhode Island. We always had the toughest time finding West Virginia on our road trips (from MT originally, so our vacations were roughly in the same neck of the woods.) I rationalized that West Virginians must be too hick-ish to ever leave home. But I think we usually found some RI plates.

Rhode Island is a white background with a blue wave. Happy hunting.

I am impressed that you found Maine. Maine has ruined many of my license plate games, including my current one.

Hey! I'm a West Virginian and I leave home! If it had been this time last year you could have flipped your map, as we drove up to Minot, N.D. to pick up my stepsons for a few weeks.

TEN Hawaii plates? That's impressive.

Hold out a glass of coffee milk and a Del's frozen lemonade, and watch 'em flock to you from the Ocean State.

Seriously, people from RI and CT never leave. It's kind of freakish.

I have friends visiting from Rhode Island this weekend! Too bad you won't cross paths. You're right about them not leaving the state much though; we haven't seen them in 12 years!

Heads up! Avoid I-94 through the Cities today, or expect to become a widow by apoplexy.

There was a terrible crash on eastbound I-94 in the Lowry Tunnel early this morning. A semi carrying crushed junk cars hit a light pole and overturned. 1 person killed and a number of injuries. Both directions were closed for awhile; eastbound is still closed.

It might be open by the time you get to these parts...but even if it is, the cascade of traffic snarls will probably last all day. I'd give 94 a wide, wide berth if I were you.

Also: Welcome home! :)

I'm RI born and bred, and yes, many of us never leave the state. I've never left the east coast driving, even though I no longer live there (yay, I actually got out!). The license plate has a wave on it since it's the ocean state. A few have something else, but I can't remember what it was because it was ugly and you had to pay for it.

I commented back on Day Four or Five that my mom (who plays the License Plate Game LIKE A BOSS) texted me from Jackson Hole with a "What the h*ll, Rhode Island?" It is her white whale.

I would LOVE to see a map showing where all you went. My geography was not good enough to follow you that well. AND, how many hours a day were you usually driving to go so far? Loved hearing about your journey, though cannot fathom having my 2 year old in the car that long, so props to you! :)

Julia - Tine is right - it was a hell of a crash this morning...but all lanes of 94 were open by noon so it'll be a normal terrible rush hour, not an apoplexy-inducing one.

Lame, Rhode Island, lame. I just saw Ontario plates (that's right, plateS, multiple) in Croatia.

Second or third vote for a map -- not just for us. Maybe Patrick could draw a big map for the twins and stick on photos taken at each stop. And then photograph that for us!
By the way, is Patrick the artist into real artist's pigment colors? I found this truly uber-exhaustive chart of names and the pigments used to make them.

Your "tiny DC" comment reminded me of one of my favorite memories. We stopped in some crazy ramshackle Subway in a tiny town in Indiana driving back from a wedding, an when we were walking back to my car there were about five people standing staring at the back of it. I was worried that someone had hit it, so I said hello to them and they said "so you're from DC" and we said, yes, we are. They just walked away. We passed hours on the rest of the trip wondering what was so fascinating about the license plate, and figured it was maybe the "Taxation Without Representation" tagline? Would've loved to fill them in on the finer points of our quest for statehood, etc.

Looking forward to the recap! Hope you make it home without any more delays.

Can you tell us why tin foil in the car is a great idea?

I want your entire travel intinerary actually!

^ what she said.

I'm Midwestern transplant (from Missouri, but actually lived in St. Paul for 5 years) to Providence as of a year ago, and yes, people here don't really leave. It IS kind of weird. To be fair we are also pretty broke, except for the people with beach houses, and they're at their Rhode Island beach houses right now.

growing up on the East Coast, my hardest license plates were Mississippi and South Dakota. I hope you're able to complete the set tomorrow!

Um, I'd love to know if you got my email? Because I did send one, with local info, and was kinda bummed to get no response at all. Hoping some email just got lost in cyberspace somewhere....

Hope you're home and everyone's healthy very soon, and glad you had a good trip (up til the last couple of days, anyway). Looking forward to reading your recaps.

I'm from Anacortes - live in Seattle now so I was giddy to see you were in my neck of the woods. :)

RI is just so awesome that we don't need to leave (well, I left, but I am an exception to the rule). Put RI on your next family road trip and you'll see such sights as the Big Blue Bug!

Yes, ALL the details. Also, how the heck did you travel that well with the kids?

Wait... you have cats? I thought they died a couple years ago. Did you get replacements?

I only want to know how you managed the littles when you spent SO MUCH of your time driving! We went on an extended driving trip this summer (well, "extended" by our lights: 9 days) but it only went well because we got to our three destinations and stayed at each one for a while. Had we been driving and stuck in the car as much as you, I think it would not have been pretty! LOL! So tell us your secrets!

Wildlife was the mega highlight of my vacation in Banff National Park a few years ago. I saw big horned sheep and elk every day. Saw mountain goats several times and (a real highlight) a roadside grizzly bear. Saw no moose, which was somewhat disappointing.

Did you see wildlife in the Canadian rockies? Would love to hear about it.

Today's comments are the best! You guys crack me up with your anti-RI sentiments.

Julia, I just want to know if the kids are feeling better. I confess to harboring a major crush on Edward, not least because he looks quite a bit like my just-turned-3 son. (Caroline's adorable of course but a little too aware of it and Patrick is of course in his own league of awesome. But sweet little Edward is the one who stole my heart.)

I'm from Ohio, but sent both my kids to college (Holy Cross) in Massachusetts. It always amused me to talk to their friends parents on Parent's Weekend, who were all from NY, Connecticutt, Rhode Island, and other East coast locals. They seemed to think we still traveled by stage coach and had trouble with the indians. Maybe they traveled out of New England, but if they did they didn't admit to it.

When it comes to making fun of various US states (which as a foreigner married to an American from The Buckeye State I love to do), I have always thought that it was hilarious - in a sad kind of way - that New Hampshire put the "Old Man of the Mountain" on its quarter and it promptly fell off. "Live free or die!" - obviously he went for No. 2.

I don't think I ever would have thought of a driving trip up to Banff and the other parks you saw in Canada but am now strongly thinking of it - pics were amazing. We are in Chicago, so any thoughts on driving north from where you are as an independent trip would be great.

When you get home and settled, you should read "Winner of the National Book Award" by Jincy Willet. It's hilarious, and set in Rhode Island.

Safe travels! Your last few entries have made for great reading from my hospital bed with my new son. Thanks for making parenthood sound like such a fun adventure.

I'll answer the foil question!
Give a creative child a sheet or even a roll of tin foil and see what they do with it. On a long car ride, having that much foil available can spark the imagination to create whole universes, small towns, space stations, puppets, clothes, hats, whatever... You get the point. They will be busy for HOURS! once they figure out how mold-able foil is. Add pipe cleaners and the creativity just expands from there.

Dry erase markers for the windows are a great idea too!

We also loved paint books(the ones with the paint already in the paper) with water pens (all the water is inside the pen and a gentle squeeze does the trick).This works on planes too.

Totally LOVED the more frequent travel posts. Hope you keep it up even when you get home. I miss the recipes and food pics too.

Delurking to say that the state bird of Rhode Island is a chicken. I believe that says something about the state, but I am not sure what exactly.

Delurking to wonder/ask how Hawaiians get their cars over to the mainland. I read the post & didn't really think about it until a couple of days later when I went, "HUH?" Is there a ferry? That would be an awfully long ferry ride. Why not fly over & rent a car? Maybe I'm missing something?

Loving your blog across the country! Just popped in to say we have the identical license plate game and have all states except for Mississippi! Our trip [CA to MT]is winding down and I am on a mission to find it! I'm ignoring the children and scenery...just looking for that damn MS plate!!

No burning questions, just a big thank you - that travelblog was enchanting.

Gee whiz, and I thoghut this would be hard to find out.

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