Each visit to a National Park that is new to my wife and me unleashes my inner-geography geek. As we enter each parking lot, I scan license plates. How many different states will be represented? And no matter how hard I resist doing so, a list begins forming. I'm neither proud nor ashamed of the list or the geek making it. But I have learned to accept my list-making impulses, embrace the geek, and make blog lemonade from these lemons. So ..
1. There were five cars in the first parking lot we entered in Great Smoky Mountains National Park on Monday May 3. How many different states were represented? (Answers located at the end of this post; try not to look there first. How close were your guesses?)
2. Before we left that first parking lot approximately thirty minutes later, how many unique license plates were captured on my geeky list?
3. Before we left the park for the day on May 3, how many unique license plates were on the same list?
4. Before we left the park for good on Friday May 7, how many unique license plates were now on that same list?
5. What state license plate represented the vehicle that had traveled the farthest to visit GSMNP?
I've now visited about half the National Parks. Except Hawaii - spotted only once, in Rocky Mountain National Park a few years back - I'm beyond surprise anymore vis a vis what license plates I'll spot. Americans travel great distances to experience these treasures, as well they should. Which one is your favorite? Which is next on your list? Which have you returned to more than once? Next up for my wife and me is Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas, new to both of us. If the Internet cooperates, there could be a dispatch from there. If you promise to guess the answers to #1-5 above before peeking below, I'll promise to not repeat the license plate schtick in that dispatch. I can't promise I won't be making a list, however.
1.) = Five; 2.) = Thirteen; 3.) = Thirty-One; 4.) = Thirty-Four (full list available upon request; as if); 5.) = California