May License Plate Report

I’d say that in the license plate game, May was six times better than April, but I learned in math class that anything multiplied by zero is zero so instead I’ll just note that May’s haul was much better than April’s.

In order: Missouri, Iowa, D.C., Alabama, Minnesota, and Arkansas. D.C. I’d almost certainly seen earlier in the year, but I keep forgetting to write it down. Missouri, Iowa, Alabama, and Minnesota were all spotted in the M.V. Hospital parking lot, at different times.

MVH is a consistently good source of out-of-state license plates, including the more exotic ones — that’s where I found Hawaii last year — so every once in a while I drive through to check things out. A couple of times I’ve parked the car and taken a walk around. The parking area circles the hospital and includes several sub-lots that are easier, and probably safer, to explore on foot.

Another reliable source is Ocean Park on Oak Bluffs, and Circuit Ave. is good too. Arkansas, however, revealed itself as I drove up Skiff Ave. in Vineyard Haven and prepared to make a left turn into the Edgartown Road. There it was, parked across the street. It pays to keep your eyes open everywhere.

Last Thursday I had successful cataract surgery on my workhorse eye, the left, which had been growing more and more nearsighted over the last year and a half. I’ve already noticed that passing license plates are sharper and easier to read on the fly. This is a big plus, because some states have multiple variations — Florida is probably the worst, because often when I think I’ve spotted a new state, it turns out to be another goddamn Florida. And other states have similar configurations and/or color combinations, so you have to be able to read the fine print. With the cataract this was getting progressively more difficult.

I won’t even go into the license-plate holders that obscure most of the state name. To identify these for sure you have to be on foot and the vehicle has to be parked so you can pick up clues, e.g., the bottom line of the plate holder or something identifying the place of purchase.

So on to June! Washington state is overdue, and Wisconsin and Michigan are too. A friend spotted Montana a few days ago, so I’ve got my hopes up on that one.

About Susanna J. Sturgis

Susanna edits for a living, writes to survive, and has been preoccupied with electoral politics since 2016. She just started a blog about her vintage T-shirt collection: "The T-Shirt Chronicles." Her other blogs include "From the Seasonally Occupied Territories," about being a year-round resident of Martha's Vineyard, and "Write Through It," about writing, editing, and how to keep going.
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5 Responses to May License Plate Report

  1. Lynn Khosla says:

    So glad your cataract surgery went well. Nice to know you will continue to be eagle-eyed!


  2. I think those of us in the West are just looking for any place that isn’t on fire….Glad you could accommodate!

    Liked by 1 person

    • And some of the East Coasters are looking for some place that isn’t under water. I had conversation with another regular on the bike path this morning. We noted that when storms hit, everyone off-island thinks we’ll be under water, but aside from the predictable places, like Five Corners in Vineyard Haven, we stay pretty dry.Sometimes when it rains really hard for a few hours there’ll be almost an inch of water on some flat roads, but it always drains off PDQ. There’s a lot of sand around here!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Helen Green says:

    My neighbors came in May this year and thats probably how you got Missouri.
    I notice good Licenses in the MVH parking lot too. I look when I’m driving in or out, thinking I might see one for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I found Montana there a couple years ago when I hadn’t seen a Montana for quite a while. Don Lyons said he saw North Dakota there, was it last year or the year before? Can’t remember, but I realized I had to start cruising through there more often!


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