The map at the very end of 2020 looked exactly as it did at the end of October. Missing were West Virginia, Oklahoma, Utah, Wyoming, and (surprise, surprise) both Dakotas. This isn’t bad for a year-end tally. In fact, it’s refreshingly normal for a year that was anything but.
The new year’s first big surprise was that IOWA was the first non-Massachusetts plate I spotted. It passed me on State Road in beautiful downtown West Tisbury — headed in the opposite direction, I should add, because State Road in beautiful downtown West Tisbury is a sedate small-town road whose 25 mph speed limit is widely observed.
The last outlier to appear in the #2 spot was Louisiana, which in 2014 I spotted in a summer resident’s driveway on my first round-the-neighborhood walk of the new year. I marked it on the list with an exclamation point. Those particular summer residents are from New York, and what Louisiana was doing in their driveway on January 1 I never learned.
A Facebook friend from another midwestern state wondered why Massachusetts and/or the Vineyard was allowing people in from Iowa, given the hypocrisy of Iowa’s U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, who after downplaying the seriousness of Covid-19 was among the first in line to get the vaccine. This would apply to quite a few other states whose registered vehicles frequent Vineyard roads. Florida, whose plates are almost as common here as those of the other New England states, might head the list.
Florida, however, was not among my top 10 for 2021. They are, in order, Massachusetts, Iowa, Connecticut, Virginia, New York, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Maine, New Hampshire, and Texas. Last year, Maine, at #17, barely made the top 20, and Vermont hasn’t shown up yet, but the year is very, very young.