If you're driving into town from Prince George's County one of these days, and you notice a carful of passing passengers pointing at license plates and taking notes, don't be alarmed. It isn't the cops and it isn't some insurance company. It's only Nancy Hoglund and Marion Tucker.

Nancy and Marion are part of a car pool that wends it way each weekday from New Carrollton to Maryland Avenue and D Street SW and back again. To spice up the trip, the gang decided last May to see how long it would take to notice license plates from each of the 50 states.

I would have guessed about six months, even though Nancy and Marion started just as the tourist season brought scads of faraway plates to these hallowed environs. It just isn't too bloody likely that you're going to see an Alaska or a Hawaii around here, at any time of year.

But on the first day, Nancy and Marion counted 14 states. Within one month, they had reached 49, including Alaska and Hawaii. The toughie? South Dakota, which took a whole month by itself.

Nancy reports that Tennessee was especially hard to find, as was Rhode Island. And she was puzzled, as I would have been, to see Washington and Oregon arrive quickly and Oklahoma and Mississippi--each much closer to us--arrive near the end.

But as of the end of July, the pool had done it, and they're reloading to start again. They're aiming for all 50 in one month this time. Anyone out there ever do better?