RA2011 Superlatives Part I

After reading a similar list from Gary, and as a preface to composing some summary feelings about it, I thought I’d create a list of superlatives from our 94-day RA2011 tour. As I put this together, it reminds me of just how much stuff we did see – the list goes on and on.

The categories are in no particular order.

*An asterisk by an entry indicates the “category winner.”

Favorite Campsites

Port Glasgow Ontario

Least Favorite Campsites

Crowded tenting among RVs - Rexford MT
  • And almost any RV park or KOA – too expensive, limited scenery, hard ground, can be loud, often too crowded
  • KOA in Onawa IA – gnat-infested, town too far away
  • KOA in Niagara Falls – expensive, required crazy walk over interstate bridge, too close to freeway

Rainiest Riding Days

Rainy and cold all day on Day 1 in Washington

Longest Riding Days

Longest riding day into Tioga ND, and stifling hot too

Shortest Riding Days (Rest days not included)

Shortest riding day into Glacier N.P., with knees growling

Hardest Riding Day


Best Food, X-Pancakes X-Milkshakes

I really cannot pick a category favorite here.

  • Wallwebbers in Okanogan WA – Exceptional soup and sandwich
  • Duck Brand Restaurant in Winthrop WA – Fantastic weather and company, overlooking the town
  • Wauconda Cafe in Wauconda WA – Good food and atmosphere, very welcoming
  • C&L Country Cafe in Cut Bank MT – Average food but great friendly atmosphere
  • Muggsy’s Sub Galley in Yankton, SD – The steak and cheese sandwich is really good, and the owners are gracious and welcoming
Muggsy's Sub Galley, Yankton SD

Best Food – Pancakes

Pancakes were easily my favorite breakfast throughout the tour. Up north and in the midwest, they make ’em real big. Among the best…

  • * Spud’s Cafe in Chester MT – light, cakey, good sweet/savory balance, plate-sized with good syrup
Best pancakes on tour - Spud's Cafe in Chester MT
  • Rexford Drug Store and Confectionary in Rexford MT – decent cakes with a surprisingly good syrup
  • Tumbleweed Café in Berthold ND – huge plate-sized
  • Walt’s Diner in Old Forge NY – huge, tasty, and loaded with fresh local blueberries
  • Family Tradition Restaurant north of Northport ME on US1 – unusually huge and thick (>1″ thick). Unfortunately, this restaurant closed in September 2011, so Jack and I were among their last customers.

Best Food – Milkshakes

Milkshakes, usually vanilla, became a favorite food, especially during the midwest heatwave. Jack and I have an ongoing debate on their virtuous aspects.

Best milkshake from Kim's Sweet Shop in Wenona IL

By the way, I tried more than a few times to enjoy McDonald’s milkshakes, but they’re really not very good. Dairy Queen’s and Coldstone’s are better, but get no superlative votes here either. Both suffer from the use of soft serve – you need to start with real ice cream.

Worst Food

  • Dinner at unidentified diner in Libby MT. The food at my junior high school cafeteria was better.
  • *Lunch at The Freez in Wolf Point MT. Sullen atmosphere and terribly uninspired food
  • Dock 44 Marina Restaurant at Snake Creek Recreation Area SD. The food here is average marina food, but the place gets a “worst” rating because they closed their doors during business hours before we arrived, resulting in hungry bellies for all.
  • Wendy’s Vanilla “Frosty Shake” served in Sioux City, IA. Even after a 40 mile ride in sweltering heat, this shake was so bad (a sick vanilla glue) that I threw it out after only one taste.

Best Beer

Worst Beer

  • Kokanee – described as a “glacier” beer, purchased in Libby MT. This stuff was so bad I could only take a sip and hand it back.

Ghost Towns

These places are on the map but don’t count on any provisions

  • Nashua MT
  • *Geddes SD
  • Blencoe IA (not yet a ghost town but headed there)
  • North Hudson NH

Midwest Heatwave Stats

A heat index above 105F is described as…”Danger zone — heat cramps and heat exhaustion are likely; heat stroke is probable with continued activity” (from Wikipedia). We lowered our mileages and riding time a lot in these conditions.

Historical heat index values are from www.wunderground.com