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.”
- Kalaloch WA – beautiful old forest on the gorgeous Pacific Ocean shore
- Lake Crescent WA – pristine solitude on a magnificent blue glacial lake
- Colonial Campground near Diablo Dam WA – beautiful old growth forest
- Panhandle Campground on the Pend Oreille River WA – remote primitive camping on pretty river
- Spring Creek Stryker MT – wet and very cold, but remote and primitive, just what a true campsite should be
- Don Steckel Boat Landing ND – remote and primitive, with the grand Missouri River rolling by. Our stay here was augmented by fun with fireworks
- Windmont Park, Kewanee IL – exceptionally maintained city park, with a bonus: an all night serenade by crickets, cicadas, and frogs
- Monroeville IN pavillion – a city-owned pavillion that is exceptionally welcoming to touring cyclists, providing roof, A/C, wash, etc. for free
- * Port Glasgow, Ontario, Canada – isolated camping right on a beautiful shore of Lake Erie.
- Holley NY– isolated camping right on the banks of the Erie Canal
- Jigger Johnson Campground, east of the Kancamagus Pass NH – pretty forest
- Thomas Point Beach Campground, Brunswick ME – campsite itself wasn’t remarkable, but the evening views over the tidal flats were pretty great
- Camden Hills State Park, Camden ME – comfortable campsite in the woods with a good fire
- Any free camping, e.g. most city parks
Least Favorite Campsites
- * Frontier RV Park in Rexford MT – too crowded with RVs
- 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
- * May 31, 2011 – 80.1 mi – Ocean Shores WA to Kalaloch WA – about 6 hours of steady rain and cold, and on our 1st day!
- June 8, 2011 – 57.9 mi – Riverside WA to Republic WA – raining all the way over Wacounda Pass
- June 16, 2011 – 35.4 mi – Rexford MT to Spring Creek Campground (near Stryker MT) – rain and cold, especially in camp
- August 14, 2011 – 45.7 mi – Port Burwell Ontario to Port Dover Ontario – a serious afternoon downpour
Longest Riding Days
- * 96.4 mi – June 29, 2011 Culbertson MT to Tioga ND
- 88.6 mi – August 18, 2011 Holley NY to Sodus Point NY
- 84.8 mi – August 15, 2011 Port Dover Ontario to Fort Erie Ontario
- 84.3 mi – June 2, 2011 Fairhold WA to Port Townsend WA
- 81.8 mi – August 12, 2011 Kingsville Ontario to Port Glasgow Ontario
- 80.1 mi – May 31, 2011 Ocean Shores WA to Kalaloch WA
Shortest Riding Days (Rest days not included)
- 33.0 mi – July 4, 2011 – Don Steckel Boat Landing ND to Bismarck ND
- 33.0 mi – August 16, 2011 – Fort Erie Ontario to Niagara Falls NY
Hardest Riding Day
- * 75.6 mi into 25-40 mph headwinds WHITLOCK! – July 8, 2011 – Indian Creek Rec Area SD (Mobridge SD) to West Whitlock Rec Area SD
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
- King Dragon Restaurant in Yankton, SD – Good tasty portions
- Lansky’s in Council Bluffs, IA – Large cheese steak sandwich
- LaRoe’s Restaurant in Grand Rapids OH – They serve a great local beer and a fantastic French onion soup
- AM Korner Café in Fremont OH – Good food and great atmosphere
- Unidentified bakery in Port Stanley Ontario – I had a great carrot muffin with cream cheese icing from there
- The Barrel in Fort Erie, Ontario – The best spaghetti and meatballs I’ve ever eaten in a restaurant (although mine is better)
- Salisa’s All American Diner east of Niagara Falls, NY – Great home-style breakfast
- Coleen’s Cafe in Brockport NY – Wonderful breakfast
- Isabell’s Cafe in East Thetford VT – The corn chowder was outta sight
- Sandy’s Books and Bakery in Rochester VT – They served us a marvelous gypsy vegetarian stew
- Friendly’s Restaurant in Brunswick ME (Christine mgr)
- Bridgton House of Pizza in Brigton ME – Mushroom and broccoli pizza
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
- 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.
- The Creamery in Chinook MT
- Tastee Treat Drive-In Yankton, SD
- Goodtime Charlie’s Restaurant and Malt Shop in Whiting IA
- Tastee Treet in Council Bluffs, IA
- Weirick Drug Store in Colfax IA
- * Kim’s Sweet Shop in Wenona IL
- Hoosier Hot Spot in Denver IN
- Joe Sundaes in Sandusky OH
- Surfside Restaurant in Port Colborne, Ontario
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.
- 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.
- Moose Drool, purchased in Rexford WA
- Alaskan Amber, purchased several places in WA
- Laughing Dog, supplied by a generous SandPoint ID cop
- Pig’s Ass Porter (brewery in Belt MT), purchased in Chester MT
- * Rickard Red by Molson, first purchased in Port Burwell Ontario.
- 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.
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
- Heat index = 110.2F July 16, 2011 19.4 mi Rest in Yankton SD
- Heat index = 118.6F July 17, 2011 37.6 mi To Vermillion SD
- Heat index = 116.7F July 18, 2011 52.1 mi To Sioux City IA
- Heat index = 112.7F July 19, 2011 47.8 mi To Onawa IA
- Heat index = 107.3F July 20, 2011 49.4 mi To Missouri Valley IA
- Heat index = 118.4F July 22, 2011 16.0 mi Rest in Glenwood IA
- Heat index = 111.0F July 24, 2011 62.5 mi To Atlantic IA