We’re free! Thanks to our well-timed post and a quick prayer to Saint Mother Theodore Guerin in Terre Haute (that’s miracle three, bitches), we’ve been re-classified as non-enemy, non-combatant, pacifist travelers (no more indefinite detention!). Phew! Oh, and we promised to deny everything (and not post anything about the great tacos we had in Cuba). All that stuff we said about the RNC – totally false. Privatization is awesome. Businesses are people. Totally. Parks are lame. And so are public schools. You know what’s lame? Teaching people to read. Especially for free. Reading is a privilege of the privileged! The blogs of the future will be written in pictographs and Google will respond to grunts.
Anyhoo. We’ve ticked off six months of vacay. It’s been pretty awesome. And it feels like we haven’t done anything somehow. We’ve had eternal autumn and are looking at an eternal spring as we head north towards Alaska behind the thaw, by way of New Orleans, of course. The Rocky Mountains are still a bit chilly.
So six months. Let’s throw down some opinions. Not everybody was happy that I called the Culver’s v. In-N-Out comparison a draw. We’ve gone 16,000 miles, and here’s a list of our 25 favorite finds:
- Best Burger: Larry Burger up in the Adirondacks. Honorable mention: the Jalama Burger.
- Best Tacos: Eau Claire, Wisconsin’s Taqueria Sandoval. Honorable mention: Mr. Taco and every other taco place in San Diego county. Second honorable mention: Taquitos, Phoenix, AZ.
- Best Small Town: Bisbee, AZ. Loved it.
- Most Livable City: San Luis Obispo. Minus the housing prices, of course. Honorable mention: LA. Same thing about housing.
- Biggest Surprise: Wisconsin’s great waterfalls. And Los Angeles.
- Best Cheap Coffee: Circle K. Seriously, it’s awesome. And, evidently, the only coffee shop in Tombstone, AZ.
- Best Library: Apache Junction Public Library. Not only was there great WiFi, they had the best, cheapest, most-stocked library store. Honorable mention: Kansas City Plaza Branch Library. It’s amazing.
- Best Showers: Santa Margarita County Park, Paso Robles. These things were entirely private full-sized bathrooms – showers, toilet, sink. Coin operated but generous. Honorable mention: Furnace Creek Resort Showers / Poolhouse. But $5 per, ouch.
- Best Campground Deal: Emigrant Campground, Death Valley National Park. Free. Awesome.
- Best Wine Deals: Living in California and shopping at Von’s / Safeway for $5 bottles. Honorable mention: the Garnacha box.
- Best Microbrewery: Island Brewery, Carpinteria, California. Reasonable prices and ocean adjacent. Honorable mention: Angry Minnow, Wisconsin … or maybe New Glarus … or maybe Four Peaks Brewing.
- Best Lunch Deal: Pizza Port, San Diego. Beer + pizza slice + side salad for $6.99. Wonderful.
- Cheapest Lunch / Breakfast Deal: IKEA.
- Best Road: Catalina Highway up Mount Lemmon, Tucson, AZ.
- Best Trail: Dog Canyon, New Mexico; scrambling up Mosaic Canyon, Death Valley; every “trail” in White Sands (tie). Honorable mention: every other hike. They’ve all been pretty awesome.
- Best Coastline: Big Sur, CA.
- Best Canyons (Slot): Death Valley National Park.
- Best Canyons (Massive): Grand, but especially the adjacent Little Colorado Canyon which we really want to hike through (it was dry).
- Best Dunes: White Sands National Monument, New Mexico.
- Best Tourist Trap: Solvang, CA. Maybe the big muskie in WI too.
- Best Bar (Dive): St. Elmo, Bisbee, AZ. Honorable mention to Stage Door Casino in Las Vegas.
- Best Place to Watch the Packers (excl. Green Bay): Buffalo Chip Saloon, Cave Creek, AZ.
- Craziest Camping Setup: That Death Valley Unimog.
- Best Hot Dog: Mexican Hot Dog, Tucson. (Sorry, Bisbee Chicago Dog.)
- Most Relaxingly Beautiful Stretch of Road: Louis and Clark Trail, Missouri (Jefferson City to Washington).