Best of June 2004
Could it be? Is it that time already? Here's our "Best of" List for the month of June. Full reviews of all the sites are coming soon. Enjoy!
Miles Traveled (in the A*tima)
Best Weather Day
June 2nd Grand Marais, Minn. 72 degrees. Light breeze. Sunny. Perfect.
Worst Weather Day
June 4th windstorm that nearly swept us and our tent away at Voyageurs NP, Minn.
June 8th, 558 miles driven from Grand Forks, N.Dak. to Minot, N.Dak. to Knife River Villages NHS to Bismarck, N.Dak. to Fargo, N.Dak. in order to take a flight the next day from Minneapolis, Minn. to Baltimore, Md.
Thank God We’re Not Here Next Month Award
Minnesota. Biting flies and mosquitoes had just started to emerge as we concluded our camping and canoeing expeditions.
Most Curious Billboard
wedocows.com, en route to Minneapolis, Minn. on I-94.
Most Vitriol Inducing Site
Phillips Crab House, Ocean City, Md. Gab still breaks into hives and a cold sweat at the mention of “Cap’n Phil.” Please be nice to the large red crab in the captain’s hat waving to cars and passer-bys on Coastal Highway. Someone you know could be crying inside.
Most Interesting Name for a Roadside Attraction
Holy Terror Miniature Golf, Keystone, S.Dak.
Most Feared Natural Phenomenon
Tornados in Grand Forks, N.Dak. None came through that night, but the warnings were enough to keep Gab and Michael inside.
Most Beautiful View
From our tent at both Voyageurs NP, Minn. and Theodore Roosevelt NP, N.Dak.
Most Beautiful Park Site Surroundings
Voyageurs NP, Minn.
Liveliest City Center (Towns)
Ocean City, Md.
Dullest City Center (Towns)
Pierre, S.Dak. Michael is still sad over his anti-climatic big 3-0 spent in this capital city.
Ugliest Capitol Building
Tempted to say Bismarck, N.Dak. but we were charmed by its art deco interior and delightful North Dakota Hall of Fame oil paintings. Who can resist Angie Dickenson, Phil Jackson and Lawrence Welk?
Most Beautiful Capitol Building
St. Paul, Minn.
No room on the six-person tour at Minute Man Missile NHS, S.Dak. The site is not yet open to the public, but tours can be arranged by calling the project office at 605-433-5552. We weren’t aware of this option until we arrived in South Dakota and learned that they were booked solid until August. We took a chance and stopped by the project office to see if there were any cancellations. There was a possibility of two openings the following day. We delayed our departure, arrived eagerly at 1:00, only to find that the potential no shows had shown. The pain was made worse with the observation that 4 of the 6 people on the tour clearly had no interest in being there.
Most Pleasant Surprise
Being able to spend a day with our friend Mike and his buddies in Minneapolis, Minn.
Best Sporting Experience
Watching a Texas Hold 'Em poker game played at Saloon 10 in Deadwood, S.Dak. – the very spot where Wild Bill Hickock was shot while holding what is now known as the Dead Man’s Hand. Pair of aces. Pair of eights.
Most Scenic Drive (National Parks)
Scenic Loop Road, South Unit, Theodore Roosevelt NP, N.Dak. Bison, wild horses, coyote, prairie dog towns, wild turkeys, pheasant, falcons.
Most Scenic Drive (Highways)
SR2 across North Dakota flanked by wildlife preserves and later hundreds of windmills.
Least Scenic Drive (and most pungent)
Roundtrips from Dagsboro, Del. to Salisbury, Md. Through chicken farm after chicken farm.
Best Day Hike
* Little Mo’ Nature Trail, Theodore Roosevelt NP, North Unit, N.Dak.
* Presidential Trail, Mount Rushmore NM, S.Dak. Recent renovations get you closer than ever to the four famous faces.
Best Long Hike
16-mile hike through mixed prairie, buttes and a petrified forest. Theodore Roosevelt NP, South Unit, N.Dak. It didn’t even matter that we lost the trail.
Highest Price for Gas
$2.07 on June 2nd at the Holiday, Grand Marais, Minn.
Lowest Price for Gas
$1.70 on June 30th at the Conoco, Sioux City, Iowa.
Most Out of the Way Site
Voyageurs NP, Minn.
* The Legendary Grotto Pizza, Bethany Beach, Del.
* Border Bar and Pizza Parlor, International Falls, Minn.
Best Local Cuisine
Thrasher Fries, Rehobeth Beach, Del.
Kara at The Walrus, Bismarck, N.Dak.
Quinn at the Gun Flint Tavern, Grand Marais, Minn.
Most Unexpected Local Pronunciation
Pierre, S.D, pronounced PEER
World’s Best Doughnuts, Grand Marais, Minn.
Best Giant Statue
Giant Prairie Dog, Exit 131, Route 90, outside of Badlands NP, S.Dak.
(Almost) Celebrity Sightings
Minneapolis Airport, pages for both Carol Burnett and Dean Martin.
Cottonwood Campground, Theodore Roosevelt NP, South Unit, N.Dak. It’s a simple courtesy, really. But by dividing the campsite into two separate parts – one with larger pull ins better suited for RVs and one with smaller driveways and more grass for tents, Cottonwood easily made it to the top of our favorite places to camp.
Devils Tower NM, Wyo. No shade. No space. No shelter from the rowdy family on our right and the feuding older couple and their generator to our left.
Most Elusive NPS Office
Minute Man NHS Project Office, S.Dak. There is no Visitor Center for the newest National Park site. A photocopied brochure invites you to “come visit the Project Office,” “Visitors welcome!” but gives no physical address of the building.
What We Are Most Thankful For
Gab’s dad’s recovery from quadruple bypass surgery. We love you, Mark. Keep walking!
Bethany Beach, DE • Bismarck, ND • Council Bluffs, IA • Deadwood, SD • Dagsboro, DE • East Grand Forks, MN • Ely, MN • Fargo, ND • Grand Forks, ND • Grand Marais, MN • Grand Portage, MN • International Falls, MN • Keystone, SD • Medora, ND • Minneapolis, MN • Minot, ND • Mitchell, SD • Moorhead, MN • Ocean City, MD • Omaha, NE • Pierre, SD • Pipestone, MN • Rehoboth Beach, DE • Rugby, ND • Salisbury, MD • Sioux City, IA • St. Paul, MN • Wall, SD •
Assateague Island NS • Badlands NP • Devils Tower, WY • Fort Union Trading Post NHS • Grand Portage NM • Jewel Cave NM • Knife River Valley Indian Villages NHS • Mount Rushmore NM •Pipestone NM • Theodore Roosevelt NP • Voyageurs NP • Wind Cave NP •