The Great American Road Trip travel blog

Evan and Brock ride the Superman ride at Six Flags St. Louis.

We loved our cabin at Chadron State Park in Nebraska. To get...

Our campsite at Sampson State Park in Romulus, N.Y., was along Seneca...

The boys play in the murky green water and sand at the...

A house and barn in Indiana are adorned with barn stars.

An Amish farm in Pennsylvania Dutch country.

A barn in upstate New York between Schenectady and Finger Lakes.

A barn quilt is painted on a barn in Iowa.

We loved the sunset view from our campsite in Moab, Utah. It...


I mentioned yesterday that this blog entry would be about statistics and money. I changed course. That will be tomorrow. Today is a “best of” and “worst of” edition.

Favorite meal: Barbecue pulled pork and chicken at Super Smokers in Eureka, Mo. In the Midwest, barbecue is a noun, not a verb, and it's served with a bunch of sweet or spicy sauces.

New favorite dessert: Frozen custard, which is thicker and richer than soft serve, basically the opposite of fat-free frozen yogurt.

Favorite hotel: Sleep Inn in Winchester, Va. It had everything, for $54! The beds were doubles, but they were so soft, we didn’t notice. The counters were granite, and there was a fridge. It had a pool, hot tub, fitness room with machinery that worked, and delicious breakfast that included fresh fruit (a pet peeve of mine.)

Favorite cabin: Chadron State Park in Chadron, Neb. I would have gladly given up another night of the trip to spend one more night here. I guess not enough people visit Nebraska State Parks, so they have to woo them with free fishing pole rentals, ranger programs, paddleboats, a pool, and other great services. For $65, we got a two-room cabin that was clean, came fully furnished and equipped, and was secluded and private.

Favorite campground: Sampson State Park on Seneca Lake, N.Y., in the Finger Lakes region. We camped on grass next to a lake. I took a brisk walking along the lake in the morning. We relaxed while the boys swam and built sandcastles, or as they ran to the community center to play games.

Best sunset view: Moab Rim Camppark in Moab, Utah. Moab was a lot like Davis, I told someone today, only hotter and redder. It’s filled with outdoor enthusiasts, vegetarians and microbrew drinkers.

Worst stay: Dirty, smoky cabin at RJ’s RV Park in Garden City, Kansas. What did we expect for $35?

Worst hotel: Pine Crest Inn in Idaho Falls, Idaho. It was $69, and so not worth it. Set in an industrial part of town, it was a little scary. We had to get the sheets changed because they were so rough and frayed. When I walked out to the linen storage room with the gal from the front desk, she remarked, “I’m glad you’re going with me, I don’t like to go down here by myself at night.” The advertised “fitness room” was filled with rusty equipment that didn’t work. At breakfast, we had to ask the manager for milk to go with the cereal. We should have taken a clue from the pit bull we saw at the pool when we first got there.

If we got a do-over day: We should have chosen Pendleton, Ore., or Walla Walla, Wash., instead of Boardman, Ore. My next-door neighbor, Gloria Regan, who has a cabin in Oregon, remarked: “Boardman? That’s the armpit of Oregon.” We were suckered by a Chamber of Commerce ad in an Oregon travel magazine that touted Boardman for its Columbia River (stagnant, slimy inlet) location and paddle boat rentals (we never saw any). It was the only place we had to eat yogurt for dinner because there were no suitable restaurants.

The boys’ highlight: Six Flags amusement park in St. Louis. Mo. Duh!

Wendy’s highlights: The views of all of the aging barns – usually red or white – especially when they are adorned with barn stars and barn quilts, and set among green, rolling hills.

Scott’s highlight: Watching the sunset in Moab, Utah. “It was the first, ’We’re on a big vacation’ moment for me.”

Would we trade any of these places for Davis? Probably not. They were nice to visit, but none felt like home.

-- Wendy



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