Finally the results are in, after over two months of careful and in-depth analysis, we have the winners in each category of the “Best of Route 93 contest”
One of the objectives of the end to end route 93 road trip was to find the ‘Best Of’ a lot of things, so that when you folks travel route 93 you can check them out and enjoy!
While I was on the road I concentrated on sampling and consuming as much of these particular items as possible. I admit I missed a few due to time constraints but I really tried to sample a broad representation of each item, especially the beer and ice cream categories.
(Jasper items are not included in this study, see footnote)
These are the categories:
Best Campground, Best Hosts (per state)’ Best Museum, Best Natural Attraction, Best Man-made Attraction, Best Breakfast,, Best Bacon Cheese Burger, Best Prime Rib Dinner, Best Ice Cream, Best Bike Shop and Best Beers!
OK here we go,,,,
The Best Campground is hands down the Hidden Oasis RV Park in Wikieup Arizona (http://hiddenoasisrv.com) the main reason I choose to stay was that they had WiFi and I am glad I did. They have a great diner, home cooked food and awesome fresh baked pies, clean modern bathrooms and shower facilities and the owners are amazing folks, they wouldent let me pay for my stay and packed me a road lunch n/c. Nice Folks!
The Best Museum is the Desert Caballeros Western Museum in Wickenburg Arizona, (http://www.westernmuseum.org) this museum is amazing full of western and Wickenburg history. They even had a gun owned by Wyatt Earp, Seth Bullock’s shave set, and a knife presented to Buffalo Bill Cody by the Russian czar, I spent an hour there but it wasn’t enough. Lots of western art, friendly, helpful staff but watch out for the Rattle Snake outside the main door.
The Best Natural Attraction is hands down the Craters of the Moon National Monument, near Arco Idaho, (http://www.nps.gov/crmo/index.htm) This place really does look like a moon scape, its actually a mix of a bunch of different lava flows that cover over 600 square miles. At first glance it seems void of plant and animal life but a surprising number of plant species and wildlife have adapted to this harsh landscape. I spent one night camping in the campground and hike the visitor trails, didn’t want to leave, this is a place I will return to for sure.
The Best Man-made Attraction would have to be the Hoover Dam and the new By-pass Bridge next to it. It only took 6 years to complete the 49 million dollar Dam that restrains the Colorado River to form Lake Mead. The dam is 726 feet high, 45 feet thick at the top and 660 feet thick at the base, 112 workers died while building the dam which was named after the 31st President Herbert Hoover. Up until 2010 Route 93 travelled right over the top of the dam. In order to reroute the heavy volumes of traffic from the top of the dam a by-pass bridge was constructed. The recently completed (2010) By-pass Bridge, the Mike O’ Callaghan – Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge cost 240 million and took 5 years to complete the 89 foot high, 1060 foot spanning concrete and steel structure, like the Hoover Dam this bridge is an amazing engineering feat.
Best Breakfast can be found at the a little Gas station Café in Rogerson Idaho. I cycled into Roderson from Alamo Nevada at 9:00 am cold and hungry, stopped at the gas station and the owner was tiling the bathroom floor. I asked him if the café was open and reluctantly agreed to turn on the grill and cook me breakfast. It was apparent that I was interrupting his project but when he learned about mine he sat and talked and cooked me up a huge plate of bacon, eggs, hash browns with toast and coffee. I felt bad that the mud he had just mixed up hardened in the pail as he cooked for me but he didn’t seem to mind and gave me a 50% off deal to boot. Nice guy, great food!
Best Bacon Cheese Burger, next to Best Beer this is the category I spent the most time evaluating and believe me I had some good burgers along the way, but the Little Blue Joint (www.littlebluejoint.com)in Darby Montana takes first place in the category, without a doubt. Owner Michael Campbell who happens to be a very skilled chef and loves what he does, spent years as an executive Chef on a major cruise line before deciding to chase his dream and purchase his own restaurant. Hand-ground and seasoned all beef patty, thick sliced bacon, home baked bun, lettuce, tomatoes; mmmmm! My only regret is that I didn’t get a chance to try the rest of the LBJ menu, (hand tossed Pizza) but I will, some day.
Best Prime Rib Dinner, I had a few of these along the way and the winner is from Kingman Arizona the Dambar Steakhouse (https://www.facebook.com/DambarSteakhouse) The Dambar is a busy place and the reason why; great food, good service and friendly staff. This place is famous for its protein; people come from all over the world to check out Route 66 and the Dambar. I was fortunate to be treated to a giant size slice of Prime Rib with all the fixins by my Kingman Hosts Marlene and Tim Brannon, finished off with an IPA this was the best beef dinner I encountered on Route 93, no contest.
Best Ice Cream was found all the way up north near Elko British Columbia at the junction of Highway 3 and Route 93. The 3 & 93 Dairy Bar (http://www.dairybar.ca) has a huge selection of ice cream not to mention other snack bar food groups like burgers fries and onion rings etc. When I arrived at the Junction the temperature was in the high 20’s and I had been on the bike for 8 hours all the way from south of the border, two flats and a shredded tire and I really needed and Ice cream cone. But they were closed! Fortunately I made friends with a couple of folks next door, turns out they were the owners and next thing you know I was enjoying a gigantic soft ice cream cone, pure heaven. It was so good I stopped in the next day to have another before hitting the road. My only regret is that I didn’t try one of the amazing burgers (the one with the onion ring in it) Did I mention I ate a lot of Ice cream on my journey up Highway 93!!
Best Bike Shop and I visited a lot of Bike Shops along the way; the winner is Wilson Mountain Sports (http://www.wmsll.com/Wilson_mountain_sports/WMS_HOME.html) in Lake Louise Alberta. I had left Radium in the morning and pushing hard all day through rain and wind, when I got to Lake Louise I must have been day dreaming and cycled right over the cattle guard, ouch! (Road bikes don’t like cattle guards) so off I went to Wilson Mountains Sports and met some great folks and an awesome bike mechanic. Long story short; new tire, new tube, bike tuned up, cleaned and greased, all no-charge, wow! I met a lot of great people on my 3000 km journey up Route 93 but the folks at Wilsons are top notch for sure.
Footnote: I have intentionally not mentioned any Jasper business, folks, food groups etc, this is for another blog post.
Beer winners and Hosts coming soon!