Mike’s Road Trip “Best of” 2011
I spent more than nine months on the road in 2011 and had some amazing experiences that I wanted to share in a classic “Best Of” list. There were a lot of worthy contenders. While I’m sorry some did not make it, I’m confident I’ve chosen the best-of-the-best. Click on any of the links below to be taken to posts, pictures and/or videos of my experience.
To all the “winners,” congratulations! Your dedication and commitment to excellence have caught the eye of this discerning travel writer and video blogger. If you have not been contacted, please email me for your “Mike’s Road Trip “Best of'” icon to display on your website and social media profiles.
- Best Hotel Winner: Chalet View Lodge located in the small town of Portola, California. Rarely do you find such quality lodging in a rural area, the Chalet View Lodge epitomizes what Mike’s Road Trip is all about. Refined luxury, modern furnishings in a forested setting off the beaten path of the northern Sierra Nevada Mt. Range. Oh, and a great value too!
- Best Resort Winner: Gateway Canyons Resort in Gateway, Colorado. Located in an awe-inspiring setting with fantastic accommodations and a plethora of activities, Gateway Canyons Resort is where you go to escape the the stress of daily life and recharge your soul.
- Best Overall Bed & Breakfast Winner: George Washington Inn in Port Angeles, WA. Last year’s winner(s) set the bar extremely high, but no question the George Washington Inn is a worthy winner for 2011. Opulent setting, fantastic views and refined accommodations.
- Best B&B Breakfast Winner: Thundering Waters Inn bed and breakfast in Roseburg, Oregon. If the riverfront setting and the luxurious accommodations don’t thrill you…freshly baked croissants, Italian coffee anyway ya like it and a garden omelet should.
- Best Lavish Lodge Winner: Grey Cliffs Ranch just outside of Bozeman, Montana. 5200 acres of rolling hills, 8000 square foot lodge constructed of the finest materials and decorated with spectacular furnishings make this place truly, “Lavish!”
- Best Motel Winner: Box Canyon Lodge in Ouray, Colorado. My focus on Mike’s Road Trip is more on the B&B/ boutique hotel, therefore I don’t typically stay in motels…but if I’m ever in Ouray again, I will for sure stay at the Box Canyon Lodge. Clean, spacious, with accommodations you typically wouldn’t expect from a motel. And, they have some outstanding natural hot spring tubs that provide fantastic views of Ouray.
- Best Dining Experience Winner: Entrada at the Gateway Canyons Resort, Gateway, CO. Outstanding patio, dining room, views and creatively prepared and artistically presented dishes made Entrada my best dining experience of the year.
- Best Fast Food Burger Winner: In-N-Out Burger. Simple menu, quality ingredients, great service, AND, low prices makes In-N-Out…the BEST!
- Best Small Town Coffee Shop Winner: Mountain Brew in Gold Canyon, Arizona
- Best Espresso Winner:Vivace Roasteria in Seattle, Washington.
- Best Local Grocery Market Winner: Pike Place Market, Seattle, Washington
- Best Bakery Winner: Erick Schat’s Bakkery, Bishop, California. Insanely huge shop with so many scrumptious varieties it will make your head spin and your taste buds water.
- Best Winery Winner: HillCrest Vineyard, Roseburg, Oregon. The passion this family-run winery has for their craft will give you a whole new appreciation for the art of wine making.
- Best Day Hike Winner: Hierogliphic Canyon in the Superstition Mountains – Apache Junction, Arizona
- Best Camping Spot Winner: Chaco Canyon, New Mexico
- Best Camping Experience Winner: On a secluded beach just east of Clallam Bay in the Olympic Peninsula area of Washington State.
- Best Backpacking Trip Winner: Rachel Lake in Washington Stone with my cousin Nick.
- Best Excursion Winner: Rafting down the Salmon River for a week with the folks from O.A.R.S.
- Best Stretch of Highway Winner: Sea to Sky in British Columbia
- Best Drive through a National Park Winner: Arches National Park – Moab, Utah
- Best Road Trip App Winner: For the second year in a row, the WHERE app. A close runner up was the “Best Road Trip Ever,” which might have won if the app ran on Android as well as iPhone.
- Best Road Trip Thirst Quencher Winner: Honest Tea…I drank a lot of this on the road this past year.
SCENIC VIEWS CATEGORY
- Best View from a National Park Winner: Crater Lake National Park
- Best Lake View Winner: Lake Tahoe, Nevada side
- Best Mountain Views Winner: Whistler/Blackcomb
- Best Waterfall(s) Winner: Yosemite National Park
- Best Aerial View Winner: Palm Springs Aerial Tram
- Best Vista Winner: Death Valley National Park
- Best Beach Stroll Winner: N.W. of Clallam Bay in the Olympic Peninsula area of Washington State.
- Best Boardwalk Stroll Winner: Stanley Park, Vancouver, B.C.
- Best Small Town Stroll Winner: Ouray, Colorado
- Best River Stroll Winner: Slide Rock, Sedona, AZ
- Best Idyllic Stroll Winner: Finn Slough, Richmond, B.C. – Canada
- Best Small Town Winner: Hood River, Oregon
- Best/Most Idyllic Town Winner: Jacksonville, Oregon
- Best/Most Eclectic Town Winner: Jerome, Arizona
- Best Small City Winner (tie): Santa Fe, New Mexico and Walla Walla, Washington
- Best Place to Explore Winner: Chaco Canyon, New Mexico
- Best National Monument Winner: Bandelier, New Mexico
- Best National Park (US) Winner: Canyonlands in Moab, Utah
- Best State Park Winner: Bodie State Park, California.
- Best Municipal Park Winner: Queen ElizabethPark, Vancouver, B.C.
- Best Firework Show Winner: Butchart Gardens in Victoria, Canada. Only during the summer and only on Saturday evenings, this firework show is absolutely stunning and unique.
- Best Aerial Ride Winner: Peak-2-Peak Gondola ride in Whistler, B.C. – Canada.
- Best Botanical Garden Winner:Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix, Arizona.
- Best Wake-boarding Winner: Deep Cove, North Vancouver, B.C. – Canada
- Best Museum Winner: Palm Springs Air Museum, Palm Springs, California
- Best 20 Pictures for 2011
- Best 20 Road Trip Songs
- Best 10 Gourmet Pizzerias
- Best Product reviewed this year…Fenix Flashlights
*Note: The aforementioned are my personal “Best of” for travels during 2011 and don’t necessarily represent, “The Best” of all time.