Top Stuff-Week 2

A top-worst stuff this week.

Top five worst places I have ever been.

Dillon, Montana-The first of three places on this list that I drive through more than I would ever like. My first experience with Dillon came back in 1994. Sheryl, her sister and I were driving from Salt Lake City through Montana and on to Couer d’Alene, Idaho where much of Sheryl’s extended family lived. We were driving through the night, eleven hours and as we approached the Idaho/Montana border the other two were sound asleep. It was close to 2 AM and as I drove I was listening to the sounds of Nitzer Ebb. I happened to take a good look at the gas gauge and realized I was running a bit low on fuel. Now this was before the days of credit card readers on pumps. If a place wasn’t open, you couldn’t get fuel. There wasn’t an open gas station between the boarder and Dillon which was roughly 60 miles. I was driving a GEO metro and luckily made it without having to hike to a gas station, but the last twenty miles were below empty and my heart was pounding.  You would think that as Dillon was my saving grace that night, I would look at it much more fondly. And really, it is in a beautiful location but the town itself is dirty and ugly. I think the real reason I don’t like it is the people I encounter at the gas station, which is the only reason I ever stop there. Generally unkind, that’s what I think. Also, I ate at the Mcdonalds once and became quite sick.

LAX Airport-With so many other airports to fly into, it is relatively easy to avoid LAX. It is worth the extra money and sometimes the extra driving time to fly into Long Beach or John Wayne, just to avoid the cluster $%#@ that is LAX. Almost everyone I know has a story of being delayed there. In fact, I can’t think of a good story relating to this airport. Sheryl and I were delayed for three hours when some idiot ran through a security check three terminals over. They have no choice but to close the entire airport when that kind of breach happens. That airport is just too big to be of any use for most domestic flights. I understand if one is flying international, there really isn’t much choice.

Flagstaff, Arizona-Now first off I have to write that Flagstaff is absolutely beautiful. Nestled at the top of some of the highest mountains in Arizona it is breathtaking. I usually drive through during the winter on my way to Phoenix and here is the problem. It is always and I mean always frigidly cold when I go there. If I am going to encounter bad weather, bad traffic or be delayed on my trip, it happens in Flagstaff. Three years ago I drove through a snow storm that hit so hard and so fast that there was five inches of snow and ice on the interstate before any plows could mobilize to clear the roads. Tractor trailers and UPS trucks along with several cars were in the median or tipped over on the shoulder.  I know this is not Flagstaff’s fault but it does add to my dislike of the place. Really though, the cold is enough for me to hate it there. I have yet to figure out a plan that lets me avoid gassing up in Flagstaff. I am sure I just pick bad places, but everywhere I stop the restrooms are disgusting, the water in the sinks never warms up and this makes the next hour of driving miserable. Already cold from pumping gas in the winter air, the cold water just makes it worse. I am up for suggestions on where to stop or how to avoid stopping altogether.

Kanab, Utah-I don’t really hate, hate Kanab. I was forced to stop here overnight a few years ago on my way home from a Phoenix trip (the same trip that saw all the snow in Flagstaff).  I ate bad food at a local restaurant which claimed to have the best pasta sauce in America and had the most annoying hostess to accompany the bad food. This young lady decided it was fine and good to sit at our table while we ate. I know that my brother and I are a couple of sexy beasts, but this was just not cool. The power went out at the hotel as well as the wireless internet. It was intermittent all night and in the morning the outage kept us from a warm breakfast or any juices as the machine wouldn’t work without power. A discounted nights stay would have been nice, but…

Lincoln, Maine-When I lived in Lincoln, there were roughly three thousand residents. The town is 100 miles north of Bangor, Maine (a place I really love) and 40 miles south of the Milinocket area that has a population near 10,000. Lincoln suffers from all the good and bad of being a small town. Everyone knows everyone, one center street containing most of the commerce, bored teens, and the epic smell of the local paper mill. If you haven’t been around paper mills, they smell horrible. In the morning the air would reek of the stench of chemicals that were reminiscent of over cooked cabbage. People who had lived in Lincoln for years were oblivious to the smell. Some would argue the mill had no smell at all. It was baffling. I think the fact that I was 19 contributed to my dislike of Lincoln, though when I went back to Maine in 2003, I made it a point not to go anywhere near the place.


I am sure there are much worse places in the world, terrible cities that would make me feel shame for hating (or mildly disliking) the places I have written about here. If these are the worst places I can find, it speaks volumes about how fantastic America really is. If all I can complain about are a few cold places, a crowded airport and a stinky mill town, things must be pretty good.


About Ryan Carty

There are some who call me, Tim?

4 responses to “Top Stuff-Week 2”

  1. Sheila Carty says :

    This was great and very entertaining! I love hearing your experiences.

  2. JR says :

    My travels this week reminded me of this post. Since I have an incredible ability to point out the negative, I could not resist adding to your list.

    #2 – Hesperia, CA – Another dusty stop in the high desert, this one on I-15. Along the way, there are several signs pointing out the existence of one gentlemen’s club or another. Depending on traffic on the 91, you can hit this stop anywhere from 90 minutes to 3 hours into your trip to Vegas. The Starbucks is a siren’s call to the weary traveler, with the lure of caffeine and a clean bathroom. However, do not let the corporate logo fool you. The staff and patrons of this location are not your typical soy vanilla latte drinkers sporting lululemon attire and no intention to break a sweat. Think Mos Eisley cantina. The McDonalds had a similar crowd. I stood behind a large woman who ordered 10 hamburger patties with salt and pepper – nothing else – while her man waited in the car. I assumed it was her first day on Atkins.

    #1 – Blythe, CA – This is a dusty stop on I-10 just short of the Arizona border, roughly halfway between my house and Phoenix. The only reason to stop here is if you want something to eat besides truckstop fare or Wendy’s from the Flying J just over the border. The gas is easily 30 to 40 cents more than in AZ. Upon exiting the freeway, you are greeted by men on both sides, holding signs asking for a ride or some cash. The streets are dusty, and there are all manner of characters loitering outside the eating establishments. I recommend the drive-thru for food, but the typical reason for stopping includes a restroom break, so you will likely be required to exit the safety of your vehicle. At the KFC, my boys pushed open the restroom door, only to find a man sitting on the throne, pants around his ankles, smoking a cigarette. The guy just looked at them. This was the funniest thing on earth for a 9 and 12 year old boy to see, and they will never forget Blythe.

  3. fenster020 says :

    Holy! Your places are much better (or is it worse) than the ones I chose! Though, I have to admit, I now want to experience both.

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