02 November 2012

2012 WILD WEST 22 - Rate the Rest Stop

Sometimes got "American Idol-ish" to pass the time on our travels. Would often discuss and compare road surface quality between the states, and also public rest stop quality. Came up with a "rating" system for that.

No Stars  -  None within 70 miles (an hour) or advertised, but locked up. This happened a few times and quite frustrating (in mind and body!!). Texas' public "picnic" areas on the Interstate were an example of you're invited to stop, but no restrooms of any kind available. Winslow AZ had one advertised, but it was locked at 10am.

1 Star  -  "Out house." We did not use any of these, but believe it or not in some areas there are still non-flushable public toilets along the road for traveler use. These were generally on primary (not Interstate) highways. Yes, better than nada. 

2 Star  -  Basic, flushable, but not clean. On Interstates and mostly in more remote areas. I guess too far or inconvenient to clean on a regular basis.

3 Star  -  Basic, flushable, and CLEAN. Unless it was the state Welcome Center, most fell into this category.

4 Star  -  Added some decor or unique visual quality/location. Also had either recycle bins or automated bathrooms (automated flushing, sink water, and hand-dryers). We like the eco-thoughtfulness. Weirdly many rest stops in southern CA and other SW states did not have recycle bins for bottle and cans. Northern and eastern states are much better at eco in rest stops.

5 Star  - Had everything--clean, decor or unique visual quality/location, recycle bins, automated eco-bathrooms. VERY few had all.

Bonus Star  -  Solar or wind turbine on the property to assist in powering the facility. We didn't travel to Ohio on this trip, but along OH-30 just east of the Indiana state line, there is a rest stop powered by wind turbines. We've seen others in Michigan with solar power on the rest stop property.

Off hand (because we talked about this star system near the end of our trip) not sure where rates what at this point. Thinking back though, I know we were way impressed by Minnesota, as they had a natural water feature at the two stops we visited. 

The New Mexico Welcome Center had a greeter that gave directions to bathrooms and the ladies' room "after each use" commode-seat wipe down were impressive. And it was built in traditional Indian ways--cut stone with no mortar.

The Texas Welcome Center had great mosaic art.

Also the Missouri Welcome Center's picnic tables were each set up with a little business design, which gave the illusion of a little town on Route 66.

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If you have visited any of these places, we would love to hear your comments. Or send us recommendations of places we should not miss.