Winners...

These people (or sometimes businesses) made the list for doing something nice, or doing something well. May they all live long, happy lives, win the lottery, and find deep spiritual fulfillment.

  • The Century 21 Motel in Las Cruces, NM
    This is the only cheap, non-national-chain motel we saw at that wasn't a completely skanky rathole. [$30/night in 2002!] In fact, it was quite nice, and I recommend you stay there when you're in Las Cruces.
  • The Bergen County, New Jersey Harley guys
    Their recommendation on where to get pizza in New York (John's on Bleecker) was excellent. Thanks guys! I hope you had fun in California.
  • The man with the maroon Caddy at Citgo in Memphis
    Why? Because he told us our car was "tight," and that's the coolest thing anyone has ever said to me.
  • House of Chan in Panama City
    We didn't try the upstairs Chinese restaurant because they had all-you-can-eat Mongolian barbeque downstairs, and boy was it tasty. They even had shrimp, and it only cost about $8 each. Nice.
  • The band at the Big Bad Wolf bar in New Orleans
    The one with the guy dressed as Superman, who do a lot of 80's covers. You guys rocked.
  • Howard, the pedicab driver in Key West
    Just a really nice guy, good conversationalist, and beats the heck out of walking.
  • Uncle Bob
    Singer/guitarist at Rick's on Duval in Key West. Very entertaining and very Key West.
  • Tico's Cafeteria & Cuban Restaurant, Homestead, FL
    A really nice staff, a clean restaurant, and very tasty food at very low prices. Seemed like they'd only opened recently, and didn't have too many customers yet, so everyone south of Miami should go eat there.
  • The guy in the digital camera section the West Palm Beach Best Buy
    He knew a lot about digital cameras and was very helpful when we had to buy a new one, even if he did kind of make fun of us for losing the old one.
  • The University Inn in Burlington, VT
    A very pleasing hotel. Clean, spacious, nicely appointed and reasonably priced. Plus the front desk woman let me have a free postcard.
  • The North Dakota cop who gave us a speeding ticket
    Yes, I know, you're thinking this is on the wrong list. It's not. Most patrolmen who pull you over go out of their way to radiate their disapproval of you and your life-endangering ways, but not this guy. This is a guy who doesn't kid himself that people are taking the interstate across North Dakota for the scenery. No lecture, no "do you know how fast you were going," none of that crap. Just pleasant professionalism.
  • The staff of Panda City in Georgetown, CO
    They let us (and another family) come in and get takeout even though they we supposed to have closed 15 minutes earlier. There was nowhere else to get food, so that was very helpful. And we got free steamed rice.
  • The ranger at the south entrance of Yellowstone
    He was able to tell us right where to look for moose, and we sure saw a moose! We saw the hell out of that moose!
  • The guy at Denny's in Bozeman
    It was about midnight and he was the only person working the front (both seating and serving), and there were plenty of customers, but he was still prompt and extremely pleasant. He should get paid more.
  • Oregon firefighters
    (And probably some from other states too.) They kept the 500,000-acre Biscuit fire off Route 199, which saved us a whole day of driving.
  • Nice restaurant waitstaff
    These people all deserve raises for their excellent work and pleasant demeanor:
    The young woman at the Tuba City Cafe in Tuba City, AZ
    The staff of Jack's BBQ in Nashville (near the Motel 6)
    Two young people at the Subway in Clovis, NM
    Leann at Brunet's Cajun in Baton Rouge
    The woman at K-Paul's in New Orleans
    The manager at Shoney's in Roanoke, VA
    The guy at Gino's East in Chicago

...and Losers

These people/businesses/things made the list for being rude, unpleasant, stupid, infuriating, and/or grossly incompetent. May they all develop chronic hemmorhoids, get fired for being rude, and slam their fingers in car doors.

  • Every town with not enough hotels
    There was a time just a few years ago when you could drive cross-country and just stop whenever you got tired and check into the nearest motel. What happened? The chronic shortage of hotel rooms in America is crippling to the whole idea of the road trip. Where's the spontaneity come in if you know exactly where you're going to be every single night? But if you don't have a reservation (especially on a weekend) you will end up driving an extra hour and spending $100[2002 dollars] on a crappy motel room that smells like mildew because you have nowhere else to go. Listen up, American towns: if every hotel in your area is sold out every night, you do not have enough hotels.
  • The owner of the Sands Motel, Socorro, NM
    I can't even describe how disgusting this motel is. It is unfit for human habitation. It is unfit for mammalian habitation. It is unfit for habitation by reptiles, amphibians or insects. It is a crime against anyone unfortunate enough to stay there and an insult to human decency. I do not give a good god damn if you have free cable, just clean the goddamn bathroom, you disgusting, inexcusable failure of a motel owner. This hotel should be burned down with the proprietor locked inside one of its nauseating bathrooms. Okay maybe not that last part but jeez.
  • Whoever is responsible for the rancid, deplorable condition of El Paso, Texas
    Georgie B, I'm looking at you.
  • The woman in Roswell, New Mexico, who let her 4-year-old son play with a boxcutter
    Your child should be put in foster care immediately.
  • St. Louis; especially its street and city planners
    When visiting St. Louis, just drive by the Arch and keep going. Don't even get out of the car.
  • The theater manager at Peabody place in Memphis
    You can not take people's money, fail to keep your end of the transaction, and then keep the money. How hard is that to understand? Aren't there laws about when you can and can't take money from people? Have you no sense of decency? Is your other job with United Airlines?
  • The Hurricanes at Pat O'Briens
    If Pat's invented the Hurricane, then every bar in America has since improved on it. The worst Hurricane I have ever had. I'm pretty sure it's just rum and cherry Nyquil.
  • Hotel housekeepers who ignore the "do not disturb" sign
    What the hell is wrong with you? Why even have the damn sign if someone is still going to bang on your door three hours before checkout? Because that's very disturbing! As in, exactly what the sign says not to do! Go the hell away!
  • The evil bitch using the motel laundry in Pensacola
    They only had two washers in the motel laundry room, and I stood there and watched this selfish whore put a tiny amount of clothing in each of them. Like, three shirts each. Because nobody else in the whole damn motel could possibly need to do laundry. Bitch.
  • The guy with the Texas plates at the same motel
    I'll say this slowly, jackass: parking... in... the... handicap... parking space... is NOT okay... just... because... you park slanty. And here's another tip for confused drivers: parking in the striped area next to the handicap space is ALSO not allowed. People with a legitimate claim to the parking space need that space, you brainless twit.
  • The abovementioned motel
    It was a Motel 6 in Pensacola. Our room had only one towel. The chain from the toilet handle was off. The laundry room door handle was broken. And a screechy couple was auditioning for COPS in the parking lot. Also it was in Florida.
  • The people who convinced us you need to wear long sleeves in the Everglades
    There are virtually no mosquitos in the Everglades, I don't care what people tell you. There is, however, a fatal combination of heat and humidity for anyone dumb enough to believe the mosquito rumors.
  • The cab driver in Key West
    What on earth were you thinking? You refused to listen to anything we said and stranded us on a curb surrounded by three feet of floodwater on all sides. Is this how you make the big tips?
  • The Key West t-shirt shop homophobe
    If you're a racist, don't move to Detroit. And if you're a homophobe, just do everyone a favor and get the hell out of Key West. Nobody is making you live there. Please move somewhere your views will be appreciated, like prison.
  • The air in Miami
    Dirk described it best as "a Miami breeze wafting in like a tropical drink through a sweaty men's room."
  • Florida weather
    Sunshine state, my ass. I've never seen it rain so much in my life. It rains there so much that the space shuttle failed to land there four times. Where did it land? That's right. California.
  • The Blue Ridge Parkway campground
    Where we couldn't get a campsite because it was full of people attending a "music festival." People go camping to get away from crowds, but in Roanoke, they bring the crowd to the campground. The dried-apple-faced man in charge was no help, either.
  • Annapolis traffic
    Incomprehensibly bad. There's no describing how excruciating driving through Annapolis is. It's worse than anywhere else in America, which means, somebody screwed up badly when they built this city.
  • Cheesesteaks in Philadelphia
    Much like the Pat O'Brien's Hurricane, "original" doesn't necessarily mean "good." The best Philly cheesesteaks are found anywhere but Philadelphia. The word I would use to describe them is "dryyyyyyyyyyy." Personally, I think we should strip the cheesesteak of the Philly name altogether, or at least reserve it as a derogatory label, similar to the phrase "rancid fruit."
  • New Jersey drivers
    A danger to any living thing. What are they thinking? Are they driving with their butt cheeks?
  • People who sell WTC attack photos in New York
    Death profiteering is always tasteless. It's bad enough to be hawking books and videos about the attack in the shadow of Ground Zero, but these guys are actually selling 4x6 glossy photos of the towers on fire. What are people doing with these, sticking them in their photo albums between pictures of the kids? Do they look good over your sofa?
  • Parthenon Gyros on State Street in Madison, WI
    These people are extraordinarily rude to customers. They should go out of business as soon as possible.
  • The man who called our hotel room at 4:30am
    Everyone knows I prefer to get my obscene phone calls between 11:00am and noon.
  • People who can't merge when a lane ends
    Lanes end all the time. It's not some bizarre driving maneuver you've never seen before. If you drive, you need to know how to merge. Learn that or get the hell off the road.
  • The Happy Cooker
    In Georgetown, Colorado. Too bad, because the food was tasty, but they earned their way onto this list.
  • The Miso Hungry Cafe, Driggs, ID
    I hate these guys so much, they should be listed twice. These filthy, sprout-inflicting hippies should all contract gonorrhea. They probably already have. I'm pretty sure one of the side effects of gonorrhea is the desire to eat alfalfa sprouts, and to make others eat them as well.