Best shuttle service: A clear gold medal to the Littleton, Colorado Hampton Inn. Shuttle took us anywhere within Littleton, including the school for the blind, restaurants, and location for boarding the light rail to get downtown.
Best beverage: Gold goes to Ted’s Montana Grill for their wild berry lemonade. I had two and a glass of wine. What a great drink to accompany a bison burger! Silver goes to Starbucks in the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport for their ice tea lemonade.
Best public transportation: Two gold medals go to light rail in both Minneapolis and the Denver area. In coordination with public transit buses, these light rail systems provided a great means for our family to get where we wanted to go.
Best breakfast: Hotel breakfasts had many options, including the waffle-maker (Colorado) and the pancake machine (Minneapolis). P.S. The coffee was strong and tasty everywhere.
Best lunch: Comfort food from a chain restaurant, Noodles & Company. Me, Daisy, choosing a national chain? This time, yes. We were exhausted, tense from figuring out the train and bus systems, and hot and sweaty in the 90+ degree weather to boot. Seeing “Wisconsin Mac and Cheese” advertised on Denver’s Noodles & Company drew us in. A taste of home away from home: priceless.
Best dinner side dish: Gold: NoNo’s Cajun Grill in LIttleton. We were inspired to look up a recipe for Corn Macque Choux. If we can come even close to this dish, it’ll be delicious.
Best dinner entree: Bison burgers at Ted’s Montana Grill, tied with the shrimp basket cooked to perfection at Ivan’s of East Troy, Wisconsin. Maybe this decision was tainted a little by the relief we felt at arriving safely almost-home and avoiding a complete meltdown, Amigo style.
Best view: This one isn’t really fair. Which would you rather see, the Mall of America or the Rocky Mountains? Colorado, of course.
Best value: public transportation from Denver International Airport to our hotel. It cost us less than half what a taxi or shared shuttle would have cost, and gave us a chance to see more of the town than we would have otherwise.
Best Save: Chuck, for finding a Best Buy kiosk in the Minneapolis – St. Paul airport when Amigo’s iPhone battery ran low. We’d mistakenly packed his charger in the checked luggage.
Now: the other side of the awards.
Worst access: Holiday Inn Express in MN. The key cards were inconsistent at best, and impossible at worst. Our “good” key card opened the door an average of one time in seven. Sorry, Holiday Inn, that’s not even close to being good enough.
Worst noise level: Union Station in Chicago. Between the heat and the noise, Amigo was beside himself. I can turn off my hearing aids; Amigo, with his super sensitive hearing, cannot.
Worst overall experience: Amtrak. Amtrak, we’ve had good trips and great trips, This one was a huge disappointment. In fact, it’ll take another full post to really make clear all that went wrong. Wait for it.