Narrowed down from more than 600 submissions, 30 top towns in five categories --- Most Beautiful, Most Patriotic, Friendliest, Most Fun, and Best for Food --- were selected for review during the inaugural Best of the Road Rally. Equipped with brand-new Saab vehicles and Rand McNally RVND navigation devices, five teams of amateur travelers completed a three-week cross-country road trip, for a combined 25,000 miles traveled, personally visiting the six top towns in their assigned category.
To showcase their journey and share town experiences, the teams posted photos, videos and blog posts on ontheroad.bestoftheroad.com, Facebook and Twitter. During a presentation of their "traveler's journals" on July 14 in Los Angeles, each team consulted with the judges panel to determine which town would be crowned the winner in their category. The winners are:
MOST PATRIOTIC: Rapid City, SD –reviewed by Captain and Clark, who described the town as "a place where people from across the world and country can learn about America's past, become inspired by its present, and find hope in its future."
"Each of the top 30 towns truly provided an unforgettable experience during the Best of the Road Rally and it was hard to narrow it down to just one winner in each category," said Dave Muscatel, CEO of Rand McNally. "We're grateful to the residents of the finalist towns and their fans for showing tremendous enthusiasm and support in our inaugural search."
The winning towns were presented by Rand McNally and USA TODAY to an audience of attendees at the convention's "Industry Spotlight" seminar. Destination Marketing Association International served as a promotional sponsor for the inaugural Best of the Road Rally, along with Saab Cars North America, Country Inns & Suites By Carlson, Fleetwood RV and Shell.
The winning team from the Best of the Road Rally, Gone With the Wynns, was announced on Friday, July 15 during a finale ceremony at The Americana at Brand in Los Angeles. At the ceremony, the duo was awarded the title as well as a $10,000 check and a 2011 Saab 9-4X.
About the Best of the Road® – Rand McNally has earned the reputation as a trusted source in maps, directions and travel content with its best-selling Road Atlas and annual Best of the Road onlineguide. Its celebration of the Great American Road Trip has given way to an online guide of the Best of the Road and features top attractions in more than 20 categories --- from the Best Beach to the Best BBQ. This year, Rand McNally is revving up, in collaboration with USA TODAY, for an all-new the Best of the Road search with content created by travelers online and published in the 2013 Rand McNally Road Atlas. For more information about the Best of the Road, visit www.bestoftheroad.com.