First, it is very unusual that you would have to travel a great distance to find a very good orthopedic surgeon. There are thousands of well-trained, experienced orthopedic surgeons throughout the United States.
Second, surgeons who perform the most common procedures the most frequently, may not be particularly well known by the above criteria.
You can use the Find An Orthopedic Surgeon tool to screen physicians, and ask other doctors in the area which surgeons have been good to work with in the past.
It is my personal belief that the best surgeon must not only be competent, but you must work well with him or her. Determine the ability of your surgeon from reputation and recommendations from other physicians, but also make sure you are comfortable working with this doctor as you may well be working together for years to come. In order to have a successful outcome, finding someone you work well with can be of utmost importance.