Posted By: Pierre Campana-Jourda | May. 13 2011
To update the guidebooks for our Oregon bike trips in the Columbia River Gorge, Adnan and I decided to take a couple of days to drive and ride the routes around Hood River and stay overnight at one of our accommodations that we use for our guests – the Skamania Lodge. Sounds fun? IS fun!
Who wouldn’t want this job?
We rediscovered a quaint country store on one of the Hood River loop rides that we hadn’t visited in a while – the Apple Valley Country Store. After a long drive and an hour + of riding past apple, pear, and cherry orchards, the sign advertising Blackberry Milkshakes caught our eye and we raced each other to the front door, stomachs growling. Adnan had the upper hand as he was on a road bike and I was on a humble but still sporty hybrid. As we entered the store, the smell of fresh baked pies seduced us to the counter and we saw rows of flaky, buttery crusted, fruit filled deliciousness. The baker walked out from the back and greeted us with a smile. One milkshake, one piece of pie, and one frozen pie to take away later and we were sufficiently sugared up to continue our ride with renewed energy.
The valley views are awesome – green hills dotted with orchards and vineyards, barns and houses – simply beautiful.
It struck me how different the Oregon cycling tours are so different from our Napa Valley bicycle tours. The Oregon landscape is wilder and more rural while the California landscape has a certain polish and organization to it. Both are beautiful in their own distinct ways.
After a long day of driving, riding, taking notes, keeping mileages and a casual but nourishing dinner at Sixth Street Bistro, we ended up at Skamania Lodge – an impressive resort in Stevenson, WA with exquisite views of the Gorge from a beautiful lobby with floor to ceiling windows, rocking chairs in which to lounge, and a welcoming fireplace that stands behind gently warming the room and adding a subtle ambiance. The staff is welcoming and friendly and we enjoyed our stay in room with a King sized bed and fireplace. In the morning, we took a nice 30 minute walk along some of the paths that meander throughout the estate. We gave our appreciation to the front desk on our way out and drove out with smiles on our faces back to our Portland home.