Posted By: Pierre Campana-Jourda | Dec. 10 2011
Disclaimer: I have to admit that it feels somewhat immoral to write a blogpost for a bicycle touring company that’s got nothing to do with bikes but we had such a fun weekend at the resort that we use for our bicycle tours, that I feel somewhat better about my depravity. Thank you for your understanding.
There comes a juncture in the late fall in Oregon when you resist riding a bike. It’s rainy, it’s cold, and you just aren’t ready to face the music of winter. So my best small French friend, Nathalie, and I decided to book a weekend away at one of Oregon’s best resorts in the Columbia River Gorge – Skamania Lodge and Spa – sans bikes! We were sad not to bring our bicycles but vowed that our next trip to Stevenson would include bikes.
We each packed up a tiny bag with some toiletries and a change of clothes (I planned to stay in my robe most of the weekend) and hopped into her new cherry red Volkswagon Jetta TDI to begin our adventure on Friday afternoon. We giddily breathed in the new car smell, turned up the seat-warmers until our butts were blazing, and fumbled around the center console trying to figure out how to work the defrost before we were completely fogged in for the 45 minute ride to Stevenson, WA.
We arrived around 5pm and walked from the rain into the large, warm lobby with floor to 100ft ceiling windows and a big, welcoming fireplace. After checking into our spacious Double Queen room we decided that we were hungry and it was time for chow. I had been craving a cheeseburger for two weeks so we wandered down to the River Rock Lounge and with great anticipation I found my cheeseburger on the menu immediately. Nathalie ended up ordering the Gorge flatbread, which came out as a gorgeous piece of art – an artisan flatbread piled high with carmelized onions, wild mushrooms, asparagus, pear, oregon blue, and white truffle oil. We couldn’t help ordering a Hood River cherry cobbler complete with a giant scoop of vanilla ice cream. Wow, wow, and more wow. These were fresh cherries grown in Hood River, fat, juicy, and not too sweet. I sure wish that had ridden my bicycle so that I had a reason to eat all of that!
In the morning we had a leisurely breakfast and tossed around our options for the day. We consulted with the Forest Service Center that is housed in the hotel lobby and the ranger offered us some nearby hiking ideas. We ended up at Horsetail Falls about 15 minutes away from the resort for a 5 mile hike. Though we had a car, the resort offers a shuttle to some hiking areas, which is great for our guests on bicycles!
The next day, just before check out, we decided to try the four miles of hiking trails that Skamania Lodge has onsite. There are spectacular views of the Columbia River Gorge and Cascade Mountains. What a great way to finish up our weekend retreat. After the hike, Nathalie decided to indulge one more time in the pool and sauna while I reveled for the last hour in the cozy bed with my book. We reluctantly packed up our tiny bags, glancing longingly behind as we walked to the car for the ride back. We’ll be back, Skamania Lodge, and next time we’ll bring BIKES to tour the Columbia River Gorge!!!