We all love lists. The polling folks at The Nielsen Company just released a bunch of Top 10s — including the Top 10 Travel Brands for the month of April. What, no top 10 listing for the Hood River Hotel Insider? We’re shocked. OK, not really. But you can book a room at the Hood River Hotel through our web site. So there, Mr. Nielsen.
Travel is a series of stepping stones touched one after another after another. Strung together, they constitute a narrative, of how we got from there to here. Each narrative is a little different, no matter how familiar or cliched the venture.
At the Hood River Hotel, we love being part of your travel narrative. Yes, you stay with us, and yes, we try to make it the most pleasant experience possible. But it isn’t just about the hotel. It’s about your time away from the hotel. We’re just the hub on the wheel, sending you spinning out to the circumference. We want you to have a great time while visiting Hood River, and welcome the chance to suggest things to do. Just ask.
As one stop in your travel narratives, we love to dream of our own travels. And share the collected wisdom of our peers in the business. Follow us on Twitter, and you’ll see us passing along savvy advice from local colleagues at the Gorge Guide and Hood River County Chamber of Commerce.
We also realize that you travel beyond the Gorge, so we hope to help you there, as well, with nuggets of wisdom from more worldly sources. Such as? The Lonely Planet folks just keep pumping out useful guidance. We also love the new travel publication, AFAR — Where Travel Can Take You. Go spend some time at their sites, and feed the dream.
Do you like very lean, hunched-over people in bug-eyed glasses and plastic helmets and form-fitting logo-emblazoned Lycra?
Then you’ll love the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic.
What was that?
Uh, one of the riders, whizzing past, heading downhill or uphill or around the block. It’s hard to keep track of the action, but that’s the fun of it for spectators during the multi-day event.
It all starts with the 85-mile Columbia Hills Road Race south and east of The Dalles on Friday, June 8.
Then, on Saturday, June 9, riders tackle 18 miles of the historic Columbia Gorge Highway between The Dalles and Hood River. And, later that day in downtown Hood River, riders lap the block containing Full Sail Brewing during the action-packed criterium.
They’re not done, yet. It all wraps up on Sunday, June 10, with the 91-mile (for men) Three Summits Road Race. Action starts at Cooper Spur Mountain Resort.
Oh, one more thing. The Classic welcomes volunteers. Interested? You could work crowd control at the Criterium and keep people from getting flattened by bikers like those in this photo …
Or you could work driving in the Peloton, or staff one of the aid stations and push fluids at steaming cyclists, or help with parking or setup or … well, contact volunteeer coordinator Moria Reynolds by e-mail, or phone 541-400-9510.
Time spent with the Boy Scouts typically introduces young men to hot dogs — not borscht.
However most of us first encounter the classic beet soup, Thom Cheney, a solo graphic designer in Portland, Ore., had a bit more serendipitous introduction.
Cheney entered our April sweepstakes with a brief tale of “the best thing I ever ate.” Here’s what he wrote:
Hiking in the southern California desert with a friend. He snuck a frozen container of borscht into my pack that his Russian neighbor made. After a long, hot hike, it was incredible and worth the trouble of packing it in!
Cheney and his friend, Bart Forry, had grown up in Riverside, Calif. As Boy Scouts, they had been introduced to the nearby San Gorgonia Wilderness and Whitewater Preserve.
After high school, the two hooked up again, and decided to return to the Pacific Crest Trail where it passes through the Whitewater Canyon. It’s a desert environment. Hot. Dry. Perfect for … cool, refreshing, recently-melted-in-the-backpack borscht.
Cheney recently was reminded of that trip while attending a conference in Palm Desert, Calif. But not enough to return for good. He’s lived in Oregon for 18 years, and likes it just fine. Not so hot. Not so dry. Not so many people.
Congrats, Thom, and thanks for sharing.
What’s real, and what’s a dream? Sometimes a great meal can seem like a dream. And vice versa, as Katie Jundt discovered. She shared her memory in our “best thing I ever ate” sweepstakes.
“The fried chicken at Portland’s Screen Door restaurant was so good that I literally had a dream about it the same night.”
College? Loan debt? Career track?
Tell your kids, “Hey, you little snip, I’m not paying for you to go to college, because there AREN’T ANY JOBS. Nope, you gotta make your own. You’re going to become an entrepreneur.”
Kid goes, “Huh?”
He’s distracted. Glued to his phone. Lost.
Solution? Just send him this link. Wall Street Journal story, full of all the reading the kid will ever need. Sort of.
What’s in it for us? We want him (or her) to make enough money so he (or she) can help pay for you to come back to the Hood River Hotel and enjoy life. Tell the little snip we take Visa, MasterCard and Discover.
Claire McGee, a photographer from Newport, Ore., tells us the “best thing she ever ate” was a classic example of a classic Italian dish — consumed in Hawaii, the multi-cultural crossroads of Asian and American (but not exactly Italian) cuisines. Here’s her entry in our recent sweepstakes:
“Vegetarian Lasagne – at a restaurant in Honolulu. It was very light / and cheesy - shredded cheese – Went back years later and they no longer had it on the menu – I asked/ they said – Changed chefs! ACK”
She can’t remember the name of the restaurant, but says it was at the corner of S. Beretania and Pensacola. She discovered it “sometime during the 80′s when I lived there, and later, on a return visit to the islands, the cook had gone!”
If that cook is reading this, we’d love to find out where he/she is slinging the linquine these days.
Sometimes the “best” meals aren’t the fanciest, or most expensive. They’re the ones you create out of circumstance, with people you love, in a place and time that exist only in memory. Here’s Jimeva Welch’s entry in our “best thing I ever ate” sweepstakes:
As a young, tight-budgeted family, we went to San Francisco. Lunch came with the realization of how expensive restaurants were. We dined on fresh baked sourdough bread on the waterfront, and finished it off with chocolates from Ghirardelli. Delicious!