Kim Stanek thought she was headed to Hood River last August with boyfriend Mike Sabo for a long-delayed weekend of mountain biking. Sabo had something else in mind.
In the spring, Sabo had graduated from Oregon State University with a master’s in mechanical engineering, and the couple decided to celebrate on the multiple ups and downs scattered in the woods around Hood River.
“It’s probably the best mountain biking I’ve done so far,” Stanek says. “The trails up there are so much different. You’ve got this steep climbing, and then awesome downhill.”
But before they could make it out to the Hood, Sabo secured a job with the Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico, and Stanek dove headlong into the final months of her own master’s degree studies in public health.
Sabo finally found time to fly back for an Aug. 2 biking getaway.
Before they hit the trails, though, they checked in to the Hood River Hotel, found their room, started talking about dinner – and got engaged.
They were sharing a bottle of wine, as Stanek recalls, planning their evening.
“I could tell he was getting nervous,” she says. “His initial plan was to wait for the perfect time. But we got into the room, we’re having some wine, and he went and got the ring. He got down on his knee, and had his little spiel. He said he knew the day he met me that we were going to get married.”
Although she quickly said “Yes,” she recalls feeling no similar sense of certainty when they met two years earlier. It was another six months before they even started dating.
By proposing earlier than he had originally planned, Sabo cast a special glow over the rest of their weekend.
“I’m not a big production type of person,” Stanek says. “It was nice that it was private.”
Once they had that little matter of a lifetime together settled, they finished their wine, went to Double Mountain Brewing for a couple of beers, then grabbed dinner at the nearby Celilo Restaurant (“Our celebration dinner”).
She is planning a move south to Albuquerque before year’s end. They’ll be married there in October 2013. But before they tie the knot, they’re planning a return trip to Hood River.
“We have plans of revisiting each year and staying in the same room to celebrate,” Stanek says. “The Hood River Hotel is a very special place to us now, and always will be. It was the perfect amount of fun and romance all mixed in one.”