TRAVEL THERE: DALLYING AT THE DALLES ON THE COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE
Welcome to Oregon! Well, sort of. This past summer my husband and I spent twelve days traveling the state and now I’m sharing the experience with you. I’ll tell you about the attractions we visited, the meals we ate and where we stayed. Maybe you’ll decide you want to visit Oregon, too. Today’s focus is The Dalles.
Visiting The Dalles
I stayed in The Dalles Sunday night so I would be close to Maryhill Museum of Art come Monday morning. I’d had visions of doing a few other things around town, like the Columbia River Gorge Discovery Center, but that didn’t pan out. Since it was only one night and The Dalles is not exactly a haven of luxury hotels, we went the economical route. After our swanky room in Portland, overlooking Director’s Park, the Super 8 in The Dalles was a let down, but it was perfectly acceptable. It was clean and adequately appointed. Everything Expedia said they’d have, they did. The placement of the elevators was a little odd, but they worked, so who am I to complain. The free breakfast wasn’t much, but was fine for me. Bill opted for Mickey D’s.
The Dinner Challenge
But that was breakfast. When we rolled in on Sunday night we needed dinner. The main drag has fast food and casual dining, but after a perfect day along the Columbia River Gorge we were hoping for more. We drove around a bit on our own with little success, so we consulted the GPS. The best bet seemed to the The Windseeker. We were close to it, but there was no direct route, so without the GPS we’d never have made it.
When we found The Windseeker, we were in even more trouble. Along the road were some light industrial buildings. The restaurant was on a flag lot behind the buildings nestled against the river and there were several cars out front. So far, so good. The signage didn’t make it completely clear which of the driveways you were supposed to take to reach the restaurant. We, of course, took the wrong one. It was a fairly long driveway and when you realized you weren’t in the right place, the only resolution was to go in reverse back up the narrow drive. Mr. Bill was not happy. So, if you ever go to The Dalles and eat at the Windseeker take the drive BEFORE the sign, not after it.
Though the restaurant looked quite charming from the road, upon closer inspection there were warning signs we should have heeded. Several small boats were spread about artistically in front of the building like they’d been washed ashore or like someone might have pulled them ashore and been inside eating. A closer inspection revealed them as wrecks and about all that was holding them together was a wish. They must have been a real asset when they were first placed there, but that had been a long, long time ago.
The second warning was that there was only one table of patrons. All the cars were there for the attached bar, not for the restaurant. Bill sensed at that point that we were making a mistake and was poised to run when the most charming lady in the world urged us to come in and eat at her restaurant. How could we escape? We couldn’t.
We sat at at table by the water and hoped for the best. All the entrees on the menu hovered around twenty dollars. That seemed about right for quality food in small town, but the decor had us worried. The Formica topped tables with their oaks chairs screamed the quaint homeyness of some cutesy breakfast spot, but the candle holders with dangling crystals suggested they might be trying to reach a more formal ambiance. The closer we looked the weirder it got.
One thing I can say is it took so long for us to get our dinners, in the all but empty restaurant, that they must cook everything from scratch. In fact, they almost had time to grow the vegetables from seed and harvest them while we waited. That might have been OK if the meals had been delicious when they arrived, but the word that best describes my meal was “glump.” I can’t remember exactly what flavor of glump each of us ordered, but when they arrived, both glumps were similar, so it really doesn’t matter.
The most memorable part of the evening was the conversation. We giggled as we recalled all the other dining disasters we’d found ourselves in on other trips, but I’ll save those for another day. When I sat down to write this post, I googled The Windseeker and took a look at their site. More proof that you can’t believe what you read on the internet. Has the internet led you astray lately? We’d love to hear about it.
Come by next week and I’ll tell you about the Maryhill Museum of Art, one of the best museums you’ve never heard of.