Saturday, December 06, 2008


You know what's nice? Driving with no traffic, that's what. And there isn't really any traffic between Seattle and Vancouver if you leave at 7:15 in the morning and it's a sunny dry day. So today's drive to Skamania Lodge in the Gorge took just about 4 hours, where last week's drive to Salem (roughly the same distance) took more like 5 or 5 1/2 hours.

In fact, the only problem with the drive was that a) it was early and I slept like crap last night, and b) it was sunny as hell and at a low enough angle that the visor only just blocked it. I know, such huge problems to have.

Now, why are we here? Because it's Paige's mom's 70th birthday. And back when she turned 60 the father-in-law threw a surprise party for her here. So now we're back for the 70th, and with a few exceptions it's going quite nicely. Got here wicked early - like 10:45 or so - but they had a room ready for us so we could check in. After lunch in the bar (a reasonable hamburger, although as always overcooked) the father-in-law, brother-in-law and I played 9 holes of golf (I played as poorly as always, but ended the day two balls up thanks to other people not looking closely enough). While we were off golfing the ladies and the kids went to the pool, soaked in the hot tub and went for a walk.

After a brief adjournment we met in the lobby to go to dinner. Since we didn't have a reservation at the fancy restaurant at the Lodge, we decided to head over to the Oregon side of the river and go to somewhere called "Charburger" in Cascade Locks. Holy shit. I don't know the history of this restaurant, but it smacked of old-school roadside attraction, so probably 40s or 50s. It was filled with faux Western kitch, complete with disintigrating buffalo hide on the wall and fake Indians (meaning plastic or carved out of wood, not white dudes in costumes) sitting in a booth. But best of all, it was cafeteria style. Last time Paige and I ate in a cafeteria restaurant was on our first anniversary (long story short, jet lag plus massive hangover plus fried chicken breakfast equals bad day for all) and this one, while not in the South, wasn't any better. Maybe a slice of the pie might have saved it, but I doubt it. Grand total for two orders of chicken strips, one order of fish and chips, and a medium diet coke: $32. Oh, the dinners came with fries or a baked potato and a small salad bar plate, but still. It was a $20 meal tops. I'm guessing we were paying for the skin and fake Indians.

Anyhow, after that gourmet feast we headed back to the lodge for a variety of Trader Joe's cookies and a few rounds of Bannagrams it was back to the room to blorg and watch Adult Swim. At 9:00 at night. Must be an East Coast feed...

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