My office holds fundraisers for United Way every autumn–bake sales, silent auctions, and the centerpiece event, basket raffles. Teams put together themed baskets (Movie Night, Holiday Baking, etc.) that are raffled off in the big finale of the month-long fundraiser. For several years now, one of our managers has donated a weekend at her condo in Sunriver Resort to the management team’s basket, making that the One to Win–and this year, I did! Our trip was last weekend, and it was wonderful!
Well, it turned out wonderful in the end–it started out highly stressful, as I did absolutely no planning or packing ahead of time and a winter storm was moving through the Cascades the day we set out. I may be Midwest-raised, but I don’t imagine that driving in Iowa winters has done a thing to prepare me for driving over a mountain during a blizzard! I was an enormous stress-ball Friday morning, and was only persuaded to attempt the trip by Ken’s calm, unworried attitude; he, after all, would be doing the actual driving. So we set out a bit before noon, and we caught a break; by the time we were in the passes, the snow had stopped falling and temps were above freezing. I clung to the safety strap for the nine or so miles between Government Camp and Blue Box Pass, apologizing to Ken and explaining it wasn’t his driving, it was just the situation freaking me out. But shortly thereafter, we’d descended back into the rain zone, and the terror was over.
We got to Sunriver without further incident, and were immediately lost. The resort is large and full of twisting dead ends and confusing traffic circles, and it turned out there was a critical piece of information missing from our directions. We bemused the counter help at the pizza joint by asking directions to “we don’t know where we’re staying” and then fortunately, I got the condo owner on the phone and she got us the rest of the way there. We got to the office about 5 minutes before it closed and claimed our keys. We dropped our things, toured the place, went out for groceries and a pizza–from the same place that had been unable to give us directions. They were good enough to act excited that we weren’t lost out in the tundra. Then we settled in for the night in front of the fireplace, and then in the enormous jacuzzi, then back to the fireplace, and eventually, to the comfy king size bed. Blizzards? Bad directions? Stress? Never heard of any of them!
Saturday morning, we woke to snow falling steadily through the pines, so we lit the fire, opened all the blinds in the living room, and watched it come down while we enjoyed breakfast in our pajamas. (I have the perfect flannel nightgown for hanging out in snowy mountain cabins, and of course, felted wool slippers!) I had been worried there wouldn’t be enough to keep us entertained for three days; as it turned out, we didn’t feel like doing all that much, anyway. It was too pleasant to just stay by the fire and read, or play cards, to worry about finding entertainment. We did wander around the village shops once the snow started melting, and since the gift basket included a generous gift card, I made reservations for dinner out that night, but otherwise,we were content to be at rest. (Perhaps the 4100+ foot elevation contributed to the overall lethargy?)
The dinner reservations were a comedy in themselves. I didn’t understand how the whole resort fit together, so when I called Crosswater for reservations, I thought I was calling a restaurant at the Lodge. First I called to make sure we could dine there, as their website indicated they were a private club. A nice manager called me back to say yes, we were welcome to come to dinner, but there was a private event in the main dining room until 7:00, so were we willing to come later or would we like reservations for the pub? I called him back to say we were more pub people than main room people anyway, and the pub would be fine. Josh (the politely long-suffering manager) laughed and said he’d have a nice table ready for us at 6:00. At 5:30, I got a total brainwave: Crosswater wasn’t at the Lodge! It was a nearby golf and country club–and I wasn’t sure where it was! I called the pub one more time, getting Louis, the bartender, who seemed already aware there were crazy outsiders coming for dinner, and kindly gave me instructions on how to find them. Off we drove into the icy night on dark and unfamiliar roads. Not be TOO dramatic, but here’s the thing: Sunriver is in the middle of nowhere to begin with, and we were looking for a country club embedded in a golf course–no development or signs or lights along either side of the road. It felt like we were just driving into the night, never to be seen again. I was genuinely relieved when the clubhouse finally came into view, a-twinkling with white Christmas lights.
Dinner was delightful. The food was good, the service very friendly, and Josh came to our table to meet the loopy outlanders personally. We could have done without the skull-piercing whines of children at two of the other tables, but half-WASP/half-siren offspring aside, it was a pleasant evening. (I’d be just about willing to drive back to Sunriver for their crab fondue alone–YUM!) And of course, the drive back took no time at all, was very simple, and revealed Crosswater to be no more than 4 miles from the condo, tops. But you know how it is when you’re driving to an unfamiliar place: it seems to take twice as long to get there.)
I had been keeping an eye on the forecast and the road cams over Mt. Hood on Saturday, trying to decide whether Sunday or Monday would be the better day to drive back. By Sunday morning, the forecast was updated to indicate both would be excellent, warm, mostly-dry days, so we had another full day to enjoy the place. We toured the Lodge, which was beautiful, and reminded me a lot of the lodge at Yellowstone where we breakfasted after our adventure camping out on a 20-degree night. Good memories–honestly. Yeah, we froze, but we also had a great time and it’s one of favorite early-relationship stories. I guess people can explain about elevation’s effect on temperature all they like, but you don’t really learn until you’re freezing in a tent overnight, listening to snuffling noises outside and hoping it’s buffalo.
The Lodge was hosting a gingerbread house contest–this was my favorite entry:
And I acquired this handsome gentleman from their gift shop (while courageously resisting all sorts of other adorable stuff!)
When we got back to the condo in the afternoon, I made a point of enjoying the jacuzzi tub at some length again, trying to finish the novel I took along for the weekend. Sunday morning, we took time to enjoy one last pancake breakfast in front of the fire, and then headed back to Portland on clear, dry roads. We did run into some heavy rain once we got passed the mountains, but it was brief, and it created a lovely Welcome Home sign for us:
It’s good to travel, and it’s good to come home.