Wednesday, February 11, 2009

September 14th, 2008 - Pendleton, OR - Part IV

The Rugged Country Lodge
With a view of the far cheaper and trashier motel across the street.

Finally, we arrived at The Rugged Country Lodge to tour the place. We met the current caretaker.... whose name I forgot.... for the purposes of this blog, we'll pretend like it was Mary. My wife will undoubtedly remind me of her name after she reads this.... Mary introduced herself and we talked for a while. She told us that the current owners of the RCL were friends of hers, and she was essentially helping them out by running the motel, though it was immediately obvious that she held a great deal of affection for the place, and ran it like a big mother hen.

The exterior of the lodge.... apparently I failed to get any full photos of the exterior of the building

We chatted in a room off of the office, kind of a small lobby area with a couch and chair. Off of it was the "commercial kitchen" featuring some nice appliances, and an ice maker. Mary talked about the cookies they bake, and how it would need to have a second sink installed soon.

The Kitchen

Off of the sitting room, there was also a small bedroom, with a country style quilt. We were sort of surprised to see it off of what was clearly used as an employee gathering area, and it turned out that the area we were in was considered the "manager's quarters".
The Manager's Quarters... such as they were....

This was a bit disappointing, as the RCL was clearly too large to run by ourselves, and if we lived there, we would have employees in and out all of the time, as the access to the kitchen, dining room, restroom and hall were all through there.
The Office. To the rear and left is the entrance to the Manager's Quarters.

Starting our tour, we passed through their small, but efficient office, and headed over to the Rooster Room, where they served breakfast.
Rise and shine in the Rooster Room!

The Rooster room was nice, Mary took a lot of pride in the country decor, and had Cowboy'd it up in honor of the Round Up, which we had just caught the tail end of.
Bandannas and Bananas for breakfast!

The RCL served a pretty nice expanded continental breakfast with waffles, biscuits, and some pretty phenomenal little yogurts.

We toured an example of each of the room types, which were all clean and nice, though a bit generic.
Single w/ Hide-a-bed

They all suffered from what I call PDS (Plopped Down Syndrome) where at some point in the past, they decided each room needed a fridge and microwave, so they bought a bunch and plopped them down in a corner somewhere, without making any effort to make them blend in or look good. A lot of motels suffer from PDS. The rooms did however, feature excellent artwork, prints by Albert Bierstadt, one of my personal favorites, and other western artists.
PDS in action, with added coffeemaker!

They also put a little sprig of (really dry) lavender and some bath salts on each pillow. A nice, if somewhat half hearted gesture.
I did like that the bedspreads were slightly less generic than usual.

The bathrooms were really quite nice too, with real tiles, decent towels and supplies, and pedestal sinks (which Mary and Mike kept raving about, though they seemed to leave Lindsay and I unaffected... maybe it's a Pendleton thing...)
We liked the towel rack, but got tired of seeing it after the 7th room....

They did all have the same fixtures and layouts too, in fact most of the rooms we saw were pretty indistinguishable, apart from the number of beds.

Then came the fun part for me, a tour of the guts of the operation, the stuff normal people never get to see.
A Staircase. Typically used to ascend or descend from one floor to another. Also for stumbling down while drunk.

Their laundry room was really quite nice, and very "large hotel" designed with a full industrial washer, separate folding room and a nice cleaning supply system. Frankly, this was pretty daunting for us, and one of the first signs that this place was a lot larger scale than we really wanted.
Yikes. Intimidating washing machine alert!

The backyard was pretty generic, and barely qualified as a yard at all, more just a strip behind the building, but had some potential for the dogs and a little barbecue.
Potential seen, but not too thrilling.

After touring the facility, we sat with Mary and chatted for quite a while, about her history, the RCL, hospitality in general and Pendleton. It was actually a really great talk, we learned a few things, and it was really kind of fun to watch Mary and Mike talk, as both ran very different types of hospitality businesses in town, one had been doing it for quite a while, and the other was just starting. It was cool to see the way their different outlooks affected their opinion of their jobs and the city. After a while, we decided it was time to get going. We thanked Mary, asked her about a few good places to eat, and told her we might be back for a room later that evening. We headed back to Mike's, told him we'd call the next day, and headed into Pendleton to experience the city's post-rodeo hospitality, find some grub, and discuss what we thought about the Rugged Country Lodge....

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