10350 N. Vancouver Way
Portland, OR 97217
How exactly did I wind up drinking at a truck stop all weekend?
Well, my weekend got completely derailed when I got a call from an old friend I haven’t seen in years. Of all things, Bear called me up on Saturday to say he was heading through my neck of the woods! Bear is a trucker, so it’s been hard for us to meet up, but he happened to be staying over at the Ponderosa. Personally, I’ve stayed at the Motel 6 down the road a million times and never knew the Ponderosa existed. I’ve been missing out.
After hellos were exchanged, we caught up over a meal at the in-house restaurant. I have to say the food was pretty good, and not as exorbitantly priced as I would expect from a truck stop. The menu ranged from spaghetti, to burgers, steak, a salad bar, and pretty much anything else you could want except alcohol. After we ate, Bear handed me my ass at Buck Hunter in the arcade. Then, since we didn’t like the show times in the theater, we headed back to his room (yes, the truck stop has a theater and a hotel). Back at the room I got my gaming revenge and beat Bear at Magic. Okay, his deck was new to him and wasn’t fully built, apparently, but hotel Magic is an old tradition between us, so it was fun nonetheless.
Once we had sufficiently nerded out, it was time to hit the lounge. Since the Ponderosa Lounge is in a truck stop, it should be no surprise that there were plenty of truckers and cowboy hats. This might not seem like the ideal place for someone looking like me to drink, but that’s never stopped me before! We headed in and there was a country cover band named Hang Em High playing. They were high energy, had a good selection of songs, and a professional sound. More importantly, they were good. And where there’s good music and cowboy hats, there’s ladies in tight jeans looking to dance. Sometimes, the joys of life are found in the strangest places.
Aside from good music, the Ponderosa Lounge boasts two pool tables, two dart boards, and a few games set off in a side room if you want a bit more of a private area. The main bar has a nice sized dance floor some TV screens, and drinks that get stronger as the night goes on. I have to warn you, though, the patrons are just the right mixture of locals and people passing through that it’s not hard to step on people’s toes when choosing a- ahem, dance partner. As 2:00 loomed closer it was evident that tempers were rising. No fights broke out, but I’m pretty sure that was due more to luck than anything else.
All in all, the Ponderosa truck stop has everything you could want for a weekend of fun. The restaurant is pretty good, and the lounge is a great place to drink, dance, meet people, whatever you want to do. Just make sure you feel out who’s with who unless you’re willing to get in a fight with some locals. And remember, as an old Indian man once told me, “The new guy gets arrested first.”