Proposal for I-5 Guide
I would like to make a suggestion for a new kind of activity or thread on the NW Chowhound board.
Perhaps one or two of you will recall an interesting series of books from the 1980s called The Interstate Gourmet. They were descriptions of interesting restaurants quite close to various interstates. The restaurants neednt be gourmet in any sense. The basic idea was that they were to be unique restaurants, not chains, and they were to have good food or interesting people running them or at least some interesting idea or gimmick that made them worth stopping at (like The Samoa Cookhouse in northern California on highway 101, which became an honorary interstate for the purposes of the book). I found that using the IG made travelling the interstate (in this case, I-5) a *much* better experience, and I have long lamented the disappearance of these books, or anything like them. I believe that the company that published them went belly-up sometime before 1990.
But when I was reading the description of Peggys down at the Rice Hill exit of I-5 in Oregon, a place that Ive passed by dozens of times, it dawned on me that all we needed to do to recreate an updated version of The Interstate Gourmet here at NW Chowhounds is to post what we know of such places in an organized fashion so that the information could easily be found.
For example, suppose that we started two threads: I-5 Gourmet (Washington) and I-5 Gourmet (Oregon). (The California board could start an I-5 Gourmet (California) thread.) Then one could post descriptions of places by exit number, so that they would be easy to put into order. I would suggest that we try to limit suggestions to places no more than half a mile from the interstate and that were easy to get to and park at, because the information is for travellers. Clear directions should be given for places in cities, like Seattle or Portland, where it would be all too easy to get lost or stuck in traffic. I have primarily in mind rural places or places in small towns, like Peggys.
As a final note, administrators of the Chowhound web site, if they like this idea, might want to set up separate Interstate Eating lists, so that the information thats collected doesnt just get lost as new threads appear higher up on the list of postings. If not, Id be willing to post a reminder every six months or so, as long as we kept the information in some orderly fashion that could be found by the browsers finder functionsay by using key words like I-5 Gourmet (Washington) on the titles of postings.
Great idea, and to add to the nitpicks: 1) Instead of miles to the selection off the freeway, use travel time. 1/2 mile in some areas takes the same time as 3 miles in others. 2) For some of us in the NW (I'm in Central Oregon) the corridor in N CA is as important as WA. Unless the CA board starts an I-5 thread, we need one on the NW board. And finally 3) Once the Chowhound Team sets up the concept, other corridors such as 84 and 97 in OR could be included.
Wonderful idea. Terrific use of the site!
Our new software will enable us to spin off new discussions like this and give them their own homes, but until then our suggestion is that if someone is willing to clip and boil down the resultant direction, we can save it to a file in our Special Reports section...and add to it from time to time.
Our suggestion, though, is to simply start and see what happens!
All sounds good except the 1/2 mile limitation. The idea is that, even if one is in a relative hurry, there are only three (maybe) meals in a day and, especially in a rural area, getting off the freeway is a reward in itself. Economics has dictated that any place as close to the freeway as 1/2 mile is likely to be just the kind of place we are trying to avoid. I'd say three miles would be more reasonable.
I travel I-5 all year on business trips. The idea
of a guide is sensational. Sometimes I read the
California board for ideas. In Yreka, I used a
reccomendation and it was great. The best vegetarian
pasta dish. I would never have gone into the restaurant as it lacked a nice looking outside.
OK, why not try the 3 mile limit, then. As long as one is clear how far away the restaurant is, folks can decide for themselves whether they want to go for it or not. The further away from the interstate the place is, though, the better the directions have to be.
Second, while the old Interstate Gourmet obviously has a place in my heart(burn), we should probably think of this as the Interstate Chowhound in general, and our little project as the I-5 Chowhound. Now let's wake up the folks in California.