One perfect day biking in The Dalles, OR

Visit this lesser-known town for abundant sunshine, wine, and an exciting bike trail

Lucy Burningham

Why go now: Unlike the coast, this town gets loads of sun in May--and a new wine bar and bike trail give you a reason to stick around.

Vitamin D fix: Portland averages 2 to 3 inches of rain this month; the Dalles gets half an inch.

Lay of the land: It's 84 miles east of Portland on the Columbia River.

Say it like a local: The Dalles rhymes with "pals." Forget the "the," and it's a dead giveaway you're from out of town.

Who lives here: Winemakers, cowboys, and triathletes-in-training.

Ticket to ride: The nearly complete Dalles Riverfront Trail is boosting the area's bike cred.

If you don't have your own wheels: The closest rental is at Discover Bicycles (from $25/day; 210 State St.; 541/386-4820) in Hood River, about 20 minutes away.

Architecture fans will love: Streets chockablock with restored Queen Anne homes.

Make a night of it: Order the prime rib and listen to old-timey piano music at the Baldwin Saloon ($$; closed Sun; 205 Court St.; 541/296-5666).

Coolest place to taste wine: What used to be a flour mill with a towering grain silo is now the place for wines from local stars Quenett Winery and Copa Di Vino--and maybe a game of bocce or two. Sunshine Mill has turned a cavernous 100-year-old factory into one of the most dramatic places to taste Oregon grapes. Grab a glass of crisp Pinot Gris, then head out to the patio, where you can work on your bocce toss. $5 tasting; 901 E. Second St.; 541/298-8900.

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