A Weekend in Bend, Oregon

Janet and I drove over to Bend, Oregon this weekend and didn’t want to come back to Portland.  What an outdoor adventureland.  I don’t ski so I can’t see myself going over for prime snow season, but I loved all the hiking trails, rivers and shopping.  Okay, not in that order.  We enjoyed it so much we’re talking about, once our lease is up at the end of April, spending the summer in Bend.  I’m not sure we can actually do it, not sure how the taxes would work out, but it sure is fun to think about.  I’ll have to write about Bend in the next book.

One of my favorite things to do is to go hiking.  I love to walk through trails that were cut out of the wilderness.  Actual trees and meadows and rivers and lakes.  We went to Powell’s Bookstore (in Portland) thursday night after Janet got back to town and bought a hiking book with 900 Washington/Oregon hikes.  We scoured the book and found a hike that sounded perfect: the Deschutes River Trail/Dillon and Benham Falls.  I loved the description: you could hit the trail at the beginning of the 17 mile system, or hit it from any number of entry points along Cascade Lakes Highway.  There were trails, a river, and impressive falls involved.

There’s something you should know about me right up front.  I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer, and to make matters worse when I get into a car my IQ drops at least 25 points.  50 if I’m with my friend Susie.  Susie and I could get lost in a corn maze that was only knee high.  Anyhoo, when I read how to get to the trailhead, “From Bend, take Cascade Lake highway 6.2 miles west to a sign for Meadow Day Use Area”, I took that to mean 6.2 miles outside the city limits of Bend.  I didn’t even pay attention for 10 minutes of driving, and by then it was too late.

After about 20 minutes of looking for the Meadow Day Use Area, we were pretty sure we had missed it.  We made it to the closed Mt. Batchelor ski area and headed to the right down a road filled with dozens of lumberjacks cutting down trees.   Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m sure the truck driving, chainsaw wielding, Paul Bunyon types were very nice people; Janet and I just decided it was a good time to turn our little Prius around and get the hell out of there.

So, on the way back to town, after we had driven almost all the way back to downtown Bend, we saw the sign for the day use area.  We refused to turn around and felt that eating breakfast and shopping would be a much better idea.  We salvaged our step count by stopping, on the way back to Portland, at a magnificent park called Smith Rock State Park.  Wow.  That’s all you need to know about that park.  If you are within 500 miles of Smith Rock State Park, stop what you are doing and head on over.  Reminded me a lot of Zion.  My daughter, Jessie, will love it…and the candy store in Bend.

We had to stop by the McMenamins Old St. Francis School while in Bend.  I first learned of the McMenamin brothers when Janet brought me out to Portland a couple of years ago and love every thing they have done in the Oregon/Washington area.  It seems they like to buy old buildings, restore them, and create wonderful healthy businesses. The Old St. Francis School was now a hotel, theater, restaurant, and bar.  Really a nice place to go and hang out for a while.

Oh, btw, is it wrong to schedule your workouts (of any kind) around food?  Janet and I went to the community center and worked out this morning, but I’m pretty sure it was because we had pizza for dinner last night.  We also went for a walk this afternoon…to Applebees down the street (for happy hour) and Chuck’s Grocery store (for cake).  I am pretty happy that we went for a walk and worked out today, but I’m constantly amused by the reasoning behind our workouts.



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