I started to write this post yesterday all about our last two weeks in Bend. Then I did something really stupid that essentially caused everything on my phone to get wiped out-including all my photos (not to mention all my contacts. So if I used to have your phone number, I don’t anymore). I take a lot of photos with my phone. Especially if we’re out on the town (like at a Brewery) or on the go (like a bike ride), or just want to snap a quick pic of something (like Tim installing our new batteries). While most of the landscape shots I share here on the blog are taken with the real camera, everything else is generally an iphone photo. Which is why I have very few photos to share with you today.
It bummed me out so much that I almost gave up on this post altogether. Then I decided that was silly and instead I am sharing an abbreviated version of our time in Bend minus visual aids. Sooo many words. Good luck making it through this one — here goes…
We finally got bikes! This is a purchase we’ve been talking about for a long time now. It seems like almost everywhere we go there are great bike paths and trails. Our biggest hesitation to getting bikes was where to store them. We went over all the options, back of Airstream — too dusty and makes it hard to access the back hatch where we keep essential things like wheel chocks, back of truck — same issue as back of airstream, top of truck– too hard to reach, plus they would get covered with bug guts, inside the back of the truck– not sure there is enough room.
The last choice was the best option, but we store lots of other things in there like the grill, generator, chairs, folding tables, extra water jugs, tool boxes, etc. and without actually putting two bikes back there it was impossible to know if they would fit. In the end we decided to just go for it and get the bikes and somehow make them fit. Turns out there was no need to worry. Both bikes fit in the back of the truck perfectly.
The bike purchase was timed perfectly since our boondocking spot here in Bend is right on the edge of a huge network of mtn. biking trails called Phil’s Trails. We’ve been going out and riding these trails as often as possible. The trails are perfect for beginners since most of them are relatively flat with gentle curves. There are a few expectations and some of the trails have steep ups and downs and lots of rocks to ride around. These areas have been a challenge for me since I am a total newbie when it comes to mountain biking. Also, I am a complete wimp- especially on the downhills. On a few occasions I have actually gotten off and walked my bike downhill, how embarrassing.
The other challenge is that these trails are single track, meaning that they are very narrow with only enough room for one rider and sometimes flanked by big scary trees on either side. There have been no major wipe outs or tree collisions though.
Bend also has a long bike/walk path along the Deschutes River. The nice thing about this path is that you get some cool views of the river and lava formations. We rode a little of this path last Sunday. I think we picked the wrong section because it was really narrow and rocky, but the river was cool.
Besides biking, the other thing Bend is known for is Beer. In this town of around 80,000 there are 14 breweries! Yup, they like their beer around here. We decided not to try and tackle the Bend Ale Trail (visit the 11 breweries on the trial and get a commemorative glass), but we have visited a few. The first was McMenamins Brew Pub which is housed in a very cool old Catholic school building. We have since learned that almost all 65 of their locations in Oregon and Washington are located in old historic buildings. The beer was good, the food was okay, and the atmosphere was really cool.
The second brewery was Good Life Brewing where we met up with Hans & Lisa of Metamorphosis Road and Brian and Maria of The Roaming Pint. We’ve met Hans & Lisa a few times already, but it was our first time meeting Brian and Maria. The six of us had a great time sampling the beers and food. I had a great photo of everyone at the brewery, but sadly it is now lost forever. We also made a few more unsuccessful brewery stops. Those go in the birthday category though.
Last Sunday was Tim’s birthday. We had grand plans that included a bike ride, a brewery tour and dinner out. Unfortunately it was one of those days where nothing worked out as planned. First off the weather was chilly, cloudy and threatening to rain which made our bike ride less than pleasant. Next we arrived at the 4:00 tour at the Deschutes Brewery to discover that it was all sold out. Bummer. So instead of touring we ran around and tried to do some errands, but nothing that we wanted to buy was available Double bummer.
We hoped to salvage the day with a delicious dinner at 10 Barrel Brewing. The brewery was highly recommended, and the menu included lots of yummy sounding pizzas (which happens to be Tim’s favorite food) so it seemed like the perfect spot for a birthday meal.
We arrived a little before 6 and were told it would be a 45 minute wait. Okay no problem. We sat on a bench in the front entrance and perused the local paper and the real estate listings on Tim’s phone. No, we are not planning on buying a house in Bend. But if we did buy a house somewhere, Bend would be high on the list. After almost 45 minutes a couple came in, asked for a table, and were seated right away. What!!! So I went up to the host stand and asked what the deal was. He claimed to have called us on the phone three times before crossing us off the list. Well first of all we were sitting right there in front of the host stand — on the same bench where the host had come over and told another group that their table was ready. Second, Tim had his phone is his hand the entire time so if they had tried to call surly we would have heard it. I explained all of this, but the only response was “we tried to call three times.” There was no apology or mention of finding us a table. So we left.
After that we drove back in the direction of home hoping to find a suitable spot for dinner. I spotted Baldy’s BBQ and remembered the ad I had just seen for it in the paper while we were wasting time at 10 Barrel. They claimed to have the best BBQ in town. At this point we didn’t have anything to loose so we figured why not. We walked in and were seated right away. After eying the huge plates of BBQ on the tables next to us we placed our orders and within 15 minutes were chowing down on what I am absolutely sure is the best BBQ in town. Luckily we have a photo from Tim’s phone to share.
The other news this week is that we got new batteries for the Airstream. We’ve had an ongoing battle with the old batteries that finally ended this week. Without going into all the boring details I will just say that basically they were crap. After having them replaced under warranty twice in the past 6 months, one went bad for third time last week and it was the last straw.
Now we are the proud owners of 4 6 volt AGM batteries. Not only are these better batteries, but we have also increased our amp hours from 200 to 500. That’s a lot more power! It means that on cloudy days when we are only getting in a little solar (which we have had a ton of this week) we can last much longer without having to resort to the generator. It also means that on sunny days when the solar is rocking it, we can collect and store much more power than we could before.
This is a major upgrade for us and the timing couldn’t be better since we’re planning to spend most of the fall and winter boondocking and dry camping. I had a nice photo of the new batteries all snug in their home under the couch, but it too got lost when my phone went wacky.
If you made it through all those words your reward is a few photos of a volcanic cinder cone. Last weekend when we were out exploring we stopped at the Newberry National Volcanic Monument where we drove to the top of a 500 foot high cinder cone called Lava Butte.
At the top we walked around the rim and gazed down into the cone.
Another cinder cone loomed off in the distance among the trees.
The Newberry Volcanic Monument includes 50,000 acres of lava flows, lakes and other geologic features. We wanted to go back later in the week and visit more of the monument, specifically the area around Paulina lake, but the weather hasn’t been very cooperative this week. And by not cooperative I mean cold. This morning it was 23 degrees out! Yikes. I guess it’s time to head south. Which is exactly what we’re doing. Tomorrow afternoon we head over to Crater Lake for a very brief two night visit, and then south we go into California.