Bend, Oregon is very popular among the RV crowd. My guess would be that the affinity stems from the fact that so many RVers enjoy an outdoor lifestyle, a local beer scene (which is thriving in Bend), and locations with a fairly moderate year-round climate. Bend is also a nice mid-sized city with plenty of shopping options, a thriving downtown, and an overall progressive vibe that attracts a certain category of young professionals and retirees.
On the flip side (there is always a flip side), the housing costs in Bend are out of control, there seem to be very few jobs outside of the tourism industry, and the lack of diversity is kind of hard to ignore. We went to a free concert in the park for the Deschutes Brewery birthday celebration and I was struck by how everyone in the crowd looked exactly the same. Not only in skin tone, but also in the way that everyone from age 8 to 80 was outfitted in their finest athleisure wear as if they had just come from the trail.
As someone who admittedly fits in perfectly with this crowd, I find it telling that I even noticed the homogeneity. I mean, for most of my life, I lived near Burlington, Vermont which is basically the New England version of Bend. While I was always aware of the lack of diversity in Vermont, it never really bothered me. But the more time we spend traveling around, the more I am drawn to places that serve a wider variety of cultures, ideas, and economic situations.
All of this is not to put down the city of Bend. On the contrary, I really, really like Bend. It ticks off so many of the things we are looking for when we eventually decided to settle somewhere. But underneath all the boozy events (Bend is really, really into beer) and healthy outdoor lifestyle (because you need to burn off all the beer somehow), there is a nagging feeling that the uniform population and explosion of real estate prices is creating a community where a little something is missing. Of course, in total, I have only spent three weeks in Bend, so maybe I am the one missing something. In any case, it’s a great place to visit!
We spent our week in Bend at the Scandia RV park. The last time we visited the area we spent two weeks boondocking in the forest just outside town. Since the boondocking options were not really that great and we were coming to the area specifically to get some in-town errands done, the decision was made to stay at an RV park in town. Scandia was a perfectly acceptable urban RV park. We had a plentiful grass, trees for shade, and a site long enough that we were able to pull all the way back and avoid a direct view of our neighbor’s sewer hose.
The location couldn’t have been more convenient. We were able to take the truck across the street to have it serviced at the Toyota dealership, make several trips to the nearby outlet mall (70% off at the Columbia outlet!), and re-stock the pantry and fridge. I also took advantage of our proximity to stores to buy the supplies I needed to continue my cabinet painting project.
I painted the cabinets under the bed and the large closet and pantry door in the hall the same white I used on the other side of the Airstream.
For the kitchen, we picked out a dark grey-blue to contrast with the white. I was hesitant to paint the kitchen cabinets white as they are the ones that get the dirtiest from sticky fingers and food splatters. I also didn’t want the whole middle section of the Airstream to be the same color. In the end, it was the right choice and we LOVE how it turned out.
By the way, all of the painted cabinets have held up really well. Even the first ones that I painted over a year ago are showing no signs of wear or chipping. Occasionally, the cabinet over the fridge where we keep the pots and pans gets a few dirty finger marks but they easily wipe off with a damp sponge.
Aside from busting out this major painting project and running around to what felt like every store in town, we got in some quality social time while in Bend. There was an afternoon of beer, pizza, and more beer with our friends Jennette & Eric and Shannon & Dave. Another evening of beer festivities with Shannon & Dave at the Deschutes 30th birthday bash (part I), a BBQ at our place where S & D brought a selection of amazing local cupcakes, and finally, the Deschutes birthday party in the park with free music and more beer which was followed by an impromptu dinner back at S & D’s house.
Phew! Good times in Bend for sure. Now it’s back out to the forest so we can hike off all that beer.