We love Bend, OR
Our love affair with Bend.
Day 13: Jedidiah Smith > Oregon Caves > Medford, OR
We made it to Oregon! I’m so excited to be here. Almost as soon as we crossed the border, a new sense of curiosity came over us. We turned off at Cave Junction & went on a Cave Tour. Our guide, Ranger V, really got us thinking & having fun with our new surroundings. At the Ranger Station, we found out about the Junior Ranger program. After a quick activity book, we were sworn in and received official Junior Ranger badges. We were excited about the opportunity to learn about the park and the free mementos that came with our new knowledge. We also found Dutch Brother’s coffee…we’re hooked. They’re always so friendly and nice when you pull up, and often give you free drinks. After the cave tour, we kept pressing on towards Medford and crashed for the night. Deeper into Oregon we go.
Day 14: Medford, OR > Crater Lake National Park > Bend, OR
Woke up in Medford, and got back on the road! Stopped at Dutch Brothers and a weed dispensary on the way our of town. The road to Crater Lake was long, but completely worth it. That lake is so blue and so deep. With a ring of snow around the crate wall, we were astonished. We feasted our eyes and took two hundred pictures. We also got our second Junior Ranger certification from the information center and felt very proud. Bend was calling our name, so we pressed on. Oh – we weren’t disappointed. It was first Friday in town & everything was bustling. We went to Deschutes Brewery for dinner and then met up with some fellow van lifers for a beer. Also ran into Homesweetvan’s mom on the street. Somehow, we felt like we belonged here.
Day 15: Bend, OR
We’ve fallen in love with Bend. Today started with a few hours in the park by the river. We slept and rested under flowering trees that snowed petals on our faces. Then, we went to the flyshop & Sportsman’s Warehouse to fix John’s fly rods. The people there were so nice & they gave us local maps, directions & encouragement. It’s free fishing weekend in Oregon! We had to get out there. Before fishing, we blew up our tubes and got in the river to float. There were 100’s of people in the heart of Bend floating with us. They even have man-made rapids for floaters. We had so much fun cruising past the town and the beautiful houses of Bend. After drying off, we hopped back in the van and headed out to the Crooked River. We got an $8 campsite right on the river and fished through sunset. We lit a campfire and fell asleep in the hammock, listening to the crickets & the river & gazing up at the stars.
Day 16: Bend, OR
We woke up and fished first thing. It was so peaceful out there on the Crooked. We went from Devil’s Post Pile camp down river to another campsite not far. There, I caught my FIRST FISH! It may have been the tiniest trout I had ever seen, but it bit MY castmaster. I was so proud. I fext so sexy there on the dock in my bikini top – what a great moment! We drove back to Bend after we had our fill of the river. John had some work to do for his machine learning class, so we ducked into a cool coffee shop for a little wifi. After working we were starving, so ducked into a sushi spot for a bite. Fate would have it that our server was none other than Clay Hamm – one of Poly’s best friends from Santa Barbara. He recognized us right away. It felt good to have a friend. After dinner, John still had work, so I took a walk on the river. Another one of Poly’s friends, Phil, recognized me walking and collecting goose feathers. So bizarre the synchronicities of life. I fished the sunset away on the Deschutes.
Day 17: Bend, OR
Woke up & took a run through town, wearing nothing but our swimsuits, water shoes, and tubes. Once we had ran a mile or two, we put our tubes in the river and floated down stream. We were such a spectacle to everyone on their Monday morning commute. We spent the afternoon working at the Looney Bean with Clay Hamm & even ducked into a real estate office to get some benchmarks on housing prices. John is convinced that we should buy a second property or some land in Bend, and spend the next 10-20 investing in it. We drove out to the Matolius River for the night, and were glad we did. The road to our campsite was unpaved and for a few minutes, I didn’t think we would find it. Canyon Creek lives where the creek of the same name collides with the Matolius. The waters are so clear & we were one of only two cars at the campsite. Fog hugged the river & purple wildflowers lined the path. We even filled up our water jugs with fresh water from a mountain spring. It was so clear, I had no hesitation about drinking straight from the source. Now, that’s living!
Day 18: Bend, OR
The next morning was a leisurely one at our quiet woodland campsite. We hiked five miles along the river from Canyon Creek camp to the Wizard Falls Hatchery. The narrow path ran just along the river. It was lined with flowers, incense cedar, Ponderosa Pine and guarded by 100s of butterflies. When we got to the hatchery, we found a field where dozens of them were having a butterfly party! So much life was all around us. We drove back into Bend to start the infamous ale trail. We went to 5 breweries that evening before going over to Clays house for dinner. Thank you for the hospitality, Clay!!
Day 19: Bend, OR > Smith Rock, OR
Today was a work day spent entirely at the Looney bean coffe shop in Bend. Our friend Clay worked there, so we made ourselves quite comfortable with cold brew and wifi on their shaded patio by the river. We had a lovely dinner with Christine’s oldest friend from Newport, CA – Jamie Ward. She made us chicken sandwiches and talked to us about life in Bend. From there, we drove to Smith Rock State Park. We stealth camped among other camper vans just like ours – excited to wake up in the morning.
Day 20: Smith Rock, OR > Bend, OR
We loved Smith Rock! Getting ready in the morning at the Bivy campsite was full of energy. The climbers all packing up gear and grubbing on breakfast. John & I got our own packs together and took of for a day of exploration. The Smith Rock area is a 7 mile loop of towering rock walls with the Crooked River running through. There were hundreds of climbers attempting huge faces. John & I hiked up Misery Ridge to get to the top of it all. Stunning views awaited us. We got back to camp & John couldn’t help it anymore. He had to climb. Only one problem…I had never outdoor climbed before. I tried to belay him, but I clearly need some instruction. We’ll go to a climbing gym soon to get trained. I was able to climb about 30 feet up a top rope & was very proud. It’s a new skill I’ve got to work on. Climbing is fun! From Smith Rock we drove back to Bend to finish our Ale Trail. What a fun night we had together playing & laughing as we skipped from brewery to brewery. We stumbled back to our sweet home on wheels and made love on the street where we were parked.
Here are some pics from Bend, Smith Rock, + the Metolius & Crooked Rivers: