Choose wisely…choose Oregon

Well another day in Oregon brings another climate on our excursion to Bend today. When we left Texas we gave a lot of our furniture away, because it was probably going to be too large for our apartment. Plus most of it went to a very deserving family. We had intended on using a card table as our dining table until we found the right table for the space. Last night Ginger found an interesting 1940’s table and chairs on craigslist that would seat four. It was the right price and the wrong distance. Of course Bend is about 3.5 hours from Tigard…but what a 3.5 hour drive it is.

We tracked back through the exact same route we entered Oregon, only this time Ginger was in the car with me and it was a beautiful sunny day. It started at 8 am with every intention of making it to the pickup point by noon. The scenery was significantly different in the morning sun. The clouds that were hanging out by the Willamette National Forest and surrounding mount_editedmountains were being shredded as the slight breeze dragged them over the mountain tops. Once again every turn provided a new view and a new surprise. I had commented earlier to Ginger that I was surprised I had not seen the snow that greeted us when we arrived. Too soon Phill….too soon. It was there I just had not reached the elevation yet…currently it’s at about 3000 feet. I also realized something else….all along the road there are signs warning of “chain up” turn offs. So during the winter these mountain passes obviously get a little dicey and they provide areas to pull off the road and put your snow chains on your vehicle. Something I haven’t heard of since 1978. Believe me, you would not want to get caught on these mountains without them in the winter. Something that WAS new to me were these bright orange poles about every 25 feet. I don’t recall ever seeing those before and at first glance I didn’t quite understand their purpose. These orange PVC poles are probably 15 feet tall and have silver reflector tape wrapped around them about every 3 feet. Then it hit me…those are markers for the roads. So when the snow plows come through and throw the snow off to the side, you can still see the edge of the road. The fact they were so high was both exciting and scary. I can’t wait until next winter!

The table pick up was just outside of Bend. The people we purchased it from were extremely friendly and accommodating (always a crapshoot buying off craigslist). We spoke with the husband about our travels and wouldn’t you know it…they did the exact same thing we are doing…only five years ago. He told us about how they lived in Arizona, then moved to Hawaii…but were tired of the traffic and the cost of living over there. They knew they wanted to be in either Washington or Oregon…and decided on the tiny suburb outside Bend. We shared similar stories and laughs before loading the table in the van. He mentioned to us that we were in the high desert and it’s like no other desert you have ever seen. This was the greenest desert climate I’d ever seen. When you really look at it though, you could actually tell it was drier and the terrain is certainly more hostile. That absolutely has not kept anyone from building in and around the area. They’ve done a marvelous job of development while keeping the sprawl to a minimum as well as not interrupting the natural beauty. The last bit of our conversation was of the utmost importance…”Where’s the BEST place to eat in Bend?”. We had hoped to make it back to a town named “Sisters” but it was too far off for our sugar levels to maintain sanity. He told us (without hesitation) “Jackson’s Corner”. Spot on! The place was very well laid out and had a very interesting mix of food, as well as their own brewed “Kombucha” on tap. NOPE. Get bent Bend….I’m not drinking it. They almost tricked me too the little bastards. I saw “Pomegranate Lemonade” on their menu…but did not notice it was under the “In house brewed Kombucha” subheading. Nice try…but I won’t fall for your frou frou trickery…save that for the hipsters who are tired of smoking their cloves. As soon as they realize the hell they unleashed on their innards, they’ll be back to smoking a pack and a half a day to get rid of the ill effects you’ve caused them. The food was phenomenal though and I would go back whenever we pass through Bend again.

We made another brief pit stop in Sisters for some homemade ice cream. And yet again (contrary to several friends and co-workers) I was complimented on my beard. So NYAH!

The drive back was gorgeous albeit the gas mileage was not as good as on the way up. You know because of the extra weight we were carrying. No, not the table and chairs….the food and our seemingly unreasonable lack of self control. I’m fairly certain we are stress eating….I know we are.

Ginger was snapping pictures left and right trying to get pictures of the gorgeous water and the snow covered mountain tops. We stopped at Clear Lake, because my mother-in-law highly recommended it. A beautiful lake with crystal clear water. We tried to get a row boat but all of them were on the lake at the time and given it was already close to four pm…we 20140315_150137decided it would be best to just get home. We will be back to Clear Lake for sure though…it was another gorgeous area.

When we got home, we carried our new table up to the apartment, placed it in the dining room and smiled. We had our first meal at it already. We quickly got up from the table looked back at it while we laced up our shoes to go try to work off the seven hour drive/one million calorie day.

We walked around our neighborhood park and enjoyed what’s in our backyard. We still had to stop every 20 yards to take in the beauty. The flocks of geese grunting while they eat the grass, the wide variety of ducks (now I understand Oregon Ducks), and the nutria. Yes, even the nutria have a right to life. We are very lucky with our choices…and we recognize it. We are extremely thankful.

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