Monday, July 16, 2012

Bend & Sisters

I went to Bend last year while Nancy was back home on business, and I had wished that she’d been there with me to experience all that the area has to offer, especially visiting with my cousin Bruce and his wife Cathy. Like last year I had trouble finding a suitable campground, the best ones being fully reserved, and the nicest not having electricity. It was unfortunately very hot while we were there, so we needed to run our air conditioner. So, we went where I’d gone last year, to Crooked River Ranch. It’s an OK place to camp, but was very busy. This time the crowd was there to golf. We were gone on outings each day, so weren’t there when it was hottest.

The first night we met Bruce in the Old Mill district of Bend, had a walk around, and grabbed a bit to eat. Lots of folks were out floating or paddling in the river, or strolling along the paths at its banks. The next day Bruce and Cathy had to work, so we entertained ourselves by driving into the town of Sisters, then south up into the mountains to Three Creeks Lake, which Bruce had recommended. It was such a beautiful place, and nearly 20 degrees cooler than at the ranch. We launched our kayaks and had a nice paddle in the lake, admiring the snow covered peaks which surround it.

Some snow still remained on the north facing shore, and I dragged my boat up the slope a bit, sledding back down and right into the lake! I tried to post a video of it here, but it didn't work, so I've just captured a screen shot of the moment of impact...

On the drive out to the lake and back Gigantor’s battery light was on. The charge gage read low, and I was concerned that the alternator might be bad. Sure enough, the next morning the truck wouldn’t start. I tried to jump it with the camper’s batteries, but she wouldn’t have it. AAA came out and got her going, and I immediately drove down to buy a new alternator. It was an easy replacement, and put the truck right once more. That evening found us in Bend where we had a nice visit and with Bruce and Cathy at their home. It was great fun to meet their newest family member, an English spaniel named Baxter. Toby and Baxter got along great, and we were pleased at how Toby holds up playing with such a young puppy.

Cathy cooked another excellent salmon dinner, and we had lots of good conversation. When we left for the evening we didn’t go straight back to camp. Amazingly, my favorite guitar player, Jeff Pevar, whom I’ve seen play dozens of times back in Connecticut, was playing with Ricki Lee Jones at the Bend Summer Music Festival! Jeff lives in Ashland, Oregon now, so it wasn’t as remarkable as it would have been had he still live in CT, but still, pretty amazing. So, we went down to the park where they were playing and saw the last half-hour of the show. As they left the stage I called out to Jeff, and he came over for a moment to say hello. It’ll be fun to see him back east and laugh about this coincidence.

Now, it was about this time that we learned that we had buyers for Gigantor and the Whale! This meant that instead of taking the next six weeks to camp our way back home, we would head south to Hurricane, Utah, and then haul our belongings back to CT in a moving truck. It also meant that we didn’t have to rush away just yet, so we moved over to Sisters for a couple more days. We arrived on the day of the International Quilt Show, so we had to get into town early to avoid sitting in traffic. Coming in as we did from CRR we avoided most of it anyway – SO glad we didn’t come from Bend as Rt. 20 was backed up for many miles until early afternoon.

I wanted to take Nancy to the Peterson Ridge Trail network which I had ridden last year, and knew it was right up her alley. We biked through town to the trailhead, had a nice ride, then back.

After showers and lunch we rode back into town to browse the show. There were a few rain sprinkles as we pedaled over, and we just had a chance to see the town streets lined with hanging quilts before it started to rain in earnest. We ducked into a shop where many other quilts were displayed, and soon it was coming down in buckets! A Quilt Rescue Team deployed at the first sign of foul weather, and in no time the town was stripped of hanging quilts. The streets were like rivers, small hail dancing on the sidewalks. Thousands of people fled the town and the show was essentially over, just like that. Oh well. How long can you really look at quilts anyway?

The next day Bruce, Cathy and Baxter came out to Sisters, and, after stopping at Sister’s Bakery for their melt-in-your-mouth fresh cake doughnuts, we all drove out to the Metolius River, stopping first at its source. This river originates underground, like an enormous spring. From a hollow in a hillside pours forth a full-sized river! Very cool!

We proceeded to park at a large fish hatchery where we would hike along the river, but first we wandered among the pools to see the millions of trout being raised there. An overflow pool held escapees which had grown into large adult fish. The Metolius is a beautiful river, and its color is striking. We enjoyed a nice hike up river a ways, then back, before making our way back to Sisters. A really nice afternoon and visit.

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