"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing"
- Helen Keller

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Bend, Oregon........I could live here

The river in Bend

In our travels we have come across different places that we have enjoyed and a few we even thought we could live in. Bend is probably at the top of our list. This was our second visit here and a short one but we get the same feeling we did last time we visited. It is a beautiful town with lots of tings to do and just a feel we love. Of course the number of microbreweries here (one person told us the current number is almost 30) doesn't hurt either.

We have some RV friends who have settled here and we got together with them. They so fell in love with this area that they settled back down to a sticks and bricks house with a small travel trailer for camping adventures. The reasons they stayed are the reasons we could see ourselves here. A vibrant community with outdoor life as a way of life here. Plenty of trails, hiking, water sports and if you like to ski, the slopes are not far away. It does have all four seasons but a little milder than the Midwest winters we came from. Being on the east slope of the Cascade Mountains makes for a dryer climate than Portland. Pam says there is plenty of sunshine most of the year.
Our guide
showing us the hops

While here we also did a tour of the Deschute's Brewery. Though considered a craft brewery there is nothing micro about it and they are expanding in Bend to keep up with demand and adding a second brewery in Roanoke Virginia next year. We had an excellent guide and felt it was one of the best brewery tours we have taken so if you are in Bend definitely check it out. An added bonus is it's a free tour; we always like free.

We had lunch with our friends Pam and Vic, who we met in Georgia about 3 years ago. We got to check up on their life in Bend. We had a great lunch at a local spot and then they took us to a very unique small brewery that is one of the highest rated in Bend called the Boneyard. I'm glad they knew where it was as it is tucked back into a dead end road in what looks to be a former auto mechanics garage. This is the only place you can get this beer. The brewing goes on back in the garage and the office area is the tasting room. No tables and no chairs. You order tasters of the beer you want to try for a small fee. Then if there is one you really want you can either order a growler or a large can and they get it ready for you. The beer was excellent and John decided to get a large can of their IPA, with a little push from me as I think their logo is pretty cool so I wanted the can. I also talked John into a hoodie sweatshirt that is quickly becoming his favorite.
Some of the kettles at the brewery

Pan, John,Vic and Janie
the tasting room at Boneyard Brewery
The remnants of the typhoon off the Northwest coast brought tons of rain and flooding to the coast and some of that followed us here. We were glad to be moving away from the coast. The winds were suppose to get brutal so we moved on to Burns OR where we let it all calm down before heading into Nevada. This was a couple of weeks ago and I have lots more to tell you but I wanted to get this posted. We have had some challenges with our MiFi data and Verizon is investigating. We had one night where there was a download they said was audio that took 8 gigs. Yikes. Funny thing is we don't have a clue what it was, since we are sleeping. They also had us using about 4 G on gaming and a couple months ago I deleted all the games (there we only 2)  and we have done no gaming. Needless to say we are very puzzled. They did credit us for 8 G and are trying to figure it out. We hadn't been turning the MiFi off at night but now we do. Until all this is resolved we will be using the library a lot. Each time we come I'll try to post again until I catch up.

Happy Trails........................................................

Monday, October 10, 2016

Weird and Rainy Portland

Portland still in bloom
Finally sitting down to post and you would think with all the rain here I would have done this sooner. Portland is weird and they embrace it; as far as I can see, it's a compliment. It's much different than I envisioned. It has that older city vibe to it and I think I was expecting something more modern. I like old, so I can say for the most part I like Portland. There's only one downside: the rain. I feel like we have had way too much rain ever since leaving Iowa and frankly I need more sun. Intellectually I knew it rained here but day after day of rain and gray skies, well that's enough for me. Part of it is we are pushing the season being here in October and I knew that too so I will plan our next visit here better. I don't think I understood until the last few years how much I am affected by the sun and getting outside. I really don't have even have to do much outside if I can just sit in the sun for awhile. So tomorrow we are heading south and east to find the sun and warmer temperatures. A short stop in Bend and then across Nevada all the way to Utah and then back to Nevada to the Vegas area to see my friend Nancy and her family. That's the plan but we will see how many times it changes between here and there.

One of the stairs in Alameda neighborhood

View from the top of the stairs

Cool landscaping

favorite house 1
The first week we were here our friends John and Sharon Hinton were also here. This was their fourth trip here so they are veterans of the city. They knew their way around and were nice enough to do the driving. They are Class A travelers so they have a car they tow and in this city that is an advantage because the streets are narrow and parking is a challenge. John planned several Urban hikes for us and it was fun to get a feel for this city. We hiked in the Irvington and Alameda Ridge neighborhoods that have beautiful Victorian, Tudor and Arts and Crafts style houses. Alameda Ridge has all these crazy staircases so we also got a good workout that day. The other hikes were in the Hollywood district, but the only real thing to see there is the Hollywood theater, which is pretty cool. Then a day of hiking through downtown. Sharon was on a mission to find the Portlandia statue. The GPS kept taking us in circles insisting we were right by it. Then for some reason she looked up and there it was about 3 stories above us. We probably walked past it several times. Mission accomplished! I also found a wonderful yarn shop downtown, which made my day. One other place that is iconic Portland is VooDoo Doughnuts. It is notorious for long lines but luckily our timing was fairly good and our wait in line was only about 15 minutes. We usually don't do the sugar thing but sometimes it's part of the journey. Our time with the Hintons is always fun and we always find stuff to laugh about. This time was no exception.

Hollywood Theater

Voodoo doughnuts

Sharon finds Portlandia

Each of the days we hiked we finished off the day at a microbrewery. The Portland metro area has 84 microbreweries. John Hinton took us to the ones with best ratings. I think Breakside is our favorite and we actually returned there after they left and may visit again tonight for one last brew before we leave. Oregon is the land of microbreweries, when we go to Bend (they have 23) we will check out a couple more.
John and Sharon Hinton

This second week has been a challenge with the rain. The first week we only had 2 days of hard rain but since then most of the days have had steady and sometimes hard rain. One of the days that was only a little rainy we visited the Oregon Zoo. A fun way to spend a day even if even the animals were hiding away from the rain at times too. Then on Saturday (bad choice but better for the rain) we decided to drive to Multnoma Falls.

This guy was reading a book

The GPS suggested the scenic highway instead of the parking lot by the interstate. Since we weren't towing and it was getting nicer, we took it. There were weight limits for this road but no width limits. There should definitely be width limits. Near the falls is a narrow bridge with a rock wall on side and a guard rail on the other. I pulled in the mirror because it was going to brush the wall and John stayed with one tire on the line with inches between us and that wall.  So if you don't have a car, the smaller the better, don't take that route. Compounding our frustration was the traffic. Should not have been a surprise since it was Saturday. We could find nowhere to park. The falls were right off the road so we viewed it and took photos from the truck. Same with Horseshoe Fall a little further down.
Multnomah Falls

Horseshoe Falls

So since it was still early we decided to go on to Hood River. Full Sail Brewery is there and we wanted to get a bite to eat. Its about 30 miles further down the road. All was well until my GPS alerted us to an accident ahead and really there was no going around it. It estimated the time to wait at an hour. That was about right. The accident occurred right where a construction zone started and the right lane was closed down. In our 6 years on the road this is the longest we have ever been sitting and waiting so I actually think that's pretty good. We finally get to Hood River and found a great place to park on the street not far from the brewery. There is a lot of metered parking in this city but we nabbed a free one. Yipee!! Full Sail is a larger brewery; we even drink their beers in Iowa. They also have a nice pub attached to the brewery. The food was ok, the beer was good and the view was wonderful.
View from Full Sail Brewery

After eating we walked through the downtown. It's really a pretty little town and I would love to spend a little more time there. An added plus was... yes, another yarn shop. My yarn stash is growing. When we left Portland it was rainy but in Hood River the weather was much better so it made for a great day.

Since then it has rained steady and hard until today. It is now cool but sunny. Ahhhh, I feel so much better already. Tomorrow we should have some good weather for travel. :) So I wish you sunshine and fun times.

Happy Trails.............................................