Timeline: September 15-18
The drive to Bend wouldn’t take long so we dawdled a bit in the morning before heading south on the I-5 to cross over the Cascades at Salem. As we’ve posted about Bend before when visiting my brother, I’ll condense this report on our visit as much of it was taken up with spending time with him. We were now entering the phase of our trip where we would be spending most of the time with friends and relatives.
This is good as it allows us to catch up with those we don’t get to see very often, but it also takes time away from seeing and doing new things, a part of travel we are keen to pursue. It’s a tradeoff we are glad to make but it can make for shorter blog posts. After arriving at Chuck’s place and unpacking, we headed uptown to our regular stop in Bend with him, 10 Barrel Brewing.
This being at least our third visit, we pretty much knew what to expect and were looking forward to one or more of their signature beers and good food. We were also curious to see if any part of the operation had been altered since their having been acquired by AB-InBev, the largest beer conglomerate in the world. We were seated inside promptly and ordered a round of beers and the Fried Squash appetizer to start. When our waiter returned with it he picked up the table’s salt shaker and placed it in the corner nearest him and advised that when we wanted to see him, to do the same. We’d forget about this and leave the shaker there from time to time, causing a humorous amount of confusion. Our conclusion? Some folks just can’t be trained.
For our entrees Chuck got his usual Fish and Chips, often my choice as well but since I’d had them recently, decided to split an order of the SW Mac and Cheese (Chipotle cheese sauce, smoked chicken, fresh tomato, green pepper, red onion and topped with lime sour cream, tortilla strips, and fresh cilantro). It was a tasty dish, not quite as striking as I would have liked but satisfying just the same (honestly, it could have used some bacon), and given the appetizer we’d shared, just the right amount of food for the two of us.
The next morning Joanna and I set out for the first of two rides we’d take while in town. This would be the shorter of the two, taking us from Chuck’s at the south end of town towards the Deschutes River on SW Reed Market Rd, a route we’d use the next day as well and located the river trail, which we thought we’d follow up and down the water for a bit.
It turned out to be a rocky hiking path and after a half mile or so of riding on it we abandoned at our first opportunity, instead finding a paved path that ran along the river, first through the Old Mill District and continuing on towards Drake Park and Old Bend, the historic downtown.
We returned to Chuck’s and then ventured out a little later to hit the Pearlizumi Outlet store nearby and the market to get groceries for that night’s meal, treating Chuck to a belated birthday dinner that included our Mother’s recipe for flank steak and the company potatoes we’ve found great success with.
6 medium potatoes
2 Cups Cheddar Cheese
¼ Cup Margarine or Butter
1½ Cups Sour Cream
1 Tbsp. Chopped Onion
1 Teas Salt
¼ Teas Pepper
Boil potatoes in skin. Cool. Peel and shred coarsely. In sauce pan over low heat combine Margarine or Butter, and cheese until almost melted. Remove from heat and blend in sour cream, onion, salt and pepper. Fold in potatoes and turn into greased casserole pan. Sprinkle paprika over the top and bake in oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees
The next morning Joanna and I set out on our bikes into town and along Reed Market Rd, crossing the river and turning left onto Skyliners Rd. for what would turn out to be a thirty plus mile out and back ride. Much like our experience at Spearfish Canyon, this was a long gradual climb up to the end of the paved road, where we turned around for a nice downhill back to town. On the ascent two Bend PD cars went racing by with lights flashing and we soon found out why when we encountered a recent wreck, a Toyota 4 Runner that had gone off the road and now lay upright on the driver’s side of the car, two men, a woman and a large dog nearby. We could not for the life of us figure out how it had managed to come to this position, as it sat surrounded by a number of trees with no discernable path through them. A mystery we’d not solve.
We rode back into Old Bend and stopped in at Bellatazza Coffee for some caffeine and a snack, then located the site for that weekend’s Bend Oktoberfest celebration, where we would return later that day with Chuck. It had been a good ride; one we’d been looking forward to after many trips to this town in the dead of winter.
Later that day we drove back, parked, and walked to the fest site, three blocks of Old Bend cordoned off to host a jovial gathering celebrating all things Oktoberfest. Being Bend, the focus was on good beer with the options being three selections each from ten of the areas craft brewers and good food, one highlight being Taylor Sausage brats of various types.
We’d spend a number of hours standing at a cocktail table, trying unsuccessfully to get close to the wiener dog races, drinking a considerable number of fine craft beers and finishing up our eating with a great deal, two good sized pork schnitzel’s served hunter style with späetzle and purple cabbage. For right around $8 we got one of the better German meals I’ve had recently.
For our last day with Chuck we all piled in the Highlander and drove out to Mt. Bachelor and beyond, stopping at Elk Lake Lodge for a beer, a brilliant sunshine type of afternoon sitting on the dining porch, the lake shimmering beneath towering slopes of nearby volcanic peaks.
We drove back into Bend and made one final stop, driving up to the top of Pilot Butte, a cinder cone (extinct volcano) that offers an unparalleled 360-degree view of Bend, the surrounding area, and various peaks in the Cascades including Three Sisters, Broken Top, and Mount Bachelor.
The time had flown by and as our visit wound down, I reflected on the passage of time and the circumstances that had brought us to this place. Chuck’s move here had been very good for him and enabled him to prosper, a state we wish for all of our siblings. It was our first visit to Bend with good weather, allowing us to see the city in a different light than earlier trips in the dead of winter, as a place one could consider living in, big city attributes in a small town environment. We looked forward to our next visit as we prepared to depart for Kamp Angst the next day, marveling at how much we enjoyed spending time in Oregon. And there was still more to come.
10 Barrel Brewing: https://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/16873/
Old Mill District: http://www.theoldmill.com/
Pearlizumi Outlet: http://pearlizumifactorystores.com/bend
Bend Oktoberfest: http://bendoktoberfest.com/
Elk Lake Lodge: http://elklakeresort.net/
Pilot Butte: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pilot_Butte_(Oregon)