Jan 212015
 

Part Two: MAJOR disappointment on the snowshoeing. I’d been really looking forward to it and I know our friends were, too. Since it was sunny, warm and like 50 degrees we decided to go for a hike instead. That’s the nice thing about the High Desert–Bend has 300 days of sunshine a year. You can pretty much count on decent weather (either good snow or good sun!). We picked Tumalo Falls because it was highly rated and the falls were fairly close to the trail start (supposedly) so we could at least see that, right?

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We drove to Tumalo Falls and as we got closer and closer, the temperature dropped to the low 40’s and there was ice on the side of the road. We got to the trailhead and got out of the car and were shocked at how frigid it was. We layered up the best we could and set out on the trail. It was deceptively cold–the sun was out but the wind was icy!

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The hike was along a roaring river that looked like immediate hypothermia if you fell in. The trees were swaying in the windy weather. Some parts of the water were frozen solid, too.

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Needless to say, the wind was so strong and so cold, we didn’t get very far before we decided “screw this” and turned around. It was another bust. Never saw the falls, did just a little over a mile on the hike. LOL Some hike! (We got Bella a snow jacket–it’s fleece lined and water proof–works great!)

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I was bummed that the hike was a fail, too. So much for exploring nature!

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We went back to the house, changed into normal clothes and then the four of us walked to downtown Bend to do some shopping and walking around. The sun was warm and it was a gorgeous day. The walk was nice! Again, our house was super close so we could walk pretty much anywhere we wanted to go. The Boneyard brewery was a few blocks away, as were a few others.

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We were shopping and walking around when the Seahawks game was going nuts and people in the bars were freaking out screaming (we could hear it from outside) so we ducked into a dive bar for the last 15 minutes or so of the game and enjoyed a Boneyard beer. Next up: Crux Fermentation!

Several of us had been told by friends “you must go to Crux”. I’d never heard of it so it was new to me. It was mid-afternoon by this time so we headed over there. It was a super cool space with a large outdoor patio, some of it was heated and covered and some of it was open. There was a smoker grill, a taco food truck and cornhole. People were milling around outside playing and hanging out in the sunshine.

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We went inside and got a table. The place was packed. Service was absolutely outstanding. I’ve never had such a good experience at a restaurant. Waitress was funny, smart, knowledgable about beer, had great recommendations and just cool.

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We ordered an appetizer to share–house-made jerky. We’d never seen jerky as an appetizer on a menu before so we had to try it. And it was probably the best jerky I’ve ever had. They smoke it themselves, soaked in their beer. Best.Jerky.Ever.

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Margie and I shared a tasting tray of 6 beers. We got:

Better Off Red: Flanders Red

Outcast IPA

Sugar Daddy IPA

Half Hitch Imperial IPA

Bert Scotch Ale

Tough Love Imperial Stout

Can you guess which ones mine were? ;) Yep, the IPA. The Half Hitch and Outcast IPAs were really, really good. I am NOT a fan of dark beers. I love coffee. I love chocolate. I do not love them in my beers. So I rarely ever enjoy a stout or porter. I had a sip of the Tough Love Imperial Stout and was amazed at how smooth, tasty and balanced it was. It was a stout I could actually drink and enjoy. But the real winner for me was the Bert Scotch Ale. It might have been my favorite beer that we tried and Michael and I ended up getting a full pint of it and sharing it. It was so fantastic.

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We were having such a good time I didn’t want to leave but we planned on getting a pizza and hanging out at the house so we left. Michael and I picked up pizza from Pizza Mondo (it was just ok), we played Cards Against Humanity and Ticket to Ride, drank our Boneyard and talked. It was a great night!

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We were up late Sunday night but it was worth it! Monday we packed up and headed home. We’d talked about trying to snowshoe on Mt. Hood on the way back to Portland but after a week of warm weather and rain, the snow conditions weren’t much better. Raincheck. On the way out of town we stopped at Thump coffeeshop and I got a coffee with homemade Mexican hot chocolate. It might have been the best coffee drink I’ve ever had. Birthday treat!

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The drive was uneventful and sunny until we got to Mt. Hood. Then the temperatures dropped and there was snow mixed with rain. Michael and I drove up to Timberline Lodge with the thought of hanging out in the lodge before going home.

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The roads were clear until about two miles from Timberline and then all of a sudden the road grew treacherous, there were snowplows trying to clean it and it was snowing a lot. Of course, NOW we find snow.

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We got to Timberline and there wasn’t really parking, the place was covered in snow (of course) and it was just too cold for us to leave Bella in the car so we didn’t stay long at Timberline. Bummer.

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So we found snow, finally, but couldn’t play in it. We drove (very slowly) back down to the highway and back to Portland, where it was in the mid-50’s and sunny.

Michael took me out to dinner in Portland for my birthday. I picked The Observatory. It’s a restaurant I’ve wanted to go to for years but haven’t been–I did try once with a friend and it was packed and had an insane wait time so we went to a dive bar nearby and had a surprisingly good meal there instead.

This time, we had to wait maybe 10 minutes for a table? I ordered a drink – the Tart Cherry Aperol Spritzer. It was a tart cherry puree with champagne and it was delightful!

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For dinner I got the blackened snapper. It came with a small serving of their mac n’ cheese and braised collard greens. I’ve never had snapper before. I eat a ton of seafood but somehow never tried it. It was a white fish, kind of a middle ground between tilapia and halibut. It wasn’t as light and flaky as the tilapia and closer to the “steak” like consistency of halibut. It was good! The blackening spice/gravy was a little rich but it was tasty. Loved the mac n’ cheese (and that it was a small portion).

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Michael got the fried chicken with brussels sprouts and mashed potatoes. By far the mashed potatoes were the star of the entire meal. We couldn’t figure out what they made them with–lemon? Red wine vinegar? Regular vinegar? There was a tartness to it and they were to die for. I ate more than a few bites of his mashed potatoes. :)

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Since it was a my birthday we shared a dessert. I was close to being stuffed, but we’d had a small lunch and a normal sized breakfast (eggs and bacon) so it wasn’t like I’d eaten a ton that day. We ordered the peppermint cheesecake!

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It was outstanding. It came in a little mason jar, chocolate crust on the bottom, cheesecake, topped with whipped cream and a layer of peppermint chocolate. There were small peppermint chocolate beans on the side and a little pansy flower on the plate. It was so incredible. One of the best desserts I’ve had in a long time. I rarely get dessert. This was such a treat!

It was a really good weekend and birthday (despite the lack of snow thing). Now back on track!

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Jan 202015
 

For years Bend was my birthday tradition. My birthday often falls on the holiday weekend. It was a tradition I loved and we stayed in all sorts of different place and different parts of Bend, Sunriver and surrounding areas. Last year we went to the beach instead. It was just as great, but not quite the same! Now that we have Bella we wanted to go back to Bend so we could take her with us. She LOVES the snow and our hope was that she’d be a good snowshoe buddy.

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We booked a house in downtown Bend through AirBnB with another couple. Since it had been about 2 years since we’d been to Bend, I was excited to try the new restaurants and breweries that have popped up, see how the town has changed (I’d heard it grew a lot) and of course get some of my beloved Boneyard Beer!

Early Saturday morning I got up and did a kettlebell workout at home. I didn’t want to get up really early and waste time going to the gym, so I did a living room workout while Michael got ready and finished packing.

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Then we hit the road! It was a gross, rainy drive. Bella was super excited about the car trip but eventually slept through a lot of it. :)

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Most of the drive it was pouring rain. We got into Bend around noon and met up with our friends at Brother Jon’s Public House for lunch. The awesome thing about Bend is that everywhere you go, Boneyard Beer is on tap. Everywhere. It’s my #1 favorite beer and so it’s like being in heaven. I can get it anywhere! I got a RPM and a BLTA for lunch. Michael got the steak and blue cheese salad (and gave me a bite–it was delicious!).

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My sandwich was okay but it had too much lettuce on it.  While we were at lunch I got a text that the house we rented was ready if we wanted to check in early so we decided to check in, unload the car and then go to the outlet mall (where I got a new jacket and some hiking pants that I’ve desperately needed).

The house we rented was near downtown, less than a mile. The location was fantastic!

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The house was adorable and perfect for what we needed. It was two bedrooms, one bath, with a huge fenced yard and plenty of space for four people and a dog. We unpacked our cars and then Michael and I took Bella for a short walk after being in the car for three hours. The house was a block from the river and they were building a nice walking/running path along it (that wasn’t quite done yet).

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After shopping we took our growlers to the Boneyard Beer tasting room. We got some tastings and we all filled our growlers with RPM  (four growler!). I bought myself a t-shirt as a birthday present to myself. :) Man do I love their beer.

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We went back to the house and we spent the rest of the evening in. The boys went out for burritos and brought them back to the house where we hung out, played card games and enjoyed our beer. The owner of the house had also left us this little treat in the freezer as a welcome gift:

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Sunday we got up and ate breakfast and planned on going snowshoeing. That was the entire plan for the weekend. Our friends, Sean and Margie, had never been before and really wanted to try it. We decided to leave Bella at the house and take them to Virginia Meissner Sno-Park. It’s one that Michael and I have done a few times and it’s a fantastic adventure–complete with little cabins in the middle of nowhere that you can dry off and rest in.

Virginia Meissner is a really popular sno-park and unfortunately dogs aren’t allowed, but it was the perfect beginner trail. It’s groomed and it’s not super strenuous. We drove up Mt. Bachelor and I was noticing that there wasn’t any snow on the road or pretty much anywhere…The sun was out and it was warm and beautiful. We got closer and closer to the turn off and realized, uh there’s no snow. There’s ALWAYS snow. We’ve never been to Bend in January and NOT been able to find snow.

Sure enough, the sno-park was empty. There wasn’t enough snow to go out in. We were about 12 miles from the house so we decided to go back to the house and get Bella and go to one of the dog-friendly trails higher up on the mountain. When we got back to the house Margie made us all a picnic lunch and I looked up snow conditions online to check the other trails I’d planned on going to that trip. Sadly, they all reported “Inadequate snow”. What?!? NO SNOW?!

So snowshoeing was a bust. To be continued….

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