From Crater Lake we traveled about an hour and a half north along Highway 97 to Bend, OR. We are lucky to have some college friends who live there. Driving into town through roundabouts passing Organic Eateries and sculptures made from kayaks we knew we had found anyone on the go mecca. I mean come on the XTERRA National Trail Running Championships and the USA Cycling Championships are held here.
Unfortunately enjoying our going would be slightly delayed as our son’s mosquitoes bites from Crater Lake had caused an allergic reaction and he would proceed to swell up and look like Quasimodo. However, as any good outdoors person would know our hosts pointed us to the local Urgent Care at the Bend Memorial Clinic. Where the entire staff was incredible. In fact the doctor even ran out to our car after we had been dismissed to give us his cell and hours the next couple of days in case we needed him. And the hospitality did not stop there. Stopping at Safeway to get my son some prescribed relief the pharmacist was ever so concerned and had the bakery send over cookies for the children while I waited for the fill. So night one would be dinner in with fresh baked cookies and movies. But after the children settled into bed we went outside and enjoyed the incredible evening stars.
The next day we were up at at’em. First to breakfast at the very scrumptious Jackson’s Corner where there were massive 16’ square tables with benches on all four sides. Definitely needed for the incredible portions of serious YUM! Lots for the kids to feast their eyes on as well as baskets of crayons and coloring books.
Next we would venture downtown for what our hosts informed us is nearly every weekend occurrence…a festival. This weekend happened to be The Bend Summer Festival. But they said the set-up is generally the same. Each street is a different theme…music, art, clothing, food, wine…AND tucked away on a back street an entire children’s area. There were some vendors and then numerous bounce house structures where you could buy individual tickets or a wrist band for all day fun for $10. We went with the $10 bands and more than got our money’s worth. Again we enjoyed an evening in with our friends and a lovely Bend sunset.
The next day the kids and I would sleep in then head out for a walk while the hubby enjoyed a bike ride on a bit of the incredible trail system they have throughout the town. Then to cool off we would partake in the nearly ritualistic way for Bend folk to beat the heat…floating the Deschutes. We put in at a local park and floated for about 1hour along with hundreds of others. We were very well-equipped having borrowed a massive 8 person circular inflatable complete with back rests and drink holders. But you would see it all…the tire tube to the pool float. We did place our kids in their life jackets. The ride was very calm and in most places an adult could actually hop out and touch the bottom. We would take out and then proceed up the hill to deflate our raft and then await the BAT (Bend Area Transit) and for a very small fee shuttle back to the parking lot we started from. Serious good times.
And we just saw the tip of the iceberg in Bend…there are amazing concert venues, more festivals, great dining, hiking, caves, rafting, etc…and lest us not forget winter and Mount Bachelor close by. So we pointed the vehicle south and waved goodbye, but before we left we asked our friends….”Can we come back again next summer?”