Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Much Needed Holiday

Friday: We left in a general westerly direction right after work on Friday afternoon. Stopped at a couple of geocaches along the route and pulled into Burns, OR just after sunset and about a thousand small bugs on the windshield. In Burns we camped at the Sands RV Park which was an odd little A-frame building with no host, just some grass, a spicket and a few odd picnic tables.


After breakfast we took our cups of tea and explored the abandoned strip motel next door. The chipping paint and remaining furniture gave off a nostalgic feel of the heyday of the Sundowner Motel. Finished with our tea we made to grab a few geocaches on our way out of town. The last stop at the edge of Burns was to grab a cache at the base of an old brick mill and smokestack. The smokestack is still standing and is surrounded by a graveyard of bricks, old glass and oddly enough, semi precious stones~among the other old construction materials of bent rebar and mangled cement odds and ends.

Once we left Burns we were on the road, until the next geocache at least! We stopped a little way down Hwy 20 at a rest stop where there was a cache. The gps took us to the beginning of the Sage Hen interpretive trail. So we took the printed guide and sauntered into the desert. It was a very nice stroll and we learned all about the local wildlife, the plants around as well as the geological formations with a little bit of anthropology thrown in. The wildflowers were in full bloom so we were lucky to see many of them.



After the Sage Hen trail we were back on the road, again~in search of our next cache. When we stopped for this next one it was in an area where large chunks of obsidian lay all around at the base of Glass Butte, near Chicahomony reservoir. It was a hot day but we reminisced about our childhoods as we collected enough obsidian rocks to kill our gas mileage! :) Continuing on to Brothers, OR~which really is a glorified rest area but with great hosts~we stopped to eat lunch.

After a long, hot day in the desert, we finally pulled into Bend around 3:30pm. With the concert at 7pm we opted for a hotel room over the hunt and set up of a campsight for that night. Made a couple of quick phone calls from the touristy map we picked up at the Deschuttes Brewery and found an inexpensive room about 5 blocks from the Tower theatre where the concert was. We showered and changed and walked down to Bend's all too trendy downtown area. After poking our heads into almost every little bar and grill on this small strip we settled for the Pine Tavern. Although the atmosphere was extremely snooty the food was very good. Dinner left us with an hour and a half before the show so we wandered around the downtown area windowshopping. In a sureal moment, I saw Greg Brown walking down the street, just the man we had come to Bend to hear. We watched him duck into a record store so went in to say hello. We thanked him for his music and were amazed when he asked if there was anything special we wanted to hear that night. I didn't even turn to ask Cobi what he'd like to hear but blurted out my favorite, Ella Mae which is a beautiful lyric song about his grandmother and her life in rural Iowa. He did a double take and said "really!" so I was happy to have surprised him a bit. :D We bought our cd and went on our way in a giddy dreamstate. It was time to head to the historic theatre and take our seats, which contrary to the awful internet map, were really great seats in the front of the balcony of the small auditorium, which only seated 400. The show started with a local opener who although decent was thankfully short lived on the stage. Then Greg sauntered on with his guitar in one hand and a glass of red wine in the other. He started out with two very poignant songs about capitalism and the snotty greediness of tourist towns. Cobi and I couldn't help but think he was singing about Bend! He segwayed into a couple of older favorites and then about mid show, sang the song I had requested. It was beautiful to see him go into a trancelike revelry while singing about his family. He went on to sing a few covers of Mose Allison, Merle Hagard and ended up with a grand tribute to Mr Johnny Cash with Fulsom Prison Blues as an encore. We walked back to the hotel that evening with big grins on our faces and slept soundly.
The next morning we thought, 'what the heck are we going to do today after yesterday'. We found the Black Bear Diner which was wonderful with huge portions of home cooked food and yummy buttermilk biscuits. Full as bears we went on a search of some touristy volcanic monuments to explore. The cave we wanted to visit was still closed for the season but we grabbed a couple caches and ended up at the Newbury Volcanic Monument where we toured a cinder cone. From the top of the cone we had a perfect view of Mt Bachelor and the three sisters!


After that we headed back into Bend, grabbing another few caches along the route. We drove farther north to the Tumalo state park where we found a nice shady spot to set up our camp. After another short hike we were resting around the camp sipping champagne when we decided to try for a cache that was a little bit away. So in flip flops we headed toward it. When we got to the bottom of a steep, basaltic hill we looked up and in our champagne induced courage decided we could climb it~remember the flip flops! Well, we took it slow and laughed our way to the top of the hill, made the cache find and did some smooching with an amazing view of the mountains again!

Back at camp we finished off the champagne and had a nice night sitting around the fire talking.

Monday: Well, time to drive home...almost! After a yummy breakfast at camp we packed up and headed out to Tumalo Falls to try our luck with what we heard was a snow covered, gated road. Well, the gate was locked but the snow was nowhere to be seen except in dirty little piles on the roadside! So we walked the 2.5miles in to the falls where due to the gate, we were alone with a beautiful sight.


After we sat in awe of the waterfall for awhile we headed back out another 2.5mile walk where we saw some beautiful cliffs as well as signs of some cats who no doubt live in this wonderful area.

Then after all of this, we did decide to drive home. It was a nice mellow drive where we read and traded off driving but mostly grinned at what an amazing and beautiful weekend we had.


Seems odd to start a blog, but we figured it would be a good way to keep in touch with our family and friends who are far away. We hope that you will enjoy our entries and we will do our best to keep them updated every once in awhile with our adventures.