I haven't been to Bend in years. The last time, I went, my trip report (Hot Tub, Hot Thai and High Desert Snow) was one of the most viewed blog postings I've ever had. I don't expect this one to meet that level of reader interest, but the trip was equally adventurous. Back then, the boys were 11 and 8. This time, they're 17 and 13. Amazing how time flies. Similar to the last trip, this one was over Spring Break as well. I took the week off so I could hang out with the boys. C had already planned the first weekend with one of his friends, so we set up a trip for the last 3 weekdays of Spring Break. While we initially were looking for snow, we gave up and decided to try something completely different. Turned out, those were the warmest, sunniest weather days we'd had in the calendar year, so bully for us.
Getting Outta Detroit
|near Black Butte Ranch|
|starting our descent|
|climbing back up|
By the time we got to the car, Smith Rock was packed. There were people and cars everywhere, and more cars circling for a parking spot. We pulled out and visited the small shop (Rockhard) just past the state park line for drinks and ice cream. Dr. Pepper never tasted so good. After a few hours of clambering around on the rocks, we were hungry, so we hit a new local place in Bend.
I learned of Pop's from restaurants-dot-com. I didn't link to them because Pop's proprietor, Sean, was not very enthusiastic about them. We were enthusiastic about Pop's, though. Tasty burrito's with flavor separation so you could taste every ingredient. Very fresh. Salsa bar. Sold. Sean & Co made us feel like regulars from the moment we walked in.
|down and back again|
From Pop's, we drove through town (10 minutes) to the OSU Cascade / COCC campus. As a high school junior, T is looking at colleges and OSU Cascade is at the top of his list. I can see why. Bend is flat-out awesome, and OSU Cascade is a small school within it. Smith Rock is 40 minutes away; so is Mt Bachelor, so for an active outdoor kid, Bend makes sense. OSU Cascade was not holding classes when we were there, but there is considerable active construction of multiple new buildings. The existing buildings are well maintained, and don't look terribly old either. With the alpine climate setting, sunny skies and dry air, I can see the attraction. I've since asked around about it, and indirectly I know a few folks who are there. They love it. The classes are smaller than a typical state school and the costs are in-line with typical state costs. Compelling.
No Trip is Complete without a Snag
|satisfied faces post-lunch|
|snow-less Hoo Doo|
Once back inside the car, we pointed towards the US20 and Sisters. Before we left the Central Oregon desert, we had one more stop to make: Sno-Cap. Sno-Cap isn't like most of the rest of the main strip through Sisters. It is more of the throw-back to yesteryear. The rest of the main drag has evolved into a new age gentrified scene attracting tourist-types and brunch fans. Being Spring Break, the US tourist was out in force, complete with cargo shorts, tall white socks with sandals and the occasional fanny-pack. Seriously people. Look at yourself. Anyway, Sno-Cap is a drive-in looking burger joint near the west end of town. Look for the line of in-the-know folks queuing out the door. The old guy behind the counter has been there forever, collecting orders and managing the flow. Behind him, there are 3 or 4 younger folks moving with great speed and purpose. So, while the line seems to move slowly when you're hungry, your order appears in front of you rather quickly once you've placed it. As T says, "we'll stop here every time".
Once fed, we sped westward, stopping at HooDoo Ski Area just to see what it looks like up close. The picture tells the story: virtually no snow. From the base, it was hard to imagine the trails, and the lodge looked small. I've heard the vibe is very similar to Ski Bowl on Mt Hood, so we'll want to come back when there's snow to give it a go.
The drive from HooDoo was uneventful and fast. Traffic was thin for a Friday afternoon heading into the Portland area from the south. We were home, unpacked and laundry rolling by mid-afternoon. Other than the one hang-up from the door locks, Flash behaved very well. Even his A/C was cold.
That's it for today. I've been making lots of progress on the battle against the rust I described in my last post. I'll update more fully next time. As always, thanks for following along...