Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Weekend Escape

It was only two days and two nights AND less than a four hour drive from our little cottage.  However it FELT like we had gone to another world.  It had been way too long since we had escaped from our every day schedules and worries so this little jaunt to Bend, Oregon was just what was needed for our overly-stressed souls.  I was happy& relieved that the bed and breakfast I chose was a winner!  It's location across the street from beautiful Drake Park allowed easy foot access to downtown Bend and all the festivities that awaited us that weekend.  Not only was  First "Art Walk" Friday going on that weekend, the BendFilm 8th Annual Indie Festival was also in town!  After much ooh-ing and aah-ing over our room and the rest of the gorgeous lodge, we quickly unpacked and set off with no particular agenda.  The park was absolutely lovely and I was happy to see many "please DO NOT feed the ducks and geese signs" about as our people food is really quite yucky for them to digest.  While we were enjoying the sights and smells of the park along came a rather large black "puppy" on a freedom run.  I got lucky and grabbed his leash to slow him down a bit and hopefully see if a owner would be close behind.  Luckily (since he had no tags) a couple of young guys came panting along very grateful that we had caught the escapee.  After only a couple of hours in Bend we realized that this was one very dog loving/dog friendly community!  The businesses were open late (because of first friday and all that jazz) welcoming all (furry & non-furry) with hors d'oeuvres, wine, beer and live music.  As we meandered in and out of stores, deciding on a place to eat dinner became a priority.  There were people EVERYWHERE so one can assume that the lines in each of the restaurants would reflect the extreme busyness of the evening.  We happened upon a parking lot that had been transformed to an outdoor theater showing one of the award winning indie films that was featured in the festival.  A few food stands were also in place so it seemed like the perfect place to settle down for a spell, enjoy a film and finally eat.  "In the Spirit of Laxmi" was an excellent film about a man (Gerhard Wiehahn) who commits 16 months of his life to raising an injured leopard cub.  It's a good thing the film was so well done as it helped to off-set the most horrible tacos I had ever tasted in my whole life (and trust me I have had a few!) Thank goodness the next meal on the docket would be the gourmet breakfast from our hosts at the lodge!
It's funny how a person gets used to their sleeping accommodations. In this particular B&B the room we had originally selected was out of commission, so the innkeeper upgraded us to a room with a very huge KING SIZE bed. That may not be a big deal to most folks however we are used to our cozy double bed. That's right double. To jump from a double size to a KING size bed made us very empathetic with Goldilocks who struggled with finding the right sized bed. It's funny how we still only used 1/4 of the bed!
Breakfast was a delight and I have to admit some of the enjoyment of the meal is discovering the other guests at the breakfast table. Once we were fed like royalty, we headed out for a day of learning all we could about this interesting and very different than Portland terrain. The intoxicating scent of sage and Ponderosas reminded me of Flagstaff, Arizona. The area that we "explored" was once a very active volcanic range and are part of the Cascades.

I learned more about volcanoes that Saturday! We drove up one, walked around the rim of one, visited a lake that was the result of one and lastly walked a wonderful trail that led through a large obsidian flow.
Don't know if I have ever mentioned before how much I LOVE "google-ling"!  Back in the day if I had a question my dad would say..."Look it up in the dictionary" or "Look it up in the @#&!! encyclopedias we bought for you kids!" (there were no other options for inquisitive kids such as myself back then either) NOW I can google any question I have WHENEVER I want as I am now the proud owner of an iPhone!  As usual when I travel I get a whole new repertoire of questions.  For instance I did not know the difference between a National Monument and a National Park!  Come to find out that the difference is what is IN each one.  A National Monument contains something of historic, prehistoric or scientific interest, whereas a National Park has some outstanding scenic feature or natural phenomenon.  How about that? (google helps my smart meter) :)
Considering the AWFUL dinner we had on Friday night we really wanted to have our other Bend evening dining experience to go well.  Unfortunately things were starting to take a turn for the worse as we did not get back into Bend until the bewitching dinner hour and my diabetic slumpies was starting to kick in.  We walked and walked looking in the windows of the crowded restaurants (the film festival was still going strong) and at the very expensive menus that were posted outside of them.  At the outdoor cinema one of the tents had offered a meatloaf plate (which we totally should of chose instead of the tacos) ANYWAY...the restaurant with the homey -looks like mom just made it for you- meatloaf called itself The Common Table.  It's claim to fame was that it was a totally non-profit restaurant with the cool twist that those who paid, paid for others who were unable to!
I totally felt cool & totally couldn't see a thing either!
It took awhile to locate the establishment and we were most happy when a volunteer greeted us on the sidewalk to welcome us to the table!  The food was fantastic, the (totally volunteer) staff was superb and simply said a good time was had by all!  We even were given complimentary sunglasses and hats!
On the way back to our neck of the Northwest woods we made a quick stop by Smith Rock. The trails and rock climbing in that beautiful park have something for every skill level! We made a mental note to get in better shape and head back that way in the spring!

We will see YOU in the spring!!

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