Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Last days in Bend

We broke two of our sightseeing rules......stay home on holidays and stay home on weekends.      We don't enjoy sharing our time with lots of people we don't know -  hiking or autohiking on holidays and/or weekends guarantee that we'll have company pretty much wherever we wander.

Well.....we were only in Bend for the holiday weekend so we girded our loins and set off to drive and hike along the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway on the Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend.

We drove up past Mt. Bachelor (still skiing this weekend), through snowy landscapes and into the land of the lakes.   We stopped at 6 of the 14 lakes found on the eastern slope of the Cascade range.     Some of them were right along the
highway, some necessitated taking a dirt and gravel loop road into the forest.

our lunch view at Sparks Lake

Our first stop was Sparks Lake.   We took our lunch and ate on a sunny fallen log at water's edge.   We were not alone.   Masses of people were enjoying this lake, the first one encountered when coming from Bend.   Kids shrieking at the cold water, lots and lots of dogs whining to get to the water, people with kayaks and canoes....everyone enjoying the beautiful sunny day.     The ranger at the visitor's center told us about a nice little hike along the shore there, but we decided not to explore it with so many people for company.     There were loons on this lake but we had to content ourselves watching them through binoculars.  We ate our lunch and moved on.

On the way to Devil's Lake we passed through an enormous, craggy lava flow that came right down to the snow pack.

Just down the road we came upon Devil's Lake, a most lovely clear shade of aqua.    Snow came right down to the water's edge.    We didn't linger.

cold and beautiful Devil's Lake

To reach two of the other lakes, we turned down a dirt and gravel road and drove between tall pine and fir trees.

We were alone at Elk Lake.....we sat on a rock and ate the apple left over from our hasty lunch.    Dave went to the edge of the shallow lake to rinse off his sticky hands.

We sat for awhile and then continued along the dirt road to Hosmer Lake.  Lots of small trees  had fallen and were intruding into the road, making driving into a slalom event.     At one point we passed a man using an ax to hack away a section he felt shouldn't be there.

 Only a few people at this lake,  mostly busy putting their kayaks in the water.    We walked to the shore and were rewarded with two fantastic sights.

The back of snow capped Mt. Bachelor was beautifully reflected in the calm waters.     We had the feeling we were being watched as we stood and took in the view.     I looked up into the trees lining the water and saw we WERE being watched....

He was too high up for me to get a very good picture, but we were thrilled to see him nonetheless.

Next stop was the Lava Lakes.   Lava Lake seemed to be home to a little fishing camp/resort type place with a small log store and docks lined with fishing boats.

The last lake we visited was Little Lava Lake, said to be the source of the Deschutes River.

A beautiful Golden was fetching stick after stick.   What a beauty he was, watching him really brought back many memories of all our Goldies through the years.   sigh.

It was getting late so we cut short the 100 mile trip and turned on FR 40 toward Sun River and home.        We passed over the log clogged Upper Descutes and took the time to stop and do a bit of bird watching from the bridge.

I saw a woodpecker going to and from a large perfectly round hole in a broken off tree.   It looked like it was feeding babies and I thought I could hear their faint peeping.   After the adult flew off I zoomed my little camera in on the hole and look what I saw!

looking for mom

Another wonderful day, even though it was a holiday weekend!

The next day, our last in Bend, we took care of business.    Laundry, waxing the rest of Beluga and taking care of that mountain of rhubarb we bought the other day.    I made one pie, cut up and bagged enough for another and roasted some to test Duane's "recipe".    It turned out unbelievably well....I put it in the freezer to see how it fairs after defrosting but we both agreed that it may be our new "go to" recipe.    So quick and easy.   Tomorrow we'll try it over strawberry yogurt.

At the end of the day we went to Pam and Vic's lovely little home for happy hour (and to see the dogs again....Rico and Jetta) then had a casual bite at a neighborhood spot.     On our way back Vic gave us a quick tour of some of their favorite places.   Pam presented us with a pan of rhubarb quick bread and we said our goodbyes.   It was so nice seeing them again.

This morning we left Bend and followed rt. 97 north about 140 miles to I-84 and the Columbia River.    For most of the trip we traveled on a high, fairly treeless plateau, about 4000 feet above sea level.     We crossed the 45th parallel, halfway between the equator and the north pole.    All day we had ghostly, distant views of  Mt. Hood and Mt. Jefferson.   They seemed to be keeping track of us, appearing from behind a lava flow here and between two ridges there.....almost around every turn in the road.

We drove along the Columbia River on I-84 to our next week's stay, Memaloose State Park.

vineyards on the Washington side of
the Columbia


Sunday, May 29, 2016

Busy Saturday

Saturday we were on a schedule.   We had to get a very important package to FedEX by noon so it would go out that day and not be delayed even more by the long weekend.     The package contained what we have been told New York State DMV needs to register our Jeep and transfer our old plates to it.    Cindy P has graciously agreed to receive the package and to take the contents of said package to the DMV in Geneseo, in person, and take care of the necessary details.    After all goes well (she says hopefully) Cindy will overnight our new registration and we can finally put NYS  plates on the Jeep.   Tick Tock......the Utah Temporary tag is good only til June 16.....tick tock.     Please cross all fingers and toes that this transaction works.     One complication was that we needed to copy the paperwork before sending and, of course, our printer was out of ink.

Just one quick stop on the way.....      We've passed by a small and beautifully manicured farm market several times and yesterday they had a sign at the road -  "SALE" it said.    Rhubarb! I said.   I'd noticed a line of huge and very lush looking rhubarb plants along their fence so we decided this was the time to stop in.    How long could it take?

tender young rhubarb plants

Dave's birthday is next Wednesday, and his traditional birthday pie has always been rhubarb.

The very pleasant and enthusiastic owner, Duane, introduced himself to us immediately and told us he was just about to pick lucky for us.

he not only sells rhubarb for cooking, but sells plants for growing it
 He picked and he picked all the while telling us about his sweet little one acre farm.    He'd retired from his custom cabinetry business and started this place, on a very small scale.   We all know how gardens just seem to "grow" larger and larger and this small property is now chock full of wonderful veggies and flowers and chickens.

this gal looked mighty crabby

good eats in the chicken coop

Duane introduced us to his lovely wife and then invited us to walk around and enjoy the fruits of his labor (labor of love!).

The Miracle Acre sells all manner of vegetables and flowers, along with anything "garden" in the small red garage.   Duane gives classes at the farm and at the community college.      I only took pictures of flowers it seems.   They do grow many other things, onions, berries, asparagus, etc.

All in all a delightful place.    If you ever find yourself on Brosterhous Road in Bend, stop in, you'll love it!

Oh Dave.....

white bleeding hearts

unreal looking poppies

When we told him how beautiful the soil was, he whisked us off to his compost pile and showed off his powered compost sifter.    He started it up and threw in shovelfuls of straw, chicken manure, vegetable cast offs, etc. that he keeps in a neat compost pile in the rear of the acre.      Instantly it spat out perfectly sifted bits of black gold, directly into his waiting wheelbarrow.        He was very proud.

lots of super fresh rhubarb for Dave

 We ended up leaving with more rhubarb than I needed or wanted really, ($5) but Duane told me how to roast it with a little sugar or honey and then freeze the result for topping ice cream, or gelato, or pound cake.     That sounded like a great thing to try and I think Dave will be a happy man for quite awhile!

We made it to the FedEx office just in the nick of time so our package is on its way to Geneseo.   Phew, we weren't sure we'd get there in time after spending a lovely hour or so at the Miracle Acre, but it worked out just fine.

After lunch Dave took the dogs outside to watch him wax Beluga.   They all enjoyed themselves.

Later we met Pam and Vic for another stellar dinner at Brickhouse.  We decided to forgo desert at the restaurant and instead walked across the street to enjoy a small cup of special gelato at Bonta.     To our surprise and delight, one of their varieties was topped with - Miracle Mile's rhubarb roasted with strawberries!   Great end to a busy day!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Sisters to Bend

Too soon.    Our time in Sister's ended too soon.    We had such a wonderful time that our stay seemed to fly by, leaving us with too many things left to do and see.
For sure we'll be back, next time for a longer stay.

Yesterday we had a serendipitous afternoon.  We started out to do a hike to Proxy Falls, one of the most photographed waterfalls in Oregon.    I had the directions written down and we followed them carefully - until we came to a Road Closed sign on rt. 242 heading toward McKenzie Pass.     Of course, we had no maps with us and my phone was getting little connection.    We spoke with a few people just turning around at the end of the road.....they told us we couldn't get to the Falls from "this side".    At home, later that evening, I saw the problem clearly on the map.    The instructions were for rt. 242 alright, but from Belknap Springs, not Sisters, a mere 30+ mile difference.     Ah well, next time.

We turned around and pulled down a path into the woods for lunch.    I think it was a logging road but it was perfect for a lunch spot.   Quiet, private, sunny and out of the strong cold wind.


After lunch we decided to just follow the road and see where it took us.    All who wander are not lost.    We drove through the woods, sometimes the road was paved, sometimes it wasn't.

We passed by a section of woods that we hoped was in the middle of a controlled burn.  We saw no one around and the ground was still smoking.

After crossing rt. 20 and continuing along we came across a sign that pointed to Round Lake so we turned down it to see what we could see.

We scared up a few deer,  continued through the lush forest and up into a mountainside that had experienced a terrible consuming fire in the past.   The understory was recovering and heavily carpeted with a green, woody shrub just starting to burst out in white flowers.   But those beautiful and tall pines were just broken skeletons.

interesting clouds topped the snow capped peaks

After about 5 miles winding miles we came to Round Lake.   It is, indeed, round.
We didn't even get out of the Jeep because the wind was howling and the little lake was frothy with whitecaps.    Back down the eerie mountainside we went looking for something else.

We found our way back to FR 12 then saw a sign pointing to the Head of Jack Creek Trail.   Sounded good, so off we went.

This time we hit the jackpot.  When we arrived at the trailhead there was a school bus loading up 22 children for their return to school.   We knew there were 22 kids because they loudly counted off as they entered the bus.   Phew!   Dodged a bullet there.   By the time we got our hiking boots on, the bus was gone and we had the trail all to ourselves.

We walked for a while on a narrow, sunny trail bordered by those same bushes, they looked like a type of euonymus, filled with gently fragrant white flowers.   It looked like it had suffered the same fate as the forest near Round Lake, there were few trees on this section of the trail.   Hiking along slowly, however, we could see that these green shrubs were hiding or,  perhaps more accurately, sheltering lots and lots of pine tree regrowth.    Tiny firs and pines were growing deep in the middle of the shrubs.

see the young pine in the midst of the shrubs?

another baby coming along  under the sheltering leaves

We were walking through a nursery!  Nature is wonderful isn't it?

The trail wound through this little natural nursery and into a deep woods where we could hear what we thought was water rushing.   Or, was it the wind blowing through the pines?    Turns out, the noise was a little of both.   We'd arrived at Jack Creek and it was indeed rushing along merrily, down little falls and around downed trees.

The pine smell was wonderful and the sound of the wind in the trees and the creek tumbling along made for a lovely, peaceful hike.

tiny mushrooms on a huge fir tree

oh Dave, where are you?

We came to what appeared to be the end of the creek.  There was a beautiful clear creek and there was nothing.    Hmmm.    We looked around at the end of the creek and discovered its beginning.    It was very Harry Potteresque.....there, at the base of an ordinary looking tree, between its ordinary looking grey roots, Jack Creek was rushing to life.   We crawled around the tree, behind it and from every side.    There was no water anywhere, except what was bubbling out from between those big grey roots.    Too fantastic!

Jack Creek pouring out from under the Harry Potter tree!

We sat there for awhile, marveling at what we were seeing and then took the trail back along the creek and through the woods to the Jeep.

  What a fun and unexpected day that was!

We're now in Bend, at the Crown Villa RV Resort and will be here for the holiday weekend.    This is a beautiful resort with huge paved and grassy sites with full hook ups right in the middle of Bend.   We were lucky to get an end, back in site and we're all very happy to be here.

Beluga in huge site 471

the old girl is looking pretty good!

view of the trail from my windshield

There is a large, fenced in off leash area for the dogs and a nice wooded trail directly next to our site.  

Tonight we met former RVing friends, Pam and Vic, for a delicious meal at the Craft Kitchen, alongside the Deschutes River.  

 We met Pam and Vic in Florida at Holiday Cove when they still were living in their sweet Phaeton.   They've since sold it and moved into their condo in Bend.    It was wonderful to see them again and we look forward to more time together while we're here.

Aren't those folks cute?
Aren't those beers pretty?