Bibbidy-Bobbidy-Bend, Oregon That Is Jul17

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Bibbidy-Bobbidy-Bend, Oregon That Is

The drive from Boise to Bend would have been nearly 6 hours, so in keeping with our 3-4 hour preference Ali, found us a campground at the halfway point near Burns, Oregon, called Crystal Crane Hot Springs. If you hadn’t noticed yet, she’s a sucker for hot springs. I have no complaints in general about that, but in the specific, I had some issues with Crystal Crane.

Where Nat-Soo-Pah had a filtered, clean, cement bottom pool, Crystal Crane had a gravel bottom, pond that was wearing a weird layer of scum around its edges like an icky green scarf. Where Nat-Soo-Pah had lush grassy RV spots, Crystal Crane had dirt. Both of them were out in the middle of nowhere relative to their nearest towns, but one made you feel like you’d dropped into a magical secret spot, the other gave illustration to the term “boonies”.

Of course we went in the hot spring anyway – this trip is all about experiences. We padded carefully down the gravel slope in our water shoes into the very hot, dark water. There was no way I was putting my head under, but we did a little frog kicking to get away from the edge and into the center of the pond. There were several people and bugs bobbing around with us including a couple of teenagers that needed to find themselves a room. We lasted about 15 minutes.

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However, the early morning mist was like a fairy godmother for that plain-looking step pond. Bibbidy-bobbidy-boo and the icky green scarf was turned into a silvery, glimmering necklace. We’d already decided the night before to skip our second night at Crystal Crane and just head on into Bend. The morning hot spring make-over didn’t change anything.

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We’d planned to stay with Aunt Pat and Uncle Bob for 4 nights in Bend, but we didn’t want to impose on them a night early so we just found an RV spot in town and went out to the local book store before dinner. Ali wanted a couple of dreamer-manuals a.k.a books on Food Trucks and I entertained myself with a book that was bigger than my head, also a dreamer-manual, called the Hobby Homesteader’s Bible. Its onion-skin thin pages carried instructions and illustrations on everything from fence repair and canning, to bee keeping and how to build a root cellar. I was entranced.

The next morning we checked out of the campground at 11am and headed out to explore Pilot Butte before we crashed in on Pat and Bob. We kept the SUV loose and the plan was to try to find a low flat parking spot for the rig and then we’d take the car up to the top of the butte. Well, once we both turned into the butte park entrance we were committed. It was a very narrow road, no turning the RV around, and there was no parking below. We’d darted across 2 lanes of very fast traffic which meant trying to back out into that would be ill advised, so onward and upward was the only choice. I cringed as I passed the sign that said “No Trailers” and tried to comfort myself that Lucy is not exactly a trailer.

We made it to the top of the corkscrew road, but the whole time up I wore my best silent “I’m sorry” face for all the oncoming cars, walkers and joggers that I was asking to share it with me as I gobbled up more than a fair share. We found easy parking up top, filled up our water bottles and started out.

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There was an amazing view from the top of all the surrounding mountains, and all of the trails corkscrewed down the butte at various degrees of steepness, so we just picked the nearest one. I relaxed a little, shaking off some of the stress of the drive up. It wasn’t that it was difficult to drive up as much as the “wrongness” of it. I’m not good at having 50 people watch me do something wrong, my skin crawls. We made it down the butte without any problems as well and got on our way to Pat and Bob’s house.

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From the millisecond their front door opened we felt like mini-royalty. We were not shy in accepting all of their hospitality and help. It was so wonderful to be in their home, to share great meals at a real table and talk and talk and talk. Bob helped us get an appointment with his mechanic to have the RV checked out and even escorted us there one morning. We had also asked if we could leave the scooter with them. Its usefulness/fun on the trip had been far eclipsed by the pain in the butt process of racking and un-racking it, not to mention the worry factor, so Bob made room in the garage and helped us get her all squared away. We even had the indulgent pleasure of Pat doing our laundry for us while we went off on a bike ride one afternoon. Such pampering, which we soaked up like dry sponges. Better than all the logistical help, was the love and the hugs, we were home and it was delicious. Hopefully we were equally bold with our gratitude. Thank you again P&B!

This is Otis.  He helped with dinner one night.

This is Otis. He helped with dinner one night.

Pat and Bob

Pat and Bob

We rode bikes one afternoon downtown along a paved path following the Deschutes River and a smattering of shops and restaurants. Across the bridge on the other side of the river was an amazing concert venue, grass seating and a big stage. At the end of town the bike path turned into a single-track dirt trail, but we’d been encouraged by a hiker we chatted with that we should try it, that there was a beautiful spot to have a picnic on the rocks. After the first really sharp turn around a tree, followed by a tangle of roots we had to jump ourselves over we had some second thoughts, but we cheered each other on. “It’s like we’re mountain biking!” we yelled, “Like Ann and Jen!” “We can do it!” On our cruisers, me with 3 gears and only one hand break. But we did do it. My arms felt loose in their sockets and I was more than a little glad to see the rock outcropping that would be our lunch spot.

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On our last day in Bend we drove out a ways to the Deschutes National Forest, to find Tumalo Falls. It’s quite a trek, first through town and then out along a dirt road just to get to the parking lot at the trailhead, but it was so worth it. We took one million photos, of which I’ll share a select twenty or so below. We quickly developed a pretty big crush on Bend with all it’s sparkling mountains, green hills and dark blue rivers. We lightened our load a bit (the scooter), but filled up our hearts to overflowing. Farewell for now Bend, we’ll be back for sure!

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