Thursday, July 7, 2011

Weekend Awesomeness, Bend edition

My wife and child went out of town at the end of June, so I decided to make the most of my bachelor-dom and head to central Oregon for a camping trip and reunion with some friends. My Eugene friends were all competing in the Oyster Racing Series Bend event so that made going to the "dry side" of the Cascades even easier, as I could camp with old friends while meeting up with new ones in town.

Jana & Kohl prepping for their race

Approaching Bend
 The doggers were my sole responsibility for the weekend and we arrived at Tumalo State Park just northwest of Bend about dinner time. I had made plans to grab a pint with my Wanderlust Tours comrades in town that night, so I quickly unpacked my camping gear, fed the dogs, and loaded them back in the car to drive to town.

The evening went too quickly catching up with Jack, Jeff & Dave and I soon found myself driving back to camp shortly after midnight. I knew that the Oyster racers would all be waking at 5:00 a.m. to prep for their completion so I made short work of falling asleep. Sure enough, daybreak came quickly and I was being trampled by Graham & Jake dogs. If you've never camped with dogs in a tent, consider yourself lucky. We packed our gear back into the car, still unsure of where we'd sleep that night, and headed into town for the days' activities.
Graham & Jake doggers enjoying the dog park

My schedule is such that I often don't know what I have planned until the day before it will be happening. That was certainly the case on this trip, so I didn't have time to sign up for the Oyster Race. I was able, however, to register for The Bite of Bend's annual Beer Run. This 3-mile run starts and finishes downtown at a food festival, and incorporates one of my favorite activities, beer, with one of my favorite activities, running. Needless to say, I had a great time! The views of the Sisters mountains were second-to-none, and the air was warm, crisp, and clean. I finished in the top 20%, so I was  very happy with the days' activity.

After running the race and hanging out with a buddy from Bend it was time to hit the road and start toward home. My Eugene friends decided to go camping in another spot for Saturday night, so I met up with them and we headed down the Cascade slope toward Ice Cap Campground, in the Willamette (Wil-am-it) National Forest.

The campground was very nice, secluded and quiet save for the stream that passed just below us, about 50 feet from our tents. We had a relaxing evening playing stump (see photo at left), drinking a few select beers, and telling stories about our races from that day. The night came slowly and we headed to bed as our bodies began to stiffen up from the days' efforts.

Very relaxing fire

The next morning, we packed up camp at a leisurely pace and headed downriver to Eugene. The weekend was a memorable one for all the right reasons; great scenery, exercise, friends and beer!

Koosah Falls, just above our campsite on the McKenzie River