Two single-minded people can disconnect from each other as they pursue their own goals and priorities. So sometimes they need to get away from all the distractions to have a moment to enjoy each other’s companion and realign their trajectories. That’s what we needed to do this past weekend so we went to Bend.
Bend is about 3 1/2 hours southeast of Portland on the other side of the Cascade Range. We headed out Saturday morning through the Santiam pass. It was a misty, moisty morning. We drove up through the Doug Firs and the brilliant aspen trees. There are few of the glowing reds of a Midwestern autumn, but the golds are resplendent against all the green.
As you pass through Santiam and start to descend on the east side, the rain and mist miraculously disappear and you are in piney woods and high desert. We stopped in Sisters which I can only describe to the Hoosiers who read this as “the Shipshewana of the West” complete with it’s own annual quilt show. Instead of Amish horse and buggies though, the theme is cowboys and broncs.
I always start briefly when I see a guy in a cowboy hat or cowboy boots. Living in the Pacific Northwest doesn’t seem like “The West” until you go east (if THAT makes any sense!). Bend is half cowtown, half ski bunny village. It reminded me a little of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. We roamed around some shops and galleries in downtown Bend, and then had a lovely Portuguese-inspired dinner at Cafe Sintra. Nate had mussels and clams for an appetizer and a flank steak with portobello mushrooms. I had a Portuguese stew with white beans and shrimp and proscuitto and sausage and chicken. Yum! We stayed in a ski resort called the Inn of the Seventh Mountain. It’s the off-season so we had a roomy suite at a discounted rate.
Sunday morning we slept in and had a fabulously good breakfast at the Alpenglow Cafe. I happen to love breakfast food. I think the Egg may be the One Perfect Food Given Unto Humans. I also happen to love the fact that eggs are pretty hard to screw up. Only the greasiest of greasy spoons can make them inedible. On the other hand, making supremely wonderful egg dishes is an art form and the Alpenglow has mastered it. Nate had the Eggs Benedict and I had Huevos Rancheros. Usually we share tastes of most of our food, but there was no sharing this meal. It was too good to sacrifice even a bite for your one true love. 🙂
We drove back to Portland through the northern pass up around Mount Hood. We returned a little more relaxed, a little more rested, and ready to face another intense week. Nate’s multi-million condo project in San Jose, California, is beginning the “wrapping-up” stages so he expects to be quite busy the next two months. I’m back in the thick of being a learning specialist with all the daily crises that come with the job as well as the added benefits of teaching in a high-income, high-expectation community. But no more about that tonight.
p.s. Nate posted some more pictures of our trip to Bend on Flickr.