Meet-Ups, Love & Beer – Bend, OR
Since my last post we’ve been enjoying our continued “nesting” time here in Bend. We had the best of intentions to get out, hike and sightsee (like we did last year), but I’ve actually got shockingly little to report and, even more shockingly, it’s because of work.
One of my many former lives was as a food photographer and just recently I got recruited to write a recipe article. So, together with mastermind-cook Paul we’ve spent the majority of our free time this past week shooting (with a camera that is) and eating food. It’s not the worst job you could have (our bellies have approved) and all the recipes will eventually end up on the blog, so you’ll get to share the fruits of that endeavor too, but for now it’s all hush-hush and the only thing I can tell you is we’ve got some tasty gems planned.
Outside of food, friends, beer and horses (of all things) have drawn us out for occasional activities, so here’s the update:
Bend Wheelingit Meetup
By far the biggest social event of the past 7 days was actually our blog meet-up last Saturday at Crux Fermentation and IT…WAS…AWESOME!
We had a small group of folks, maybe around 20 people total that turned up, but it was a thoroughly laid-back and fun occasion. My memory for names is abyssal, but some of the folks who turned up were Bill (who we met in Borrego earlier this year), Mike, Rick, Glenn & Linda, Kristen & Jason (The Snowmads), Cody & Tricia (ourwanderingrhythm), Brecht & Becky (brechtify) and and a bunch more who I’ve shockingly forgotten by name (I blame my bird-seed-size name memory bank and the third bottle of oh-so-yummy Tough Love Stout).
Either way we all had a total BLAST just hanging and chatting with like-minded folks over a few good brews. Some of these people are full-timers, others have settled down in Bend while even others are part-timers. Like I’ve said many times before on the blog there’s no right or wrong way to live this life, and as long as whatever you’re doing is fulfilling your personal and financial dreams then rock on!
THANK you to everyone who showed up. Honestly, it was a ton of fun.
The next day after the meet-ups we extended our get-together time with new buddies Kristen & Jason (The Snowmads) and Cody & Tricia (ourwanderingrhythm) at the cottage which the former were renting in Bend while their new Trek was being worked on for warranty issues in Eugene. It was another relaxed and splendid evening shared with good company, good food & good beer and very typical of the kind of meets we have on the road.
I’ve written about this before, but it bears repeating. Pretty much every fulltime RVer we’ve met on the road we’ve formed an almost instantaneous connection and settled into an ease of conversation that I rarely experienced before RVing. It’s a deep social engagement that I never expected when we started this journey.
I think it boils down to the fact that RVers all share a love of travel and tend to be flexible (it’s rather hard to live this lifestyle otherwise). Our connections are, by the very nature of our travel, short-lived so we make the most of them by by-passing the boring chit-chat to get to the good stuff. It reminds me very much of the types of friendships I formed backpacking in my youth….short-lived but intense in a very good way.
For The Love Of Horses
Since those meets we’ve been basically holed-up in our rig on the “farm”, tending the chickens and writing. We did see a day of hail, a day of snow and several days of rain. Plus we got recruited to check-in on the neighbors horses for a few days while they were gone.
For a teenage horse-girl like me this was a dream come true, but for horse-phobic hubby it was quite the challenge. It took 3 days for the horses and Paul to get within body-length of each other, but once he got that first horse-love-nuzzle, hubby was totally bitten.
The power of love, baby!
And Beer (Of Course)
And of course there’s beer. Sadly we’ve not succeeded in attending near the number of beer tastings that we did earlier this year in San Diego, but we’ve done our best.
Outside of San Diego, Bend is actually my favorite beer place in the west and with no less than 26 craft breweries in the area, many of which have won multiple awards, it’s no surprise we’re dedicated fans.
Most folks who come here do the entire Bend Ale Trail, but we made the mistake in 2014 of hitting Crux Fermentation early on in our visit which meant pretty much all else was irrelevant. This place is QUALITY with a capital Q and it’s still far and beyond my #1 brewery in the area. This year we did another flight, ALL of which we enjoyed (Half Hitch is still our fav IPA) and tasted their barrel-aged stout (Tough Love) which is amazing and on-par with the top stouts I had in San Diego. Perhaps I shouldn’t even mention the fact that we’ve been to Crux three times since we got here…?
Despite our Crux-obsession we did manage to squeeze in three other spots this time around worth a mention:
Boneyard Beer is a hole-in-the-wall garage of a brewery with all the funky and hip charm of a Hells Angel’s Club. The owners are tattoed to the hilt, walls are covered in cool cross-bones, you can buy beer soap and Dawg Grog (seriously), and tastings are only $1 each with the first one on the house. We weren’t blown away by the beer here, but we did enjoy their Armored Fist Ale and totally dug the funky decor.
Rat Hole Brewing sounds like it should be a hole-in-the-wall, but it’s actually an airy, classy brew-pub which puts out an exceptional quality of brews. Their Pilsner, Scottish Red and Imperial Stout were all excellent, so much so that they now rank in my top 5 breweries in the area. I highly recommend them!
Deschutes Brewery is a Bend classic. The very first brewery in the area, they’ve become huge so we were dubious that beer quality would hold up. Well, I’m happy to say we were wrong. They aren’t a match to Crux, but their stuff is good, and they offer specialty brews at the pub which are not available elsewhere. A particular surprise was their Abyss Imperial Stout which is only available seasonally and was absolutely superb! The Fresh-Squeezed IPA, Nitro Cream Ale and Bachelor Bitter were also notable.
Note/ Both Crux & Rat Hole have outdoor areas that are 100% dog-friendly (Crux has a huge patio+field, Rat Hole has a patio). Boneyard does not allow dogs inside the brewery, but you can tie them up outside while you taste (the place is literally the size of a garage). Deschutes patio was not open so they did not allow dogs while we were here. You can see which breweries are dog-friendly HERE.
That’s it for the round-up. We’ve got a one more morning here in Bend before we shoot off to Portland where Paul will unceremoniously dump me while he flies home for a few days. I will be in good company though as we’re re-meeting some buddies and plan to attack all the local coffee shops until the caffeine overdose causes my mind to explode. Should be fun 🙂