Saturday, July 30, 2005

Go east 3000 miles....

Sorry, been reading lots of AAA trip tik directions lately in preparation for our annual cross country jaunt to the east coast. Yep, it's time to go visit the much maligned state of New Jersey! We will fly from Seattle to Newark on Monday and rent a car to drive to Surf City. That's where my Mom's house is and where the Fearsome Foursome, their spouses and kids gather every summer to play our favorite game, "How Many People Can We Stuff into a Beach Cottage??????" I'm hearing we will be going for a new record of 18 this year. That includes Mom, Me (the oldest)(with Jack, Kerry and Rob), John, his wife Jo and the youngest grandchild, Johnny. Then comes sister Mary Ann with her husband Ray and their 4 teenagers, Greg, Amy, Kate and Dan. Youngest sister Nancy completes the Foursome with husband Rich and daughters Laura and Megan. Mind you, the house has 4 tiny bedrooms, 1 porch, 1 living room, 1 small kitchen, 1 small loft, 2 bathrooms and 2 decks. I'm guessing maybe 1500 square feet. Well, we love a challenge and Mom promises there are enough beds and camping mattresses for all!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

More Sunriver Fun

While the guys went to play (Bob walked, Jack drove and Rob rode) golf one day at one of the many courses in and around Bend, Sandra, Kerry and I went shopping for fabric for 2 quilts that Sandra is working on. We went to Mountain Country Mercantile, 1568 Newport Ave. in Bend. What fun we had! Neither Kerry nor I quilt, so we chose colors and patterns and ran them over to Sandra, who was busily choosing and critiquing. Much to our surprise, she found what she needed at just the one store. We decided we made a great team and would love to do it again some day. For dinner that night, we went to Old St. Francis school, an old catholic grade school that the Mcmenamin brothers have turned into a neat pub (among other things).

Monday, July 25, 2005

The Paulina Plunge

After hearing about a wonderful trip on mountain bikes with stops at various waterfalls, I decided to give it a try before my advancing age made it impossible. (OK, I'm really not ready for that old folks home yet, but I admit to being out of shape.) The great part of this trip was that the ride up the mountain was accomplished in a school bus, not under pedal-power. After being fitted with a bike and given some tips on its use, our party started out. Ah, cruel fate - the first obstacle was a big hill. Our guide insisted that if we made it up to the top, we would have no problem with the rest of the ride. Now anything going uphill makes my lungs immediately close up in protest, especially at high elevations. With Kerry acting as my own personal drill instructor and with much huffing, puffing and wimping, I finally made it to the top. Then we started the downhill ride to the first water fall. Now, being exceedingly cautious on the slippery pumice sand, I immediately fell behind the (much younger) group. But they were patient, awaiting me with cheers as I caught up at the first stop. There we hiked down to the first waterfall. Yes, I said down, for one thing they didn't tell us was that each water fall walk was a half mile DOWN, which, of course, necessitated a half mile walk back UP to our bikes!!! (Oh, to be young and thin again!) But once down to the falls, the rough part was forgotten, as we all got wet and enjoyed cooling off. There was a small cave in the back of this particular falls, which some of our party proceeded to go into. We couldn't see them at all. It was here that our guide broke out the lunch - fried chicken, cantalope and cookies. Then it was off to the second falls, a place where the rock made some natural water slides. More fun and cooling off ensued. These falls were (luckily) part of the Deschutes National Forest, for I'm sure if they were part of a National Park, all of this splashing in the water may not have been allowed. Our third and final stop was at a campground where the waterfall made a big pool at the bottom. Then it was back on the bikes and off to the bus, which met us at the bottom of the hill. Rob enjoyed leading this part of the trip, as our guide was riding at the end of the pack this time. The trip lasts all day and is a great adventure, even for old Moms like me!


The friendly folks at Central Oregon Adventures recently dropped us off at a small stream called the Little Deschutes River. No, not for us the rapids of a swiftly moving body of water. We were more interested in a serene and peaceful journey on "flat water." After practicing a bit and remembering how to keep from going backwards and crashing into the river bank (Hey, they said this thing turned on a dime!!!), we were on our way. It was a hot, sunny day and we were glad for the water bottles, suntan lotion and hats we had brought along. First off was a view of a huge osprey nest, and not too long after we saw a yellow tailed hawk being chased off by some much smaller birds. It was similar to the redtailed hawk here. Later on, there was a colony of swallow's nests plastered to the side of a bridge. Red-wing blackbirds flitted through the vegetation on the bank. The river took us through an up-scale neighborhood of beautiful log lodges. Not a sound came from any of them. Where were the people who owned these places and what did they do for a living to be able to afford such summer homes??? We kayaked through a golf course and Rob retrieved 23 golf balls. A few golfers along the banks were glad to see that their balls weren't the only ones to plunk into the river! Onward we went and finally the Little Deschutes joined the Deschutes and we could see the bridge which heralded the end of the journey. The guys loaded up the kayaks, paddles and life jackets and we headed back to Sun River with only a few blisters on our hands, no sunburns and lots of memories.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Crater Lake

The reason for our recent trip to Sun River was a promise to Kerry's friend Tim to take him to see the plethora (Ha! good word!) of stars in the night sky at Crater Lake. Now, any one who has been away from the lights of civilization can attest to the brightness of a clear night sky. It's not just the Big Dipper, or a star here and there, but an absolutely spectacular show - a blanket of stars. Something like this, but a photo isn't the same as seeing it in person. So, off we went to Crater Lake, a National Park which was made many years ago (geologic time, that is), when Mt. Mazama blew its top. The crater that was formed filled with the most gorgeous blue water anywhere. The top, or cone, can still be seen and is now known as Wizard Island. Kerry, Tim and Rob hiked down to the lake and took a boat ride, but Jack and I, being not in tip-top physical shape, paid attention to the sign which the National Park Service had erected at the beginning of the trail down, warning of dire consequences for those who were not in the best condition. Here's more photos from the web. While Kerry, Tim and Rob took the boat, Jack and I went to the visitor's center and lodge. Our plan was to have dinner at the lodge and stay around for the ranger talk and the stars, but this was not to be. Lo and behold, we found that only those staying overnight at the lodge are allowed to eat there! The only other food in the entire National Park was a hot dog stand in the parking lot that closed at 5 pm and the campground store with its assortment of canned beans. So, although we were not able to achieve our original goal of seeing the stars, we had a fantastic day. Tired and happy we headed back towards Sun River, a BBQ dinner and a nice soft bed.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Over the River and through the desert....

Admittedly, I'm always looking to escape the sage brush and summer temps, especially when it is to a place like Sun River, OR. It's the ultimate resort! Restaurants, shopping, bike baths, swimming pools, golf, tennis, horseback riding and all kinds of adventures (from spa treatments to wilderness trips). And so, recently we trekked through the sage brush, across the mighty Columbia River, past the wheat fields and a few towns that time seems to have forgotten, to a different kind of desert. OK, so there is sage brush and there are high temps, but at least there are several varieties of pine trees and manzanita bushes and great views of snow covered mountains, which make it quite a bit different then the desert of SE Washington. This area of Central Oregon is known as the high desert, and there is no better place to learn how to appreciate it then at the High Desert Museum right outside of Bend, OR. And no better place to enjoy it then a condo at Sun River with a big crowd of friends and family. What better way to wake up then by taking a short bike ride to the village and grabing a mocha and aomething sweet from the bakery? Then it's back to the condo for a big breakfast and the newspaper. Hmm...shall we relax and read or go on an adventure? Off to the lava beds or the ice cave or just sit by the pool? Perhaps shop at the village market for the BBQ tonight, with games for the kids afterwards. It's vacation time and everyone is relaxed. Heck, even the turning circles, those traffic frustrations, seem to work at Sun River......

Friday, July 08, 2005

Sun River

Tomorrow we are off to Sun River, Or for a week of fun and adventure, biking, kayaking, visiting Crater Lake and seeing friends and relatives. Three cheers for summer!