In September, Francis and I made a weekend trip to Bend, OR. The previous weekend was Labor Day, and separate wedding obligations meant that we were apart. Even though we’ve been relying on each other for all of our social needs since moving out here, spending time together as a couple still requires some degree of intentionality. After the bridal party stress, a couple’s weekend was welcomed.
We set out early on Saturday morning, with some slight delays due to puzzling out our new bike rack. We planned a hike at along the way– 8 miles round trip, mostly level incline. The trail passed waterfalls before circumnavigating mounds of lava flow.
Our turnaround point was a beautiful alpine lake where we had sandwiches and soaked our feet in the icy water until it was time to head back. I returned my shoes to my feet with great reluctance.
The return trek passed quickly, as it always does, and we resumed our motorized journey.
My first impression of Bend was that it was quaint and clean. Less bicycle friendly than Eugene, but more grown up. We passed several breweries and a park on the way to our lodging, and overall it seemed like an affluent and quiet place. Our motel was nicer than I expected, and made us regret that we weren’t there with friends. We had two Queen sized beds and a Twin for some reason. I was particularly fond of the way that the decor didn’t quite match. It felt like visiting the house of your friend’s grandparents. Not posh, but very clean and someone had clearly been thoughtful in their intention of making it a nice place to stay.
After our hike, we were a bit torn as to whether addressing our body odor or hunger was more pressing. We opted to shower before heading to Deshutes Brewery. We had brought our bikes specifically so that we could enjoy the Bend craft beer scene without worrying about getting back to our motel, but my sore legs and unfamiliarity with the town layout won out and we opted to drive.
Dinner at Deschutes was wonderful. We sat on their upstairs balcony and had a view of the sunsetting tangerine over the mountains. Dinner felt very private and Francis and I both went a little overboard with 2 appetizers and 2 entrees.
After dinner, coffee was urgent. With over an hour to kill before the main event, we were exhausted. We drove to the theater early, which miraculously shared a parking lot with a Dutch Brothers Coffee stand. Finally, my first Dutch Bros.!! For those unfamiliar, Dutch Bros. is a drive thru coffee chain that saturates the Pacific Northwest. I can now say that their ice coffee is en pointe.
So we parked, and sipped, and fought over Spotify to share music with one another. We told each other stories about our lives before we resembled the people who we are now. These moments are so frequent when you first fall in love with someone, and it’s always wonderful when they continue even when things grow familiar.
We two, slightly more awake, headed into Volcanic Theater Pub to watch Hump!, a traveling greatest hits of submissions to Dan Savage’s Hump! Festival from the last few years. For those of you who do not know, Dan Savage is a popular sex and relationship advice columnist whom Francis is a bit of a fangirl for. Hump! is an annual amateur adult film festival where people can be “porn stars for a day” (their video submissions are destroyed after being privately screened.) I’m fairly open-minded, but I had no clue what to expect or how weird the films would be. Obviously the films were very adult in content, and so I have written a separate post of my thoughts on the experience here.
I can never sleep in on the Weekend (much to Francis’s annoyance), so the next morning was an early one. We debated where to have breakfast (it seems like there are almost no BAD choices in Bend,) and finally decided to brave the heavily warned against lines of the Victorian Cafe. The choice was obvious, as it topped every Breakfast in Bend list that we Googled over coffee in our drowsy motel bed. And what luck! We beat the rush and were able to get a seat right away, which was almost disappointing because there was a lovely outdoor bar and fire pit where I wouldn’t have minded lounging.
Our decadence carried over from the previous night. We ordered eggs Benedict to split as a starter, an apple gorgonzola omelet for me (huge) and a duck and eggs chimichanga for Francis (more huge.) I’m actually salivating as I remember this meal. We were able to eat al fresco, and the weather was absolutely perfect. Francis had an Earl Grey that came in a beautiful sachet, and I had a bloody mary that was more good than great. We took our time, watching the line grow as we enjoyed our food. After that we headed home to Eugene. I would have liked to stay and explore using our bikes, which were still securely strapped to the car.
It was difficult to say goodbye to Bend, but the drive home across the Cascades distracted from the disappointment. We were able to have car band practice, which is one of my favorite things that we do on long drives. Francis pulls out his ukulele and allows me to pretend to be able to sing for a few hours, tolerating all but the worst of the anxiety that it triggers. We also brainstormed our costumes for Rose City Comic Con in Portland the following weekend, deciding to go as characters from the video game Borderlands that we occasionally co-op.
This was a perfectly recuperative weekend that I will always remember as one of our best. I’m eager to return to Bend soon, perhaps when the snow transforms it into a ski town.
Enjoy Francis’s perspective on the weekend on That Thing I Did, his video blog!