Often at times whenever I heard the word “Oregon”, my mind wondered off envisioning a magical land of thick lush forests and sprawling lakes. What my mind didn’t imagine was the dead brown flat areas that make up most of the state’s landscape. It’s like I skipped the day in geography class when they mentioned that pretty much the entire west coast of the U.S. is desert. Despite the visual effects from mountain water runoff which can create a very furtile and lush surrounding environment, if you travel away from the water, things get real brown real quick. But don’t feel totally disillusioned. The western portion of the state is very much like what you would imagine.
Bend, Oregon lies somewhat in the middle of the state but has some of the best qualities that Oregon has to offer. From low to mild traffic, a ton of nearby areas for camping, fishing, boating, or biking, super friendly people, job openings, and oh yeah, the most breweries per capita out of any U.S. city. There is no shortage of things to do in this city with close to 300 days of sun a year.
After leaving Crater Lake National Park to a less mosquitoe infested location, Bend was the next stop more so out of convenience when we were first planning our route. From there it would be easy to go to our next connection point before we enter Washington state. I had planned on getting the oil changed once we got to Oregon so we figured this was a perfect time. So after a little research we found a small shop near our hotel room that had great reviews. Aside from the oil change we also needed some other small things taken care of before we hit the road again. So with this in mind we decided to stay an extra day to ensure we can get the needed work done before we left. What a great idea that turned out to be.
So now we are in our room and the car shop opens on Monday so we decided to really see what Bend has going on. Besides a brewery trail that you can follow, there were plenty of locally crafted items from honey to jewelry and everything in between. The city overall is very green with plenty of trees and vegatation around. The downtown scene has a small city feel with a bigger city perspective and also boasts a very large community of dog owners and lovers. We took a Lyft to a local tap room and we’re greeted by some locals who are very friendly outside and we had a good little conversation. From there we took a nice stroll past Drake Park, which follows a river and makes for a very beautiful park.
Now one of the breweries we had stopped by named Silver Moon Brewery is probably one of my favorites so far. They even had metal growlers in both 64 and 128 ounces and sell an attachment that can turn them into mini kegs. Needless to say, I was sold. Happy pre birthday to me yay! Only four months early.
So while exploring Bend we discovered a shop called Cascadia Vehicle Tents, or CVT for short. They specialize in fitting tents of a variety of sizes to different types of vehicles. It seemed intriguing so we decided to go in and check it out. Besides I needed to get a new roof rack bar for our storage box so I wanted to see what they would charge me. Well we go inside and we see these huge tent setups and we are like okay that’s nice! Considering some nights we spent sleeping in the van in unnatural positions, the possibility of being able to lie flat and sleep on a real mattress with the easy of the system that was setup seemed really appealing for what we were looking for on a long-term basis. So I first asked about the roof rack bars and when I saw they didn’t have a price tag….I knew this could get pricey. I went back up to inquiry again about the price and was given the cost, which was not too bad considering. So after a barrage of other questions about the tent and roof rack bars we got a ballpark price range that left us in a paradox of weighing pros and cons. The mere fact that we were considering this was a little of a shock. We had not planned on seeing this crazy awesome tent moreover buy this thing. But we were looking for something that could offer us more space so in the end really it all comes down to timing.
So after a debate over the pros and cons and a good night’s rest, we came to a final decision. The next morning we set out to upgrade our current set of custom roof rack bars to a more sturdy set designed for this roof tent. So we want to an outfit called Rack N Roll To handle the job. They did an awesome job with the installation and everything went without a hitch.
With the roof rack installed we were ready to head over to get our tent installed next. So off to CVT we went. Once we got there they were ready for us, so just a few words and a large payment we were on our way to the back for installation. Let me tell you these guys know what they’re doing and they’re good at it. In no time flat they had the tent on the van and attached and we were good to go to start adventuring.
So we got this awesome tent now so let’s try it out is what’s going through my head so we check with a few people and get some suggestions and end up at a free campsite off the beaten path in a neighboring town called Sisters, OR. The road in was a little rough but not unmanageable. There we set up our new home, sans the floor due to not wanting to put the floor in what will equate to mud once the rain starts and two, we needed another extension for a proper fit. But even without the floor, we knew we had just made a game changing decision for the best.
So overall with the lush green city streets and the rivers and plenty of outdoor activities, not to mention the great food, wine and beer scene, Bend, OR is definitely a place we could consider calling home some day. The people there are great and the market is doing very well so who knows. But for now it’s on to the next spot, good ol Eugene, OR.