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Bend – a Central Oregon Delight

[Bend, OR, July 2, 2019]

I couldn’t resist not planning something around the long weekend for July 4th. I picked Crater Lake National Park in Central Oregon because it is fairly easy to get to from LA and, due to its remote location, would not be too crowded on a holiday weekend. I figured I’d pop over to Portland to visit some friends while I am at it and voila – a 5-day trip materialized!

Accommodations around Crater Lake are rather sparse, remote and old. Since I was going to be traveling solo, I preferred this time to base myself in Bend – a 2-hour drive from Crater Lake. Situated just east of the Cascades, Bend is a top-notch destination for outdoor activities year-around, and as such has all the hotels and restaurants one might expect from a proper tourist destination.

A non-stop flight from LA to Redmond, OR put me within half an hour of Bend. I flew out of a very small terminal at LAX, to which I had to be taken by bus – the first time this has ever happened to me in 10 years traveling out of LAX. The airport in Redmond was even smaller – one of the smallest airports I’ve been to. We picked up our carry-on luggage, which was still too big to fit in the overhead, right by the plane, on the tarmac.

On the tarmac in Redmond waiting for my luggage. Had to check my carry-on bag at the gate since the plane was too small for it to fit in the overhead bin

Before I headed to my AirBnB in Bend, I decided to check out Smith Rock state park, which was only 15 minutes away but in the opposite direction of Bend.

This small but impressive park is a haven for climbers. It is considered one of the 7 Wonders of Oregon, and I could see why. The soft late afternoon light and the Deschutes River weaving through, together with the sprinkle of clouds in the sky, made for impressive views. I only spent 20 minutes here and stayed on the rim, but I could see all kinds of trails going across the river and up close to the rock formations. I would definitely like to spend more time here should I find myself in Bend again.

My AirBnB was a room in a home and my hosts were a couple, Lynn and Rick, who seemed super nice. I didn’t get to meet them that night, since they were out at a concert, but the place was immaculate and I had everything I needed in the room, including a microwave and a fridge! The highlight was the hot tub on the private balcony I had just outside my room.

Lynn recommended Deschutes Brewery in downtown Bend, so that’s where I headed for dinner.

I couldn’t decide if I wanted to be healthy or indulgent with my food, so I ordered both a salad and the mac and cheese. I managed to only eat a little bit of the mac and cheese – I took the rest home with me and I think it will make for a good snack while I am in Crater Lake National Park tomorrow.

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