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.
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.