asher63 (asher63) wrote,

Wednesday night: Bend.

The bald hilltops of California long gone, I drove through miles of Oregon's evergreen slopes and snowy peaks. The I-5 would have taken me directly back to Portland from Ashland, but I wanted to make a detour eastward to Bend.

Bend lies east of the Cascades, and therefore belongs not to the West Coast but to the West. My GPS guided me along Oregon Highway 62, which hugs the Rogue River, and (as Crater Lake Highway) passes the Natural Bridge Campground, where I made a short rest stop around 11:30.

Bend is close enough to Portland's sphere of cultural influence to have a McMenamin's, and it's where I booked my stay tonight. I checked in at about 15:00 and asked where I could park. Turns out the place lacks parking - you basically have to fend for yourself with curb parking or a nearby garage. With the annoyance of having to search for a parking spot, I wasn't in much of a mood to appreciate such fine points as fresh-ground coffee delivered to your door. (How about giving me a place to park, then worry about the frills.) I guess they really want you to patronize the adjoining restaurant, too, because none of the rooms have microwave ovens or even refrigerators. Color me very not impressed.

But I took a nap and got over being grumpy about the hotel, and took a stroll around downtown. Central Bend has all the kinds of shops you'd expect in a hipster enclave - craft roasteries and breweries selling "artisanal" beverages, new age bookshops and boutiques selling pretty baubles and trinkets - and don't get me wrong, I love that stuff, but I can get that in Portland.

But just out behind downtown there's Drake Park and Mirror Pond, on the riverfront of the Deschutes. The early evening weather was cool and lovely and the atmosphere was perfect.

The drive out here through the Cascades was magnificent, and I'm really glad I did it. I'm looking forward to exploring the town a little bit tomorrow - before I finally head back to Portland.
Tags: customer disservice, journal, oregon, travel

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