Just Another Monday Evening

25 07 2017

Mondays get such a bad rap.

Please don’t do that in public…

Every once in a while, Monday tries to redeem itself. Today began as most of my other summer Mondays began: rather insignificantly. I slept in a bit, had a bowl of cereal, took the mutts for a stroll. But then my Monday stopped its ordinary trajectory as I packed a small suitcase and a bag for Simba, loaded the new RAV, and headed south. J had an overnight trip for work, so I hit the road for Bend.

I made it to Casa de Davis, home to my friends MAsh who happen to be traipsing around Peru for the summer. I got Simba settled in and made my way across the west side of town to a little restaurant patio in the Northwest Crossing neighborhood. Several of my gal pals gathered with me for awesome food, drinks, and catching up.

friends for dinner, Washington Dining and Cocktails, Bend OR

You’re right, Monday, these ladies DO make everything better!!

We all used to work together for a tech company in downtown Bend but have since found other pursuits. Strangely enough, the CEO of our previous company was sitting at the table right next to us! He very kindly sent us a round and stopped by our table to say hello. I haven’t lived in Bend for 6 some-odd years and I still bump into old acquaintances every time I visit!

Time with these 3 awesome women would have been enough for me to call Monday my favorite day. Bend, however, had more in store for me. It had apparently teamed up with Monday to really knock my socks off. They really succeeded…

Back at MAsh’s house, I decided to take Simba for a nice long walk. Being in the PNW, I still had daylight despite the hour approaching 9. We walked through the neighborhood and down to the Old Mill District. Trying to keep Simba out of trouble, I didn’t notice the impressive show in the sky right away. I actually noticed the people first – everyone had turned towards the setting sun and everyone was taking pictures. Everyone. Children, dog walkers, cyclists, staff from the restaurants – EVERYONE. I finally realized why.

central Oregon summer sunset Bend OR

Yep, ok, I’ll stop and look, too.

The scene was quite incredible. The fiery colors in the sky were breathtaking, framed by the Three Sisters mountains and reflected in the waters of the Deschutes River. Ducks paddled and dove in the river, though there was an interesting hush over everything. The typical bustle and noise of the Old Mill was still for a moment while we all took in the amazing sight.

sunset over Old Mill, Bend OR

Bend, I really don’t need that much convincing to want to come back….

Continuing on our way, Simba and I finished our walk, circling by way of the Colorado bridge and admiring the changes since our last visit. This tunnel, for instance, didn’t exist when this area was my old haunt:

tunnel under the Colorado bridge, Bend OR

So many colors! (Yes, this is my favorite shirt…)

For such a quick trip, I’m heading home in a reflective, grateful state of mind. Grateful for the amazing people I have in my life, grateful for living in such a cool place, grateful for the ability to travel around, grateful for the mutt snoring on the floor next to me that accompanies me on these adventures.

Touche, Monday – I hereby declare you my favorite.

Let me just leave you with a picture of a snoring Simba. 😀

Boy, o boy, I wonder what adventures await us on Tuesday!


A girl, a dog, and the open road

12 06 2013

Up too early, too excited. Finished packing, car loaded, dog settled in- its time. My All-American Roadtrip! Three days, close to 2000 miles, solo. Woo! The trip got off to a great start with our first stop in the second state of the day….Starbucks on the border of Oregon! Ok, this was only 30 miles from the house, but it still counts! Within the second hour of the trip, my majestic mountains were but mere memories as we cruised out across flat eastern Oregon. Lots of giant wind farms dotted the landscape and a huge tree farm broke up the monotony. A classic country radio station sent the likes of Marty Robbins, Charlie Pride, and George Jones to keep us company, crooning the miles away.

wind farms in eastern Oregon

Wind farms along the Columbia, stretching for miles. Quite the sight!

Hunger hit just as we approached Pendleton, Oregon, famous for it’s massive rodeo and smooth whiskey. A cruise through a drive-through and off we went again. Soon we rose above the patchwork of crops, heading into the Blue Mountains. We pulled off to the viewpoint for a quick picture, leg stretch, and potty break (for Simba, not me). While boring to drive through, the land was lovely to look down on.

Blue Mountains Oregon viewpoint

Simba surveying eastern Oregon before we head back into mountains. He’s become such a model.

The stretch through the blue mountains was lovely. Not super tall mountains, but pretty. And it was nice to be back among trees again! Too quickly, we descended down and crossed into Idaho. Yay for the third state of the day! Soon, however, I realized Idaho was nothing to celebrate, at least not the part we were in. Interstate 84 across southern Idaho was…less than impressive. More like flat, awful, scorching, sweaty and smelly (the state AND me). So many windmills and semi trucks. After what seems like an eternity, we finally approached Twin Falls. This area of the state turns more into agriculture and less….nothing. Then the highway finally turns south, and at long last we dropped into Utah. Despite having never been there, I judged Utah pretty harshly and was dreading the many hours I would spend driving across this wasteland. I was so very pleasantly surprised at the abundant beauty of the fourth state of the day. New mountains (were they mountains? I’m not sure. They looked more like hills with attitude, but it was so hard to tell…) soon surrounded us, just in time for a wonderful sunset. This might have been my favorite part of the whole day.

sunset over Utah

The gorgeous sunset lighting up the clouds behind me and turning the horizon purple in front of me. Win win!

Despite the long, flat hours in smelly southern Idaho, Simba and I just had an absolute blast!! We had long, deep discussions on all sorts of things – he’s such a great listener! We lamented about how much we were going to miss J while we were gone, and laughed hysterically at my funny stories. I sang loudly every time a good song came on, and Simba was duly impressed with my performances. We tried to play games, but Simba kept falling asleep during the alphabet game and we couldn’t get far in that “I’m going to the beach and I’m taking…” game. I’m not sure Simba’s ever been to the beach…that could be our next trip!! Even in the brutal heat, Simba was such wonderful company. 🙂

Unfortunately, we started out a little later than planned, and forgot we would be losing an hour driving east. As the mountains faded into the darkness, I was sad I couldn’t see the uncharted territory around us. Then I realized the darkness would also make it more difficult to find the campsite we had planned on staying at. I stopped to check the map and was swarmed by mosquitos. I rolled up the window as fast as I could and started swatting. After smearing bug guts and blood all over, turning the inside of my car into a mosquito massacre, we decided to just keep going to the next choice of campsites.

We had to drive clear to through Salt Lake City to the next state park. Thankfully, at 11:00 at night, there’s not much traffic. At long last, we pulled up to the campground. And it was closed. A big, mean, gloating “Campground FULL” sign, laughing in our faces. Back on the road!

We drove up into more mountains and came to a roadside rest stop. The lights were dim on the ends, bright by the building, and the pet area was fenced for off-leash play. It was nearly 1am, time for bed. I reclined both seats down, locked all the doors, and pulled out my sleeping bag. Simba and I were fast asleep in minutes.

Thus ends Day One of our Amazing Solo Journey of AWESOMENESS!

girl and her best friend, traveling dog, american roadtrip with dog

My best buddy, travel partner and fur baby. So excited to go BYE-BYE!

The Ungraceful Goose (AKA Me)

6 02 2012

That’s what I felt like.  I probably looked even worst.  But I vowed to do this long ago, and today was the day!

J got me a rockin’ pair of snowshoes for my birthday, back in November, and I have yet to try them out.  Saturday morning was b-e-a-utiful!  Right after lunch, I pulled on my tights, wool socks, underarmour, fleece, another pair of socks, snow pants, head band ear wrap thingy, gloves and jacket…. I took a break to rest, then out the door we went!

snowshoes Winthrop WA

new snowshoes!

I think I really needed the Vitamin D.  The sun has never felt so good on my face.  I live on the east side of Washington – we get tons more sunshine than the dreary west side.  But the winter has seemed so gloomy and stormy.  I was out to soak up as much sun as I possibly could!

We drove up towards Winthrop and turned off toward Sun Mountain Lodge – the only resort that the community has thus far allowed in the valley.  They maintain some fantastic cross country ski trails we hit up a couple weeks ago.  But that was not our destination today.  We parked by Patterson Lake and crossed the road.  Oh that’s right – the time had come for me to tackle Patterson Mountain – in the winter.

Patterson Mountain Winthrop WA

At the starting line

I climbed this little mountain (a really tall hill is more like it – maybe a butte?) back in the spring.  It’s not like summitting Rainier or anything, but it gets you up above the valley and is a great work out.  The trail is steep enough to wear me out pretty quickly anyway.  And I’m a maniac on snowshoes, so this was a monster goal for me.

You see, I’m not the most graceful creature walking this earth.  Flat sidewalks sometimes trip me up, I’ve had a wall or two smack right in to me, and on occasion, my feet will get confused as to who’s Left and who’s Right.  Hiking is trickier for me than for the average person.  Now add snow and ice into the equation, and put tennis rackets on my feet – great combo.

Back to Saturday…we got all strapped in and headed up the trail.  And by trail, I mean hard-packed, mega-trampled, don’t-even-need-snowshoes kind of trail.  Ppfff, I don’t need no stinking snowshoes!  But they were already on, and there was no way I was taking them off now.  One foot in front of the other, I tried to keep up with Justin the Speed Snowshoer.  I had to pick my feet up a little higher, and set them down farther apart than normal.  Not sure what to do with my poles at this point, I kind of just flailed around with them.  I teetered a bit to each side as I lifted up my feet.  I must have looked like a gangly, newborn goose.  Make that a gangly, drunk, newborn goose.

It’s not like I’ve never been snowshoeing before.  I went once about 2 years ago in Bend, OR, with my sister and a co-worker, and J and I went about 100 yards once last winter before sheltering under a tree due to bad weather.  But seriously, there’s not much to it, how hard can this be?!

The stupid trail was sunk down so far and was sometimes so narrow that I kept kicking my snowshoes.  I stepped on my own feet multiple times, and once I flat out tripped myself and fell over sideways.  Maybe if I had wings like a goose I’d actually have better balance.  And my poles were no help at all!!

I trudged, tripped and stumbled on.   We came to a gate where the trail splits; one way towards the lodge, the other to the top of Patterson.  Up we went!  But not long after this intersection, my clumsy feet starting behaving a little better.  The trail was less traveled here, which actually made the going easier on me.  I started looking around and enjoying the insanely gorgeous scenery.  I felt like a snowshoeing SUPERSTAR!

Showshoeing Patterson Mtn Winthrop WA

Queen of Showshoeing!

I started noticing details that I had been too preoccupied before to notice.  Like the bobcat tracks meandering along near the trail.  And the tip-tops of a few bushes that managed to be tall enough to not be buried.  And the crazy-cool patterns the wind had sculpted into the snow, the fabulously sparkly snow!

At what I think was about half way up, I realized our trail was no longer a trail – we were simply following a set of ski tracks.  We must be the first brave souls (since the last big snow) to venture this far up!  And as I noticed the tracks veering off to the left when I wanted to go straight up, I stepped off INTO THE VIRGIN SNOW!  That’s right ladies and gents – I broke trail from then on.  J was the smart man who let me lead, knowing I wouldn’t even realize that I was doing all the work.  But this was so much more fun!  A lot of work, yes, but that was mostly just the incline we were climbing, and the weird crusty layer of snow/ice we were crunching through.

Before long, after one last little push, I had conquered the beast, slain the dragon, brought down the castle (made it to the top).  I was the victorious warrior, at quest’s end.  I stood and surveyed the splendor of the treasure I had just fought for and won.

And I jumped for joy.

Patterson Mtn North Cascades Washington

my feet are off the ground!!

Then I fell flat on my back in the snow.  Lets face it: once an Ungraceful Goose, always an Ungraceful Goose.

Methow Valley Washington

that didn't go as planned...

We dinked around a bit, took some nice panorama shots, and then prepped for the trip down.  It was hard to leave; without a breath of wind or any sound to be heard, this serene silence enveloped us.  It was relaxing and even a little soothing.  But the sun was going to be gone soon and we had to go.

Going down is actually worse for me, with the slipping and sliding and brutal stress on my knees.  But there’s something so incredible about seeing this expanse of white spread before you and just spreading your arms and charging full steam ahead.  We both got a little giddy and ran/flopped/floundered out into the snow.  (Those last two were more me; all the “running” was done by J.)  It was wonderful, light-hearted, uninhibited fun.

Snowshoeing North Cascades Winthrop WA



The way down, of course, didn’t take near so long.  We were treated to glowing peaks and ridge lines as the sun dipped down below the closest mountains.  It was beautiful.  And we had it all to ourselves – we didn’t see a single person the whole time.

I know there are a gazillion places out there that must have this kind of entrancing natural beauty.  But to be able to say I live in one such place – right smack-dab in the middle of it! – makes me puff up with pride.  And if I have to look like a drunk baby goose to get out and enjoy it, so be it!!

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