Queue up the good old Barenaked Ladies jam because it’s been one week since we landed in Oregon. We have packed a lot into our first week here – too much to really capture in words (although, y’all know I tried … long post alert below 😜). But the TLDR version is in this highlight reel, just a few of the views we’ve hiked, biked, ran and paddle boarded to see.
A few moments that didn’t make the highlight but are worth an honorable mention:
The smoke was pretty bad the day after we arrived. We got a crash course in monitoring the AQI score multiple times throughout the day to see what activities were safe, and picking the things we felt comfortable with. On the day that the smoke was at it’s worst over the past week, we found a local pool (which just so happened to be a senior center) and purchased a couple day passes to swim laps.
Fun fact, in early 2020, Stephen and I started to train for the Miami Triathlon which was, of course, cancelled. But we spent the better part of January through March swimming, biking, and running indoors at the local FFC gyms in Chicago and it was fun to have something to train for together. Plus, this sport kind of leveled the playing field and allowed us to actually do something together. (Stephen’s always been the natural athlete and generally just excels in whatever he tries; as somewhat of a competitive person myself, I typically find myself wanting to compete with him and usually “losing” — although he’ll say it’s not a competition I can’t help but beg to differ.) When it comes to triathlon, though, we’re both novices and swimming comes a little easier to me. Now, whenever the proposed activity is any combination of swim/bike/run I am ALL for doing it together because I can be more certain that I won’t storm off as a sore loser or in a competitive fit of rage 🤪
I digress. Back to the senior center.
We shared a lane to leave space for our new friends, the elderly folk of Bend. I even made a friend a few lanes over who complimented my swim cap (not joking) … and a drop-in was $8, which made everything just a win-win-win (minus the smoke outside).
In addition to our hikes around Whychus Creek Trail, Smith Rock and Elk Lake which you can see in some of the video clips, early on Friday morning we biked to Pilot Butte and decided to run up to catch the view just after sunrise.
To “run up” is a term I’m using lightly. I’m now calling this the summer of glutes because everything is up a hill. It makes for such a rewarding view but the inclines are no joke. (Sometimes, my little one speed bicycle can’t handle the hills on the roads and I just have to hop off and walk it the rest of the way.) Granted, I’m more used to the midwest right now, like the rolling hills of Halsted St and that one part of Milwaukee Ave 😆 but I did go to UNC-Chapel Hill for undergrad and can (sort of) remember what it’s like to train around hills, so I’m embracing the climb.
We ran/jog/walked (and eventually just kind of pulled our legs) up to the top of Pilot Butte, 900 feet of elevation in 15 minutes. It was straight up. But, like I said, the view at the top was gorgeous. The sun was just starting to shine and warm the crisp mountain air. We could see the snowcapped Cascade mountains in the distance.
After getting back to our bikes, we scoped out a local coffee shop and landed on Lone Pine where we got coffees + an unreal breakfast sandwich to go … but next Friday I’m vowing to set up shop and work from here for the morning because it was the vibe of everything that brings me joy.
Finally, I am certain there is something in the drinking water here. The community of people I’ve met so far has been more welcoming than I ever imagined a town could be. People in cars slow down courteously for cyclists waiting to cross at crosswalks and smile through the front windshield to let you know they see you and are waiting for you to cross. In the 3 yoga classes I’ve taken, I made instant friends who let me know of some local spots to check out for coffee, brunch and activities. The barista at a local coffee shop asked me genuinely what I was up to today and we struck up a conversation like there was no rush to move on. When Stephen went to golf he synced up with another solo golfer who let him know “there’s nothing you have to do here, only what you want to do.”
I’m a little nervous writing this because I don’t want to jinx it! But it’s been a lovely change of pace and a very welcome reminder that life is not all about the rush to the next thing, the next project, or completing the next task. Sometimes, the person you meet or the moment you spend just being the witness to the life unfolding in front of you can be quite alright.
In fact, I’ll go as far to say it’s more than enough to do just that.