A couple months ago Dani came back to Oregon.
She was propped up at home on Mount Hood while I was down here at a lower elevation and it was starting to look like we might not be able to connect on that particular trip.
But then my sweet sister friend had a crazy idea and being that I'm the same breed of crazy, I decided that the whole thing was brilliant and one day after work I hopped in the car and drove to the other side of the mountain and by about 9pm I was sitting across the table from the girl with the crazy blond hair drinking a beer in Bend.
That's all we had.
And since I will be on the road again for another hair brained adventure with said sister in (coincidentally) another 34 hours, it's only fitting that I do a much belated recap of that mid-week weekend here before I have a whole new year's worth of wild hares (hairs? I say it all the time, but I've never written in out and now I'm conflicted - hare or hair? anyone?)…
So first of all, we decided to horrify the whole of Central Oregon by being ourselves.
Fun trick: do this on a busy street corner - no one will think you're weird at all.
Oh! And we had an amazing breakfast at the place we stayed - McMenamin's Old St. Francis School - which is also worth mentioning here before we go any further… It was definitely a little spendy, but so much fun, and so perfect and cozy. And I was the dingbat who didn't take any pictures of our room (the Fagen Brothers room) but trust me when I say, it was perfect. And any excuse to enjoy a full-sized shower I'll take it.
(worth mentioning here that my shower at home is tiny and angled and basically if you're any taller than me you're screwed which makes me feel like I should apologize to Nathan for when he lived with me for a couple weeks and had to deal with it and he'd about 6'1'' and yeah, that couldn't have been any fun for him - sorry Nathan)
I AM THE QUEEN OF DIGRESSION. ANYWAY!
Breakfast. That french toast.
Preface: Dani does yoga.
And yoga poses are her version of planking. Only cooler, and more skillful.
So naturally, crow pose in front of Crow's Feet.
I marvel. Someday I will be disciplined enough and she will teach me how to do that.
The other thing Dani does in Montana is run Cabinet Mountain Brewing with her man Grant so checking out the local beer scene with her is always one of my favorite things.
Enter Crux Fermentation Project.
If you're ever in Bend and don't go to this place, consider our friendship done. I KID! NOT REALLY!
GO HERE, EAT HERE, DRINK HERE.
Sidenote: Dad, feel free to move to Bend or any of the nearby Central Oregon townships… I need more reasons to explore the brewery scene out there and something tells me you'd be on board with that mission too
And while we were perusing one of the little groceries, what did I find but Private Preserve!
That was pretty cool.
I had to resist the urge to tell everyone that passed by that I was totally with the PP band. Instead I had Dani take this picture and the one employee that walked by seemed only mildly concerned that I was so enthusiastic about wine preservation.
After that, we made a quick stop at Boneyard where I found the best pumpkin ale I've ever had in my life - Orange Is The New Jack.
A growlette of that would be worth the drive alone.
Breweries and shopping through the little shops on the main drag through town pretty much sums up that day.
By evening we were good on beer and pub snacks so we decided to be fancy and take ourselves to a place that I wish I could remember the name of because spicy red curry mussels are worth remembering (all we do in this state is eat and drink, if you haven't noticed). And the seafood linguine! OH!
It was entirely too decadent but that and a couple glasses of wine followed by a cold walk back to our room was just about perfect.
And all throughout the day we talked and solved all the world's problems and I was reminded over and over again that God's way of bringing friends into our lives is infinitely creative and were it not for a tall, lanky goofball from Indiana bringing this crazy little mermaid girl to dinner one night four years ago, we might not have gotten to know Dani Spillman and a few years later I wouldn't have driven to Montana to hang out with someone I barely knew, but hey… Like I said. Creative.
In all, 34 hours went by way too fast and while we waited outside the coffee shop until they opened at 7am, we decided that Bend would become its own tradition from now on.
By the end of the day, Dani was teaching yoga in Montana and I was closing up the tasting room in Dayton, and the whole thing seemed like it might not have happened at all - fortunately I had just enough of the sugar and cardamom pastry (OMG ocean rolls, you guys) left from that morning to jog my senses so you know, crisis averted.
And I finally got to go to Sisters Coffee Company which brings me to this final thought:
Dad, feel free to move to Sisters if Bend doesn't work out. I want reasons to go to this coffee shop every morning.
All in all, Bend is magic. So is Central OR beer. So is anything made with cardamom.
Also, I'll be in Montana for a few days now starting January 6th if anyone needs me.