Greetings from Boise, ID and from another AutoZone parking lot. Adventures with Bertha continue as the electrical problems are still a mystery, though it seems we (Jim) may be getting closer to fixing the problem…fingers crossed!
We come to you from a new state and a new time zone today, after having been in PST since January. Despite today’s electrical problems, we’ve had an incredible week of being back on the road and loving every second we got to spend in Bend, OR. We last left you having just pulled into Bend, not yet knowing what to expect from the town other than hearing the rave reviews from other nomads and friends who have explored the area. Turns out the rave reviews were entirely earned.
Our first couple of days in Bend, we scheduled ourselves to have mainly work and training days. The first pleasant surprise was that parking in the area was so easy, even with a 30 foot RV and a trailer! We rolled into downtown last Wednesday and were delighted to be able to park our home a block away from the library, where we spent the entire day. Heather escaped a little early to squeeze in a quick workout and discovered that we were also parked right next to an absolutely gorgeous park right on a sizable pond. The surrounding neighborhood was quite idyllic as well with manicured lawns and modern craftsman-style homes, it was clear there’s a quaint yet hip vibe to the town. We saw a lot of young families out and even young kids riding bikes around on their own sans supervision. We also explored the downtown area (right by the library and park) which was filled with coffee shops and craft breweries. Didn’t take long to fall in love with Bend! Thursday was another work day so we just parked right alongside that same park and got in our stationary bike ride followed by a run before spending the remainder of the day back in the library. You can see from the aerial photo just how close to everything we were able to park, it was awesome! We slept at Walmart those first couple of nights before learning that RV’s are even allowed to park overnight on the streets in Bend…this place just gets better and better.
Friday we decided to take some time and go exploring! We had wanted to get in some kind of hike or nature walk, but we seemed to be either finding options that were way too hard (a 10 hour hike 30 miles away) or too easy (a flat walk along a creek 2 miles out of town). We settled on too easy, found a parking spot right at the trailhead, and packed up some snacks and our hammocks before heading out on the walk. It was a perfect day, the nicest we’d had in Bend yet – 65 and sunny. We followed the creek for about a mile before coming to a wooden bridge, where we stopped for some photos and to take in the views. We decided to backtrack just a little from there and found a perfect spot next to the creek to set up our hammocks. There was a little foot traffic but it was overall a quiet, perfect place to spend a few hours relaxing, reading, and soaking up a little sun.
Following our little day adventure, we grabbed some pizza and showered up for our big date that evening. Turns out some of our favorite social media nomads are in Bend for a few months for work, so we made plans to meet at one of the most highly recommended breweries in town – Crux Fermentation Project. And because it was such a nice, warm day, the place was completely packed as we walked up to meet our new friends. Elizabeth and Doug have been on the road for about a year and a half full-time. They recently downsized from a large Airstream to a Sprinter van for ease of getting around…talk about having to purge in order to get 2 adults and a dog living together in a van. They were so cool to hang out with; they’re both avid mountain bikers and paddle boarders and Doug is also into off-road triathlon (lake/ocean swim, mountain bike, trail run). They love good beer and good coffee and we just had an absolute blast spending the evening with them. There was never a lull in conversation, and in fact, we kind of forgot to eat dinner and ended up closing down the second brewery we visited. It was 11pm before we knew it and we still wanted to spend more time together, so we made plans to do so again before we left Bend.
The next morning, Saturday, we had a bit of a slow start. We only had a couple of beers each the night before, but they’re strong beers and without dinner, we were surprised by some slight hangovers the next morning. We got a little work done and a few Bertha chores (aka procrastinated) before we finally dragged ourselves out for a 10 mile run around Bend. It was another beautiful day, although a bit chillier than the day before. We ran loops around the town, exploring a little and taking in the sights.
Once back from the run, we got all showered up and snuck in a quick nap before preparing for our next date that evening. We had another set of full-timing friends who were coming through Bend for a few days; we’d been close to each other in Northern California but our paths hadn’t quite crossed yet. When they saw we were in Bend, they sped up their plans to get there sooner to meet up with us. Brett actually started following us on Strava (the fitness tracking app we use) a few months ago, so for quite some time we’d all been following each other’s activities on Strava and Instagram. It was nice to finally put faces with the names when we met Brett and his wife, Amy, at Deschutes Brewery (the iconic Oregon beer) for dinner and more wonderful conversation about the nomadic lifestyle. They are also avid mountain bikers (we’re really missing the boat here) and live in a much smaller RV than us with 2 dogs. They’ve been on the road for almost a year now, having left their home in Colorado for a little more adventure. We had a lovely dinner with them and actually made plans to go for a bike ride with Brett the following day. It’s so fun making road friends, though we totally failed to get a pic at dinner that night.
We found a quiet spot to park for the evening right near where we’d be meeting Brett the next morning. He pulled up with his bike at 10am and we all set off toward Smith Rock, a 45-mile round-trip bike ride. The roads were awesome – smooth and well-maintained, running through picturesque fields and farmland. It was really a stunning ride to Smith Rock and the weather, albeit a bit cold, was holding up nicely. In just over an hour we were there, though we couldn’t believe just how smoothly and quickly we’d made it. And the views, oh they were incredible! We rode the bikes around the area, soaking in the beautiful rock formations, landscape, and active people out everywhere. We were really wishing we had hiking clothes or mountain bikes to further explore. Smith Rock is a rock climber’s Mecca – there were bodies all over the rock faces as people scaled the walls…it was unreal to see so many climbers taking that on. Eventually, we noticed the clouds rolling in and the temperature in the air dropping and decided we should get back. Jim and Brett took off ahead, they spent the entire ride taking turns pacing each other – one fighting the headwind while the other drafted, and then switching. Meanwhile, Heather slowly and steadily kept up the rear and it wasn’t long before we realized why the way there was so easy…we were climbing the entire way back. It was a slow, almost unnoticeable downhill grade on the way there, but the grade became much more apparent on the way back, especially when paired with the headwind. We made it back to Bertha and said our goodbyes to Brett as he continued back to his wife and RV. We had some lunch, took some showers, and again snuck in a quick nap before our final date again that evening.
We met up with Elizabeth and Doug again that evening at Wild Rose, the adorable and delicious Thai restaurant in the heart of downtown. And just like on Friday night, we never seemed to run out of things to talk about. We finished dinner, walked over to Bend Brewery for another beer, and finally capped the night at one last outdoor bar before we were all freezing (it was in the mid 30’s) and had to say our goodbyes. Such a blast hanging out with them and we have a feeling it won’t be the last time we see those two.
After sleeping downtown that night, we woke up on Monday and decided we should make our way out of town. Jim got his weekly training plans done while Heather did the laundry and cleaning and finally, in the late afternoon we were headed east. We only made it about three hours before pulling off into a small town to make some dinner and decided just to call it a night.
We crossed the border into Idaho today, losing an hour of our day as we entered Mountain Time Zone. We plan to stay in Boise for 3 or 4 days before we continue on to Utah this weekend. Stay with us as we see what this part of the potato state has to offer, thanks for reading!
Total RV Trip Miles: 15,878.3