Coming to you all this week from beautiful Bend, OR. This week brings a momentous milestone for us and for Bertha as we cross our final state line as full time RV’ers! It’s been a hell of an adventure as we hit 500 days on the road as of today! We’re not quite done with Bertha, but we are officially considering ourselves Oregon residents as we begin the process of settling down and putting roots in one place. More on all that later…
We left you last week in gorgeous Santa Cruz, CA, coming off of JB’s Half Ironman and having a couple of subsequent days of relaxation and productivity with the sound of the ocean outside our window. On Wednesday, we started our journey north, making it only as far as San Jose initially, stopping there for fro-yo while we waited for rush hour to die down. Then proceeding to Milpitas, to a nice little boondocking spot we had discovered earlier this year.
Thursday took us another 110 miles up to Sacramento, where we needed to be in order to pick up Heather’s friend, Nina, from the airport the next morning. But first, we made a stop to get Bertha washed in preparation for our house guest…Bertha loves getting a bath! We found a quiet neighborhood spot to sleep that night, only a few miles from the airport.
Nina was scheduled to fly in from Phoenix at 10am, so we got to the airport nice and early to hang out with the Uber and Lyft drivers waiting for business. Airport security wasn’t happy to have such a large vehicle parked in the cell phone lot for an hour, but they luckily let us stay. We rolled in to pick Nina up at Arrivals in our chariot, complete with the La Cucaracha horn blaring…what a classy airport ride. We were a little nervous about road tripping with a house guest since we’ve never done it before. Would she be comfortable with the RV lifestyle? Where would she sit while we drove? How awkward would our non stop singing be? But we hit the road toward Oregon as soon as we had her secured, and she fit right in. We had lots of laughs and she joined right in with the singing for the entire 9 hour drive.
During the drive, we made a stop in Red Bluff, CA for lunch and almost ended up in a fist fight. We parked Bertha in a chiropractor’s office parking (admittedly, it wasn’t the best idea but there was limited parking for our beast), and while we were eating a lunch, a cop came into the deli and asked us to move Bertha. Which JB did immediately, and as he walked back into the deli, the chiropractor came over and started yelling insults at JB. As JB sat back down to finish his lunch, the guy came into the deli and starting asking JB to come outside, like he wanted a fist fight. It was the craziest thing, even the people in the restaurant with us thought it was nuts and apologized on behalf of the town. JB avoided the fight and we got back on the road as soon as we finished eating. It was a long day of driving, JB was a champ and drove us all the way to Bend, OR, getting us parked and tucked in around 9:00 that evening. We set Nina up on the super uncomfortable couch and hoped she’d be able to get some sleep. No dice. It got really cold that evening, something we weren’t prepared for just yet, coming in from California and Arizona. Plus, our couch is just not great for sleeping on. JB was a gentleman and offered the bed to Nina the following two nights…though we did try to get us all in one bed one evening, but that didn’t work either.
Saturday morning we were treated to eggs and toast a’la JB before heading downtown to pick up our race packets. Nina has been really into hiking and trail running for the past few years, and it’s because of her that Heather agreed to take on a 50k trail run. A large part of that motivation was simply to spend time with Nina again; she and Heather were good friends as teens and into their early 20’s, but lost touch over the last 15 or so years. It was nice to be able to reconnect as adults and have a whole weekend of fun to bond, plus Nina and JB got along really well too, like two little peas in a weird little pod.
After picking up the race packets, we wandered around downtown a little, ducking into a few cute boutiques, before meeting our friends, Kym and Kevin, for lunch. Kym and Kevin are the friends we spent time boondocking with in Idaho, and are now our neighbors again in Bend! We had a nice Mexican lunch on the patio, and then headed over to the Bend Oktoberfest to see what it was all about. They had a lot of fun activities scheduled for the weekend – yodeling contests, weiner dog races, tricycle races, and live music – but we decided to leave there and head to our favorite Bend brewery, Crux. Crux is fun because they have such a nice, large outdoor space to play cornhole or other games. And of course, their beer is delish. We hung out there for about two hours, before Nina and Heather decided they should get back to Bertha, drive her up to Mount Bachelor, and start the relaxing and prep for the race the next day. They laid out outfits, planned nutrition, took quick RV showers, and turned in for an early night. Big day tomorrow!
There was a little uncertainty about whether the race was going to happen due to the fires that had been in the area for the past few weeks. We woke up at 5:30am to total darkness and a whole lot of cold! The clothes that had been laid out the night before were no longer appropriate – Heather switched to two jackets (one for warmth, plus a windbreaker), gloves, a beanie, and pants in lieu of capris. She was also seriously considering how crazy they were to be heading out for a race in the cold early morning, especially once the sun started to peek out and we could see how smoky it still was in the area. The race conditions were definitely not what we were expecting, especially for Nina, who had been training in 100+ degree Arizona heat!
But nonetheless, we geared up, downed some peanut butter toast and bananas, and got to the starting line for the early, 7:00am start (the official race start time was 8:00 but we thought we might need the extra time). It was an abrupt start and before we really even realized it, we were off! Most of the group took off in front, while Nina and Heather stayed back and started their slow and steady race plan. It wasn’t long until our body heat compensated for the morning chill of 37 degrees, and we settled into a rhythm – running the downs and the flats, and walking the ups. The race started at about 6,000 feet and consisted of about 4,000 feet in total climbing, so the course was no joke. It was also beautiful! The sun started to rise and the smoke started to clear, making for absolutely stunning views for the entire 31 miles. We passed the time talking, singing a little, and the miles ticked by. We had 5 aid stations, most of which weren’t well stocked, but the coolness of the day kept us from needing a ton of water or salt. There were also a lot of people passing us, many coming up from the 8:00am start, which was a bit discouraging. It was amazing to see these people in shorts and tank tops, carrying no water, and running this in half the time it took us. But good for them! Eventually, our watches clicked over to 30 miles and we were so stoked to be a mile from the finish line! The wind was picking up and it was starting to drizzle light rain – we were definitely ready to be done! As we approached the final stretch, the signage was ambiguous, so we followed a couple of other girls who were running in front of us. Turns out it was the wrong direction and we ran about a mile extra before finding the right path and making it to the finish line. Talk about a disappointing end to an otherwise really good day! As we approached the finish, we saw Kym and Kevin cheering us on, and a green flag with two guys standing next to it. It was a very anticlimactic finish line, they gave us hats instead of medals and pointed us toward the cold food as they were breaking down the rest of the race setup in preparation for the storm coming in. The five of us ate our cold burritos in Bertha as we recapped the day, Nina and Heather feeling quite pleased to have finished a 50k ultra trail run in just under 8 hours. And it was truly so much fun to have done it together!
Kym and Kevin headed home, Heather and Nina got showered up and changed into warm clothes, and JB drove us back to Bend. We got Thai takeout and the three of us squeezed into one bed to watch some TV and just rest before calling it another early night. Overall, we were surprised by just how good we felt after a long day of running through the mountains!
Monday morning we tried to sleep in, but the body does weird things after you put it through something extra strenuous. We didn’t sleep that well that night and couldn’t quite finish the next few meals we had. But Monday we had to get Nina to Portland for her evening flight back to Phoenix. She took us out and treated us to a wonderful brunch at Bad Wolf Bakery and Bistro (yum, their benedicts were incredible!) before we headed to Hertz to grab a rental car. Heather and Nina hit the road to Portland around noon for the 3 hour drive. Once in Portland, they met up with Nina’s cousin for a quick chat, a stroll through Powell’s bookstore, and a stop at VooDoo donuts (because you have to when in Portland). After dropping Nina at the airport just after 5:00, Heather headed back to Bend. It rained most of the drive and the exhaustion from yesterday’s race started to set in. By the time she rolled back into Bend, she was tired, cranky, and hungry, much to JB’s delight. But a good night’s sleep and all was right as rain on Tuesday.
After a relatively slow start today (Tuesday) morning, we got up and moving into chore day. Heather cleaned, did 7 loads of laundry, and grocery shopped, while JB did a 3 and a half hour brick (bike ride and run – he has a full Ironman in a month!). We got the chores done and then headed to Bend Brewery to meet Kevin and Kym for happy hour, before they led us down a dirt road to their boondocking spot for the week. We got Bertha settled into the woods next to our neighbors, then brought dinner to their RV to spend the evening eating, chatting, and watching Lost in Translation. We love living next to them in the wilderness!
We plan to stay in Bend for another week, since we have this awesome parking spot in the woods. Next week we’ll head into Portland and will continue to keep you posted on our plans for settling down. In the meantime, thanks for reading!
Total RV Trip Miles: 22,034.5