From the Blog

Getting Bent, Day 2

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While in Bend, we stayed at the apartment of some kind friends, who were away camping for the weekend. We looked after their cat and peachy-cheeked cockatiel. Their cat was super friendly and super fat. She handily earned the nickname “Super Fatty,” and would gladly come to us when we called her that. Probably because she thought we would feed her a pork chop. Super fat cats always remind me of this cartoon. I think all the fatty cats I’ve ever met probably put on tutus and do the routine from that cartoon. They do this after all the humans have gone to sleep.

For Day Two in Bend, we got up at a leisurely pace, and got breakfast at a Catholic school house that was converted into a bar. I suppose there are few activities so pleasantly blasphemous as eating biscuits and gravy where scores of grade school kids had their knuckles rapped by nuns.

Downtown Bend is cute and compact. We were able to walk from our apartment, through a cute park, along the river to town. There were coffee shops and wine bars and brew pubs and inexplicably, a Hawaiian store. One of us got flip flops (I called them thongs, pronounced “tongs” when we were kids.)

Shopping and eating and drinking beer can really only fill up so much time. Plus, since we were in the desert, and I like the desert, I wanted to go see some nature.

We went to The High Desert Museum. I’m linking to the website, but don’t click on it. The website kind of sucks. The museum itself was great. The parking lot was like we were visiting Disneyland. There were a ton of cars. It was gray and drizzling, and the museum was in a green forest of pine trees. It didn’t feel like the desert.

The museum seemed new, well-funded and well-attended. They had animal exhibits with bald eagles, a sleeping lynx, a pacing fox, cutie spotted owl chicks (big and fat and head bobby!) and swimmy otters. I learned that Dave has a problem seeing animals poop. I reasoned that it was perfectly natural, but he asked “Why do they have to do it in front of me?” He thought the otters were cute until he saw one poop. Then, not cute anymore. Poor otters.

They had exhibits on Native American history, American Pioneer history and they actually had some guys outside showing us the old school life. They were sawing logs and chopping wood for demonstrative purposes. Chopping wood. To show us how it was done.

I thought about how I would feel if it were my job on weekends to chop wood and have people watch me do it. To demonstrate how tough life was. And I decided, no, I would not like it. Even if I got really good at it and I was a wood-chopping rockstar, I don’t think I’d like it. It would be like mowing the lawn. I never liked mowing the lawn.

There were a bunch of old dudes in red suspenders working a saw mill, cutting trees up into boards. It was a *giant* saw. These guys were pretty old. I’m guessing this had been their profession before the “spotted owl crowd” ruined everything. Spotted Owl Jerks!

So these were a bunch of old guys sawing logs. And this is maybe how they spend their weekends. I’m not sure if they are volunteers or if they are paid. I’m guessing they don’t care. They seemed at home. High Desert Museum: Thumbs up.

From there, I saw “Lava Land” a little ways away on the map. Who can resist a place named “Lava Land”? Not me!

Lava Butte

We drove the Lava Butte, pictured above. And it was super cool because you could drive to the top! Awesome! Hiking is for sissies!

It was socked-in with low clouds, (it’s only 500 feet tall) but it cleared up enough to see some views.

You can see above, and in the satellite image further up, this little volcano spewed out a bunch of lava. The kind of lava known as a’a in Hawaii. According to Wikipedia, it hasn’t erupted for 7000 years. And there is still barely any vegetation.

Butte from the Bottom

We hiked down around the bottom through the lava field. It looked a lot like Hawaii. Except beyond the ceiling of clouds, you could see a range of snowy mountains.

These are probably Mt. Bachelor and/or Broken Top and/or the Three Sisters. Volcanoes are fricken cool! I watched a lot of Nova as a kid!

We finished up the hike around the bottom of the cinder cone and it was getting to be Beer O’Clock. But we saw that we could hike to some falls on the Deschutes River.

It was cool and green and it smelled good…and isn’t it beer o’clock? And my feet hurt? But somehow we are in the woods and I somehow DON’T have a beer strapped to my face? How is this?


Because there was a roar in the distance, and we turned a corner on our lovely, beer-free hike, and HOLY CRAP THAT’S A LOT OF WATER.

More Rapids

During that eruption 7000 years ago, the lava came from the cinder cone and blocked the course of the river. So a lake formed for a little while. And the river was all: “Oh no you di’int!” and smacked down the lava dam and carved these rapids. They were pretty impressive. And these were the *little* ones. The big ones where eight miles away.

I love lava and trees and water and rapids, but, please. We were late for beer. And pear cider. And a pile of fried zucchini as big as my head.


  1. There’s some joke about the town of Sisters, Oregon that the only reason people have a tooth brush is to brush their tooth. As you can tell it would be a hilariously funny joke, I just don’t remember it. Courtesy of my sister who used to live in Bend.

  2. All right, it’s time to admit your true feelings. Are you starting to linger as you pass the chain saws at Home Depot? Does the thought of sawdust cause a smile to appear? Just give us the word, and we’ll send in an extraction team to get you to a detox center to deprogram the Oregon-lumberjack-brain-washing that is starting to become evident.

  3. There was an LA-style traffic jam in Sisters on our way back. It took an hour to get through town. Some kind of horrific rodeo stampede across the highway, er sumfin.

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