From the Blog

Weekend Away: Sisters and Bend

Holy crap, you guys. I forgot how nice it is to get out of town. Not even that we’ve just been back in Portland for less than two months. Or that practically our whole year in Astoria could be considered a vacation. But getting out, getting away, breaking up the routine, seeing something new, it’s so fricken good for you.

We planned a couple get-aways early in the summer because we knew we wouldn’t really be able to do any camping this year. I have to admit there’s a small part of me that is a little embarrassed that I’m not hardcore enough to camp while pregnant. We really like to camp. And maybe I could just stop being a sissy about needing to pee three times a night, or sleeping on an air mattress with an extra thirty pound belly, or needing a catapult to get my ass out of chairs.

But then, meh. Even though it’s a national pastime to judge how hardcore mommies can be, I don’t need to be a hero. I’d be better at winning the “Most Whiny” trophy, or the “Least Pleasant” award, and I’d certainly get at least an honorable mention at being “Most Grunty.” I can’t really move without grunting. I can’t control it. I bet I grunt in my sleep as I try to turn over. By the time these babies come, I’ll probably lose my ability to speak human and just grunt full time. I’m delicate and sophisticated.

Right, so we love camping, but I’ll take a night at a resort or nice hotel while I’m gestating. We got a gift certificate from a family member for a cabin at Five Pines Resort in Sisters, Oregon. We wouldn’t normally be able to stay in such a swanky place. Holy crap, we were excited.

Instead of taking the I-5 south at rush hour, we headed east on 26. Getting out of Portland is a pain in the ass, but after you get past Gresham and Sandy, the rest of the drive is detoxifying and lovely. We drove past some of our favorite camping spots near Mt Hood and tipped over the mountain to the drier east side of the state.

And this is where Dave and I had one of those “discussions.” Not an argument, but one of those discussions where neither of us really knew what we were talking about, and since we were in the woods, we had no access to Wikipedia. But we had a light debate anyway.

It started with him saying, “Pretty soon, we’ll start to see pine trees.” And I was baffled. I thought all of Oregon was covered with pine trees. He explained that pines are different than firs or spruce. He said pine trees have puffs of upward pointing needles, and dark areas between reddish sections of bark.

I recognized that he was talking about ponderosa pines. But for me, if a tree has needles, it’s a pine tree. I grew up on the east coast, and I don’t think we had the diversity of coniferous trees that Oregon has. To me, if it was green all year, it was a pine tree. I believe that is a direct quote from my third grade teacher.

As we drove east and the terrain became more arid, Dave pointed out how the species of trees were changing. And I yes, “Yes, but from one kind of pine tree to another.” I wasn’t really arguing, because I knew I didn’t know what I was talking about. Dave is a native Oregonian. And despite not having internet access right then for him to show me exactly how I was wrong, I figured he probably knew what a thing or two about trees in in the Pacific Northwest. I still called everything pine trees, because I’m cute.

The drive to Sisters was exceedingly pretty. The sage meadows, the groomed agricultural fields, the giant volcanoes in the distance, the pine trees. Even the ugly parts are pretty, just because it was different. We sighed and drove in silence with little smiles on our faces. I forgot how much we like road trips.

We got to Sisters and checked into the resort. Did I mention it was swanky?

We got our own cabin, and if I had any lingering doubts about not camping, they were firmly squashed when we saw the king sized bed, the fireplace and the giant double whirlpool tub. It was among the nicest places I’ve stayed in. We threw off our bags and road clothes and went to go get something to eat. It was already past eight o’clock, so we didn’t do any exploring that night.

We slept well, though I am entering a stage of pregnancy where my bones are starting to hurt. My feet hurt, my hips hurt, my ribcage hurts, my back hurts (see: whining, grunty, above). None of it is excruciating, but sleeping in a different bed did throw me for a loop. I think our bed at home is probably firmer than hotel beds. So I did wake up with some funny new back issues. But they went away as I got up and walked around.

We headed into town for coffee and breakfast. We stopped at Sisters Coffee, which also has a location in the Pearl District in Portland. I was bummed that the cinnamon rolls were not the same as in town, but their coffee is pretty good. We had breakfast at The Gallery, which was sort of a diner style greasy spoon. We were, by far, the youngest people in the restaurant. Dave had a perfectly cooked rainbow trout. Like, a real whole fish. It was pretty amazing. Our waitress was effortlessly pleasant and efficient. I don’t know if she saw my big belly, but she got me a cup of ice water to go “for the dusty road ahead.” We rolled out of there stuffed and happy.

We walked around the town and popped into some shops. Neither Dave nor I are “shoppers,” really. It’s not always fun or recreational to browse through stores. I did have just one purchase to make, and that was to get a new wallet. I’ve had the same wallet for almost ten years, and the most handy feature about it, the wrist strap, finally broke. So I decided to get a cowboy wallet in Sisters. It’s all old west looking with stamped leather. Rustic and authentic, right? It was made in Paraguay.

We had a couple things we wanted to check out outside of town. One was the Dee Wright Observatory. We got in the car and drove up route 242, though we knew it might be closed before we could get to the observatory.

Bummer. It was a lovely drive anyway, with lots of cyclists enjoying the quiet, mostly car free road. We took a forest road pointing to a campground, just to make the trip worthwhile.

I think this is North and Middle Sister. It could be Middle and South. I’m not really sure, because I’m sort of a dummy in this part of the state.

I think this might be Mt Washington, looking north. It’s hard to say with clouds covering the spire. A bit to the right was Black Butte. I took these photos walking around in an arid, brushy meadow, and Dave kindly requested that I not get bit by a rattlesnake. Because that would have sucked.

Also, I needed to take off my pants, outside, in the middle of the wilderness, and put on a skirt instead. It was too hot for pants. Dave would normally not approve the removal of pants outdoors by the side of the road. But I’m pregnant, and therefore it’s just easier to placate me and hope the insanity passes quickly.

We turned around and decided to go to the head of the Metolius River. It’s a full on river that springs right out of the rock.

So it’s hard to visualize from looking at this photo, but that’s a wall of rocks, and the water just flows out beneath it at 50,000 gallons per minute. And it creates a whole goddamned river.

It’s hard to see, but that’s Mt Jefferson way up to the north.

Also, this happened:

And this:

Yeah, I don’t know. The boys wanted to see the river too.

We headed back into Sisters, and then onto Bend to check into Old St Francis School for the rest of our long weekend. I’ll write that about next.



  1. Heather, It is getting to be that time of year again in central Oregon. There have been a couple days of sunshine and the rain of winter is almost forgotten. Bring on the sunny days of summer! It seems like it is time to hit the mountains, forests and hiking trails again. Some have said that spring is a little late this year in Oregon, but at last it might actually be here. Thanks!

  2. Beautiful pictures guys! Thanks so much for sharing. I HOPE one day Mom and I can make it back home. Such beauty in one state. We always took the Mt. Hood route from Portland to Bend, with many stops in between to soak in all the beauty! I hope all is well with the pregnancy Heather, you look awesome!!!

    Take care


  3. We love the Metolius area….did you guys make it to the historic Camp Sherman Store down the road? Our favorite campgrounds in Oregon, especially Allen Springs, are along the Metolius River…Camp Creek (thanks to finding the photos on your site) is now our second favorite place to camp! Can’t wait for summer to hurry up and get here.

  4. i don’t know what it is about the out of doors… i am normally a prudish person when it comes to revealing my glory in all its glory. but put me outside camping, or a parking lot, or pulled over on the freeway and my inner exhibitionist comes raging out, lol.
    love the belly.

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