Before we began our trip, Steve and I had heard from many different people how beautiful Bend Oregon is. What is so amazing is that anyone that we have mentioned Bend to during our trek across Oregon, each person had only great things to say about the area. Steve and I tried to keep an open mind as we drove into Bend-we didn’t want to have too high of expectations of the little city. I have to say, we were extremely impressed. The downtown is very quaint, resembling a somewhat swanky ski town…without the snobby crowd. There are numerous restaurants, good shopping, a few winery/tasting rooms, brew pubs, etc. What really impressed us was how green the entire area was. Tons of trees, parks, ponds, and streams throughout the entire area. It was beautiful. For us, Bend was like a giant play ground. The entire city seems to have been built around outdoor activities. It’s a super friendly biking town, with bike paths everywhere and hundreds of mountain biking trails that can be picked up from town. Mount Bachelor is only a twenty minute car ride where you could backpack, mountain bike, swim/boat/kayak in several different lakes, etc, not to mention all of the winter activities once the weather turns cold (ski, cross country ski, snowboard, etc. Did I mention that 50% of the population owns a dog? So you can imagine how dog friendly the town is. There are only 4 trails out of hundreds that don’t allow dogs, it’s amazing. We took the pooches for an awesome hike and a swim in one of the many lakes along the road to Mount Bachelor.
We were sad to leave Bend, but we had to continue on with our “tour,” so we packed up after five days and headed off for Boise, Idaho. At first, we were a little overwhelmed driving into downtown Boise because it had been a few days since we had been in a city with more than 150,000 people! But, we soon discovered that Boise was a really cool city. It sits in a valley, so the city is surrounded by mountains. Unfortunately, there were no good Mexican restaurants, but there was a Spaghetti Factory!!! Boise is also an outdoorsy type of city with several parks, great paved bike trails along the river, mountain biking trails, kayaking, etc. A popular activity to do in the summer is to raft the Boise river from the out skirts of the city all the way through to downtown, so Steve and I decided to give it a go. We rented a couple of inner tubes and cruised down the river and let me tell you, that sucker was flowing! There were several small “dams” that we rafted over and splashed in the waves. It was great fun and about a two hour tube ride! A shuttle bus picked us up at the end and took us back to the start where we rode our bikes back into town. The next morning we tempted a mountain bike ride, but we didn’t ride as much as we would have liked because of the extreme heat. The weather was incredible. I’ve never been somewhere that gets hotter in the evening. The day would start out in the 80s and would peak in temperature at about five o’clock at 101 degrees! It was insane. Not to mention that it didn’t get dark until about 10:00 at night, very hard to get use to. We would end up eating dinner at around 9:00 every night.
After a three day stay in Boise, we made our way to Moab, Utah. At first, we were planning on only spending one night in Moab, but once we arrived and talked to some locals about the activities in the area, we decided to stay for a couple of nights. The town of Moab is very small, but the area surrounding it was absolutely breathtaking! The rocks were beautiful shades of red. Just amazing scenery! We cruised through the Arches National Park during the evening hours to watch the sunset over the huge cliffs. One of our main reasons for visiting Moab was for the mountain biking. We had no idea what we were in for! We found out that riding Slick Rock was one of the most popular rides in the world! And, holy crap, it was hard to ride! It’s just one big “natural rollercoaster ride” on a big slab rock. We actually had to do the practice course just to get used to riding on the rocks. They grip like you wouldn’t believe, but, they were very steep. The hardest part wasn’t the ride down the slopes, but trying to ride up them! The rides were exhausting, but worth every sweat drop! Tomorrow we are off to Telluride, Colorado for some camping before making our way to Durango.