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Bend–> Boise–> Moab

Wednesday, August 1st, 2007


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.


Two People, Two dogs and a Trusty Truck

Sunday, July 22nd, 2007


After spending a hectic week back in Newport Beach, crashing at Christy’s uncle Sam and aunt Lori’s house, we regrouped for the 2nd leg of our travels-touring the Pacific Northwest with our dogs Harley and Scout for five weeks. We had a very “loose” itinerary to say the least (mostly just which states to visit) and no reservations;  two things Christy is not comfortable with not having.  I told her my usual “Dont worry about it, it’ll all work out” and amazingly, so far it has!  I’m not sure, but I think Christy is almost on board with the “no plans are the best plans for traveling.” 

Our first planned stopped was the Trinity Alps (Shasta Trinity Alps Wilderness) in Northern California, so we spend the majority of the day in the car just getting to Redding!  California traffic never ceases to dissapoint.  After spending the night at a lovely Motel 6, we departed early the next morning for the Trinity Alps.  With our backpacks loaded down with the essentials, the McCrosky clan hiked about six miles into the beautiful, remote wilderness.  We set up camp for a three day/two night stay beside a crystal clear creek.  Our original plan was to camp for three nights, but after two days of hiking, poor Harley’s paws were so raw that he was having a hard time walking.  So, we continued our drive north, stopping for two nights of camping amoung the giant Redwoods near the Redwood National Park.  Those trees were massive!  We were still able to hike in some fairly remote areas of the park and get some really great pictures.  After touring the Redwoods, we crossed the California/Oregon border and drove up the coast, visiting some of the beautiful beaches along the way.  For the next couple of days we camped in southern Oregon near the Umpqua River.  Steve fished for small mouth bass while the dogs enjoyed some swimming.  Southern Oregon is so green and beautiful and there are several hiking trails that lead to waterfalls.  The area reminded Christy a lot of West Virginia so she was feeling right at home.  

Oregon is known for 2 things, beautiful country and lots of rain, and it hasn’t disapointed on either one. We’ve seen some scenery that takes your breath away and also spent a few nights in the tent with rain pouring down outside. West Virginia girls are as tough as nails beacause not many girls could handle camping in the rain for 3 days, and even have fun while doing it.

One thing Christy and I didn’t know about Oregon was the amount of wine produced here!  We spent 2 days driving the Willamette Valley touring different wineries, having a blast.  Oregon’s wine country is “what Napa used to be” and we now believe it. Absolutely beautiful country side scattered with quaint, family owned wineries.  We realized how small this area actually is when we visited our first winery, the owners of the vineyard were the ones pouring us the wine! They told us all about the region and we talked to them about how they ended up in Oregon owning a winery.  Our absolute favorite winery however was a small operation called Reustle.  This winery was unlike any other that we have ever been to.  We sipped delicious wine while munching on appetizers prepared by our host…best of all, it was free!

So, now we are here in Portland for a few days checking out the big city and taking a break from camping.  Tomorrow we head off to a small little cabin we reserved on a farm in Bend, Oregon. The Farm is a cattle farm so Christy is going to feel right at home!