2020 was a lot like having a young child: the days were long but the months short. Unlike a standard year there wasn't a milestone vacation or family visit on the calendar to look forward to. Instead every day since March has been somewhat the same often with the only distinction is if we're using the work or play devices.
It did not feel like Christmas break without a break from Seattle. We had stayed at Wall Street Suites in Bend, OR before and thought it's somewhat unique set up of a converted motel would be a great place to relocate for a few days, with independent climate control and no shared lobby spaces. They had a dog-friendly two room suite that included a kitchen. Space and a place to eat are requirements for trips in this situation.
One of our early Christmas presents was a new car. Our new situation in Seattle meant that we were sharing a car and since we have two very different heights there was a lot of adjusting. The elevation changes and road conditions also do not suite Mira, who tends to get car-sick within a few miles. We had happened to rent a Chevy Tahoe and found that it solved both problems and decided to get one of our own. I had never seen myself as a full-size American SUV owner, but kids to change priorities.
Our new to us Chevy Tahoe.
The weather down to Bend was perfect, which is not a given this time of year. We had left a little later than planned which put us over Mt. Hood at dark. It was clear which made the potentially hazardous section a breeze.
The following morning was time to climb to the top of Pilot Butte. Tired after a day in the car, we decided to walk the entire way from the hotel, to the top, then back to the hotel; a solid 7 mile round trip.
At the top of Pilot Butte.
Not satisfied with the distance, we took a two block detour on the way back. That the detour involved the Boneyard Brewpub with their excellent beer and food made the detour worthwhile. Fed and hydrated, we spent the rest of the day reading and watching TV in the hotel.
The next day was time for another hike. This time we drove about an hour east of town to Bowman Dam and the canyon that goes north of the Dam to Pineville. Between the campgrounds there is the Chimney Rock Trail a moderately rated 2.7 mile trail with at 660ft elevation gain. Easy, compared to the previous days activity.
Top of the Chimney Rock, with Mt. Hood visible in the background.
The view down into the bottom of the canyon, were we started.
The Chimney Rock.
Bend downtown was a few blocks from our hotel and we finally made our way there on our last full day. We visited our favorite coffee shop the Looney Bean of Bend and got a few lattes and hot chocolate for a walk along Drake Park to Mirror Pond.
Taking our coffees in the backyard of the Looney Bean.
In front of Mirror Pond
We decided we were a little sore from our last two hikes and decided just to make a little loop drive from Bend to Mt. Bachelor, down to Sun River, then back up to Crux, which makes some of our favorite beers.
The lawn at Crux. It's a little out of the way, but features sweeping views of the local mountains.
This was the only day that stayed nice the entire time and we were finally able to make use of the firepit in front of our room.
Firepit and a break from beer with Oregon wine.
We left early the following morning. The weather of the past days had made the road conditions more challenging through the pass.
The drive up the pass at Mt. Hood
Since nobody could travel home for Christmas we threw a little Christmas Eve happy hour for the neighbors that we have shared the pandemic with. It was great opportunity to spread a little Christmas cheer and bring some of the communal aspects of the holiday while still being outdoors and somewhat safe.
The haul from Bend.
Christmas Eve, socially distant, happy hour
It was great to see everyone come out and share the season. Then the following morning, Santa!
Like a kid on Christmas morning, because it is a kid on Christmas Morning.