Oops! I accidentally posted my previous post before I’d finished it. I was checking that the pictures were posting correctly and hit Publish, instead of Save Draft. That’s why the abrupt ending. But it was getting long anyway, so instead of continuing to add to it (which email subscribers, ie my dad, wouldn’t see), I’ll just continue with a new post. Thus, welcome to part 2 of the Winter Wonderland Adventure!

The hotel we were staying at in Bend is called Loge and it was, for our purposes, fantastic. Suzanne found it the last time she was in Bend, I think. It’s part of a chain of outdoor-adventure focused hotels, which is not really a demographic that I consider myself part of, but, that said, maybe I’m just wrong about my demographic? Because part of their outdoor-adventure philosophy is that they’re super dog-friendly. Not just dog-tolerant, but dog-welcoming. The rooms have hammocks (beds, too), and lockers for your outside gear, boot-warmers and plenty of coat hooks. And no carpet, so no need to worry about dogs tracking in mud. Plus, all around us were other people with dogs, which makes it far more relaxing to have a dog (or two or three) in a hotel room.

But back to my story: we went to sleep early on Wednesday and we woke up Thursday morning to EXACTLY the winter wonderland that Suzanne had been hoping for. It was snowing, perfect pure powdery snow, big fat flakes falling from the sky. If you use Instagram, I posted a reel of me whistling for Sophie, then finding her by my feet wearing her cute little winter coat, which does a great job of showing the perfect snow. So we started our day with a hike in the snow, walking from our hotel to the Good Dog Trail and wandering for a bit while the snow drifted down from the sky and started piling up in generous heaps.

portrait of a snowy dog

Snowy Sophie

Alas, we were hungry. And I was bordering on hangry by the time we made it back to the hotel, quite annoyed at Miss Sophie’s Sunshine’s belief that if Bear was nearby,  Sophie herself was still with the pack, ergo no real need to respond to my recall whistle. Not true! (We had many chances to practice over the next couple of days, and she started doing much better when the excitement of the snow and the forest wore off.)

We’d snacked a little for breakfast, but we hadn’t gotten real food. So after our walk (not quite two miles, according to my phone) we headed into Bend. First stop, the Ruffwear dog store, just a few minutes away from our hotel. You can’t tell from the above picture, but Sophie’s coat is actually a hand-me-down from Zelda, and it doesn’t fit her as well as I would like. Also, it’s a winter coat, appropriate for snow, and in Arcata, a rain coat would be much more useful. The Ruffwear store didn’t have any post-Christmas bargains, sadly, but I still wound up buying Sophie a nice raincoat and, for me, a belt that can hold a leash, a water bottle, and some treats. It would be perfect if it also had a loop to hold a ChuckIt, but one can’t have everything. And I am now astounded to discover that I never took a picture of Sophie in her cute raincoat. Oh, well. Expect to see one soon!

Back to last Thursday: next up was breakfast. We went to McKay Cottage Restaurant, familiar from previous trips to Bend, and so incredibly good. Also, really organized. We were warned that it would be about a 45 minute wait, but they take your phone number and send you a link to an app where you can watch the waitlist move. And, yes, on a random snowy Thursday, this restaurant had a 45 minute wait at 10AM — that’s how good it is.

I had the Guac n’ Roll, which was avocado, radish, organic micro greens, cherry tomato, extra-virgin olive oil and chili-lime sea salt, on GF toast, with two eggs and fresh fruit. It was a great choice. The GF bread looked so good that before I even took a bite, I called a waiter over to just check and make sure that I was really eating GF bread and not about to suffer from a kitchen mix-up. He reassured me that it was definitely GF, but it was delicious. It’s really not often that GF bread is indistinguishable from the real thing, but this bread was.

A minor digression: throughout this little vacation, I wavered about my food choices. There was always a part of me that said, “It’s vacation, enjoy yourself, eat the good stuff,” while another part of me said, “The good stuff is the vegetables, eat more vegetables.” The fact is, my three part depression recovery plan has been amazingly successful. Sure, maybe the absence of the roosters, ie getting more sleep, has a lot to do with it, but I’m currently on the up side of my bi-polar 2 disorder, aka hypomanic, and it’s, as always, quite the pleasure. Life is wonderful when you’re hypomanic, euphoria being a defining characteristic of the state. Of course, I wanted treats — yummy hamburgers and french fries are a luxury for me, not to mention Brazilian cheese bread tuna melts — but I actually want to keep feeling well, too, and that requires vegetables. I didn’t manage ten a day, every day, but I tried. Fortunately, Bend is a great place to find food that’s healthy, as well as delicious.

All that said, I should admit that my breakfast also included a single slice of bacon (the dogs got the other two slices from a side order) and a couple of baked goods (a snickerdoodle muffin and a marionberry scone) for later.

After breakfast, it was time for some shopping. First stop, the Goodwill store. I had two goals for my Bend shopping: a waterproof rain coat, and a pair of blue jeans that really fit. Sadly, Goodwill was still not allowing people to try on clothes — I find it hard to believe that anyone has caught COVID from a dressing room, so I suspect it’s just convenient for them not to let people try stuff on — which made my blue jean search trickier. But still, the benefit of thrift store shopping is that you can take chances. I focused on the pants until I’d found three pairs that I thought would work, for a total of $22. (Two out of the three seem okay; the third got donated again as soon as we got home.) Then I moved to the jackets. First score: a purple “weatherproof” jacket with a hood from 32 Degrees for $7.50. Did I need it? Nope, it wasn’t the waterproof coat I was looking for. But I loved the color, liked the style, adored the price, and will be able to wear it all the time in Arcata.

Second score: a teal, parka-type coat from Dakine. But it was priced at $30! At a thrift store! That seemed unreasonably expensive, so I brought it over to Suzanne to see what she thought and she thought I would be insane not to buy it, so I did. Totally, totally worth it. On our next several hikes through the snow, the difference between it and my usual Costco coat was so pronounced — I was always toasty warm in my new coat. Admittedly, I don’t have a lot of opportunities to wear coats in the snow, and I think it’s the most expensive article of clothing I’ve ever bought at a thrift store, but I’ve already gotten my money’s worth. It’s a great coat. (As you can see if you follow that link, because the link leads to a review of literally the exact same coat, same color and everything.)

My thrift store shopping was done and Suzanne was more interested in REI shopping than thrifting, so off we went to REI. It was packed with people. Turned out they were having a sale, 20% off for members, one-day only. Convenient timing for Suzanne. Or, you know, convenient timing for me, because although I had no intention of getting anything, there was a pair of shoes on clearance sale that were the exact same style and brand as my favorite hiking boots, only in a low-cut version, ie hiking shoes instead of boots. Ignore the negative reviews if you follow that link: two people are complaining that the shoes are not waterproof, but they neither claim to be waterproof nor look like they’d be waterproof. They’re just comfortable walking shoes, which were clearance-priced plus another 20% off at REI. Yes, shopping score!

After REI, we headed to the Big Sky Park Off-leash Dog Area. Bend really likes dogs. This dog park wasn’t as cool as the trail, but it consisted of several fenced in areas, with some long, winding dirt paths, some low hilly bits and some open spaces. The official website doesn’t say how big it is, but one review claims 12 acres. The dogs got a chance to meet some other dogs, but also — and far more importantly, at least to the puppies, I think — a chance to play ball for a while. The weather was beginning to look foreboding, however, with a possibility of freezing rain, so before it got too dark, we headed off to pick up another take-out dinner.

This time we went to Kefi Fast Fresh Mediterranean. It’s like Chipotle, except not. You pick your base (mine was brown rice), your protein (grilled chicken), four toppings (mixed olives, cucumber, marinated golden beets, zaatar roasted vegetables), and two sauces (spicy herb sauce and lemon tahini sauce). It was great. I’d definitely eat there again anytime.

My, I’m so chatty in my blog posting today. I can’t believe I’ve written another 1500 words and haven’t even finished my vacation. Hey, guess what talkativeness is a symptom of? If you guessed hypomania, you win! Eye roll at myself, I suppose. But it’s almost 8PM and I’m starting to yawn, so I think I will pick this up tomorrow. Believe it or not, I still have stories I want to tell and places I want to remember.