Carolina: Cruising Past 70: Returning to the Pacific Northwest, Part 2 (Sunriver, Oregon)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Returning to the Pacific Northwest, Part 2 (Sunriver, Oregon)

We are back in Washington, currently camped at the Thunderbird Resort in Monroe.  Before writing about new discoveries here, however, let me take you back September 12, 2009, when we first crossed the border of Canada and the US past Vancouver (please see my post on Exploring British Columbia, Part 2, dated May 24, 2010).  We had travelled through Idaho, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Alberta, Yukon, Alaska, back to Yukon (including the Arctic Circle), then British Columbia in almost 3 months (we left Seattle June 29, 2009).

The first thing we encountered was the beautiful view of Mt. Baker, the third highest peak (after Rainier and Hood) in this part of the country. After taking several photos, we quickly drove to Trisha’s home and there parked Star in their driveway.  Even with a few maintenance visits for Star and the laptop, our main preoccupation was to acquire a scooter to help us reduce fuel costs of running around (Star was at 10-12 mpg). We settled on a beautiful blue Yamaha scooter named Vino!

Then we were off to Oregon for the biennial reunion of the DUs, Bill’s high school gang (please see my post on the 2010 reunion in Crested Butte dated July 31, 2010). Mt. Hood struck a beautiful pose as we drew closer to Sunriver, Oregon. It is a 3,300 acre (13.4 km²) private planned resort community in Deschutes County, a part of the Bend, Oregon Metropolitan Statistical Area. Sunriver consists of residential areas, recreational facilities, the Sunriver Resort, the Sunriver Resort Lodge, and a commercial development known as Sunriver Village Mall.  
Sunriver Vacations, a conglomerate of four of the largest vacation rental companies, offers guests and the public a recreation center named Mavericks. Sunriver  also has three 18-hole golf courses, many tennis courts, swimming pools, a park, a nature center, the Sunriver Observatory, stables, a marina, a general aviation airport, restaurants, a business park, the Three Rivers School and a shopping village, all accessible via the 35+ miles (over 55 km) of paved bicycle paths. 
The community has a permanent population of about 1700, though at any given time it may have many times as many vacationers in attendance. We all shared a beautiful 8-bedroom home, each room with its own bath suite. There were 13 of us and the girls had fun taking turns making meals.  The meal times all turned out to be great debates and discussions.  Lots of deer came to be fed on the deck while some of us enjoyed the warmth of the hot tub and wine. There were lots of activities to fill our days, and nights:  biking around the village (Bill and I shared a tandem bike), canoeing and picnicking on the banks of the Deschutes River, and eating out and shopping in the touristy town of  Bend
We also visited the High Desert Museum, took a hike up Newberry Volcano to view The Great Obsidian Flow.  We also took a day trip to the famous Crater Lake National Park with the bluest, deepest lake waters,unfortunately smoke from local forest fires prevented us from truly enjoying the view.  Fortunately, Bill and I had another opportunity to see it on a beautiful, clear day (see my future post on volcanic California).   Another day we took a day trip and hike through the trails up to Todd Lake with a full view of the Three Sisters of the Cascade Range (headline photo).
Everyday Bill would steal a few minutes to practice driving Vino because he still only had a learner’s permit.  He scheduled a driver’s test after the reunion, in Longview, going back up to Washington for a day after a tour through the beautiful Columbia Gorge. At the same time, the guys would sneak in a few minutes at a time to teach me how to ride a bike…sadly, in vain…for I am one of those few who cannot achieve balance (whether in biking or in life…hehehe).

In the end, the ‘class picture’ shows how much the group enjoyed the reunion, everyone thinking…’Until the next time…in Crested Butte!’ 
Next Stops: the Columbia Gorge and Longview, Washington