Monday, June 22, 2009

Parents Visit

My parents came out to visit last week for 5 days or so. They had never been to Oregon before, and Mark and I hadn't gotten to do much of the touristy stuff around the Bend area yet, so we had a great time showing them around, trying out the local restaurants, and seeing the sights. It was a bit overcast with rain forcasted for just about every day, but luckily the rain held off and didn't hinder our days at all.
Jess and the parents at Benham Falls. The falls here is more of a long cascade...nothing too dramatic, but still pretty. And we could hike up to this viewpoint to get a head-on view of the falls.

We walked a lot this day...along with hiking to Benham Falls, we also walked a mile back into the Lava River Cave - a lava tube that is quite big, but gets pretty small toward the end. This is my dad about as close to the end as we got. We weren't up for crawling.

We also walked around the Newberry Crater Monument. There were some shorter trails that wound through the lava fields, which were pretty cool. We also drove up to the top of Lava Butte (behind us), which gave a great view of the surrounding area and the mts.

If you look closely to the top of the cliff, you'll see, mom, dad, and Jess overlooking Benham Falls.

We made our way over to Tumalo Falls one day as well. Mark and I hadn't ever taken the makeshift trail over to the bottom of the falls, so it was cool to get that close.

Mom and Dad up at Bachelor standing on snow in warm weather. This doesn't happen in WI! :)

We spent one afternoon canoeing at Elk Lake for a couple of hours. We got a pretty good tour of most of the lake, and pretty good views of South Sister and Mt. Bachelor as well!

Mom and Mark canoeing with Bachelor in the background.

Devil's Lake is just off the highway back toward Elk Lake. It's hard to tell even in this picture, but parts of it are an incredible shade of green.
We had such a great time, and my parents were excited to do some things they don't get to do in the midwest (lava caves!). Maybe next time we can coerce them into white water rafting ;).

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Goodbye Friends

We first met Stephanie and Ryan at church one morning. We had just decided to start attending our church, and during our 5-min. break between the music and the message, they introduced themselves. Then, after the service was over they said, "Hey, we're having a Christmas party tonight if you want to come." And we did. And we hit it off right away. We got asked all evening, "how do you know Stephanie and Ryan?" and I got to say, "we don't really! we met them this morning!" It was really fun! They quickly became great friends. We had a lot in common, but as it turns out, they had applied to the peace corps a year or so before, and were waiting to find out what country they might be going to. So, quite excitedly, and also quite sadly, we said goodbye to them recently as they headed out for a two year stint in Mongolia. Yes, Mongolia :). Even though we hadn't known them too long, we became good friends fast, and we will miss them tremendously. Good Luck friends. We will miss you, but are excited for what is ahead! Keep in touch!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Summer in Bend

Balloons Over Bend was last week in the Old Mill District. Apparently hot air balloons go up in the mornings but it was too windy this year. We didn't get down to see the balloons because I was working, but we went down on a sunday afternoon and they still had festivities going on....vendors, blow up jumpies for kids, and sidwalk art. Here's a taste of the was pretty cool!

Kids could even join in the fun!

Monday, June 01, 2009

4 Year Anniversary :: Newport, OR

It just worked out that I had a long weekend off just after our 4-year anniversary, so we planned a mini vacation to celebrate. We have been told by so many people that we just have to get to the coast sometime, and similarly, we had heard how cool Newport is, so we decided to head there. Our original plan was to go to Newport for a day and a half, and then drive up to Portland for a day and a half, but after driving 4 hrs to Newport, we decided it would be too much driving and instead stayed in Newport the whole three days. We camped at Beverly Beach State Park the first night, which was really beautiful, but packed, and got a cheap hotel the second night. We live in a section of OR that is high desert, so it is dry and brushy, and well, deserty. West of the Cascades OR is green and lush. It was a gorgeous drive with great views of the mountains as well.

When we first got to the coast it was cooler out (the highs were in the 50's and 60's), but sunny. Our second two days were overcast, so we didn't have as great of views, but it was still nice. It looks warm in this picture because of the blue skies, but it was chilly and really windy! We got to see some guys kite boarding and wind surfing, which was cool. They were wearing full wet suits! i hear the oregon coast water is never warm.

Beverly Beach State Park, OR

Part of the rocky coastline from Yaquina Head "Outstanding Natural Area." This is the headland where an old, but currently functioning light house is. It juts almost a mile out to sea!

We ended up at Yaquina Head at low tide, which was cool because we got to explore the tide pools. These are sea anenomies...I called them "green nasties" because, although they look cool when they are open like this, they are nasty looking when they fold in their light green tentacles...kind of like a green nasty blob.

A bed of muscles.

the coastline from Yaquina Head

The lighthouse at Yaquina Head.

a starfish in a tide pool.

Sorry about the sideways picture, but I was taking them directly off the camera, so it wouldn't let me turn it. I know it's annoying to view them sideways. But, this is a fresnel lense at the top of the lighthouse. In the late 1800's it cost $11,000 and was shipped from France!

A view down the lighthouse stairs.

fishing boats in the harbor.

We had been walking to dinner in the "historic bayfront" and could hear sea lions barking, but couldn't see them. We wandered out onto this deck and bam - there they were, right below us! It was really cool! This one was posing for everyone :).

There were a bunch of them...

It was a really cool trip...not too overdone, but enough sight-seeing and relaxing to make it just right. We are not huge beach people, but it was a great time to see a part of OR that we hadn't seen yet, and there was enough stuff to explore that it made it fun. If you ever have a chance to get to the coast, it's totally worth it!