We drove into town and went straight for our hotel. We stayed at the Day’s Inn off 3rd Ave. It was adequate for a motel.
Because we arrived near dinner time, we unloaded the Pilot and then went for dinner. Lately, our family has been on a binge for Red Robin. Seeing on Google Maps that there was one in town near the Old Mill area, we went for it. The weather was a bit cloudy and cool. It did sprink a little rain on us as we drove into town.
After dinner at Red Robin, we decided to scope out Sparks Lake for a photo opportunity. In the mountain range, it was raining. It was good for the Honda Pilot to get washed, but there was no shot. I did find where I wanted to go shoot, well not the exact spot because I didn’t want to get out of the Pilot and get all wet. We then made the drive back to the hotel to rest and start our next day fresh. It only took 30 minutes each way.
Sunday: we had the whole day to enjoy Bend. We woke up and went to the lobby area to eat breakfast. It wasn’t all that great. I think the Comfort Inn would have been better based on my experience in Utah. We packed the bikes onto the roof rack and made our way to the Pilot Butte. We drove up to the top. It was an awesome 360 view from up there. I somehow encouraged Matthew to ride down the hill with me. The road going up or down was like a spiral staircase. He was a bit scared and he took it real slow. I rode Julie’s new baby blue cruiser bike down instead of my Haro dirt bike. My butt liked the comfy seat of her cruiser. We managed to finally get to the bottom of the hill. Julie drove the pilot to the bottom with Hayley and recorded a video with her phone of Matthew and I riding down near the bottom.
Researching the area, I noticed that there was a nice park in the back side of the butte. Driving around the butte to get to the park was well worth it. It was super nice. It had a couple of play structures for the kids. There was some super green grassy area with a paved trail around it to simulate a track. The sky was blue and the clouds were white and fluffy. There was also a covered area with park benches and tables to either have a picnic or a birthday party. It was just perfect. Afterwards, it was lunch time and I found a local pizza place that got great reviews.
We made our way to the pizza place. We ordered the pizza and ate outside and it truly lived up to the reviews. They guys made each slice to order. The crust was great. Seeing that there was a 7-Eleven around the corner, I managed to satisfy my Coke Slurpee craving/addiction. As the day was warming up, it was now time to head to the main park I found, the Riverbend Community Park.
The Riverbend Community Park is a large park near and surrounding the river that cuts through the city. It has biking paths. It has some bridges that cross the river. There is an entrance/landing area to get into the river with paddle boards or inner tubes and the like. We got the bikes out and started to ride around. Julie was giving her bike a test run and she did well. In the end, we found that the Hampton Inn parking lot was a nice area to bike without interruption and not having to avoid people walking on the very same paved pathways. It was then time to put the bikes away and hang out on the large grassy area in front of the river entrance/landing. We got the kids in their swim costumes and put on more sunscreen. Warning: The river water is super cold! Adults were cussing once they touched the water because it was so cold. Being prepared, I did bring along my 6.5mm neoprene booties that I used recently in Kanarra Creek, UT. Boy, did they make the water feel warmer, until I got them confiscated by the kids. Eventually, Matthew had them both. I had to run in and out of the water because my feet would freeze. We were using squirt guns in the landing area. It was then time to leave this wonderful park and head back to the hotel to clean up before dinner.
Keeping things simple, we yet again went to Red Robin. We sat in a booth that was one away from the previous evening! Luckily, we had a different waiter. Phew. The plan was to get to Sparks Lake early so I can truly find that spot and begin to photograph. After a 30 minute drive, we got to a parking lot. Got the kids ready for cooler weather and I got my camera gear. The “trail” was paved to the spot. There are a lot of people camping in the area. When I arrived, there were already several photographers in the area. I set up, the kids took some pics and then went back to the car. I stayed until about 9pm hoping for the milky way, but then had to book it back to the car. I did ask Julie to drive the Pilot out of the parking lot and see if she could drive toward the boat landing area. I remember seeing a picture on 500px where a car’s headlights light painted the trees and an island quite nicely. I was hoping Julie would help me. It was hard to see the headlights from that distance, but I did capture an image where the camera was able to pick up the light, but my eye couldn’t. Here is the link to the blog post. After she helped me, she couldn’t find the entrance to the parking lot she came from and it turns out she started driving down the road which lead to the entrance of the whole area. While driving and on the phone, she said she saw this orange car. I then told her she had to turn around and drive back. She was trying to leave me out there! She managed to make a U-turn and drive back. She then found the parking lot. Meanwhile, I was hiking to meet her at the parking lot and saw her headlights as she pulled into the parking lot. The kids for some reason got scared and told their mummy she can’t drive any more! In the end, all turned out well, and I got a few pics until next time.
We definitely wish to return to Bend some day. There is a lot more to do and photograph!