Day 20 miles 685-740
Oh man today was a big day. I woke up with Ru around 5:15 in the morning. When he decides he’s awake in our 7’x4′ two man tent there is no stopping him. He will whine and scratch and jump on us until we wake upfront fear he’ll rip a hole in the side of the tent. He was a special kind of terror this morning. After his unceremonious wake up call I put my fleecy-est outfit on to fight the cold and walked him around the RV park we had camped in. We walked through the hum of generators and the sleeping metal giants until we reached the “Critter Corale”, the adorably named dog park on the property. Of course as this was before 6 am we were thee only ones there. Ru made his rounds, sniffing and scratching and then chose a particularly prickly bush for his morning movement. He is really good at pooping in places that no one will check so we don’t have to pick it up.
Then the charming bonding of the morning mist slowly turned to tragedy. It was around 40 degrees outside (we were still close to crater lake) so I took him into the shower house with me to keep warm. This campground had a sitting room with a trading library, telephone and most importantly a heater. I knew he was cold so I brought him inside but the heat supercharged his usual morning burst of energy and I was soon chasing him back and forth across the wood laminate of the front room. In fact the only time he stopped moving was when he peed right in front of the door. It was still before 6am so I was blissfully alone to clean that up before anyone noticed. There was no sign saying dogs weren’t allowed but not really one saying they were welcome either. Then came the last straw. Rubeus Gabianelli-Morrison did on May 30, 2016 knowingly and willingly bite me on the left hand hard enough to draw two tiny pinpricks of blood. And he was so f*ing smug about it too. I then did what had to be done, I told him no biting held his mouth shut and tied him to the picnic table. Ru and I love each other very much but we didn’t like each other just then.
After the ashes had settled we geared up in the cold morning for the day ahead. Joey had to play mediator between me and ru and the burden weighed on him. Not nearly as much as the actual physical burden of our puppy, though. That burden grows a steady 3-4 pounds a week.
And then we were off! We had decided to do a fairly full day. But we though it was all going to be down hill. As we slowly but steadily climbed through the sparse scrub land Joey kept saying things like “but Bend is on the river, it must be the lowest thing around.” Our use of the Google deceived us and it wasn’t until we reached Lava Butte Pass at nearly six and a half thousand feet that we really understood what the geography of the region meant. As we crested the pass we passed a state park famous for lava tube caves and rounded a huge sweeping left turn around the right side of a giant cinder cone. The grey dusted cone rose stark from the top of field of newly formed (geologically speaking) black lava rock a coup dozen feet thick. The jagged flows came right out to the highway we rode on and we got our first true downhill of the day which let us stop peddling and enjoy the view as we geared up for the descent to Bend. Gearing up has taken on a whole new meaning for me this trip. It is no longer the vague logistic and psychological process of readiness but just the simple flip of a gear. Luv it.
We sailed down the hill and then into Bend proper. We stopped at a grocery store after fiddling our way through the bustle of the small downtown and bought supplies for mushroom cheesesteaks again. They are becoming a celebratory meal for us. We cruised the last 5 miles to Tumalo State Park and rolled up to the hiker biker site like we ran the place. The ranger was there running the sprinklers but he turned them off when we arrived and welcomed us to the park. He seemed had a pony tail, let us keep Ru off leash and generally seemed chill as hell. Good guy.
We met a cool dude from the “Alaska of Australia” as he put it. Josh was camping at the site caddy corner to us and came to ask about the dog/trailer combo sometime after we finished dinner and we chatted for a good while. He is going up to Alberta to work with a friend of his at a mining company up there and in the mean time having a good old time winding up the cascades.
Unfortunately the people across the road were also super friendly and interesting. I say it’s unfortunate because as I ran over to steal Ru back from their campsite I tripped on a rock and rolled my left ankle. That’s the same one I sprained last July while tripping off a curb and diving face first into the front door of a trimet bus in Portland for those of you keeping track. And so it begins….
Day 21 resting and healing
I woke up at 4:45, called back to the world of the living by nature’s oldest alarm clock. I mean I had to pee reeeeeeally bad. Per a bargain I had struck with Joey the night before it was my turn to take Ru for his morning romp and I hoped I wouldn’t wake him up in this dawn exercise because once the Ru has been awakened its power cannot be dampened, only channeled, as I had learned the day before. Alas I was unsuccessful in that goal. The stupor of sleep had robbed me of some of my senses and I had pretty much forgotten about my ankle. I tried to push myself up out of the tent and tears immediately filled the corners of my eyes. The pain wasn’t sharp or that strong but by golly it was there. I also made some none too quiet noises in the process and woke the whole tent including the indefatigable Ru. I put him on his leash and grumbled to the restroom. After I had “rested” I returned to find the nugget in full play mode. I took him on a walk and quickly realized I was a little less than ambulatory. I returned to the campsite and tied up the Ru, with an extension of webbing I usually use for my hammock this time for length. Ru is in general a better dog off the leash than on but he does occasionally slip away out of sight and reappear 20 ft down the road before you notice. Since I didn’t have faith in my high speed movement of any meaningful kind at the time I decided it was best to just leash him up and eliminate the possibility. We played short range games of pull the rope toy and murder the storm trooper (that thing is looking so haggard these days) until Joey awoke sometime later. I provided him toy undivided attention and our problems melted away, all wounds heal with tug of war. Well rested and full of love for the puppy and me, Joey let me take a nap for a few hours while he walked Ru baby all around the section of the Deschutes River that borders the camp. I woke up and realized I needed to do something about my ankle. We asked rad Aussie Josh for some ice he mentioned he had the night before and he one upped us with ibuprofen to boot. I spent the majority of the day lying in the grass with the sleeping puppy reading my book and icing my ankle. Joey gallantly rode the seven miles round trip to the store to buy dinner. Ru made another venture across the street and i got to talking with out neighbors Molly and her husband Tim. They were excited to hear about our trip and Ru took to them right away, wandering around the campsite learning all the smells. They told me about the trip they’d been on and seeing free climbers in Yosemite. We both agreed that while cool, the appropriate reaction to that is to run far far away so you don’t have to fill out the police paperwork when something goes wrong. Sensible folk! I passed the rest of the afternoon reading and Ru-ing and it went quite well. Due to my very intentional application of the RICE method I was up and walking pretty normally by the time joey got back. We made campfire quesadillas and hung out with Josh before calling it a night.
Day 22 rest day part two.
We woke up at 7:15 all together. That being a normal and acceptable time to end a night’s rest we rolled out of the tent greet the day.
Talked to acRoss the street Molly again, and she told me she was interested in following the trip. Blog to the rescue! We connected on Facebook and just like that, I got my first organic blog follower. Hi Molly!
Went to town to do all the things. We had called ahead to the REI to set up a time to get my bike fixed, and arrived early but it still took 5 hours. Had to loiter in the parking lot, walked around the old mill district. Duo of old saw mills recently turned into a shopping complex, park complex and concert space in the southern half of bend. We took ru to the dog park and it was great. He got a lot of treats from strangers and met some other Pyr mixes down on the dog beach by the river. A woman with a Great Pyrenese-Akita mix named George (gotta love dogs with names that make eavesdroppers think you had to lock your uncle in the garage because he peed in the kitchen) tried for about 20 minutes to lure Ru into the water, but alas he would only go up to his ankles as usual.
Joey ended up leaving to go do the other errands and I continued to wait outside the REI. At one point I fell asleep and woke up to a security guard staring at me from 15 feet away. As soon as I woke up he was on his way again. Friendly place, Oregon.
When I finally got the call I picked up the bike and hauled my way the 7 miles back to camp in record time. We cooked a lovely fresh dinner (Many vegetables) and turned in early. Back on the road tomorrow…