As I said in my previous post, I booked a yurt in Central Oregon for a little writing getaway and had to take the only reservation available between June and October. In my mind, June is late enough in the year to qualify as summer, but my mind still isn’t used to winters in the Northwest — winters that last longer than mid February, like I grew up knowing in Texas. So last week’s trip to Wallowa Lake got snowed out, and I regrouped for Bend this week.
Oregon, oh you wonderful, beautiful, amazing Oregon, I cannot begin to decide on a favorite spot in all the state. I have a deep fondness for the coast and for the Columbia River Gorge, but now Bend and Central Oregon are competing for my affections. I couldn’t have picked a better spot for a writing retreat, and thankfully the weather cooperated this time around. I spent four days camping in a yurt at Tumalo State Park on the Deschutes River just outside of Bend — it was a little more crowded and noisier than Ft Stevens was in early April, but it proved to be perfect nevertheless. Easy access to town, to gas and food, to the highways and byways leading to all the glorious wonders of our Creator’s creation nearby.
I got to have dinner the first evening with friends I hadn’t seen in a few years, and they showered me with recommendations and maps and tour information for the remainder of my time. Look for a post on Cascade Lakes Byway soon, a spectacular driving tour I wouldn’t have taken if it weren’t for their suggestion. They also gave me a copy of a guide for a walking tour in historic downtown Bend — and unlike some towns that claim “historic” downtown areas, I felt Bend actually qualified, with its architecture dating to the early twentieth century and its ties to the Oregon lumber mill industry. (Random facts gleaned from the Heritage Walk info: Clark Gable once worked at the Brooks-Scanlon mill, and Amelia Earhart’s home with her husband G.P. Putnam is on the tour.)
For a good 360-degree view of Bend, the desert and Blue Mountains to the east, and the snow covered peaks of the Cascades to the west, I walked up Pilot Butte one afternoon. Don’t make the mistake, like I did, of calling it a “mountain” to a local. I guess it’s bigger than a hill but doesn’t qualify as a mountain when you’re in sight of the Three Sisters, Mt Washington, Mt Bachelor, and the like. Whatever you call it, it’s a good way to get an overview of the surrounding areas, with great interpretive displays (and a restroom, for the record) at the summit.
And lest I be accused of just gallivanting around Oregon every chance I get, I actually did write each morning in my yurt. I kept my regular writing schedule, working breakfast to lunch time, and put more words on the page each day than I had been averaging the previous week. A productive and beneficial writing retreat, indeed.