COVID-19 Wk 61: Back to Normal(ish)?

Took a bit of a “posting vacation” the past few weeks. Sometimes it’s just nice to do stuff and not feel obligated to write about it (mostly pressure I put on myself). And sometimes I spend way too much freaking time in front of a computer at work and don’t want to touch one on the weekends.

Either way here we are, just completing the 61st week of COVID and finally it looks like we may be getting back to something resembling normal. The CDC has issued some confusing, vague and somewhat hard to enforce mask rules just recently. Mia and I are fully vaccinated and as silly as it sounds the one thing I have been looking forward to for months is not having to wear my mask in the grocery store. Am I ready to do that? I don’t know. I don’t know what Freddie’s rules are going to be and I don’t know if I trust the person walking in to the store next to me to be honest about if he/she got vaccinated or not and is not wearing a mask. Fun times!

Long overdue time away

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Smith Rock Climbers (can you see them?)

Mia and I had booked a getaway for May 2020 for her birthday. We were going to stay at a house we’ve rented before in Sisters, OR and spend some time hiking, biking, chilling out, eating a bunch and doing whatever. I booked that in February of 2020. Then COVID hit, Deschutes County begged for people to stay away and it was so early into the pandemic and there was so little clear information about what was going on that we pushed off the trip to the fall of 2020. In the fall some of the worst forest fires in decades sprang up all over the region. We couldn’t even get to Sisters if we wanted to. So we pushed off to February of 2021. Then an ice/snow storm came into the metro PDX area and we couldn’t get out of our neighborhood let alone travel over Santiam Pass. FINALLY in May 2021, just two weeks shy of a full year after our original booking this vacation rental, we finally made it to Sisters!!!!!! I cannot say enough good things about Linda the homeowner. She was very accommodating and understanding. She has earned our business and gratitude.

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Mandatory swims for Codi

We headed out of town on Thursday afternoon and drove straight to Skull Hollow Campground. The same exact place we stayed a few weeks ago. Traffic was significantly better getting out of town this time and we made it to our campsite a little before 6pm.

The main goal for heading out on Thursday was to finally hit up Smith Rock State Park. We’ve been living out here for eight years now and have been down in the area so many times. We just never took the slight detour east to hit it up. My best excuse is that normally we come over Santiam Pass to get to Bend and/or Sisters area. We don’t normally take the Mt Hood/highway 26 option because of where we live. It’s way easier for us to cut down through Salem via I-5 and just avoid Portland completely.

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pictures cannot capture it

There is no way I can capture how freaking cool Smith Rock S.P. actually is. It is just dumb that it took us this long to visit.

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We took the river trail so Codi could enjoy some swimming

The weather was toasty warm…about 80F. Codi is no spring chicken now and doesn’t do well in hot weather. We thought it best to allow him access to the river and avoid hiking Misery Ridge Trail with him. Someday Mia and I will head back without him and give it a go. This visit was a pretty chill 6 miles roundtrip along the river though.

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CB is no fan of hot weather

Sisters here we come!

We couldn’t check into the rental house until 3pm on Friday so we took our sweet time at Smith Rock and then driving over to Sisters. We of course hit up Sisters Coffee, a must stop location, for lunch after a quick stop at Trader Joe’s in Bend for groceries.

Sisters Oregon
The view from our house rental

On Saturday morning Mia and I got to finally bike up McKenzie Pass before it opens to cars. This is pretty much a right of passage for Oregon cyclists. We saw everything from your uber serious roadies, to people on mountain bikes, touring bikes, e-bikes and everything from young teens to riders in their 60’s (or maybe even older, who am I to judge). It was awesome! Plus only one hill.

McKenzie Pass
Officially it is Dee Wright Observatory. I call it Mordor.

Sunday we headed over to the Metolius River area for a 6 mile hike along the river. Weather was still warm, verging on hot, and we wanted Codi to again have access to water.

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Codi’s utopia
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he cracks me up!

The other goal was to tire him out so that Mia and I could do a later afternoon mountain bike ride from the rental house. Nothing epic or super technical but if you ever want a nice flowy and gentle ride I highly recommend the Sisters Community Trail. It’s not a “shred the gnar” kind of ride but it’s quiet and very peaceful. If you are attentive you’ll probably see some deer too.

Well that’s about it. Back to reality tomorrow.

Thanks for reading,

-Pete

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