Day 1 - Thursday, March 31, 2016
We were planning to get up pre-dawn so we could stop and snowboard at Mt. Hood on the way down but decided to make Thursday just a travel day. Ben is still in the middle of his sinus trouble. We learned later that the Timberline ski resort had a chair fall off the Magic Mile lift. No one was hurt but I think everyone on the lift had to be rope rescued.
We couldn't have asked for better driving weather heading to Bend. I wore the first tank top of the season. Admittedly, it doesn't take much for me to "bare arms". I borrowed a rooftop box from my awesome friend, Heather, and was glad there wasn't much wind so I could get used to the thing being up there.
Sleeping-in worked out in our favor as we managed to hit the Warm Springs area during magic hour. We should have stopped to take pictures. Driving through, you get glimpses of impressive gorges while crossing bridges. Too excited to get to Bend, we just marveled at the scenery through bug-smeared windows.
We arrived in Bend just at dusk and easily found our cute little vacation house. We unloaded and walked Bonnie over to Aspect Boards & Brews and each had a pint of beer. It's a small shop but it has a dog-friendly outdoor beer garden, fire pit and local brews on tap. If every retailer did this, I would go broke shopping while drunk. We met a friendly greyhound named Adam. He was a leaner and got lots of love from me. Next, we wandered back toward "The Lot" and grabbed dinner. The Lot is basically a bunch of food trucks and a dog-friendly beer garden with a covered eating area where they sometimes have live music. It's also less than a block from the place we were staying. There was a handsome Husky mix named Otis there that played with Bonnie on the sidewalk.
Day 2 - Friday, April 1, 2016
After we woke up this morning and fed Bonnie, we let her romp around the yard. It hadn't rained but the morning dew caused her paws to get wet and her feet got dirty walking in some freshly turned soil lining the fence. She came stomping into the kitchen and was leaving big muddy paw prints everywhere. I chased her back out and Ben wiped her paws while I mopped the kitchen. Then, we walked to Big - O Bagel and bought breakfast. Chocolate. Chip. Bagel. It was like eating a giant, soft-yet-crunchy cookie for breakfast. Ben thought his latte tasted funny. After we ate, we loaded our gear into the car and drove the 20 miles to Mount Bachelor.
The skies were clear and the views spectacular. Again, I wish I took more pictures. We snowboarded for about 3-4 hours and explored almost the whole mountain.
Ben didn't put on enough sunblock and got a sunburn on his nose. After snowboarding all day, I was hot, thirsty and envious of folks who were tailgating. We stopped by the resort dog park but didn't stay long. If only we had our own chairs, food and drinks, we could have let Bonnie play longer while we relaxed in the sun and iced my sore foot in the snow. Hello again, Plantar Fasciitis. We met a great big Malamute named Timber. She was sweet and we gave her lots of love. In fact, when her owner wanted to leave, Timber didn't want to go and kept leaning in for more petting. So, her owner started up her truck and started to drive away and Timber took off to block the truck's path. Her owner was driving slow, of course, and she stopped, hopped out and had to lift her big, silly girl into the back.
It was even hotter in Bend. For whatever reason, neither Ben nor I packed shorts. I ended up wearing a big scarf and wore it as a halter dress. We ventured out in search of shorts. Aspect seemed like the only nearby place that would carry anything we would like but they don't really sell street clothes and at this point, we were more hungry than hot.
The super friendly shop guy at Aspect suggested we go to dinner at Cabin 22. He said it was the "new hotness" in town, made for good people watching and was dog-friendly. He also made it sound like it was just around the corner on the main road into town. We walked a hot and dusty half-mile. Not usually a big deal, but I wasn't planning on walking and was wearing flip flips and you know... a freaking scarf as a dress. I had to hold the one side down because each car that flew past blew open my "dress". The restaurant did have a great outdoor seating. Ben and I were seated next to a huge circular fire pit that had places to sit around it. Bonnie received her own water bowl and there was definitely good people watching. We watched one guy drunkenly try to hit up a head-hunter for job connections in Bend. He was recently laid off from his job as "president of a telecommunications company." Good luck, buddy. We left shortly after a pit bull puppy peed under a nearby table and his drunk human thought dumping a glass of ice water on it would help somehow.
Walking home, we decided to weave our way though the residential streets instead of the busy highway and some kids came tumbling out of a house and asked to pet Bonnie. It was all very cute. The kids and the neighborhood.
When we got back, we soaked in the hot tub for a bit and that pretty much ended our day. Sleep was calling.
Day 3 - Saturday, April 2, 2016
In search of a better Latte, we hit up the One Eyed Sisters Coffee truck. No soy available but the almond mocha was just fine. Ben seemed happy with his latte.
Driving back to Bachelor, we came across a few deer crossing. Ben also realized he left his helmet on the porch, so we turned around. We came across a few more deer (or maybe the same ones) crossing again. After picking up the helmet, we started back up toward another sunny day on the mountain. We parked at the main lodge again and Ben buried a few cans of beer into the snowbank next to our car.
We stopped at the Pine Martin Lodge mid-day for a snack and drink. It has a fantastic view of the mountain and I enjoyed soaking in the sun while eating a cookie. I also bought a t-shirt supporting the avalanche dog program from the patrol at the top of the Pine lift. Yesterday, I needed a screwdriver to tighten my right binder down and found one hooked to a bench near the ski patrol hut and Ben saw that the shirts were for sale. Came back today with cash and grabbed up a nice souvenir and got to pet a beautiful golden retriever avy dog. He was sleepy after a big day doing drills but really buddied up to Ben and even put his head on Ben's leg for optimal petting.
We explored all over again today. Ben remembered to reapply sunscreen. Two days snowboarding in the sun meant goofy goggle tan for me. By the time we got done, one of the cans of beer Ben hid in the snow had frozen and exploded but the others were chilled nicely.
On our way back to Bend, we stopped at a couple ski shops along the main highway into town. We wanted check out the local flare but these shops didn't have the kind of vibe we expected. For the most part, this area had more bike shops, restaurants, pubs and breweries. Maybe all the "hot" snow gear is in Sunriver, the resort town we were told was kind of snooty.
We drove through downtown Bend to scope it out. On the other side of the freeway, is a busy area with lots of strip malls and box stores. We saw a fully operation Blockbuster Video!
Back at the house, we changed and took Bonnie for a walk and had dinner at The Lot. At A La Carte, we got an order of the Blame Canada fries and some kind of curry fries. They were out of cheese curds, otherwise we would have gotten an order of Vladimir Poutine. I loved the curry fries. We were also finally able to try the wasabi dogs from Bend Burgz and Dogz. They were out of dogs the first time we stopped by. Moral of the story... The Lot is hoppin'... Get there early while supplies last. In the end, it was way too much food. We got a couple of pints in the beer garden, did some people watching and then headed back to the house to relax in the hot tub. After being in the sun all day again, soaking in the tub with the weight of all those fries put me to sleep. Disco nap turned into "is it morning?"
Day 4 - Sunday, April 3, 2016
We did our usual morning dog walk to get coffee and on the way back to the house we decided to take the day off snowboarding and explore Bend. I was pretty tired from two long days of snowboarding in the sun. The forecast was calling for more sun today and snow showers for Monday. It seemed like a good idea to save it up for a snow day.
We went to brunch at Chow. They have an outdoor deck and patio that allows dogs. When we got there, it was a bit of a wait. The outside area wasn't being seated and the space inside is tiny. They told Ben that the outside server didn't show up. Someone must have dragged him out of bed or another person came in on their day off because it started moving quickly and we were sat under a nice big tree. The Bloody Marys were good. Ben snuck Bonnie a piece of carrot from his drink. I guess she loves carrots. My hash had big, satisfying chunks of meat and was delicious.
After brunch we explored more of Bend. It felt like we had pretty much exhausted the shopping near our house, so we drove over the river to visit the Old Mill district. Again, we were hoping to find some local ski bum flare but the shops downtown were mostly touristy type things or normal clothing shops and more restaurants. I could be making this up, but I swear I saw a bookstore/ brewery. Genius! The Landing, I mean... Old Mill shopping area was a mall and we barely drove through any of it before deciding to turn around and go somewhere else. Ben went to Recycle Music and Ranch Records and I wandered around with Bonnie and found Gear Fix, a big sporting goods consignment shop I could have spent some serious time but I ended up at... gasp... A craft brewery!!! Atlas Ciders. It was too nice to spend time indoors looking for outdoor gear and Atlas has outdoor seating, corn hole games set up and a water dish for dogs. Inside, I believe there were pool tables. I got a pint of the house cider and sat in the sun and waited for Ben to get done record collecting. We wandered around more and bought a Bend magnet at a store selling touristy shirts.
We went to the Mcmenimans at the Old St. Francis School. We ate in between the buildings in a courtyard area. Basic pub fare and good beer on tap. At one point, the wind went from calm to super crazy back to dead calm, all in a matter of 30 seconds. It was like a thermal wind gust swirled through. A woman there mentioned that the same thing happened the afternoon before somewhere else. So, I guess crazy 4 PM wind swirls are a thing in Bend.
We hit up a dog park, saw passed the riverfront park and saw some legit LARPING! Got home and packed then hung out in the backyard with Bonnie. We went foraging for food at around 8PM but found that most of the trucks at The Lot were closed, so we walked to 10 Barrel Brewing which is open late. Another dog-friendly, outdoor patio with a fire pit. More pub fare and beer!
Day 5- Monday, April 4, 2016
It's our last day of our trip. As predicted, Bachelor got a couple inches of snow and the forecast was for snow showers and temperatures to stay below freezing. It's like a completely different resort today. Plus, they had 2 different lifts running that hadn't been open on our other two days on the hill, so, we got to explore some new areas. Toward the end of our day, visibility wasn't great and the snow was a mixed bag and I had two unpleasant crashes. First, in a mogul field off the Outback lift and then coming down to the bottom of Rainbow, I didn't see that a cat-track cut across the run and I hit it awkwardly and really knocked the wind out of myself. My legs were already tired from multi-day riding and that gut-punch of a crash shook me up. We took a couple more laps but I couldn't shake the uneasy feeling so we stopped for hot chocolate and after taking inventory of my situation, I decided to call it. We had a long drive ahead of us. We bought a couple sweatshirts from the gift shop and we set off for Seattle.
On the way home, we hit every kind of weather. Snow, wind, rain, sun, repeat. Even so, we decided on taking the scenic route and drove towards Hood River. Passing by Mt. Hood, we saw that they had a ton more fresh snow fall compared to Bachelor. Oh, well... we've been there a bunch of times and probably wouldn't have gotten there for first tracks since it is about 2-3 hours from Bend. In Hood River, we ate at Kaze Sushi and Japanese Restaurant. It's a small place with a friendly staff and a nice view from their patio seating. I was glad for something besides pub food and we enjoyed a couple rolls and a sizzling plate of noodles. We went for a walk with Bonnie along the river after eating and just before some serious rain came, we loaded back into the car and took off.
The drive back along the Columbia River is extremely scenic. Sort of reminds me of driving in Canada along the Sea to Sky highway. There were sun showers the whole way, making for even more dramatic lighting than the usual golden hour magic. Determined not to miss out on another photo op, we stopped at Multnomah Falls. We climbed up to the bridge and I took a ton of pictures with my iPhone but it wasn't until we were on our way back to the car that the sun popped out and I got this shot with my phone...
The last bit of driving was boring and it was dark and I was tired and getting cranky. We stopped for gas and I got some snacks and caffeine and got us home safely.
Riding Mount Bachelor
We only ever parked at the Westside Village Base area. It's the main lodge and, on the first day, that's where we had to pick up our Spring Season Passes. Unfortunately, they had some kind of snafu with their laminate supply and couldn't give us our photo passes and gave us temporary RFID cards sans photo ID. I wanted the picture pass as a souvenir to toss in one of the many drawers full of junk. The other lot has a driveway with parking that's close to a run leading to the Skyliner lift. It's flat near there, so while access to the snow doesn't take much walking from the car to the run, as a snowboarder, it might mean walking a bit to get to the lift.
On Friday and Saturday, it was sunny. I would say the summit area was mid to upper 40s and base was mid 50s. Ben thinks it was 10 degrees warmer. Most of the east facing areas were lumpy slush. Even at elevation, the area off the Summit chair was soft snow.
There was a ski race course closing off certain parts of the mountain, but the place is plenty big. The areas around the Pine Martin and Skyline lifts have shorter blue and green runs, which were more crowded than the runs around the Northwest Express lift which has more black diamond terrain with longer runs. The northwest side of the mountain gets less sun and the snow was less slushy. There were even a couple icy spots in the shade but the runs were smooth and fun to ride fast. The lift itself is a long but fast quad that takes you pretty far. It was less crowded which I think helped keep the snow keep nice. It does get a little flat toward the bottom. I guess the nickname of Flatular fits this place.
We found a fun, natural half-pipe area that was shaded by trees near the Sunrise lift and there was an impressive man-made half-pipe near the Westside Village base area. There were tons of terrain parks all over the mountain with huge features that Ben and I looked at but didn't touch.
It was a little more crowded on Saturday than it had been on Friday but the only significant wait we had was the first time we loaded onto the Pine Martin Express with everyone else who arrived late like us. We got there later than we did on Friday because we had to go back for Ben's helmet. The crowds really seem to spread out over such a huge resort and for the rest of the day there was little or no waiting in lines.
Monday, the snow was a mixed bag of dust on crust or dust on total mush. Wind up top meant Summit and Northwest chairs weren't running. Visibility was at times poor. They opened the Rainbow and Outback chairs. Outback is next to Northwest but doesn't go as high. It's mostly blue runs with a couple black diamonds. Rainbow is a chill little area but the chair was a long, slow and windy ride. Either it's a slow fixed lift or they were running it slow because of wind. Either way, we didn't want to spend that much time on a lift and only rode it once. It reminded me of the old Silver Fir lift.
I really liked the areas around the Northwest lift with the smaller crowds and longer, fast speed runs. With the spring weather, we didn't venture off piste much except for the natural half pipe. That was fun but there were always slow-pokes in there that made it hard to get through it all the way.
It's a great vacation rental. It has a fenced yard that Bonnie really enjoyed. The bed is incredibly comfy. We are thinking about replacing the mattress at our own home now, THAT's how wonderful this bed is. The house has private parking in back which is good because The Lot is very close and very popular, so street parking in front of our bungalow was totally packed every evening.
It can get a little noisy. We could hear the hippy jam band that was playing in the beer garden the first night we were there. Also, while sitting in the TV room, you can see a lot of people walking by. Some of them were rowdy. But The Lot closes around 8pm so, the noise doesn't last into the night and generally wasn't awful. Tranquil cabin in the woods this is not. Although, each morning, it was practically a ghost town with only one or two cars on the street.
The shower has good pressure but gets freaking hot. There isn't much counter space around the sink, but there are cabinets and shelves to put toiletries. The claw foot tub would make for great bathing, but with the hot tub in the backyard, we never used it. The yard is fully fenced but not exactly private with a view into a neighbor's window from the hot tub. I think it is a laundry room.
They had plenty of towels for our 4 night stay. We used the washer and dryer once just so we didn't have to pack a ton of nasty laundry.
There was an empty lot next to the bungalow. On Google streetview, there was a house next door that was gone when we were there. There are a handful of newly constructed houses nearby that are extremely modern looking, which totally don't match the neighborhood, so I wouldn't be surprised to find a 4 story Jetson's house next door, which would further deteriorate the feeling of privacy in the yard. Hopefully, something tasteful goes into the space next door. Now that I think about it, the freshly turned soil all along the fence might be where they are planning to plant some privacy trees or something in between the properties.
Traveling With a Dog
On the way to Bend, we stopped at Fort Borst Park in Centralia, WA to let Bonnie blow off steam in the off-leash area before making the long haul into Oregon. In the spring, you have to walk a little past a man-made pond where there's fishing (5 fish limit) to the off-leash area. It's a nice park. Big old trees, wide walking paths, playground and picnic areas. The fenced area for dogs was mostly green grass with a muddy bit in between the small dog and large dog areas. Unfortunately, there was only one dog in the big dog area and he left after a few minutes. Otherwise, it's a basic fenced area about 100 yards long and 50 yards wide for big dogs and a slightly smaller area for little dogs. The park was right off I-5 and close to a Safeway where we picked up road munchies and water for Bonnie.
Bend is a dog friendly town. We had plenty of dining/drinking options where we could sit with Bonnie outside. We were lucky the weather was nice but The Lot has a covered area, so even on rainy days, we could have taken her out to eat with us. Lots of businesses have bowls set out of dogs and there are plenty of other dog walkers roaming the city. It's like they issue you a mountain bike and a dog when you move to town. It seems you have your choice of bike/kayak and husky/lab.
We found a dog park next to the Deschutes River. It had fairly fresh mulch covering the whole inner park area, so there was no mud or dirt. It was a bit dusty. There were a few piles of rocks here and there, I guess for the dogs to mark. The outer area near the water is in a separate fence area because you have to cross a jogging path that runs along the water. I wanted to get Bonnie to swim but all she did was bark at ball-obsessed dogs who weren't interested in playing with her. I really wanted Ben to see her swim. I got her to swim once before at a dog park on Mercer Island and I thought for a second she might try to swim to Bellevue. But I can't seem to get her in the water again. Maybe Lake Washington was so cold, she lost interest in jumping into any waterways ever again.
Bachelor has a dog park and I was really excited to let Bonnie play in the snow off leash. She has had plenty of days up at ski resorts playing in the snow while on her 50 foot leash but she's never been off leash in the snow. What Bachelor really has is an area where they would prefer you took your dog to potty rather than let them run loose in the parking lot. It's not fenced. There is a garbage can and they provide biodegradable bags. It is in the snow but without a fence, we couldn't let Bonnie roam freely and it didn't result in much playtime for her. The reality is, many dogs do roam the parking lot and Bonnie had more interactions with other pooches while tethered to our car via the long leash. Watch your step is all I have to say about that.
On the way home, we walked her along the water at Hood River Waterfront Park. They have a great little beach with a swimming area. If it wasn't so chilly, I might have put my feet in the water to try and get Bonnie to swim. I wish she was a ball dog or frisbee dog and would jump in the water to fetch.
Spring Snowboard Gear
Packing for this trip was frustrating. I had everything from sunblock for sunny days to the fleece face mask for snowy days. I needed both on this trip.
For the sunny days, I took the vent covers and ear-muffs off the helmet, wore the sunny day lens for my Smith I/OS goggles. I was comfy in my red Volcom pants and grey Volcom jacket and my lightest base layers. Actually, I wore T-shirts I bought for running. It was perfect. Just a bit warm when gliding into the lift line near the base of the mountain and just a bit chilled when off-loading at the Summit. Perfect in between. Walking around Safeway wearing the pink and black striped long johns was a little dorky but Bend is full of dorks like me on their way to or coming from outdoorsy things. Plus, springtime is when the Gaper Gear comes out of the closet. I saw some seriously retro ski clothes. One guy was wearing acid wash shorts and a T-shirt tied Carmen Miranda-Style. Those people gotta shop, too.
I wish I knew for sure what temperature it was on the hill. I think it was upper 40s lower 50s but Ben thought it was 50s-60s. He always dresses too warm and gets hot. I am usually either too hot or too cold. On this trip, I was pretty happy every day. I did get a little cold on the one snowy day we had. I think it was at 30 or a little below with lots of wind. I wore my Red Roxy parka and grey Roxy pants with the usual base layer and fleece. Plus, I wore my new face mask. I could have used another layer with all the wind and long lift rides.
Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda
Stop to take more pictures! We missed a serious Instagram gold. I guess we were too "in the moment". But I'm getting senile and enjoying the moment doesn't always mean I remember WTF happened later and I don't enjoy feeling like it was all for not. If I don't remember it, did it even exist? Let's avoid the existential debate and take a flippin' picture or two.
Bring the backpack camp chairs and Little Buddy cooler. This was a major road trip fail!
Going to a brewery town? Buy a growler!!! 10 Barrels Brewing had a current deal where you could buy a growler and get 2 free refills! And now the above listed cooler takes on deeper, more tragic meaning with its absence.
Find a small thermometer and compass to clip to my gear so I can answer the questions "How warm?" and "Which way?" and totally banish the feeling of wonder for good.
While the sarong was great as a dress in the unexpected hot weather, shorts are so small, why not pack a pair? A belt, too... to hold the sarong in place. It's a pretty scarf and worked as a dress, when it wasn't flapping open, flashing motorists a look at my hot pink underpants.
A notebook to jot things would help blogging. Trying to use the phone to make notes wasn't fun while sitting in the sun, enjoying a beer. Relying on remembering things weeks later when I finally sit down to blog is insane. The whole point of this blog is because I can never remember what happened. Plus, I could totally be one of "Those" people who bust out journals at coffee shops and pretend to be writing a novel. "I just like the feel of my fountain pen gliding across my Moleskin's pages."
3/19 -Leaving on a plane for Montana! I packed yesterday and am currently getting caffeinated up before our 4:20 PM flight. Thought I would try blogging our trip by experimenting with the Weebly phone App. Recent conversations about other adventures has made me realize my memory is getting fuzzy.
Our flight is 4 hours from now and Ben is itching to leave already. My folks are taking us. We are leaving my car at their house assuming we can fit two board bags, two roller bags and two backpacks inside the Golf.
Packing was tough. Two pair of snowboard pants practically filled the roller bag I'm using. I probably still managed to pack more than I need.
For some reason, Ben is obsessed with home security. After all the various trips we've been on since living here, he's only just this week fixed the broken motion light, installed another in the back yard and cut wood pieces to bar the downstairs windows. Plus, he is planning to lock the garage door. My only security contribution is to put a dog toy by the patio door next to Logan's old water dish.
It only took 15 minutes to get to the airport from my folks'. Despite the crowds, we managed to get through check-in and TSA 55 minutes before boarding was scheduled to start (it's now been delayed 25 minutes). Stopped by the airport Sub Pop store and Ben bought a book. Apparently, a band member of Mudhoney was working at the store. I got us a couple cheesy sandwiches from Beeches. We are now ready to fly.
Brought a small knitting project on the trip with me. Fractured Light hat from knitty.com. I'm using red Cascade Heritage 150 yarn. When we get on the plane, I'll finish the button band and join it in the round. The instructions look a little interesting for the overlapping flap. Hopefully it makes sense in action.
Weebly app is iffy. A couple things I wrote on the plane while offline have vanished. Plus, the font color seems to alternate between black and grey, depending on if I type something with the computer or my iphone. I'll fill in what I remember...
3/20- We got to the resort last night. It's cold up here. I wore black long johns and my dark teal Burton hoodie on the plane. I was hot in Seattle (50s). I was hot when we landed in Bozeman (40s). But I was cold when we got to Big Sky (20s). I had carried my red parka the whole way but we scurried into the room before I needed to wear it. We are staying at the Stillwater Condos in room 1002. Ground floor. The wood stairs down from the parking lot were icy, making it treacherous to carry down all the gear and groceries. Can't start the trip with a sprained ankle!
The room is cozy. A murphy bed is next to the patio door which is a little awkward since we never put the bed up. We just shimmied around the foot of the bed to get outside. It has a full kitchen with all the appliances you would expect. Too bad we didn't know there was a crock pot. We got in late and were hungry so I cooked a couple Totinos pizzas that fit perfectly in the small oven. Living it up! This morning we woke up pre-dawn and are finally able to see the area. We have a view of a lift in the distance and are basically across the street from the end of a run. Ben gave me my birthday present! Some snowflake earrings to match the necklace he gave me for Valentines Day.
Snowboarding was fun today. I think it got up into the 50s, maybe even the 60s on hill. The Sun was shining and I was warm. I wore my Burton long johns and my black Whistler fleece under my red Roxy parka. Tomorrow is supposed to be warmer. I might just wear a hoodie. Snow coverage was thin in a couple spots but overall it was perfect spring riding. We started on Andesite Mountain then moved over to the Swift Current high speed quad which is a long lift, providing access to a ton of runs. We also rode the ironically named Pony Express (it's slow) and an equally slow Iron horse. Eventually, we worked our way to Shedhorn. I liked it up there. It's above the timberline. The view was breathtaking. The lift must go over 10,000'. We stopped for lunch at the Shedhorn Grill yurt for brats. According to the sign, the grill is at 9037'. We sat near some other Asians. They were funny. The one was making fun of how bad the photos the other took compared to his own. They were also the first minorities I had seen at Big Sky. I hadn't even noticed how white everyone was until then which made me feel conspicuous. It wasn't like people acted differently but they stood out to me which made me feel like I stuck out to everyone else.
Ben took me for a birthday dinner at Olive B. We had reservations for 7:45, so we killed some time in the village. I bought a spring jacket to wear Saturday because it was going to be another warm day. The Volcom Circle Flannel. Season pass holders from any Boyne resort get 15% off at The Board Room. The Burton store was surprisingly small. Same thing with the Oakley store. There is a tiny yarn store. The lady was balling up some yarn and pretty much blocked access to half the store. Since I was with Ben, I didn't want to stay long anyway. We drove down to near the restaurant and checked out a bigger sporting goods store - Gallatin Alpine Sports. I saw a KAVU vest I really liked but it didn't have zipper pockets. Ben picked up a light base layer shirt. At the restaurant, we were early and got a couple stiff cocktails at the bar. They were able to seat us before our reservation time and I ordered a special - Bison Wellington. Ben ordered a giant steak. Both dishes were very pink but still tasty.
3/21 - Explored more of the mountain(s) today. Ambush was the big winner. Nicely groomed with a layer of soft spring slush. We rode all over and only had trouble with some icy moguls with trees and rocks sticking out in places. Temperatures probably got to about 50 and it was partly sunny. I was comfortable wearing the new jacket with the Whistler fleece and a base layer. After riding, we were on our way to eat in the village and saw a rescue dog demonstration. We tried to eat at Scissorbills but they were closed for the Dirtbag fundraiser. We ended up at M.R. Hummers. The other bar had live music that didn't interest us. Burgers at Hummers were descent.
3/22 - Another sunny day! It was hazy at times and cooler. The snow stayed stiff in a lot of places. We went to the top of Lone Peak. I got a little cold wearing my new Volcom jacket layered with the teal Burton hoody and Volcom base layer. My fingers were numb in the Celtek gloves. It must have only gotten up to mid 40s today. I think the haze got thicker later into the day.
3/23- We took the day off snowboarding. It seemed colder and we thought the groomers would be icy. We tried to get sushi for lunch but the place was closed. A lot of places were closed on Monday. We ended up at Lone Peak Brewery. Steep and Deep ale was good. The food was not good. We stopped by East Slope Outdoors and I bought a long sleeve Big sky sweatshirt. Met the best shop dog ever, Ullr (ooler), a Bernese mountain dog. He came galloping up to us as soon as we walked into the door. He was super friendly. I wanted to take him home with me. I settled for sitting on the floor with him and rubbing his belly and tickling his feet. He really hates that. Wish we had taken a picture of this dog. I looked up the store on the internet but there are pictures of other shop dogs we didn't meet. Next time...
3/24- Today was crazy. It snowed overnight. Our flight was supposed to be at 6AM but driving down was slow going. We passed plows going the other direction. Now all those crosses along the pass seem understandable. Probably nervous tourists, hurrying down for their predawn flight. It was dark, below freezing and winding almost the whole way back to the airport. We returned the car to Hertz via dropping the keys down a hole with a note about mileage. When we got to the Alaska counter, no one was there. They close 40 minutes prior to take off. I'm skeptical that we were late. It was by 5 minutes if any. Ben gets on the phone and tells them about the snow and why we were late. They first tells us we are going to have to pay $700 to get on the next flight. But after talking to a supervisor, who looked up the weather at Big Sky, the nice lady said we only had to pay $50 total to get on the next flight which was at 3:25PM. I email mom and dad with the airport WIFI (because, no Sprint!) about missing the flight. I tried calling but, of course, mom's cell went straight to voice mail (what town with an airport doesn't have cell coverage?!).
With 9 hours before the flight, Ben gets on Hotwire and rents us another car. We wait an hour for the Hertz counter to open at 7AM and get our car. The lady from Hertz said we could have just gotten the keys back to our original rental since we technically had it for the whole day but since we already booked a new one through Hotwire, we got a Toyota Sequoia. It was gigantic. Only had to put one seat down to fit the board bags. We met Mikel, Ben's (actually Char's) childhood friend, for coffee. I had no cell coverage, so I used the cafe WIFI to let mom and dad know when our new flight would arrive. We then drove to Bridger Bowl. It's only like 15 miles from Bozeman. The snow that made us miss our flight was fluffy when we got to the resort. We had so much fun. 6-7 inches of pow with partly cloudy skies. We didn't take pictures. Just too busy having fun. Plenty of untouched snow along Powder Park but a little flat for my liking so after a few runs we rode Bridger then ended up riding Pierre's Knoll a few times. It started to get warmer and the snow got heavy and tracked out after a couple hours. Last Chance run was shady and stayed loose and we did find some nice tree skiing off Pierre but the cat track back to the lift was brutal on my feet. Toe edge the whole way. Made my plantar fasciitis flare.
Here is a link to the photos Ben posted to his Facebook. He has details about each photo with comments and whatnot on FB. Or just stare at the slideshow below. I couldn't decide which was better...
For my own future reference, and kind of the whole point of blogging the trip, here is what I packed. I have such terrible packing indecision and can never remember what I packed and wore in previous trips. The issue inspired the creation of this travel log. Thus, the weird detail about clothes, temperatures and comfort level. I was originally NOT going to share the blog but Ben said friends and family might be interested.
The hubs and I both won lottery spots to race in this year's LBS! We had entered the lottery several years in a row and I kind of thought we were never going to be selected. Maybe we finally aged into smaller divisions? Maybe all the Olympians were in Russia? Maybe they took pity on us. Whatever it was, we were stoked. We booked a VRBO with a hot tub and at the very least, it was a peaceful stay in Glacier, WA. The race itself was the opposite of peaceful.
So far this year, the snow levels have been low in the Pacific Northwest. Traditionally, the LBS winds its way through a natural half-pipe but the low snow prompted planners to start the race a couple hundred yards up-hill from the half-pipe. That part of the course was lovely. The lower half was iced-over. Actually, it was lucky if ice even covered all the rocks and tree roots.
Banks? Not really. There were gates set up so you knew where to go but it was fairly arbitrary. I managed to post a time on the first day but DQ'd on the second day of qualifying. It was kind of a relief not racing in the finals and not having to throw myself down that course again. Usually, the racers get all technical over wax. This race was all about sharp edges as the board base didn't see much time on the course.
Hopefully we win lottery spots again. I want a chance to run the race when the course is fun. Many commented that, unlike previous years, this year's course wasn't fun. It's supposed to be fun because it isn't like winners are taking home new cars or stacks of cash. I have no illusions of winning this race but I do like to have fun. So, next time. (Pics taken with cell or point and shoot).