|Another powder day...
or new brewery experience?
On the Road Again
"Buy chains ahead of time and practice putting them on before you need them", I could hear Alex's advice ringing in my head. He had lived out west before and many others echoed his advice. However, once again my uber-frugal demeanor decided it wasn't worth the $50 spend to have chains when I knew I could get them for $20 elsewhere. I would just watch the weather and drive "around" the storms. I had snow tires and lots of experience driving in ice and snow, and a flexible schedule too. What you can't get through is the California Highway Department saying road closed unless you have chains! I had a couple of routes in mind to Bend and in the end the route chose me, as it was the last one not closed. I would skip the Coast or highway 5 and backtrack to Reno, NV and head north that way. The down side was skipping a few breweries that I wanted to see in Northern California. The upside would be an extra day in Bend. I know what an awful life, right? Less than an hour north of Reno, it started snowing again. It was getting rural and chances to get chains if needed were getting slimmer and slimmer... how much did I want to gamble. My mind drifted back to the half dozen times that year I had coasted into a gas station on fumes with sputtering car because I knew I could make it "just 5 more miles" before filling up before realizing I was 10 from the next station. I decided this was not the time to have my luck run out.
I pulled over at the next thing that resembled a town and found a farm supply store. Lucky for me I had a young guy wait on me that loved craft beer. He heard about my beer traveling plans and no sooner was fishing a pair of dusty old chains from the stock room. He let me get away with them for the bargain price of $10! A deal that made this bargain hunter grin from ear to ear. After a trial test putting them on, I threw them in the trunk and hastened on my journey. I was nearing the border and there were still flurries in the air. I knew there were still a chance of getting caught in the snow but being prepared made me feel more at ease. Next stop Oregon!
|Snow stopped, clouds clearing, simple little welcome sign.
Oregon looking sweet already.
|Welcome to Klamath Basin Brewery
|The Creamery Brewpub at Klamath Basin Brewery
|Northwest Brew News and
Sample Tray, plus 2!
|Brian Hackney from Eye On the Bay interviewing brewer Billy Sloane
|Brewhouse w/ nice copper cladding
|Hot water from ground heat!
I rolled into Bend a little sleepy but instantly found the energy to get out and explore. It's a nice small city or big town depending on your point of view. Its chock full of breweries and outdoor enthusiasts. A lot like Ithaca, NY if your from the east coast, just bigger mountains. The Deschutes River runs right through the middle of it and there are nice parks and walkways along its banks. Invisible in the dark Mount Bachelor loomed in the distance. I checked into my hotel, cleaned up a bit and made the short walk to downtown.
Full house for Tues night pint night at Bend Brewing Co.
I had made a new connection while in Denver as a friend's work friend's best friend (still with us?!) worked for Deschutes. Angela worked in the marketing department and it was nice to know I had a local connection. I wasn't planning on seeing Deschutes until the next day but Angela said she would probably stop by the Bend Brewing Co for their pint night, $2.75 pints of awesome craft beer! I rolled in and apparently just missed her. We would just have to meet tomorrow. After a quick scan of the beer list I started with a Pinnacle Porter and started chatting up some locals. The first was a nice old fella named Frank who split his time between Liverpool, Bend and Scotland... definitely a talker but friendly, full of stories and great local advice on what brews to check out. Next was Cory who happened to be from Vermont originally. A wealth of local knowledge, he also worked at the Victorian Cafe, one of the best places to get breakfast in Bend, which we'll get to in our next blog entry. Cory also showed me something that filled me with pride and that warm feeling you get from seeing something familiar from back home. Out of his wallet he fished a Vermont Breweries Passport Guide. Something I had the pleasure of helping launch almost 7 years ago. To see it still alive and all the way across the country just topped off an already great evening. Cory had to run but I promised to stop in for breakfast. He pointed me in the direction of his favorite Bend dive bar and we parted ways.
|Coast to Coast, Vermont meets Bend