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Laureen

    At Home

    DIY Bathroom Remodel – A 1993 Bath Becomes a 2020 Showpiece

    Last summer we did a “remodel” of our new villa in the USA. It was actually less of a remodel and more of a refresh, updating the 1990’s villa with fresh paint, tile, floors, countertop, appliances and design. We did this without any large construction or massive structural changes. We were able to do it all in 8 weeks for around $20K. We did everything last summer EXCEPT the master bathroom. We saved that for this summer – DIY Bathroom Remodel.

    DIY Bathroom Remodel
    Before with carpet

    Arriving home from our world tour two months earlier than planned due to Covid, we launched almost immediately into our project of completely demolishing the old bathroom and beginning a DIY bathroom remodel – a 1993 bath becomes a 2020 showpiece.

    DIY Bathroom Remodel

    Given we were in no hurry and we wanted to save money, my husband tackled the entire job himself. We both were raised in do-it-yourself families, and we have had a lot of experience in this area. We have built two homes from the ground up and gutted and remodeled a third before taking on this Villa last summer. We kinda know what we are doing. So, here is what we did over a four month period to create the bathroom of our dreams.

    Before

    I’m sure in the early 1990’s this bathroom was pretty swanky. But nearly thirty years later it was out of date and worn out. Yes that is carpet you see in that photo. It was a thing in the 80’s and 90’s to put carpet in a bathroom. Not something I want anymore. So a complete demolition of this bathroom took place, creating a total clean slate to work with. We found someone on Facebook who came and took all the cabinets and sinks. The rest went to the dump.

    Before tiny shower and pocketdoor
    Before old cabinet

    Before phone booth shower
    Before toilet cubby

    Inspiration

    Thank you Pinterest for all these inspiring ideas for my DIY Bathroom Remodel…while we were still traveling I began to save lots of pins to my Home and Garden file in Pinterest of the kind of bathroom I imagined for this space. The bathroom is not huge, about 8 x 15 feet, but big enough for just the two of us. Here are some of my most inspiring photos from Pinterest that I used as we laid out the design for this bathroom. (Follow me on Pinterest!)

    Framing, Plumbing and Electrical

    Once demolition was complete my husband Arne began moving the plumbing. We moved the toilet about three feet, expanded the shower about four feet, moved the sink and changed the layout of the tub. Next a lot of time was spent framing the new shower and toilet cubby area where we had removed a wall and pocket door. He then did all the electrical adding some recessed lighting, chandelier and several new outlets.

    Clean slate
    Shower is gone
    Framing of new shower area

    Meanwhile Countertop Art

    While Arne is doing all of this I am working with my friend and local concrete artist Laurie, as we begin to design a showpiece of a countertop as part of the DIY Bathroom Remodel. This is the second countertop Laurie has done for us. We worked closely together for three months on getting this beauty just right with the color and the texture that I wanted.

    See Laurie’s work at Advanced Concrete and Design here.

    Goregeous concrete art

    Sheetrock and Paint

    Once the plumbing and electrical was complete time to repair the sheet rock and paint. We used the same color paint we have used through out the rest of the house, a soft linen color by Behr called Authentic Tan.

    Sheet rock repair
    Shower frame in complete

    Time to Start the Tile

    Hands down the most time consuming and difficult task of all the bathroom remodel tasks the huge amount of tile in this bathroom was daunting. We purchased all the wall tile at Home Depot but made a special order for the magnificent floor tile from a local store called Advanced Flooring. We splurged a bit on the floor tile but the impact was worth it and we made up for it by using less expensive tile on the wall. By the way the wall tile is a larger style of subway tile that measures 12″.

    Professional Tile Cutter
    Shower floor goes in

    Arne borrowed his brother’s professional-grade tile cutter and got to work on this big job. Once again, taking his time was paramount in the success of this project. When we had other things to do, we did them. We took days off to hike, golf and play. We took two weeks off to do our Road Trip (see it all here). And pretty much every other minute he was placing tile. Occasionally when I would be working in other parts of the house a few choice words would burst from the project…but my husband persevered. He even built the pan for the new shower floor.

    Wall tile with detail
    Giant project
    I love the floor tile by Daltile
    Celebrating the final piece of tile being placed

    It Comes Together

    Once the tile and grout were complete the beautiful tub was placed, and the vanity and toilet put in. All the plumbing fixtures in oil rubbed bronze came from Signature Hardware. The chandelier and light over the sink also went in. By the way, we ordered ALL OF THESE online to avoid going into the stores as much as possible due to the virus.

    Finishing touches

    Finally Laurie arrived for the placement of the work-of-art countertop…after lots of work on her part and consultation on my part, the size, fit and color were absolutely perfect. The countertop weighs about 150 pounds and she was really nervous as we got it into place…but it went smoothly and we could not have been happier.

    Countertop arrives

    With the counter in place Arne finished the final tile pieces to finish off around the counter, and installed the faucet. Next we placed our beautiful mirror and added two small cabinets for more storage next to the tub and over the toilet.

    Beautiful mirror from reclaimed barn wood

    One good scrub down of everything and then I began to decorate. Nearly every decorative item you see here I already owned, but I also added a few new and “new to me” pieces I had collected in the months coming up to this moment. I purchased all new towels and bath rugs and some storage bins. Finally, everything was complete exactly four months to the day from when we began the tear-out in May.

    Pros and Cons

    Doing a major DIY like this is NOT for everyone. Don’t tackle it unless you know what you are doing. But I know having a contractor come in and do all of this work would have cost us at least $50K. We did it for $14K.

    So bright and beautiful

    The biggest con for me was the dust the project created throughout the house and the reaction I had to the dust in my allergies and sinuses. I am so grateful that part is over.

    I absolutely love everything about this beautiful space now and how it flows both in color and function with the rest of our new home.

    Although we have every intention of continuing to travel as soon as we can, knowing we have this space to call home when we are in the USA has been such a relief for us. So thankful we made the decision to buy this property and turn it into the retreat of our dreams. No regrets.

    Some Final Before and After Shots and Decorative Touches. Enjoy.

    DIY Bathroom Remodel
    Before with carpet
    After
    After
    Before
    Shower detail
    Concrete Counter
    LIttle touches
    Shelves from Wayfair
    I even love the toilet
    Counter decor
    Decore
    Pretty and functional
    So pretty

    Thanks for following along on this DIY Bathroom Remodel journey with us. We plan to relax for awhile now.

    See this week’s top performing pin here.

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    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review Peace Like a River by Leif Enger

    I hope you saw my review two weeks ago of Leif Enger’s book Virgil Wander. Gosh I loved that book and was very intrigued to read more by this author.

    If you loved Ordinary Grace, you will love Peace Like a River.

    Written in 2001, Peace Like a River is the story of Reuben Land and his family and their small town life. Once again Enger’s character development is perfection, as we fall quickly in love with Reuben, his brother Davy, sister Swede and father Jeremiah – a miracle worker in Reuben’s mind.

    The family finds itself on a cross-country trek in search of outlaw brother Davy, after a murder takes place. The journey include miracles and adventure and tests the family’s faith to it’s core. Along the way the family will befriend strangers who touch their lives and find peace like a river in family, friends, love and faith.

    A beautiful story that will make you want to keep reading beyond the end. A remarkable plot with striking and indelible characters you will cherish.

    *****Five stars for Peace Like a River by Leif Enger

    Read last week’s review of Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents.

    My current read Fifty Words for Rain by Asha Lemm

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    Food & Drink  --  Inspire

    Fun and Delicious Ways to Cook Fish

    Cooking at Home with Fresh and Sustainable Fish

    It’s been a summer of a lot of fish for us and I am now feeling much more confident in the kitchen as I have learned fun and delicious ways to cook fish. My membership to the monthly Wild Caught Alaska Seafood delivery service has certainly helped with that. Having this beautiful fish ready in my freezer is convenient, healthy, sustainable and most of all delicious.

    Today is the third and final blog featuring fun and delicious ways to cook fish, recipes I have either created on my own or taught myself from recipes I have found over the summer. I offer you a little bit of everything here today, from Thai inspired Cod to Ceviche from Peru and Walnut encrusted Halibut. Get cooking my friends! I’d love to hear from you if you try any of these delicious recipes.

    Salmon Salad on Croissant

    How to cook fish
    Delicious salmon salad

    Whenever I cook a whole or half a salmon fillet, this recipe is one of our favorites to use for the leftovers. Although honestly we rarely have any leftovers. But we enjoy this salmon salad on croissants for lunch, hiking or even for dinner on a warm summer night.

    6-10 oz cooked salmon, flake and bones removed

    1/4 cup of capers

    1/4 cup diced celery

    1/4 cup chopped green onions

    1 T dry dill

    1/2 to 3/4 cup mayonnaise mixed with some of the juice from the jar of capers

    Salt and pepper to taste.

    Mix together and let refrigerate for a few hours before enjoying as a sandwhich.

    Thai Cod in Coconut Broth

    One of our favorite recipes for cod or white fish. Check out our YouTube video here on how to make this delicious meal. BTW we post a YouTube video EVERY TUESDAY for Tasty Tuesday. We sure would love for you to follow us on YouTube.

    Crunchy Rockfish Tacos

    How to cook fish
    Rockfish in the skillet for crunch fish tacos

    I wasn’t familiar with rockfish when I first received it from Alaska, but I have found it to be a pretty versatile, somewhat nondescript fish that is perfect for breading and frying. It makes good fish and chips and crispy fish tacos. Here’s how I did that.

    10- oz rockfish, thawed and dried with a paper towel

    Mix 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup panko, 1 T cumin, 1/2 t red chili powder or flakes and salt and pepper. Dredge the fillets in the dry mixture.

    Cook in air fryer about 6 min first side, turn over for 3 more minutes. Or fry in cast iron skillet in vegetable oil, set on paper towel to drain a minute before serving.

    Salmon in Lemon Basil Sauce

    How to cook fish
    Salmon with lemon basil sauce

    Easy but elegant.

    2 6 oz salmon fillets drizzled with olive oil and the salt and pepper. Let sit for a few minutes.

    In food processor or blender mix together;

    1/2 cup fresh basil, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 garlic clove, 1 T fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper. Pulse until mixed. Pour in small saucepan and bring up to medium heat.

    Meanwhile cook salmon about four minutes per side in skillet. Place on plate and pour warm basil lemon sauce over.

    Ceviche

    One of my favorite foods from around the world is ceviche; it is so very easy to make, and healthy too. Here is how we did this on our YouTube channel for Tasty Tuesday.

    Walnut Crusted Halibut

    How to cook fish
    Halibut with walnut crust and shallot lemon sauce

    I found this recipe on Pinterest and I changed it up a bit and made it for two people. Oh my did it turn out lovely. This is something you could easily serve to guests.

    2 6 oz halibut fillets; salt and pepper them and let them air dry for a few minutes

    Combine 1/2 cup bread crumbs, 1/2 cup finely ground walnuts, 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese. Add 1 T melted butter, 1 T stone ground mustard, 1 T dry dill, 1 t lemon zest.

    Place the halibut on greased baking sheet and cover with walnut mixture, pressing into the fish to get it secured. Drizzle with a little bit of olive oil and then back in preheated 425 oven for 10-15 minutes.

    Meanwhile in small sauce pan heat 1 t olive oil, 1 T chopped shallots, 1/4 cup white wine, 1 T lemon juice, 1 T butter and 1 t dry dill (or fresh).

    Pour sauce over fish for serving or serve on the side.

    What does F.I.S.H stand for?

    Well, ” fish is so healthy” of course! Especially when you are buying, cooking and serving wild caught sustainable fish. I have learned a lot about how to prepare fish these past few months and I now am confident in my kitchen when it comes to delicious and healthy fish meals.

    I hope you too will try some of our favorites here, and learn fun and delicious ways to cook fish. Be sure to check out our Salmon Recipe Blog and our White Fish Recipe Blog from earlier this summer. Enjoy!!

    See this week’s top performing pin here.

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    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson

    Reading Wednesday

    Wow. This book is just wow. Poignant but also provocative. Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents describes racism in the United States. But Wilkerson takes it further…further than I have heard or read before.

    I have never disputed the fact that the United States is a racist place, but Wilkerson guides us through her theory that racism in the USA is a product of a caste system, a society-wide hierarchy. A system of inclusion and exclusion. I found it gripping and truthful and honest.

    This book will make many people uncomfortable. It will make racists balk and claim it’s a farce. It will make people of color shake their heads in agreement and disgust. It will make people like me, someone who does not consider herself racist, stop and take stock of my own life and caste.

    Wilkerson guides the reader through eight pillars of a caste system, all clearly in use today in the USA. Many stem from the very founding of our country. Others are more recently developed and upheld. She guides the reader through the theory identifying the contagion of caste just like a virus and how the caste system self=perpetuates by rewarding those lower class people who abide by the unwritten rules.

    The New York Times claimed this book “an instant American classic and almonst certainly the keynote nonfiction book of the century so far.” Very high praise indeed.

    Timely, chilling, astonishing. The book likely won’t change the thinking of racists around us, but might give pause and hope and direction to those who flounder in the middle.

    *****One of the best books I have read in years. Five big stars for Caste: The Origins of our Discontent by Isabel Wilkerson.

    Read last week’s review of Virgil Wander

    My current read The Great Influenza by John M. Barry

    See this week’s top performing pin here.

    The links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

    Everything Else Fabulous  --  Inspire

    My Summer of Miscontent

    The Unexpected Summer of 2020

    Miscontent – adjective: annoying, obsolete, disgruntled, dissatisfied

    How to describe the unexpected, slightly annoying, and hopefully soon-to-be obsolete summer of 2020? I don’t think any of us will forget it soon. No sir, summer 2020 is branded on each of us forever; a somewhat sad, somewhat frightening, but often annoying period in history.

    I approached this time of my life as optimistically as I could muster, setting my sights on goals and activities to keep me from going crazy. I can’t remember another summer in my life with so few parties, not a single concert, and zero festivals. No family reunion, no weddings, no fair or rodeo. No summer blockbuster movies, organized runs or even Seafair hydroplanes. Ho hum.

    masks
    The family all masked up but nowhere to go.

    But most of all it’s been years since I haven’t had a vacation or trip looming on the horizon. The world according to Covid. So sad….

    I knew full well as we flew half way across the world back to the United States on April 30th (abruptly ending our world tour) that nothing was going to be the same this summer. Our two months locked down on the island of Cyprus had us fully prepared with a good understanding of the dangers and contagion of the virus. We weren’t however prepared for the way the USA handled the virus with lack of cohesion, lack of preparation, lack of equipment, lack of communication. That part blew my mind. And thanks to all of that, we as Americans can’t travel now…perhaps for a very long time. Annoying.

    mount rainier
    Hiking with the family

    Growth Mindset

    The term ‘growth mindset’ is a bit of mantra for me, and I, sometimes to my husband’s dismay, tackle each problem head on with belief I can make something good out of the situation. And do it today. Generally I am a positive person with a somewhat Pollyanna view and so I set out to make the most of the situation. I lead a quantified life, meaning quarantine and lockdown seemed like another opportunity to tackle and reach some goals. This isn’t for everyone, but it works for me and damn I get a lot done!

    So after four months stuck back in the USA it’s time to review my summer of miscontent, and consider what lies ahead.

    mount rainier
    Hiking with my hubby

    .

    Learning New Garden Skills

    hummingbird
    The Garden Project

    I didn’t do much work on my garden last summer because we were up to our eyeballs in remodeling our new villa. This year I set out to learn all I could about deer resistant gardening as well as gardening with woodland plants. Read Deer Resistant Gardening post here.

    I have learned so much this summer, mostly by trial and error and I can say a few things with confidence about deer resistant gardening. First, the deer will try anything at least once…even if it’s supposedly “deer resistant”. Second, the female deer eat like pigs in the spring when they are carrying their fawns. And finally, there really are some plants the deer don’t like…thankfully. My successes this summer include lavender and all herbs, canna, cone flowers, daises, peonies, most grasses, cotoneaster and most woody shrubs, day lilies, and mums. I won’t be planting much beyond this list in the years ahead.

    BTW my Master Gardener friend Kim (who helped me a lot) reminded me that no matter if the tag on the plant says “deer resistant” the deer can’t read.

    Getting My Glow Back

    the glow
    Glowing at sixty

    Something I wasn’t prepared for when we started our life of nearly full time travel more than four years ago is how hard travel is on your skin and hair. Yes, I said skin and hair. Sun and sand, chlorine and salt, dry airplanes, dehydration, humidity…you name it. I felt my skin looked ancient when I arrived back in the USA. So, since we were going to be staying close to home, it seemed like a good time to launch a much needed and long neglected anti-aging skin care routine. Within a week of arrival I was into it and here is the post I wrote about Skin Care at Sixty

    It’s now been 18 weeks since I took control of the future of my skin and I can’t tell you how much better I look and I feel. It is worth the effort and the money and I will never go back to neglecting my own self-care again. Whether you use the products I used or another brand or approach, just taking the time to put yourself first and take care of you is an important goal in life.

    While I’m At It – Let’s Get Skinny

    Noom
    Down 27 pounds

    The two months on lockdown in Cyprus was a time I taught myself all about Cypriot cuisine. It was fun to have the time to do that. We also had an amazing Airbnb host who brought us baked goods nearly everyday. Oh boy those were good.

    But on touchdown in the USA I was at least fifteen pounds heavier than when I had left, and my weight then wasn’t ideal either. One of the best things about travel is the wonderful food around the world – and I want to try it all. But, back in the USA it was time to take some serious measures and drop some serious pounds. And so I joined Noom and got to work within a week of arriving back home. Here is the post I wrote about Noom Weightloss.

    I also set out to make better choices of what I ate and Noom helped me with that. We joined a seafood club and began receiving delicious wild caught Alaska Seafood and I taught myself all kinds of delicious seafood recipes. Cooking fish has always been a bit daunting for me, but not anymore. See some of the recipes here for Alaska Wild Caught Fish.

    It’s now been four and half months and I have lost 27 pounds and I am currently maintaining my new weight. My god I feel so great! Noom is a great program. It might not be for everyone but it was just right for me and my growth mindset life and I am going to do everything I can to keep the weight off.

    Let’s Get Physical

    Half Marathon Running
    Training for a half marathon

    Noom was my motivation, but running really helped me kickstart a quick weight loss from the beginning. I set out to train for a half marathon, knowing full well the virus was causing all organized runs to be canceled. But I decided I could do my own half marathons and gave myself twelve weeks to be ready using Hal Higdon’s training program. See the post I wrote about Half Marathon Training

    The twelve weeks have come and gone and I have run my half marathon and plan to run my second one this coming weekend. And as long as this old sixty year old body will let me, I’ll just keep right on running. I love it and it helps me stay slim.

    Learning Something New

    golf
    Celebrating a Par shot

    We can’t travel but I live on a golf course…there it is right in my own front yard. So no time like the present to learn something new. I have golfed in the past but it had been at least 15 years since I picked up some clubs. So my summer of miscontent became my summer of learn to golf. I took 8 lessons and learned a great deal during that time. I got a new driver, new shoes and a whole new atititude and confidence to this game and I look forward to golfing through out the fall and even the winter as I work to feel natural with a club in my hand. Another great way to get my exercise in.

    Staycations and Road Trips

    Road Trip
    On the road in Utah

    Once I felt safe to be out and about on a limited basis, we planned some close-to-home two and three day getaways (see our Island Sanity Staycation #1 here and our Tree House #2 here). I also got outside to hike and cycle as often as possible, keeping social distancing top of mind. I was really grateful for those close to home activities with my husband, my grown sons and some of our close friends.

    In August we decided to venture a little farther from home and did a 13 day road trip through Idaho to Colorado and back through Oregon. It was a lot of driving and in hind sight we should have added a few more days, but the weather was excellent, the scenery sublime and the ability to play my “get out of jail free card” really helped my sanity. I felt safe the entire time and we were careful and social distanced everywhere we went.

    And Just Like That, Fall is Here

    Fall in Washington
    Fall is just around the corner

    The virus is here for a long while, and learning to deal with it has been the unexpected outcome of my summer of miscontent. So now I look forward. I’ve done a little soul searching through all of this. Learning to accept the fact I can’t travel and I am not in control of when I might be able to again. Learning to find peace with that and find other things to occupy my over active brain. Learning to socialize primarily with my closest family and keep most everyone at arms length. No hugs. That sucks.

    The weather will turn soon and I will turn to my arts and crafts and focus on healthy eating and working out. We might do another road trip…or even fly to the sunny parts of the USA if we decide it’s safe to do so. But learning to be kinder, quieter, more thoughtful has been good medicine for me. I’ve given up the news and refuse to engage in politics or hate. It’s not my way.

    I know well there are so many people who have it so much worse than I do. I have a home, a family and I am safe and so far healthy. There is nothing more that I need.

    dandelion
    Signs of fall

    I know a handful of people who have had the virus, all but one of them surviving. It’s real and it’s going to be around for a while…I am settling in for the long haul. Likely no travel for a while, but learning to live within the boundaries the virus has imposed. And do so with a positive attitude…as much as possible. Sometimes that means stepping away from the news, shutting down the social media, turning away from the screen.

    My goal – a fall and winter of contentment. Putting away the miscontent and finding acceptance and satisfaction in the solitude this virus has thrust on us, and the major change in lifestyle that is now my routine. My autumn of contentment. My winter of gratitude. My Fab Fifties Life.

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    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review Virgil Wander by Leif Enger

    Reading Wednesday

    After a bit of a dry spell, I’ve stumbled thankfully into some lovely feel good stories lately. And this book is one of them. I hope you enjoy my book review of Virgil Wander by Leif Enger.

    It’s a funny coinkydink, because I downloaded this book after it showed up on a list of best books from 2018. I hadn’t started reading it yet and my friend Merry mentioned Peace Like a River by Leif Enger, claiming it one of her all-time favorites. I began to wonder who was this Leif guy and why have I not read anything by him?

    And so I began Virgil Wander, and found Leif Enger

    Virgil Wander nearly dies in a car accident, only to come out of the experience with a new life awakening. As he heals he begins to notice more clearly people and things in his small Midwestern town life. Given the small town setting, as you might expect, Virgil’s story is accompanied by a wide range of characters that Enger brilliantly develops. In fact the character development of this cast is one of my favorite things about this story; from the sudden appearance of Rune a kite flying old man or the reappearance of the town’s prodigal son Adam Leer, to the life long residents like down on his luck Jerry, town drunk Shad, widow Nadine and Mayor Lydia. These are the people who make the plot of Virgil Wander unfold in a humorous and captivating way.

    Enger has a talent I long for as a writing. He is gifted in his ability to turn a phrase, choose a word, fulfill a prose – in a way that puts you square in the heart of the moment, not just the story but the exact moment and believe you are there. Brilliant.

    “The surface of everything is thinner than we know. A person can fall right through, without any warning at all.”

    “He had a heartening bulk of the aging athlete defeated by pastry.”

    I really loved this book and I think you will too. A look into life in small town upper Midwest America, and the people who love their town and each other. Their journey is Virgil Wander.

    I hope you enjoyed my book review of Virgil Wander by Leif Enger.

    *****Five Stars for Virgil Wander.

    Read last week’s review of Beneath a Scarlet Sky

    My current read Peace Like a River by Leif Enger

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    North America Travel

    Road Tripping Oregon USA

    Inspired to explore environs closer to home, meaning in the United States, we set out on a road trip in August. Road tripping Oregon USA began in Washington State. We traveled 3375 miles through 5 states over 13 days. Our goal was only to sate a wee bit of our wanderlust and see a few towns and regions we had never visited. This is the third installment in a three part series of our road trip adventures. Read installment number one here (Idaho) and installment number two here (Colorado).

    Mount Jefferson
    Oregon’s Mount Jefferson with smoke from fires

    We left Colorado early in the morning with the fires still burning, so another detour and long drive ahead. We drove about 12 hours back into Idaho where we stayed at a less-than-appealing Red Lion in the town of Boise. We were exhausted so didn’t see any of Boise. I love Boise and have been there before…next time we will stay longer and in better accommodations.

    Welcome to Oregon

    We hit the road bright and early for the six hour drive to Bend, Oregon, passing back into the Pacific Time zone before arriving. A light blanket of smoke hung over most of Oregon too, as fires there also burned in the summer ritual that has become so common with climate change. So sad.

    Riverbend Park
    Riverbend Park

    We had a few hours to spare before we could check into our Airbnb so we headed to Riverbend park where we hoped to get wet and cool off on the sweltering 100 degree day.

    But since it was Saturday lots of people had the same idea. It was super crowded making social distancing a bit difficult. This beautiful park on the Deschutes River is popular for floating down in inner tubes and other floaties, and 100’s of people were here for that activity. Since we didn’t have a floatie, we laid out our beach towels on the grass far from shore and just soaked up some sun and watched everyone float down the river from a comfortable distance.

    Riverbend Park
    Sunny day at Riverbend Park

    Oregon has a population of just over 4 million and ranks 39th in the states with about 25,000 virus cases. Some people were masked in public but the rules were not as strict as in Colorado. Everyone was wearing masks inside stores and restaurants.

    Airbnb Bend
    The Wee Hoose Airbnb, Bend

    Bend Is Da Bomb

    After a couple of hours we headed to check into our Airbnb, another darling little cabin on a ranch. It was small and the bathroom was in a separate building but the proprietors were excellent hosts and had done such a nice job making this a wonderful little respite. We would definitely stay here again. See it here.

    Bend is one of my favorite areas in THE WORLD (you know that is saying something) and I think I could live here. We only had two days so we tried to make the most of it. We had a spectacular meal at El Sancho, some of the best, most authentic Mexican food I’ve had in a very long time. We enjoyed walking and shopping in old Bend, and tried to play golf but a huge thunderstorm kicked up and kept us from getting out on the course. Oh well, next time.

    El Sancho Bend
    Amazing tacos at El Sancho

    From our Airbnb in northwest Bend off of Powell Butte, I was able to do a really long run one morning. There are many parks and trails also great for running and cycling and hiking all around this region.

    Mask Up Oregon
    Thanks Oregon for Masking Up

    Microbrew Capital of the Northwest

    Our last day we did a self-guided microbrewery tour. Bend has more thant THIRTY microbreweries…an astonishing number. We had the time and the stamina to enjoy only a handful. Some of our favorites were 10 Barrel, Crux, Bevel, McMenamins, Bend Brewing and Deschutes. We had planned to eat dinner at Bend Brewing or Deschutes but the same thunderstorm kept us from these outdoor dining places. Instead we ate at the historic Pine Tavern. Always a good choice when in Bend.

    Crux Brewing Bend
    My happy husband with Beer from Crux

    So our two quick days in Bend was not enough, but we hope to come back next summer and stay for a week. It really is a special place.

    Pine Tavern Bend
    The historic Pine Tavern

    On day 13 we drove the six hours back to our home in Washington State, tired but fulfilled at least for awhile, as we wait for our full-time travel life to begin again. We may just need to take another road trip in the months to come.

    Sunrise Bend
    Sunrise from our Airbnb

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