State Nordic Race

In Oregon, we have Bill & Ginny Martin to thank for our great high school nordic programs.  They have really worked hard to offer it to all kids and we are lucky enough to have them working with our high school.  The culmination of the whole year is the State Nordic Races, and this year it was really fun.

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Friday was the classic race and we knew it was going to be cold – 20 degrees  and we couldn’t even see the top of Mt. Bachelor due to the wind and snow. Ouch.

 

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I had the fun of standing at this corner to keep regular daily skiers who paid to use the area from going across the blue belts and into the race course.  Then the racers would fly down from the left and the other skiers would be in the way. It was so funny.  I could have taken 10 pictures of almost crashes but I was too busy trying to get them out of the way!

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At the end of the day Friday, we were ready to head home and get warm.  My toes were cold for 3 hours.  So proud of my daughter who detests the cold and who just learned to ski this year – she did great!

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Dan took the carload of girls up on Saturday – and look at that weather! The difference a day makes in the mountains.  Eliza had a another good day skate skiing and is VERY happy to be done for the year.  Great sport!

 

Bend is GROWING!

Well, we all knew that.  We’ve been discovered. Every top 20 list of places to live has had us on it for years, darn it.  Our little ski town is growing to something much bigger.  The culture that is coming with all the people is fun, but the impact on our roads, traffic and dare I say it, air pollution, is causing growing pains.

One of the biggest areas of impact is our schools. Most schools are overcrowded and aging quickly.  Extra classrooms added on outside, or more kids crammed into each room and hallway are normal.  We are building them, but more people are pouring in. The first day of school last September had 500 more kids showing up than we had planned for.

This map shows our current schools and the proposed schools and updates that would be built if we pass a bond measure in May for $268MM.  That’s peanuts compared to other school districts in Oregon.  We’re starting to get the word out now so residents will understand how serious the need is.  I thought y’all might be interested!

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So yes, feel free to move to Bend, just know that our growing pains are strong and we are dealing with them as quickly as we can.  And plan on riding your bike when you get here so you don’t add to the traffic mess!

 

 

Drive to the Columbia Gorge/Hermiston

My son had his Regional Wrestling tournament in Hermiston last Friday/Saturday, so Dan and I took off work to watch him qualify for state.  It’s a long drive from Bend, 155 miles, about 4 hours.  We haven’t been on the road much since returning home from our 19 month RV adventure, so we were happy to go!

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We’ve had a ton of snow this winter, more than most.  I’ve driven this road dozens of times and never seen snow, so I think this is beautiful!  Outlines the mountains.  I should have taken a picture of every semi we saw on it’s side, however, this road was ice 2 weeks ago.  Never seen so many off the road.

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As you drop down, getting closer to the Gorge, this is the view!  You can barely see the windmills on the ridge.  This was a big controversy when they first were installed.  People didn’t want them, but they really make sense.  The wind through the Columbia Gorge is very strong and frequent. Why not use it to generate power?  People were vocal in their opposition, so they aren’t all over the gorge, just certain areas.

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They look small from a distance but one “arm” alone is as long as a semi and they cost over a million dollars each!

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The Columbia River separates Washington from Oregon. We’re on the Oregon side where the better/bigger highway is. This is the river Lewis & Clark came down! Imagine that in a small boat.  I’ve seen the waves swamp small motorboats and the wind can come up without warning.  Then they made the mistake of “camping” for awhile on the Washington side, before the Natives told them the Oregon side was a little drier. From there they headed to Astoria Oregon and spent one very wet winter.

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Dan,  Dom, Nate & my Dad, Ray.  Dom was out of the tournament early because he got hurt.  Nate wrestled 5 times, ending up taking 6th at Regionals, enough to qualify for a varsity letter as a freshman, but not in the top 4 for state.  Who cares?! We’re proud of him for how hard he worked.  Great team of young men.

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We were able to leave before 8 pm, and this is the  view we had for about 20 minutes as we drove west.  Just gorgeous!  That’s Mt. Hood on the left.

 

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This is my “oh wow” shot. Came around the corner and saw this.  The wanderlust in me wants to know where that train is going.  The water skier in me wishes I was down on that clear glass water having an evening run.  So glad we hit the road to Hermiston!

The Road Less Travelled – by snowshoe

I think it’s funny that snowshoes are looked down on these days – it used to be a huge novelty and a great way to get outside in the peaceful winter forest.  Now most people downhill or do cross country Nordic skiing.  Yes, it gets you there faster, but it’s not the quiet break that I need.

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All the paper trail maps were taken, so I took a picture just in case.  I’ve snowshoed here for years, but better safe than sorry. Easy to get turned around.  I took the orange toure to the more difficult, and wound back around to the Meissner shelter.

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Pretty well beaten down after our 50″ fell, unfortunately, it was also really loud because the ice had formed on top. But really, how can you complain about anything when you’re out here alone?!  Literally, the road less travelled because everyone else is zipping around the big trails on nordic skis.

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The new warming hut, built by incredible volunteers, with a woodstove inside.  It was only 14 degrees, so I didn’t stay long – quick snack, lots of water.  Met 3 very nice ladies from Wyoming and Canada.  You can barely glimpse the view to the south – but it stretches out to the west, too, with the door facing it now.  The hut used to face east, which was great for keeping the wind out, but really, the view is to the west. And no, I didn’t take a picture!

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Beyond happy me.  It’s Wednesday and I brought a whole car load of Nordic girls for practice and then went for a walk on my own.  Paradise.

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If my snowshoes could talk, the stories they would tell! Bought in January 2000 in Durango, Colorado, they have been all over on trails and in Bend during snow storms.  They are MSR’s, the type the Colorado ski rescue group used to use.  Not sexy like the sleek new ones, but I’ve never gotten stuck anywhere and nothing has broken off.  I love where they take me and how I have a different outlook every time I come back.  Perfect day!

 

 

 

XC Nordic Race at Mt Bachelor

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Easy drive to the mountain!

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Perfect day for it! Sunny and 30’s. Crazy gorgeous. The skiiers had a great day. Nice 5K course.  I strapped on my snowshoes to get some exercise, but should have strapped on skis and done the course – next time!

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That lucky skier !  Look at that, he’s got the whole hill!  Just another day in paradise.

 

 

The Aftermath of 50″ of Snow

So I’ve been going on and on about how much I love the snow, but I want to share what it’s like now, too, that we’ve warmed up a little.  img_1078

This is just one of many roofs in town that have fallen in. A vacant grocery store, it’s going to be an even harder sell now.  When the water gets into the building and walls the threat of mold is very real.  I drove by this 15 minutes after it happened, so sad. We also had a gym roof collapse on an old school, no one hurt, which prompted the closure of our schools for a few more days while the snow was cleared off all the schools and structural engineers went in to assess the safety.

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This was a normal road 2 days ago – standing water, and no way to get around it.  Grateful for 4WD, a must here.  The slush in our neighborhood was 12″ deep and I got stuck twice.

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You’re supposed to take water this deep slowly, but all 3 of the trucks ahead of me took it fast – I missed the pic of the last truck enveloped in water and barely visible. I took it slow and up on the left curb.

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This road was the only one in town this good!  Heaven to drive on it.  Note the right side near the wall= there should be a sidewalk there.  Our city code is that homeowners and businesses clear their own w/in 24 hours of a snow, but this area never got cleared and students were walking to school on the road many times.  Sad, but our city budget is like everywhere else, stretched, and homeowners have been overwhelmed with getting snow off their roofs, fixing frozen pipes, commuting to work with some roads closed – it’s been a busy couple of days.

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Up close slush that I worked in for an hour to clear out a sign on a listing I have – great boots for this season – I was dry and warm.  So it’s not all sunshine in Bend right now, but I wouldn’t live anywhere else!

 

 

Nordic race @ Willamette Pass

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Eliza had a nordic race at Willamette Pass this weekend, and because Nate was injured and couldn’t wrestle, we were both able to go. Here she is coming down the hill during the relay race.  Cold, 15 degrees, a little windy, but still beautiful!

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Odell Lake with Diamond Peak in the background. We’ve camped and hiked on the opposite side of the lake – a very peaceful area.

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The roads back were fine – that’s ice and snow packed and easy to drive on if you don’t drive too fast!

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I take this picture every time I come back from LaPine because look at that view!!!  Mt Bachelor to the left, then Broken Top and the 3 Sisters.  Glad we had the excuse to get outside for Eliza’s race!