A friend of a friend of a friend has a friend in Bend whose house I can stay at. After breakfast, Cracker Jax, Slow Gin, and I pile into Black Death/Hoff Zombie/Lewis’ car and head over there.
I like Bridgit the minute I meet her. Laid back and smart. She and her husband are going to Elk Lake overnight and they’re cool with all four of us staying at their home. This is like winning the hiker lottery. The house has a hot tub and sauna, a grill on a deck overlooking a big back yard, and Netflix streaming on the TV.
First thing we do – grocery store run, then showers, and sleeping, and hanging out on couches. We make a grill feast and sit on the deck in the late summer light, astounded that we are living this dream of endurance, generosity, friendship, (and panic about getting to Canada before the snow). There is an accompanying sense of not letting this time go to waste. We discuss how we want to change our lives, what we want to do when we “get back” and how we’re different than when we started our trek at the California border.
The next morning, Black Death makes us a leftovers frittata. Brigid and Van return and we hang out and talk about our adventures. Van brings out some 10+ year old MRE’s. We open them and giggle at the packaging. We taste the 10 year old ham – sort of edible. We give a deep, deep bow to our hosts, make one last trip to REI, and then Black Death drives me and Slow Gin back to Elk Lake.
Bend, you are totally worth the extra zeros!