After Crater Lake we drove on to Eugene, a fun uni town packed with hippies, activists, potheads, craft breweries, artsy and outdoorsy types. Our time in Eugene (and Bend, come to think of it) was characterised by beautiful nature and junk food.
Starving hungry on the first night in Eugene we headed straight to The Sandwich League, a permanent food van around the corner from our hostel in Whiteaker. Andrew had The Leroy:A burger topped with bacon, cheese sauce, bbq sauce, fries, cilantro slaw and crispy onions. And I had The Big O: Slow roasted beef topped with fries, cheese sauce, bbq sauce, caramelised onion and garlic, fries and crispy onions. After sitting in silence to devour our dinner we headed to the Ninkasi Brewering Company across the street to try some local brews. After that we rounded the corner and went to Sam Bond’s Garage for a few more… you get the gist. After a terrible night’s sleep (I loved our hostel but we were camping in the backyard right next to a freight train line) we got up the next day to hike up Spencer Butte. It was a really beautiful 8km walk (quite steep towards the top) with incredible views out to the Three Sisters mountains. That night we went to a new brew pub that had three food vans to choose from. So new that I can’t remember the name or find their website. Obviously we went with super healthy options.
We moved onto the Pour House (love a themed pun name) and eventually back to our tent by the tracks.
The next day, after amazing Mexican eggs at Cafe Siena, we walked up a different Butte (hehe) to check out a bald eagle nest and to an incredible rose garden, where we read books for a while.
On the drive to Bend we got a closer look at the Three Sisters and my, weren’t they pretty?Someone described Bend to us as a cleaner, more upmarket version of Eugene which I think is a fairly accurate description. In any case it was a sweet town with nice shops, restaurants, cafes and ice cream stores.
We camped nearby at the very picturesque Tumalo State Park. After pitching our tent we wandered down to the Deschutes River to read, occasionally dipping our feet in the bone-chillingly cold water.The following day, after Google Maps helpfully sent us via an unsealed gravel road, we arrived at the Newberry National Volcanic Monument. We aimed to do a hike but couldn’t find the trail head anywhere?! Things were very poorly signposted. It was no Yosemite.
We also walked through the pitch black Lava River Cave, which is an underground tunnel formed by lava. It was freezing down there and without our headlamps was completely dark, hence no photos. It was interesting though.
To celebrate making it out of the tunnel we headed to the Deschutes Brewery, the place that makes the beer we had at Crater Lake.
There was cheesy jalapeno dip on the menu, it would have been rude not to order it…