Sunday, April 29, 2007

Ben in Bend

We have a custom in our family of each child going on a short trip with Mom when they're twelve, known as their "Twelve Trip," and going on a longer trip with Dad the next year, known as their "Thirteen Trip." Ben's trips were reversed. He and Paul went to Yosemite last year, and he and I went to Bend on Friday and Saturday for his "12 Trip."

Oregon is amazing, really. You can live here for years and still have new places to explore just a few hours away.

We drove through the Cascades on Highway 20, which involves an 11-mile 6% grade up to Tombstone Pass while glimpsing astonishing/breathtaking/other cliches views of Mt. Washington and Three-Fingered-Jack and other peaks through the trees. On the other side you go over Santiam Pass as well and then you head out onto the high desert which is a completely different place and climate from either the Willamette Valley or the Cascades.

Anyway, Ben is an ideal partner for this sort of adventure because he loves nature, hiking, photography, and so on. He is not into shopping, cool stuff, or spending money, which is fine except when I actually want to buy him a treat and nothing is special to him.

Which brings me to another conclusion: This guy is so much like his dad. Easy to please, calm, smart, notices all the birds, carries suitcases of knowledge in his brain.
Ben: That's the Calapooia River. And over that ridge there is the Marcola Valley.
Me: How do you know this stuff?
Ben: Oh, from observation. And from studying the atlas.

We hiked along the Deschutes River at three different places, went up on a butte in the morning and identified all the peaks on the horizon, toured the High Desert Museum, and hiked over a huge lava field where Neil Armstrong and the other astronauts practiced for the first moonwalk.

Ben on top of Pilot Butte, with Bend down below and the Three Sisters, Mt. Washington, etc. on the horizon.

Ben next to a huge device used to carry logs out of the forest in the old days.

At the High Desert Museum: an old stagecoach that carried Mark Twain on a tour of the West.

We had a good time. I tried to ask Ben about his feelings and hopes and such. He wondered why I was talking about such unnecessary things. I said good moms talk about heavy things when they are alone with their kids. He said:

Quote of the Day:
"Hey, did you hear about the guy who could bench-press 2400 pounds?"


  1. Sounds like the ideal traveling buddy! My family groans because I have to read EVERY sign, EVERY snippet of information when we are seeing stuff on vacation. I haven't made it to Oregon yet but it's definitely on the radar.

    My Beloved & I just returned from our own trip to Yosemite a couple of days ago. It was fabulous and we spent a lot of quality time together hiking and photgraphing, as well as reading signs (tee hee).

    I could SO be world traveller! How does one sign up for a job like that I wonder?
    Connie in Texas

  2. I get your blog posts via email so don't stop by here very often. I love the NW. The SW has many scenic areas too. Yosemite is on my list of places to visit...someday. :)

    Ben sounds like my brother. We call him a walking encylopedia. :)