It's so beautiful in Bend that you begin to take it for granted. You're cruising the highway along a clear, running river there's saphire lakes everywhere- each one harboring ridiculous paddling potential. The weather's warm, there's blue skies and the great silent openness that seems to wrap up big pine forests.
Give yourself a couple of days in Bend and you just start to expect that there'll be something miraculous around that next curve in the road. Like I said, you started to take it for granted. Until, once again, Bend serves up something deliciously unexpected (bacon covered dates... maybe?) that takes your breathe away again. That's the kind of place Bend is and that's why you need to go there with your board and paddle in hand. Bend is enchanting, it's truly a flat water, stand up paddling playground.
My only regret in Bend is that I didn't stay longer. A week would be a nice starting point in Bend. With a week at your disposal you could get up to Hosmer lake and share the lakes narrow channels with landlocked salmon zipping beneath your feet. In a week's time you could hook up with Bend's stand up paddle ambassador, Randy Barna (check out his website for the best Bend paddling info around), talk about the best put-ins and take-outs on the Deschutes and maybe score an insider's tip on landing Bend's best pad thai.
You'd need that much time just to sample some of the great food the place has to offer. In a week you could hit the legendary Deschutes Brewery, home of the cleanest, purest microbrew in the entire PNW (highly opinionated, but hey, it's my blog). You'd have to schedule multiple visits to the Westside Bakery and Cafe- over the course of a week you could try the cinnamon rolls, coffee cakes, pancakes and, my favorite, biscuits and gravy. Everything's good in Bend, even the water, straight from the tap, tastes great. Really.
And if you're still wondering about those bacon wrapped dates, find 'em at Fireside Red, just be prepared to order more than you expected because just a little taste won't satisfy you. Kind of like Bend, sampling it just makes you want more!
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