What a day. 

9:00 a.m. — Dog Park
Betty and I ambled up to Awbrey Reservoir, to check out our local “dog park.” It’s actually a hilly desert-forest trail that runs in a loop.

We did a few laps sans leash, saw a few other dogs and hikers (all very friendly), and generally reveled in the Bend-ness of it all. It wasn’t as lush or pretty as our river walks but the whole no-leash business was pretty great. There are seven off-leash parks in Bend — can’t wait to explore ’em all.


10:00 a.m. — Coffee
Wanted a decaf coffee, but grabbed an iced green tea instead at Backporch Coffee Roasters on Newport Ave, near 11th. Everyone was super nice. While waiting for my tea, I sat on a small bench out front, next to two standard poodles. Their owner came out and plopped down next to me.

I was so surprised it took me a second to recover. It was such a casual move, like of course strangers share benches in Bend. Frank and I chatted about our dogs (his: Coco and Ivan), and then went about our business.

I loved the feel of Backporch, but sadly it won’t be my coffee spot since they don’t make a simple drip decaf coffee, and that fussiness reminds me a little too much of L.A.

10:15 a.m. — Breakfast
I stumbled across the Crazy Delicious food trailer off Galveston, near 12th. So adorable. See?

Crazy Delicious lived up to it’s name.

The guy in the trailer whipped up an amazing, and yes, crazy delicious, breakfast burrito for me. Six bucks. 

Crazy Delicious breakfast burrito

Betty and I sat in the sun at a picnic bench with built-in planters full of tomatillos and took it all in. I can’t speak for Betty, but I was feeling pretty damn lucky.

10: 45 a.m. — Winter gear for Betty

Betty is a SoCal dog. Part Chihuahua, my little Mexican dog, who is part Chihuahua, is not really loving the cold nights. She’ll adjust, but I’m told she’ll need a dog coat for winter. Roof.

Really? Do I have to dress my dog? Yep. So I went back to Newport Ave. Next door to Backporch is a super cute pet supplies store. Healthy Paws is a tiny, exceptionally well-curated shop — like the REI and Whole Foods all-in-one for dogs.

They carry sleek high-tech dog gear meant for function rather than fashion — not a frilly dog sweater in sight. A lot of fleece and Goretex in tasteful colorways — which was awesome.

The owner helped me wrestle little Betty into a few coats, and then told me I wasn’t allowed to laugh at her when she did a hilarious dance after putting on her booties (oh dear God, it was hard not to laugh).

In the end, I picked up a down jacket, booties, and a collapsable water bowl, all by Ruff Wear, and some salmon oil for Betty’s dry skin. When Betty finishes her current food, I’m going back for some fancy food that is made from happy, free-range, grass-fed critters. I’m a sucker for that sh*t.

11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. — Household shopping

I hit Sears, ShopKo, Cost Plus World Market, TJ Maxx, Dollar Tree, Best Buy, and Sears. I know, I know, I should’ve tried to find local non-big-box stores, but I’m lame. That said, every single sales clerk was helpful and nice.

Like seriously nice. Side note: It’s freaking dry up here in Central Oregon and my lips feel like weathered saddle leather.

As I chatted with various salespeople, several times, I smiled such a big genuine smile I had to stop because I was afraid I was going to split my dehydrated lips. Even other shoppers were nice and helpful too (“Get that vacuum cleaner, I have one and I love it. My neighbor has one too.

I have two kids, a 6-year-old and a 3-year-old, and he has a 6-year-old and a 2-year-old, and we use them non-stop. I love that thing.”)  More than once, as I walked away from the cash register (smiling), the sales clerk said, “Thanks for stopping by!” Maybe they’re all trained to say that but it struck me as such a lovely civilized parting… I can’t believe how starved I am for the normal, kind, genuine human interaction that the city beats out of us. 

During all of my errands, I was never in my car for more than about 6 minutes. Glorious. 

I’m off to dinner at my brother’s house (which is six blocks away), and while I still have boxes to unpack and lots of exploring left to do, I think I’m going to like it here.

I’m sure there will be days when I miss this or that about the big city, but something about Bend feels verrrrry right.

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