An old friend is jumping a few feet into the air to land, a bit topsy turvy, on a slackline strung between two of many mighty ponderosa pines which comprise the yard surrounding his small log cabin at the southern edge of town. The Airstream is plugged into a wall outlet just inside, like a mighty toaster or some trailer park lawn decoration. The family wanders in and out of our home on wheels and his cabin as though both are, after a day or two, like one home.
Afternoons are hikes along the winding Deschutes River, where every bend in the flow of water as it passes through the area is a like an elbow moving a friendly hand waving through the open blue sky air. Aspen trees glow bright yellow between the assortment of lodgepole pines and pondos. The occasional Douglas fir makes it into the scene. Paddleboarders float down the river. Fly fishermen cast there endless ballet. Dogs and hikers and mountain bikers, dirty young hippies, neoprene clad families and rich old retirees all mingle in the meadows and endless trails of the land surrounding town.
Later downtown, we try an assortment of local beers over a losing season for our hometown Steelers or a phenomenally unusual winning streak for the Pirates. Outriggers are as common as IPAs and every car stops for pedestrians to cross. All the while, big snow covered peaks wear name tags ranging from ordinary–Bachelor, Jefferson and Washington–to eccentric–Three-fingered Jack and Broken Top.
Nights we fire up his wood stove and some of us pile into the cabin to sip cider and bourbon and watch 1987’s Thrashin’, a skateboard movie equally as cheesy as it is wonderfully reminiscent of our youth.
Bend will be here in the morning, offering pumpkin patches and high desert adventure and progressive minded people. I fall asleep in a bunk bed in a log cabin, my Lady and our youngest son all sharing a room. Life is, as spare tires riding the backs of Jeeps will tell you, good.