Thursday 17th August – Bend Bike Shopping

Cleo woke me gently this morning, sitting by the edge of the bed and putting one paw up near my face to ask if she could come cuddle. I obliged and the three of us lay in bed a while just snoozing, Cleo with her head buried in my chest. We stayed this way for a while, another beautiful day had formed outside. Cereal for breakfast, we were on the highway pretty soon. I led the way, taking us around the Sisters Wilderness thanks to the fires that closed the scenic route through it.

The town of Sisters was pretty and bustling. With flower buckets hanging from every lamp post and people lining up at the corner burger store, I thought about stopping for a look, but we’d have only walked around a bit so we carried on to Bend. The further east we drove, the hazier the sky became. The wind was obviously going in the same direction as us and carrying the smoke over from the forest. We left trees behind for farmland and the ground was incredibly dry, just how I remembered Bend when I came here almost a year ago.

As we came into the town, I found a park at the north end of town where we could stop and do some planning. When I turned off I saw a bright green cross and so I stopped at the weed shop because I knew Dan would be keen for some ganja. He had a huge smile on his face when he pulled in behind me, “Did you stop here just for me?” he asked. Of course. Inside, there was plenty of green stuff to choose from and it was pretty cheap so he treated himself. Having satisfied that need, our next stop was a vape shop so he could refill. I mentioned at this point that I was keen to do some bike shopping since this was a riding hub and Oregon has no sales tax so I’d be saving 10-15% on what I’d buy in California.

The vape shop we found was right next to a bike shop called Hutch’s so I went in there while Dan went into his shop. By the time he found me, I was chatting to a young guy about a Giant Anthem. I’d given him my wishlist of things I was looking for in my new bike and this is what he pointed me to. It was a great looking bike, a bright matt red (or orange, depending on who you talk to). He offered to put some pedals on it for me to have a ride, but I turned him down and he told me if I wanted to demo the bike I could do so from their other shop. Good to know, it was an easy place to start.

After a brief trip to the nearby Safeway where we got burger supplies and some wedges, we drove over to Drake Park for lunch. I cooked up some burgers while we munched on our wedges with Dan’s secret sauce. It had been a while between burgers so we were both very impressed. By the time we were done eating, I called the other Hutch’s bike shop and booked in the Anthem for a ride tomorrow, we were both excited to go for a couple of rides together the next day. We had the rest of the day to kill and a few bike shops to visit, but I suggested Dan call the Discount Tire place and see if they’d got his tyre in. Sure enough, they’d received it that day so we drove on up there, leaving my Astro to enjoy the riverside park.

The tyre shop had Wifi so I made the most of it while we waited for the new tyre to be put on. It only took a half hour and we were set! With the insurance Dan gets through the place, the brand new rubber only cost him $17. Sweet deal!

We went back to collect the Astro, then Dan followed me to the next bike shop, WebCyclery who are a Scott dealer. A Scott Spark was on the cards since Derek had suggested it to me. I’d been messaging him back and forth all day for recommendations and advice since he’s my mountain biking guru. When he told me he knew someone who’d ridden 10 bikes and chosen the Spark as her new bike, I considered it worth trying.

I spoke to a real helpful guy in the store while Dan wandered aimlessly around looking at all the bling. I didn’t know a thing about Sparks so he ran me through the range. I think I left more confused than I was when I’d entered, but there is no easy way to learn. I knew I had some spec research to do. At both the Giant shop and the Scott place, I was impressed with the service. I suppose when you walk into a shop and announce you were interested in buying, they will take the time with you. I got the feeling that the time was right for a purchase because the 2017 model Scott bikes had gone on special at 20% off only yesterday since the 2018s were coming in. This is just what I needed.

My head spinning with possibilities, we had another stop to make before camp. At the only Kona dealer in town, I found a small outfit with a lineup of Konas that were exclusively demo bikes. Not only did they not have any brand newies on the floor, they also didn’t have any frames in my size. I was tempted with a Kona because of the experience I’d had meeting Kelly and Vince in LA riding Konas, but it seemed like it wasn’t to be. The guy at the shop was super helpful, running me through the range anyway because I was interested but there wasn’t another dealer south of me before getting into California so I took that as a sign that it wasn’t meant to be.

Properly sick of shopping already, we were both ready for camp. Dan followed me west out of the city to the nearby National Forest where we pulled on to a dirt road and passed plenty of occupied campsites until finding ourselves a spot at a road intersection after going over some decent rough stuff. It was quiet enough and there was a pile of firewood. Despite the sandy ground, it was a nice place to boondock for the night.

The fire never happened because we thought it too risky with the dry conditions and wildfires so close by so we both killed time in different ways. We listened to another Joe Rogan podcast talking about an upcoming fight and I Googled away at different bikes, sending my head into an absolute spin. I hate shopping around for something so expensive, I’d rather have the decision made for me.

I made dinner of a kind-of Jambalya with some spicy sausage and all sorts of good veggies which Dan finished off since I was getting impatient with the rice cooking. With both our skills put towards the food, it was delicious but we still managed to keep some leftovers. We watched a TV episode sitting outside in our chairs but it soon got too cold to be outside so we retreated to the Cabana.

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