Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Christmas, epic as ever!

Verelle and I gave each other the gift of snowboarding this Christmas. However, that entailed what turned out to be an epic adventure.

I got off work on Christmas eve at 4:30pm. Verelle had loaded up the car with gear, kettle chips, and the ever important gas while I was at work. We left right from the store. We were headed to Bend, Or. which is normaly a three hour drive from Ashland. That night it was not. By the time we were in the little town of Prospect, an hour out of Ashland, we were driving on icy and snowy roads. The road conditions did not improve. All the way over the Diamond Lake pass, past Crater Lake, and even on Hwy 97 we were cruising along on ice and snow covered roads. Add all of that to being in the dark equalled us driving for four and a half hours to get to Bend.

The drive was worth it! We checked into the Old Saint Francis McMennemins Hotel around 10pm, and went directly to the restaurant because we were starving. Verelle had salmon and I had a burger. The food at McMennamin's is always good, but this time we were more impressed witht the service and the fact that McMennamins is the fourth largest wine producer in the state of Oregon. After stuffing ourselves and indulging in a bottle of wine we found our way to the Turkish Soaking tube. With its dark steamy atmosphere and its warm water Verelle and I found ourselves soaking for quite a while. It was a perfect Christmas eve and precurser to a day of snowboarding.

We didn't wake up or get going perticularly early on Christmas, because, well, it was Christmas. We were up at on Mount Bachelor by 10am. It had been 9 years since I had ridden Bachelor and Verelle had never, so needless to say we were excited to do some exploring. The first thing I have to say is that their runs are really long. We are not used to having to stop half way down the hill to rest, but we did. There was so much terrain to ride and so much untouched powder easily accessed on the sides of the runs. We managed to get lost almost every run and not be sure exactly how we ended up where we did, but man we had a blast, and by 2pm we were ready to call it a day.

The next leg of our trip took us to McMinnville. We made it quickly out of Bend, but by the time we were in the town of Sisters the roads had gone to crap again and it was snowing heavily. From Sisters all the way to Salem we averaged 25 miles per hour. It made the drive over six hours long. It was brutal. Luckily, it was only dark for the last two hours. At last we made it to McMinnville and to Verelle's mom's house for holiday celebration. Unfortunatly, we were not done driving yet. After being with Verelle's family for a couple of hours we made last portion of our driving for Christmas day to my brother and sister-in-law's place. Once there, it wasn't long till we were sound asleep.

While in Portland, we had a chance to visit the Henry's 12th Street Tavern. It is located in the trendy little section of Portland known as the Pearl District and is certainly worth the stop if you are in the area. The place is huge, complete with the full restaurant, large bar, and even an entire billiards room. There is also a beautiful deck that would be a great for socializing on summer evenings. But what struck us most was the beer list. Henry's has 100 beers and hard ciders on tap! AMAZING!

After hanging out in the Portland area for a couple of days, and doing a lot more driving we made the return drive home south. Finally we made it home to Ashland signalling the finish to an epic Christmas!

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