Sunday, December 1, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

Once again Emily and I joined Scott, Danielle, Jason and Jen in Sunriver for the long Thanksgiving weekend.  This year Jen and Jason found the house and it was perfect, complete with a hot tub and fireplace that was so big we could climb it!  We ate a huge dinner of deep fried turkey and sides and went on a great hike and visited the High Desert Museum.  I also conjured up a little adventure for everyone when I sneaked out late night... Click the title to read on...

This year for Thanksgiving we once again joined Scott and Danielle and Jason and Jenn at a vacation rental in Sunriver, OR.  It has been a very warm and dry Fall so far so we were not able to bring our skis for Mt. Tumalo and upon much indecision we also left our mountain bikes as no one else was bringing theirs either.  The rental house had an attached hot tub and a huge warm fire place for us to sit around.  Unfortunately, the tv was an old school one with only RCA hookups so I wasn’t able to connect my laptop or Apple TV.  We 4 great, relaxing days which many of us needed, especially Scott, from our often time consuming and tiring jobs.  

We all arrived late Wednesday night after driving over the Cascades after a full work day.  Emily and I stopped at a local beer shop to fill up a few growlers for the weekend and grabbed some pretty gross Burger King for dinner on the way over which left me feeling like crap when we got to the house.  Thankfully, a couple beers later in the hot tub I was feeling much better.   Almost immediately upon walking in the door Jason pointed out that we could actually rock climb the fire place up to the 2nd floor where there was a foosball table and more beds.  Whoever built this place didn’t expect a bunch of stressed out 30 year olds to be renting it apparently…or maybe they did.. 

We all slept in on Thursday and it took us a bit to get motivated to start cooking all our sides in the afternoon.  Jason and I eventually grabbed the big turkey I had brined and brought it out to the backyard to the deep fryer that Jason had once again brought.  Using a shovel we carefully lowered the 17lb bird into the peanut oil where it sat for about 35-40 minutes of cooking.  Jason had also prepared a duck in the oven and when the turkey was done we deep fried a chicken as well.  Jenn had passed out on the couch so we of course buried her in blankets and pillows for Scott to quickly “plank” on before we sat down for dinner.  We had turkey, duck, chicken (no game hen this year), sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, brussel sprouts, stuffing, hawaiian rolls, cranberry sauce, and mushroom gravy for dinner.  

For desert I had made lemon squares and Jenn had baked a lemon blueberry pie and the best banana cream pie I had eaten since my grandma’s over 15 years ago!  Needless to say, we stuffed ourselves and quickly fell into a food-induced coma next to the hot fire afterwards.  I’ll admit, that sometimes on trips like this I get lazy, but I always try to pull my weight so while everyone was passed out I spent an hour or so packing up all the food and cleaning the place up for the rest of the weekend after our feast.  

On Friday we headed out to the Deschutes River with Jason and Jenn while Scott and Danielle drove to the airport in Bend to pick up Scott’s lost luggage from his last WSI job on the East Coast.  We did a 7.2 mile out and back river trail along the Deschutes from Benham Falls to Dillon Falls with Leo and Mckenzie.  Friday also marked Leo’s 1 year anniversary with Emily and I.  Hard to believe we’ve had him for a full year already.  It seems like he loves us a little more with each passing day and we wanted to give him a fun day out off leash on a trail - and a whole lot of love and turkey treats when we got back to the house.

The trail was really beautiful along the river.   The start of the trail was near the lava lands south of Bend so the opposite side of the river was a massive lava field and there were interpretive signs describing how the lava had pushed the river into it’s current path while also creating the two waterfalls that we would walk by.   As usual the girls found a tree to climb and McKenzie went for an unexpected dip into the river.  Leo just looked at him he like was crazy and stayed on dry land.  We passed some beautiful aspen groves and got some great photos of the local forest reflecting off the Deschutes. 

When we neared Dillon Falls we spotted a river otter near the opposite shore diving for food in the river.  Jason and I both sat down with our cameras to get some shots of the whiskered animal.  We watched him for about 10 minutes before he dove under and swam out of sight.  I followed his air bubbles to the shore of the river we were standing at and quickly found myself walking up to a hole in the bank of the river.  I thought perhaps it might be his den and when I leaned over to peak inside I heard a very deep growl come from the ground in front of me….. I’ve never heard an otter make that kind of noise before and I know they have a reputation for being pretty brutal if threatened so I backed off quickly and we kept the dogs away from the hole.  

When we got to Dillon Falls we snapped a few photos and headed back along the same trail so we would make it back for dark and for the Beaver - Duck game back at the house.  We had some last views of Mt. Bachelor and Broken Top under the quickly setting sun on the way out.  The trail had been really well maintained and we saw a lot of mountain bikers on it.  Leo actually got bumped by a small kid on bike he cut in front of to sniff another dog.  Emily and I will definitely be back to ride the full length of the trail next summer.  

When we got back to the house we found Scott and Danielle had successfully returned with his luggage and we set about eating as many of the leftovers as we could while we watched the Civil War Game.  The game turned out to be really amazing and we only lost to the Ducks by 1 point in the final quarter as our defense couldn’t hold them off.  The game was supposed to be a crushing victory for them and the Beavers had pretty much embarrassed them.  It really sucked that we didn’t beat them but Scott was actually in a good mood after the amazing effort by his beloved Beavers.  Later that night we played Cards Against Humanity for a quite a while as Scott once again had fallen into a coma on the warm couch, still catching up on sleep from the exhausting schedule CVO was forcing him to work.  

When it seemed like everyone was passing out early for the night I, many bourbons deep, decided to spice things up and wander off on everyone.  I put on my puffy and went for a long walk without telling anyone and found myself jumping a fence to a public pool and hot tub in the resort community.  From there I slipped into the warm hot tub and snapped a few photos to prove to them I really wasn’t still there.  I knew that Jason would go into CMRU rescue mode and use my GPS tags on my photos to find me….  He, Emily, Danielle and Jenn all got their head lamps out and went for a walk to find me.  After 20 minutes or so in the hot tub I jumped out and wandered back to discover the group of them walking down the road searching for me.  I tried to hide behind some trees but my huge puffy jacket and Jason’s super bright search lights found me right away.  It was a fun alternative to passing out in the living room at 10pm…

We visited the High Desert Museum on Saturday afternoon as Emily and I were the only ones that had been there before.  We spent several hours there with the dogs in the cars checking out the exhibits and watching a presentation on birds of prey with a live falcon.  On the way back to the house we let the dogs out to play off a forest service road for a bit.  Saturday night turned out to be pretty low-key as usual for Thanksgiving weekend.   Nobody wanted to drink anymore and the leftovers were quickly being eaten up.  Even the dogs seemed tired as we amused ourselves dressing them up in funny clothes (Professor McSchnoodle).  On Sunday it was a quick clean up, goodbyes and drive back to Ridgefield for us.  Yet another successful Thanksgiving with our friends!

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