Bend, Oregon


Two years ago yesterday, I set out on a life-changing journey. I bicycled south from Portland to Salem, in the first day of a year’s worth of travel around the US and Canada.

Now, I’ve been back in Portland almost exactly a year, and I’m preparing to embark southward again in about a month.

But right now, I’m finishing up a six-day cat sit here in Bend, in central Oregon. Despite having lived in Portland since 1990, I had never before visited Bend. I’ve never owned a car, and passenger rail doesn’t run here. There are intercity coaches, but I never felt enough of a motivation to visit here, despite having heard that it is a pleasant—albeit very fast-growing and gentrifying—little city.

So, at the beginning of this summer, I promised myself I would do a week-long sit each in Eugene in Bend. As you may have recently read, I completed the one in Eugene a couple of weeks ago. The smoke sadly trapped me there, for the first three days, but here I was very fortunate to arrive just a couple of days after weeks of severe smoke had cleared out of the area. It started to creep back in this afternoon, but luckily my (modest) explorations of the area were complete.

I managed to catch a ride with my friend Raven (hi, Raven!) from Portland, so that made the travel even easier than traveling by bus. We will be returning to Portland tomorrow.

The two cats here, Scout and Luna, are very cute. Unfortunately, though, I found the sit to be rather stressful overall; I was “off my game” a bit and made a couple of mistakes (which I considered pretty minor, in the scheme of things) but the cats’ person was having a stressful time herself, and did not react very well when I told her by phone. Her responses to me triggered my childhood traumas around being scolded or shamed by adults, which then set me perpetually on edge, ironically making me more likely to make future mistakes. (I’m very thankful that this sort of feedback loop happens very seldom in my life these days! This week gave me an opportunity to practice gratitude for that.)

Meanwhile, however, Bend itself was lovely, with perfect weather, beautiful bike trails and tunnels, ponderosa pines, junipers, and yellow rabbitbrush shrubs everywhere.

I had the chance to visit a few friends here, too, including my friends Ed and Wendy (and their adorable tabby cat Simba, whom some you may recall I had sat for a couple of times this past winter before they all moved to Bend). I also met for lunch and a farmers market stroll with my longtime vegan-community friend Donna. And, today I did an OsteoStrong session at their Bend location.

I’ll leave you with some photos of this week’s kitties (Scout is the black one, Luna black and white) and also with this hilarious TikTok video about pet sitting. (Apologies if it won’t let you watch the video without signing up for TikTok; I’m not sure about that.)

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