Back to School Sales Already? What happened to the summer?!

Everywhere you look right now, there are advertisements for Back to School Sales!  What the what?! How in the world is the summer almost over? I feel like it was just Memorial Day weekend!

The summer months are always very busy for us.  Jim is always on his big push at work; working very, very, VERY long hours, completing big projects and clearances and going out on the occasional storm call.  The hours can be both rewarding and obviously trying.  The good thing is that, in the summer time, there is usually a light at the end of the tunnel (upcoming vacations) to get us through the busy season.

This summer has put our busy odometer on an entirely new level.  Not only has Jim been averaging 95+ hours a week (you read that right), in addition to managing our lives at home, I am now working one day a week at the local deli, 2 days a week at The Rex Center (an aquatic rehabilitation center for dogs), and  commuting to do property management on our vacation rental in Tahoe (which has taken off!) weekly.  Work has kept us very busy!

But, with all this hard work, we have made sure to plan time to play harder.  One does need balance in order to stay sane! Every year over the 4th of July, Jim is able to take roughly a week off for us to regroup, relax, and vacation together.  Last year we did a camping trip that revolved around a brewery tour of Northern California.  This year, we did roughly the same thing, but we made the pilgrimage up to Bend, Or.  For those of you whom are not beer enthusiasts, Bend is similar to the Napa, Ca for Beer lovers.

Our trip started out in Tahoe at the house.  There were 4 days that it wasn’t rented, so we were able to enjoy it along with a good lineman buddy and his daughter that happened to be in town from Minnesota. It felt so awesome to be up there and enjoy the house and all our recent labor (in May, I took on the task of refinishing the entire wrap around deck) for a few days.  After our friends departed, Jim and I took one extra day to ourselves up there; something that rarely happens.  It was all I imagined it to be and more.  The weather was perfectly summer and the company was even better. We both are truly in our element there

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Alas, new renters were coming in, so we had to depart for our road trip!  We decided to take a bit more of a scenic route up so that we could hit places like Mt Shasta and Crater Lake.  Our first night of camping was done at the base of Mt Shasta in the town of McCloud, Ca.  We were the only tent set up in the “tenting” area and it was nice to be able to sprawl after riding in the jeep for 6+ hours.

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From there we headed up to Bend, stopping at Crater Lake along the way.  If you have the change to go to this natural beauty, don’t think about it, just go.  It is breathtaking.  It was a very hot drive up to Bend, with temperatures above average in the high 90s.  Riding in an open air jeep is fun, but when it’s that hot out, you learn to really appreciate air conditioning!  Luckily, there were many rivers and streams flowing along the way, and we were not hesitant to pulling over to jump in and cool off.  Even Long Dog was ready for a dip in the water!

Crater Lake

Crater Lake

Crater Lake

Crater Lake

Once we reached Bend, we were in full relaxation mode.  We camped along the Deschutes river the first night; wading in the chilling currents and sipping on beer from our freshly filled growler at the local gas station.  Not only are you legally not allowed to pump your own gas in Oregon, but in Bend there are tap rooms for you to try local beers and fill your growlers at the fuel stops.  Our hearts, our fuel tanks and our growlers were full.  Magical.

We spent two nights in Bend, touring as many local breweries as we could and splitting tastings so that we could make it through the day!  Bend is also very dog friendly, so Long Dog joined us on all our tours (he may have gotten a little loopy off all the complimentary biscuits!) Even if you’re not a beer drinker, Bend is a beautiful place to go.   Very clean, friendly people, great food, and lots of outdoor activities; biking, hiking, & close to skiing/snowboarding in the winter.IMG_3665

On our way home we stopped and camped in the Willamette National Forest and took in the peaceful serenity that comes with no cell phone service.

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Our trip home to Pacifica was made in one long day along the coast on the 4th of July.  We even made time to stop at and see the giant Redwoods.  I can’t think of a better way to celebrate our nation, than driving in a jeep with my love seeing all the beauty this land has to offer.

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All said in done, we stopped at close to 19 breweries on this road trip!  Some of them were: 10 barrel, Good Life, Deschutes, Cascade Lakes, Rat Hole, Crux, Bone Yard, Worthy, Craft Brewing, Brewing Lair, Klamath Basin, Prospector Brewery, McMenamins St Francis, Siskiyou, Three Creeks Brewing, 7 Devils & Eel River Brewing.

Our Yeti Cooler is getting full from Brewery Stickers!

Our Yeti Cooler is getting full from Brewery Stickers!

After that much-needed break from reality, we got right back at it, feeling rebooted & recharged.  A week went by and I was on a plane to Minnesota for a quick trip to help my parents move out of their house.  Basically, I went to move all of our stuff out of their house before they moved :) It was a lot of work, but fun at the same time to see people and relive a lot of memories by going through old photos.

First Photo of Jim & I.  Circa 2003!

First Photo of Jim & I. Circa 2003!

When Mr. Long Dog became apart of our family: 2004

When Mr. Long Dog became apart of our family: 2004

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The past few weeks since our trip have been non stop, exhausting and draining.  But, we have another light at the end of the tunnel that’s getting brighter every day.  We leave for Minnesota again this week for a long trip to celebrate 2 marriages, birthdays, go golfing and be with friends and family. We can’t wait!

We work hard to play harder, and try to remind ourselves as much as possible that balance is key!


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