Oregon Trails: Running, Hiking, Biking, and Beer

by | Nov 15, 2016

Beer. Wine. Bicycles. Mountains. Camping. Hiking. These are the things that come to mind when I think about the state of Oregon. My older brother (Jim) lived back and forth between Eugene and Corvallis for many years, and I was fortunate enough to visit him several times throughout those years. Each visit entailed some new adventure, usually up into the mountains, to wineries, to breweries, to the coast, or some combination of these destinations (a few pictures from my favorite adventures below).

It was with fond memories of these adventures that I planned a trip with Juan Pablo to visit Eugene. It wasn’t just any trip though – it was the boyfriend meeting the big brother trip. The weekend we picked happened to be the weekend that Jim had signed up to run his first ever 40-mile race in a town a few hours from Eugene called Sisters. No problem!—our long weekend turned into a nice tour of the state.

Juan Pablo and I flew into Portland, where we met up with a friend of mine from law school for lunch at an Indian street food restaurant that played Bollywood films projected onto the wall; a successful but succinct Portland experience. We then took a bus to Eugene, where we met up with Jim and his then-fiancée (now wife), Katie. Any nerves I had about the meeting dissolved as conversation flowed freely, and talking turned to laughing, and laughing turned to riding bikes, and our bicycles delivered us to a microbrewery, and the microbrewery filled us with burgers, beer, more talking and more laughing.

The next day after I did nerdy law librarian things at the University of Oregon’s law library, and after Juan Pablo “helped” (read: watched in awe) as my brother brewed beer, we packed up the car and hit the road. We were to spend the next couple days up in the mountains, staying in Bend and cheering Jim on as he completed his crazy-man running feat in Sisters. At one point, while waiting for him at a checkpoint, Katie, Juan Pablo and I decided to run and catch up, and say hello. That plan failed about 60 seconds in, when we realized we’d never catch him at his pace, despite the fact that he’d already run a marathon at that point, and the most exertion we’d given was handing over some pocket money to pay the guy at the coffee counter in town. I like to pretend it’s because his legs are eight feet long, and Juan Pablo and I look like the Lullaby League next to him, but in reality, I know it’s because he’s an athletic badass.

The best part about the entire trip, though, was watching Juan Pablo’s reactions to this unique state; as we drove around Bend, I remember him saying “this town is like one giant REI” or something to that effect.  The second-best part about the trip was the beer. All of the beer. We had decided that in solidarity with Jim, we owed it to him to sympathy carbo-load. So every time the opportunity arose we raised a glass and said “Cheers to carbo-loading!”