Sunriver family vacation — 2019

Friday

Five bikes on the car and we’re ready for fun. We have arrived at Sunriver for our summer family vacation of 2019.

Warning: This is a long post with lots of pictures.1 Enjoy! ;-)

Unlike some of our earlier visits to Sunriver, we have no biking mileage goals. Our goals are relaxation, fun, and family time. Ashley and Kevin will be here only for the weekends and Jamison only for the final weekend. We’re saving our kayaking until then.

Saturday

We rent the same place as last year.2 It’s on the north side of the community. That means it’s farther from the village and main pool.3 Although it’s a bikeable distance to the village, I doubt we’ll bike there for a bag of coffee or some chapstick. For that, we’ll likely go to the north store. It’s also quieter here and our neighbors are largely owners. Which means, I’ll be able to watch people aerate, thatch, rake, and mow their lawns on my vacation. Sweet!

In the morning after breakfast, we drive to the village with the pups, get some drinks,4 and walk to the lodge. We’ll discover this trip that we walk a lot more instead of biking as we don’t have any way to transport the dogs while biking.5 And we don’t want to leave the dogs cooped up all day. Even so, we’ll do a fair amount of biking. Today, we bike to Lava Lands, a place I’ve biked to before. Why I remember this as a level ride, I don’t know. Lava Lands is a cinder cone in the midst of a shield volcano. It makes sense that the ground rises as we get closer. The rise isn’t steep, just persistent. Next time, we’ll reserve this ride until later in the week.

Ashley rented an e-bike for the weekend. Wow! It’s magical! As a plus, it looks like a regular bike. She has no problems with the incline. :-)

Heather’s friend Kristin is with us this first weekend. She asks whether we’ve been to Sparks Lake. Why, no, we haven’t. At her suggestion, we load the dogs into cars and head to the lake. Mousse and Gilligan have such a good time, they’re nearly frantic playing fetch and swimming in the water. As the sun nears the horizon, Kristin leads us on a walk to where we have a great view of South Sister and Broken Top on the far side of the lake. Beautiful!

The hot tub calls my name…

Sunday

We walk the dogs then ride our bikes to the Lodge for brunch. Mmm…

Kevin and Ashley aren’t staying the whole time, reserving their vacation time for later. We say good-bye to them. Kristin leaves as well.

Monday

A nice quiet day. Isn’t that what vacations are for?

Tuesday

Sparks Lake was so much fun that Suzi, Heather, Melissa, and I decide to go back with Gilligan. On the way back, we stop at Todd Lake, too. Gilligan approves!

In the evening, I finish reading The Fifth Witness6 I bought in the village a couple of days prior. Or maybe it’s after midnight…

Wednesday

Today, we decide it’s a good day to bike. We bike to the lodge for brunch, then bike all the river loops. Suzi makes our reservations for kayaking. This is gonna be fun! We’re so looking forward to kayaking! Melissa gets a snowcone. I should’ve got one, too. I’ll remember that for next time.

In the evening, we take a quick bike ride to the footbridge to see the sunset. There are definite advantages to this place.

Thursday

Yet another day at Sparks Lake! Mmm… This time, we meet Grandma Penny, a sweet old doggie whose owner is pretty nice, too. We relax and go to the Village Bar and Grill, watching the guy play keyboards and guitar and work to get audience participation. Getting four couples up for a twist dance contest is impressive.7

Friday

This is another good day to ride. We bike the east side to the village. It has more hills but we power through. Then through the south side and all the river loops. Essentially, we bike the perimeter.

In the evening, Suzi and I head to Bend for a little shopping and to pick Jamison up at the airport. Let’s see how much Sunriver we can get in during the short time he’s here.

Ashley and Kevin return, too. :-)

Saturday

Everyone is here! Today is the day we have been waiting for. Today, we kayak.

The route we kayak is on the Deschutes River from LaPine State Park to S. Century Drive by Big River Campground. Allegedly, this can be done in about 2.5 hours. Being founding members of the dry-paddle drifting kayakers, we take nearly 4 hours.

In the evening, we bike to the footbridge at the end of the day and take family pictures. Ashley ignores the “No Jumping” sign to take a jump shot. ;-)

We finish the day with a trip to the Village for Goodies. It’s probably not a trip to Sunriver without ordering and waiting for a milkshake.

Sunday

It’s our last day. We know we want to go for a bike ride today and yet we need to check out in the morning. Last night, we packed as much as we could to prepare.

We bike to the Nature Center. Sunriver’s new swan family are on the island when we arrive, then swim toward the eastern shore. Then we bike back and finish getting everything loaded back into our cars.

We drive to the village and have lunch at El Caporal. Gilligan had such a soulful face. She knows we’re packed to go and doesn’t want to. Can’t we just stay a little longer? :-(

Suzi finds a sweatshirt, Jamison finds some T-shirts, and I find a coffee mug.8 One more smoothie and we’re on our way home.


  1. Credits: Although I took most of these pictures, some of the best I borrowed with permission. Thanks to Ashley for the pictures of the doggies swimming in Sparks Lakes on the first Saturday and to Heather for the picture of Gilligan rolling in the meadow by Todd Lake on Tuesday. Major Kudos to Jamison for finding a bunch of typoes and bringing them to my attention. 
  2. It would appear that I posted no pictures from last year. As I have some, I’ll need to fix this. Done
  3. Which we end up not even visiting. For that matter, we don’t go to the north pool either, but we biked by it daily. 
  4. Yeah, that’s a daily thing. Probably the last time I mention it. 
  5. I try to convince Heather to get a bike trailer for dogs and practice with Gilligan. I’m not sure I succeed. 
  6. The Fifth Witness is written by Michael Connelly, the same author of The Lincoln Lawyer that I read some years back. Although I enjoyed the book, I was disappointed spoiler alert that both books share a similar plot twist at their ends. 
  7. I’d have to take up drinking to do that, and even then… 
  8. If only I needed a coffee mug. Yet, it makes me happy. :-) 

Happy birthday, Mousse!

Today Mousse turned four.

To celebrate, we got her a Puppuccino, walked Central Park and Orenco Station, and let her choose a birthday present at the pet store.

Happy birthday, Mousse!

Btw, I took a bunch of pictures, hoping to get a good one. They automatically backup to Google, which detects similar pictures and makes animated gifs. These are a couple of the gifs that Google made.

Quick evening trip to Cannon Beach

Late afternoon, Ashley knocked on my door. “Dad, are you almost done working? Would you want to go to Cannon Beach to see the sunset?”

In a few minutes, the three of us were out the door and on our way. We made it to the beach with enough time to hike to Haystack Rock before the sun dipped behind the waves.

What a great way to end the day!

Btw, a day that had started with another picture from my photo spot, across the street from the Hillsboro airport.

Mousse at the beach

Mousse loves the beach. She gets to be off leash. She gets to play fetch. She gets to play in the water. She gets to meet other dogs. Did I say she gets to play fetch? What’s not to like?

Today, she decided she was going swimming. Well, that wasn’t necessarily the plan, but she was going to fetch whatever it was that was thrown into the waves. Fortunately, she has learned “come” and Melissa had a tennis ball in her hand. A little doggie body surfing and she was back on dry land.

After collecting our water, sand, and pizza, we jumped in the car and headed home.

Another fun time at the beach. :-)

My recent Instagram photos

I’ve been too busy to get my recent Instagram shots posted here.

It’s probably time to investigate plugins for automatically grabbing my Instagram shots and posting them here. Last time I looked, the plugin pulled over a small image. Since then, Instagram has increased the size of photos it stores. Maybe the plugin has followed suit.

Update. I installed Instagrate to see whether it’s something I want to use. Not right now, but it sounds like an update that supports larger pictures and the new Instagram API will arrive before June. I can’t wait.