The Row N crew took in a road trip this weekend to Bend, Oregon, and spent most of our weekend hanging out at the Old St. Francis Hotel near downtown. We've had a history of gathering on occasion outside of Timbers matches to mostly eat, drink and just hang out, which sometimes we don't get to do a lot during the busy summers. The tradition started actually with my 40th birthday out at Edgefield in January 2 years ago, and has continued with our regular Thanksgiving weekend meet up at Edgefield combined with a spring/summer gathering that has ranged from camping on the coast to our road trip this past weekend.
I love the Row N folks, as they are some of the best folks you could even meet, and it was great to hang out with them and take in the sights from the road. Oregon has some great sights to see, and I'd only been to Bend once a few years ago participating in the Pole, Pedal, Paddle competition, so it was great to get back there. The guest list was comprised of Hornman, Fish Eye, Bubbles/girl, Regina, S3K, Dublinx and myself, not a huge list, but a hearty group.
Highlights of the weekend by night:
Friday - We checked in about 3 pm to the hotel, as Dublinx rode with me and girl. Our room was a king size bed with two bathtubs, two showers, and a bathroom stall. The bath area was as big as the room, which was nice. The drive over was pretty good, taking about 3 hours, and the only drive highlight was being tailgated the whole way by a white sedan with California license plates. An old friend, armybrewer, had taken over the brewing at the pub, so we were able to get a quick brew tour from him. Since Regina was coming in later and S3K had arrived, it was time to eat and drink. Hornman and Fish Eye were staying at another hotel in the area, but were scared by the absolute scary side of the Dunes Hotel, so they joined us later and there was an extra room to stay on site. We played pool, drank, and when Regina came, we wandered to Deschutes Pub for food and gluten free beer, which rocked. Dessert was back at St. Francis, which was good, and we all retired to our rooms very late.
Saturday - We went to Alpenglow Cafe for breakfast early, ate a nice breakfast, then wandered back to the hotel. Fish eye, Hornman and girl stayed at the hotel while a group of us took the Deschutes Brewery tour, which was fascinating. After the tour, a few hearty souls took a hike at the park while some of us returned to eat and drink. The Timbers match was at 4:30, so we all huddled into girl and I's room with the laptop, and watched a thrilling 1 - all draw. Ok, the match was boring at points, but getting a point was good, and the USL Live feed didn't suck. The rains came after the match, so we stayed close to the hotel, ate and drank until late. S3K's cousin came to visit later and hang out.
Sunday - We ate a hearty breakfast, and then wandered back home. S3K, dublinx and I had a TAFC match later in the day that we made it to in time to play. We played the full 90, and the result wasn't very good for us, but we held our own at points.
Old St. Francis is a beautiful old Catholic school that the McMenamin's brothers turned into a hotel, pub and theatre. They are famous for refurbishing properties, and they did a great job with this place. It was quiet, the rooms were great, and the staff absolutely took care of us, even asking us about the game result after they figured out we were soccer fans and there was a match viewing on Saturday. Can't say enough great things about them, although the only complaint is that your tortilla chips have some wheat in them, so please don't tell us they are wheat free.
Deschutes Pub was a blast, and we got great service, and drank gluten free beer. The pub, for being packed, served us promptly, and our server even took a group photo. Even the breakfast on Saturday and Sunday were good, leading me to think that Bend has great restaurants. The atmosphere was great, and we even got some comments about our Timbers gear, and a few folks saying "Go Timbers"
There are a lot of inside jokes and comments I could publish, but it wouldn't be nearly as funny as it was in the moment, but overall, thanks to the Row N folks that could attend, as it was fun, and thank you to Bend for putting on your good side for us to see this weekend. And for those of you that missed out, well, better luck on our next big trip coming soon. And for those of you going, some pictures for viewing.
Timbers thoughts - After the tough match on Tuesday in Kitsap, the Timbers traveled to the Carolinas for a Thursday tilt in Cary versus the RailHawks and then off to Charleston to face the Battery. The team was facing a tough stretch of games, but the depth and talent should make things competitive.
Thursday Vs. RailHawks - We watched at the Cheerful BullPen, and the game was indeed at a practice field, but the pitch seemed OK. Steve Cronin faced a few shots, and Suzuki had a few moments of goodness, but overall, the Timbers had a momentum advantage until a RailHawk was sent off for a tough challenge, and then the Timbers really struggled being a man up. No real good chances in the second half, but getting a scoreless draw meant no loss and one point for the trouble. Not a bad result.
Saturday Vs. Battery - The Timbers had never played well here, but they got off to a great start generating chances all over the pitch and causing the Battery defense some concerns. The first half was a back and forth affair, as after Portland's strong start, each side traded runs and good shot chances. The first half ended scoreless, and it was that way until Charleston took advantage of a defensive lapse and went up 1 to nil. Portland substituted some players, and leveled the score when Keita headed up a Hayes corner kick. The Timbers got more late chances, but in the end, the defenses held, and Portland earned another point with a 1 all draw.
Thoughts - I can't complain about no losses on the trip and points from each game, although it would have been nice to get at least one win. But our points streak from wins and draws pushes to 10 matches without a loss, and my hope is to keep it going. Defense and Cronin are very strong, as Cronin made some great late saves vs. Charleston. Midfield is still playing well, and Suzuki has played very well there the past few matches, as he is helping to create chances. Keita keeps up the hot scoring streak, and the team rolls on.
The St. Johns Pub had standing room only for Sunday's match, and a few special Timbers guests. Wish we could have been there, but Bend took care of us. Nice to see the fans showing up for viewings, and watch your email for more information about upcoming road matches.
Next Timbers match is Tuesday in Sonoma County in the next round of the Open Cup. If the Timbers win, they host FC Puke Green on June 30th in PGE Park in the next round. Next league game is Friday night versus Minnesota at PGE with a special late kickoff of 8 PM, as the match is on Fox Soccer Channel.