On the Road With West Falls: Bend, Oregon

by Nina Myers McCammon


Kelly Shea and Brendan Banks of West Falls, a creative studio on wheels, are crisscrossing the country in a restored 1984 VW camper van until approximately Thanksgiving and sharing a weekly diary and gorgeous photography with 50 States of Style readers.

This week's travel diary recaps Kelly and Brendan's time in Bend, Oregon, where they continued to carve out valuable time with new friends and got some sage advice from the older, wiser gentleman in the group. Enjoy and have a wonderful weekend. x

What we ate...
We walked through Bend, across the train tracks, and up the hill to Crux Fermentation Company. Brendan ordered a flight of beer and I had a chai kombucha; both fermented, one slightly more alcoholic. A local band was playing outside on the lawn and we enjoyed the sunset over the snow capped mountains. There was a taco stand outside; marinated steak for Brendan and veggie for me.

50 SOS Bend-9.jpg

What we saw...
After driving for hours through the eastern Oregon desert, with periodic thumps on the windshield from the sudden death of large insects, our friend Matt gave us a call. He told us to meet him at a rock. Smith Rock, to be exact. Remarking at this geographic direction and its far cry from our previous life of streets and avenues, we followed his directions and arrived to find deep river canyons and rocks ready for climbing.

Who we met...
Waking up in the van, you would have guessed that we were in complete wilderness. All you could see on three sides were juniper trees and horses. On the fourth side was Matt's dad's house. We had met Matt in Salt Lake City and had planned to meet him in Oregon while he was visiting Bend.

Matt's dad had lived in NYC, like us, and had recently moved to the outskirts of Bend. He wore wisdom and youthfulness on his face as he showed us his view of desert and mountains, with hares running through his yard and nothing else for miles. After a breakfast of eggs, fruit, and coffee, I (Kelly) led a yoga class for the four of us on his deck. It had been his hope, when he bought the house, for it to be a place where people come and be peaceful and we had done just that.

On the radio...
This American Life #326 : Quiz Show

Van start time...
2:00pm

Where to next?
The Oregon Coast

Life lessons...
As we travel, it is truly amazing to see the different kinds of connections that we make with people. Some are old and some are young. After yoga, Brendan, Matt, and his dad climbed out on the roof of his house for a better view of the mountains. Conversation slowly slipped from the animals below to life and its many intricacies. We got some sage advice from someone who had lived longer than we had: "Never let yourself become comfortable in a lifestyle that you can't maintain, it'll end up owning you. Choose the house on the outskirts where you can see the mountains, instead of the mansion right in town where they're too close to notice."