If you have watched TV much over the last few months you may have noticed two commercials from two entirely different companies with the same message. I’m one of those weird people that enjoys the commercials more than the shows. Commercials are a way to see the direction society is heading. The two commercials I am referencing are a Wells Fargo ad and an Uber ad. They both spend the entire thirty seconds somewhat apologizing for controversies they got caught up in over the last few years. They are essentially saying, “We screwed up, and now we are sorry”. Whether you buy their apology is your decision, if you even care. I love yelling at my wife that these two companies spent millions of dollars to advertise a “Mea Culpa”. These commercials lead me to Bend, OR.
Last week I took time off work and writing my blog to visit a bucket list town, Bend. I have talked up Bend for years without ever stepping foot in it. My expectations were met and then blown away. My wife and I made our way into Bend late Friday. We were waiting for my sister (yes, the marathon cheater (she didn’t cheat but it’s how I rectify losing to her) ) and brother in law (yes, the Mook) to meet us. They were supposed to be there Friday morning, but one missed flight and one missing ID later they didn’t arrive until early Saturday morning. We all woke up Saturday morning and found some breakfast and immediately hit the trails. The three of them decided to hike and get lost, I, the great adventurer decided to do some trail running; and get lost. After finally finding each other, thanks to the girl in the sports bra, we decided to start our real reason for the trip. We got dressed and proceeded to rent beach cruiser bikes, Mook announced, “I’ve been in Bend for 10 hours and I haven’t had a single beer”. That my friend is a true American tragedy. The beer selection is this town is insane, and even better, you are never more than 4/10th of a mile from a pint of hand crafted heaven. If you question this cities beer greatness, look up the Bend Ale Trail. We conquered that trail also. The next day we did a hike to an amazing waterfall, the one seen above. It was a 7-mile round trip hike. The trail was single track surrounded by enormous beautiful tree’s overhead and a rushing river to our right. The trail was perfect except for one thing. The one thing that usually ends everyone’s good time. The scourge of all things beautiful in the great outdoors……MOUNTAIN BIKER’S.
I know I’ve spent thousands of words complaining about this group. I know I’m a broken record, but I will continue my crusade until real change occurs. It occurred. The dozen or so groups of mountain bikers we contacted almost single handily ruined my trip. They tried to ruin a trip I have dreamed of for years. They tried to ruin everything I have ever felt and ever believed. Imagine waking up one day and everything you believe is wrong. Trust me it is devastating. Upon walking off the trail at the amazing waterfall I was in a truly foul mood. Why? How can you be angry surrounded by water, trees, dirt and beer? Because I was wrong. Every single person riding a two wheeled douche machine that day was (note to self: deep breath, its going to be ok)…..insanely friendly. I mean every one of these son of a…..I mean people were awesome. They said good morning, they said excuse us, they told us to enjoy our hikes. They would inform us of how many in their party and the last one would tell us they were the end of the train. One biker had the nerve to stop, get off his bike and walk it when he noticed we didn’t hear him coming. I am shaking just thinking of the nerve of these people. How dare they do this to me.
I’ve heard of people visiting the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, and Wrigley Field and announcing that it completely changed their life. I believe it, seeing something bigger than us can change a person. I’ve been to the Grand Canyon and Wrigley Field, and I was the same goof when I left there as I was when I got there. So, what did it take to change who I am inside, Bend, Oregon. I city of 80,000 people, 14+ breweries, and no traffic lights. It took visiting to realize I was wrong about an entire group of people. Three days in Bend changed me forever, I will never assume because you ride a bike with large knobby tires you are evil. I will never generalize again. I will never again, defame my friends the mountain biker. This is my Mea Culpa, my personal Wells Fargo ad saying, “I was wrong and I’m sorry”.