Hi all! Like everyone, our events have looked a bit different over the past year and a half. Things were smaller, more distanced, and in some cases postponed. But as the sun starts to peek out and flowers start blooming, we’re beginning to shed our masks and I was able to hit the road with my sister (and First Story volunteer extraordinaire), Heather, for our annual trip to see our 2021 First Story families and partners in person. Things still aren’t 100% back to normal, but somehow that made it all the more special to raise walls together and cheer our families on as they begin their homeownership journeys after such an uncertain year.

You may have already seen some of the fun photos and videos from our wall raisings and dedications, so I thought I’d share some behind-the-scenes moments from Heather and me. I hope you enjoy this quick peek into the first few weeks of our trip!

Our first stop was in Walla Walla, Washington and we made sure to enjoy all this charming town had to offer. After the long drive from Bend, we thought “what better way to kick off some summer fun than with a wine slushy!” Afterwards we learned that Walla Walla is not only home to this dangerously delicious cocktail, but also the smallest Marionberry pie in the world. Fork included in the picture for scale since we could hardly believe how tiny it was, and we were there! The dinner we cooked for ourselves later on wasn’t quite as Instagram-worthy, but it was delicious and much-needed after a long day visiting the job site.

We then headed north through the expansive countryside to North Idaho and got a chance to hit the trails on our bikes. If you’ve been a steady reader of our blog you’ve seen our Hi-5 posts, so you can guess how much we loved coming across this “Hi-5 for Bikes” sign. Of course we couldn’t resist! Then, as we continued along the mountainside, we came across a beautiful expanse of yellow balsam root that amazingly looked just like our First Story flower! Clearly Idaho was just as happy to have us as we were to be there.

Another event that felt the effects of the pandemic was our annual charity bash and golf tournament. Luckily we’re planning to bring it back this summer, but as you can imagine we’re a little rusty after a year off the course so we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to brush up on our putting skills. This course is pretty similar to the conditions at Tetherow, right? Heather even developed a new signature putt, “The Pool Shark,” which we think will help catapult us to victory in August. 

After a whirlwind few weeks, we put our feet up and took in some of the Treasure Valley’s natural beauty before heading over to Montana for a quick trip over Memorial Day weekend. Naturally we took our bikes for a spin, and were enjoying the wide expanse of the trails when we surprisingly ran into another person…and his horse. Yes, we met a real life Montana cowboy! He was so kind and just as amazed as we were to run into each other out in the back country. 

All in all, our little asides are fun but the real joy from this trip comes from connecting with our families and colleagues, most of whom we haven’t seen in well over a year. We can’t wait to see more smiling faces in the weeks to come as we make our way through Idaho and back to Oregon.