Oregon is less than a three hour drive from our house (♠), but once you get off the I-5 corridor it gets dicey – there aren’t a lot of straight routes into the state’s interior. So when we were invited to our friend The Bossiest’s (♥) wedding in lovely Bend, Oregon, we had a choice to make – drive or fly. By car it’s 6+ hours. By plane? 40 minutes. Plus driving to the airport (almost an hour) and getting to the airport early (two hours)… Decisions, decisions. But we had enough points for some free tickets and a rental car so figured we’d luxuriate in the tiny Embraer E175 jet (“we don’t serve alcohol on this flight, sir”) and go in style. I also made sure to pack our bigger hard case suitcase, because Bend has a record store that I wanted to check out, and I’d need a sturdy bag to get my treasures home safely. (♦)
117 NW Oregon Ave
Right in the heart of historic downtown Bend, Oregon, and right next door to what is literally an old school arcade complete with bubble hockey, lies Ranch Records, a surprisingly spacious and well-stocked store for little old Bend. On the plus side Ranch had a nice selection of new vinyl. On the not-quite-as-plus side the used selection was pretty limited. But…. I found some tremendous stuff on the wall, some punk business I’ve never seen before.
During our first visit I picked a couple of dollar bin gems, super-clean copies of Steve Martin’s A Wild and Crazy Guy and Barry Manilow Live. I also found a pair of obscure nuggets, the self-released records by whack-job punks Dr. Sadistic and the Silverking Crybabies (Pyramid Punk and Maroon Balls, and if you must know the copy of Pyramid Punk was still sealed). After a sleepless night filled with regret for the things I left behind at Ranch, I returned the next day for Judas Priest’s Hero, Hero and an OG pressing of Poison Idea’s Kings of Punk. No a bad haul if I do say so myself.
So if you find yourself in bend, definitely drink some beer at one of the seemingly hundreds of brew pubs, then stroll on down to Ranch Records and wrap your day up with a stop at the arcade to beat those pesky Ruskies at hockey…
(♠) At least it is when I’m driving…
(♥) Not her real name, but it is her real nickname
(♦) Actually two, but we only made it to one