Here's a pic of Bend that I snapped, while we were walking through Drake Park (located right in the middle of their downtown area):
I took that pic with my phone, so you can imagine how gorgeous it was in person! That's Mount Bachelor in the center, past the pond. We were very happy to find that Bend's beauty rivals any that we saw along the way, and the town itself is really well organized, easy to get around, and has lots to do.
People were really friendly but I will say that I was the ONLY non-white person in many of the establishments we went to. We did go to a really delicious Middle Eastern restaurant for dinner and there were two other tables with Asian people at them, but that was it. But at least the people of Bend weren't staring at me...they have seen minorities before; they just don't happen to have a lot in the town.
The people we met were mostly transplants - from Vancouver, New Orleans, Montana, Ohio, Colorado...and everyone had moved to Bend to do the same thing: ski, snowboard, mountain bike, and have a better quality of life. Pretty awesome. Plus, every other car in town is a Subaru, so Mike will hopefully be able to get Subietech rebooted!
We got ourselves a 2 bedroom rental house in the middle of their "old" neighborhood, which is filled with craftsman style homes. It's a major space upgrade from our little 890 sq ft loft. Our main challenge will be to try to keep our belongings minimal - with all that space in the house, it's always tempting to fill it up with stuff.