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Fisker to Bend Oregon
A rustic Oregon tour with a modern ‘Finnish’ in a Fisker Karma
Central Oregon Hybrid Car Adventure
Imagine driving amidst the majestic beauty of Central Oregon in one of the most sophisticated and beautiful hybrid sports sedans in the world. That car is the $110,000, 2012 Fisker Karma hybrid. The destination needed to reflect the same uncompromised, responsible dedication to luxury. It is the Brasada Ranch just 16 miles NE of Bend. Developed in 2005 by Jeld-Wen and sold to Northview Hotel Group in 2010, it is the first newly built resort in the United States to be fully Gold LEED certified.
Between Ron Tonkin Fisker and Brasada lay almost 200 miles of amazing driving roads with wide array of different landscapes, elevation changes, and enough open road to put the Fisker through its paces. It didn’t disappoint. I’m pretty sure when Bruce Wayne isn’t being Batman, this is the car he would drive. It is sublime elegance with just enough aggressive styling to satisfy anyone’s taste.
Built in the Finnish plant, Valmet, (which also makes the Saab convertible and Porsche Boxster), the Karma is the passion and creation of Henrik Fisker and Bernhard Koehler. Fisker’s other masterpieces include the Aston Martin DB9 and BMW Z8. Fisker and Koehler started with a blank slate and used their combined 51 years of automotive experience to create a work of automotive art.
The Karma’s beauty, while impressive, isn’t its only attribute. It is the world’s first premium hybrid electric vehicle. After about 15 hours of charging with your 110-volt outlet or 6 hours with a 220-volt charging option, you can run 32 miles (according to the EPA) worth of errands or joy rides before you ever need to transfer over to the sport or gas mode. The car’s intelligence is just getting started at that point, as with a simple flip of the toggle switch in sport mode you can reverse the polarity of the electronic braking system and start recharging your electric motor. It also has solar energy receptors in the glass sunroof that recharge the auxiliary power needs of the car.
At over 5,000 pounds, the Fisker Karma hybrid’s curb weight makes for a less than speedy 0-60 in 6.3 seconds (while in sport mode)—which is still pretty quick considering you are hauling around a 600-pound lithium battery that runs the length of the car. The person buying this vehicle isn’t doing so to necessarily be the first one to the destination, but rather to be the coolest. I was surprised how smooth and comfortably the Karma handled while driving through the mountains.
After three hours on the road, it was a treat to pull in to the breathtaking view at Brasada. Sitting on over 1,800 acres, the view from the main building and back patio is a panoramic display of the fly fishing ponds, equestrian facilities, the Brasada Canyons Golf Course designed by Peter Jacobsen, and in the distance, the Cascade Mountains. Brasada is definitely a destination resort with all the first class facilities and amenities
available. When Northview purchased the property they put in an additional $3.5 million, which is noticeable in their 1,700-square-foot recreation center that includes indoor and outdoor pools, workout facilities and a venue called the Hideout. The Hideout is fully equipped to keep your children entertained, while you enjoy a cucumber-infused margarita by the pool.
The resort’s commitment to the environment and its sense of corporate responsibility is evident throughout. During the upgrade, all local architects and tradesmen were used. The Barn is Brasada’s 2,500-square-foot primary event space, built entirely with reclaimed wood from a nearby mill. The resort even uses all-natural, organic bath products from local Bend supplier Dani.
This commitment to the natural beauty and environment doesn’t mean you ever have to sacrifice quality and luxury at Brasada. Range Restaurant & Bar is where Chef Adrian Carpenter prepares his finest menus, featuring locally sourced and fresh daily ingredients. The Ranch House restaurant creates its own fun and delicious offerings, which can be enjoyed out on the patio overlooking the facility’s amazing scenery. It makes you want to turn off your phone, unplug, and appreciate the beauty that is Central Oregon.
While Brasada is a fantastic destination, Bend has a lot more to discover in the way recreation, scenery and adventure. Oh, and did I mention beer? Bend really is Beervana. With a population of around 80,000, this Central Oregon town now has more microbreweries per capita than anywhere in the nation. With that, it was a moral imperative we find the newest, hippest one in town. We had the same recommendation from five different people who all said, “You have to check out Crux.” In Latin, crux means “center,” and Crux is located at the center of Bend.
Crux Fermentation Project opened this past June as one of the most sophisticated operations for a brewery of its size. It’s the passion of Paul Evers, Dave Wilson and Brewmaster Larry Sidor. After an hour or so with Larry and Paul, I was informed that this wasn’t so much a business venture as it was a calling. They (along with four or five other brewmasters from other breweries that were at the table) graduated from what is known as the Deschutes Brewery University (DBU). I was able to try a sample of Crux’s new Outcast IPA, made from Australian hops. It was a definite hit, along with the food.
Not to be outdone by the beer folks in Bend, the distillers have been making quite a name for themselves as well. Since I had my designated driver, an easy five-minute drive up the road took me to Oregon Spirit Distillers. This family-operated distilling company focuses on producing quality spirits using local ingredients. The facility generates 30 gallons a day. Owner Brad Irwin said they produce their own mash and ferment it and distill it themselves. They even have a committee of “tasters,” who assist and grade their products on a grid, making sure the taste and integrity measure up to the desired standards.
Oregon Spirits creates bourbon, vodka, brandy and gin. The gin is made in Oude Genever style with a whiskey base, and is quite good for both those who love gin and the ones who haven’t developed those taste buds yet. While their highest volume comes from their bourbon and vodka, the number one seller in their tasting room is the cordial. Have their Black Mariah marionberry cordial with some pancakes!
Overall, when planning a road trip to Bend, set aside at least three days. You must visit the Old Mill District in Downtown Bend. It began as a sawmill over 100 years ago. It is now a thriving retail, event and activity center, as well as home to the Les Schwab Amphitheater.
Of course, one can’t just live on beer, spirits and shopping—although we tried. On the way back, take the route through Sisters and make a stop at Slick’s Que Co for “St. Louis-Texi-Memph” style barbeque. There is also one in Bend, but the Sisters location just feels a bit more rustic. Plan to get elbow deep in some award-winning tastes. They even offer a hospital-grade hand washing system on your way out. Owner Roy Slicker is president-elect of the National BBQ Association and competes nationwide. The Slick’s experience is worth the trip.
With all that there is to do and see in Bend, you really don’t have to drive a Fisker Karma to enjoy the trip, but it sure does make getting there a lot more fun. So take your own test drive!