Take off/Theme Song for today: Joel Plasket, Work Out Fine (Everything will work out Fine… – if you say so, Joel)
We said good-bye to Kim, Dottie and Tim early this morning (*insert sad face) and started on a very long driving day to Penticton. (we were getting out of practice!)
Just outside of Cranbrook a deer ran right in front of me (holy shit!!) I’ve seen the signs but this was the first time I actually had to brake.. even swerve a bit. Thankfully saw it in enough time but when we all came to a stop it was standing in the middle of the road staring me right in the eyes like a … well… like a deer in the headlights! About 15 minutes later I spotted another one running along the side of the road.
So now my nerves are completely shot and I am at the beginning of a very challenging 7 hour drive. The kids started some very rare bickering in the back seat to which I responded (“YOU NEED TO FIGURE THAT OUT AND BE QUIET – I’M TRYING TO NOT HIT A DEER RIGHT NOW!!!!) (there goes mom of the year. but it was effective. they were very quiet the rest of the very long drive)
And the journey continued with miles upon miles of hills/turns/forests and sooo many wild animal crossing signs I couldn’t keep track. For a good couple of hours I was in driver’s hell (well my idea of travellers hell). The upcoming road signs look like they asked a very drunk man to walk a straight line and then traced his route. There was a very steep (as in zero chance of survival) cliff drop off to the left of me and caribou/deer/horned sheep warnings to the right of me intermitted with a steep rock ledge which boasted rack fall warnings.
*Inner Monologue: What’s around this bend? Is that a caribou? oh shit. Honk the horn and scare it away before it runs in front of you. No, don’t do that you’ll cause a rock fall. Maybe you should swerve. No wait the cliff. Oh shit!!!! okay never mind, it was just a branch. Hey are those vultures circling us? (repeat every 5 minutes for 3 hours or so)
But hey, if you actually looked up from the road of death, the view was spectacular!!
At one point we hit construction and I felt comforted…. ahhh … deadlock….. now this I can relate to! A taste of home 🙂
We finally came to the Okagnagan Valley and stopped at Pringles Fruit Stand. The most wonderful woman worked/owned the stand and just talking to her calmed my nerves. She gave me the run-down on the valley and proclaimed it the most beautiful place in Canada (As the day went on I might have to agree with her). She described Osoyoos as the Palm Springs of Canada – apparently Tom Cruise and other celebrities all have property. We bought our first Okagnagan fruit (cherries!) and devoured them within 10 minutes back on highway 3. Best. cherries. ever.
It was getting late (even with the time change it was after 2pm – did I mention we entered a new time zone??) and we still hadn’t had lunch. Thankfully I spotted a taco stand on the side of the street just outside of Oliver called, El Sabor Marina. WOW – never have I had such an authentic Mexican food let alone experience as here – we just had a nibble (Rain – beef taco, Moxie – cheese quesadilla, me – fish taco) but it was DELICIOUS!!! I would have sworn we were at a roadside food stand somewhere in Mexico (I even got to practice some Spanish)
After that we hit about 1/2 dozen more fruit stands (out of the 100 or so available) and ate the fruit we bought almost as before we stopped at the next stand. I have never in my life eaten such perfect fruit (apricots, cherries, blueberries….. YUM!!!!!)
In the town of Okanagan Falls we decided to off-road and go looking for the falls (I SWEAR I saw a sign!!!). We drove up an incredibly windy, steep mountainside dirt road for about 20 kilometres. (my GPS – thanks Kim for showing me how to use it – gave up on repeatedly telling me it was going to recalculate and finally just said, “There is an easier route available.” yeah? As opposed to this crazy mountain/cliff with no barriers? – no doubt!!).
We never did find the Falls but the trip wasn’t a complete waste because we did find a winery! It seemed like a sign so I bought a bottle and the woman was kind enough to inform me that although the town was called Okanagan Falls, there really were no falls and that sign must have been a figment of my imagination. She did offer me a wine tasting but I felt I should pass – I still had to get down this mountain!! (and in hindsight, isn’t wine tasting on such a dangerous road a bit of a recipe for disaster??)
After our detour I promised the kids icecream and we stopped at the next fruit stand that sold it. Sweetgrass turned out to be a friendly establishment that had everthing we needed: icecream, more fruit, veggies for dinner, fresh delicious homemade bread. As the kids were enjoying their icecream cones out front the owner/guy who worked there came out to tell us that if we went to the side of the place there was a baby horse (only 1 week old!!) so we went and had a peak – (*insert ahhhhh and ooooohhhhh…. cute little baby horse…)
We checked into the Riverside Motel at around 4pm (with the time difference we had spent over 9 hours on the road!) Moxie had picked this motel last night on google and she had done one hell of a job – it is perfect!! We have a room on the second level with a balcony that faces the outdoor saltwater pool. There is a full kitchen and it is within tomorrow’s destination (floating down the Okanagan River)
Once we unloaded our car we threw our bathing suits on and swam in the pool for about 1.5 hours. Then we made a strange meal of food we have collected along the way and tucked the kids in bed.
Tomorrow we get to sleep in (first time in over 2 weeks!!!!) woohoooooooo!!!!!!!!!! We are also staying here one more night so no packing up (double woooohoooooo!!!!!!!!!!)
ps. we counted a whole bunch of Canada Flags today but the tally sheets are in the car. Send me your guesses for our final tally and you might win a prize!!