Okanagan Road Trip

Taking a road trip in pandemic times wasn’t an easy decision. Ultimately we left Vancouver with acute awareness of COVID-19 – face masks, hand sanitizer, disposable gloves, lengthy discussion with family in Penticton regarding outdoor social distancing. We booked 4 nights in Penticton, fully prepared to turn tail if safe road trip red flags called for retreat.

Provincial regulations stipulate late check in, early check-out, no in room housekeeping during your stay. No big deal, I can make the bed, use a towel more than once, allow housekeeping extra time to deep clean between guests. Beyond our hotel, restaurants, wineries and businesses were the only ones following provincial health regulations. We chose out of the way restaurants without line-ups, every last one asked for contact information in compliance with B.C. health guidelines. Activity on local streets was a different story.

Penticton is a resort town nestled between Skaha and Okanagan Lake in B.C’s southern interior. My birthplace, home to my father and brother. Despite moving to Vancouver 43 years ago, I still consider it home. Tourists flock to the Okanagan in summer, soaking up sun, water, wine and outdoor sports. It’s said the population of 35 or so thousand doubles in summer. Local businesses rely on tourism to survive. I get it, understand why every motel/hotel is sold out, oblivious partiers pack beaches, campsites and bars.

Festival, an old post describing Penticton summer – https://notestoponder.wordpress.com/2013/06/25/festival/

Pandemic road trips require fresh perspective, specifically reminding ones self that road trips are the purest form of travel. Reason why pandemic road trips demand more drive time, less local interaction. Such was our weekend getaway – long way up and back, daily exploration of secondary highways ringing the Okanagan Valley and idle meandering on sleepy roads.

Random images along the way –

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Highway 1 near Lytton B.C.

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Graveyard adjacent church on Hwy. 1 near Lytton B.C.

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Black Sage Road near Oliver B.C.

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View of Penticton from lookout on Munson Mtn.

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Gerry Fruit and Veg in Keremeos B.C.

Road Trip Gallery

It wouldn’t be summer without a road trip to the Okanagan Valley, forty one years gone but forever home. Wildfire smoke smothered the road home. Falling ash sang red sun blues, an eerily apocalyptic symphony oblivious to suffocating cinder rain. Ponder a road trip gallery –

Enlarge, explore, see more of my husband’s road trip photos at the link below.

Tacos de Canasta

Pet Cemetery

Sometimes an idea – more accurately, a mission – enters your mind. Ours was the pet cemetery we stumbled upon years ago. Driving off the beaten path  as much as we do created some obstacles. Agreeing on loose points was easy – along a winding two lane paved road, definitely rural, next to a gravel (likely logging) road, in a steep canyon, surrounded by a wooden fence and pine forest, not too far from the main road and definitely not close to homes.


Logic told us to recall our destination – surely a sensible approach to narrow options. Not so fast. The phenomenon of collective memory clouding reared its ugly head. “It was the road below Dad’s cabin to Keremeos”, “you’re right, we took that loop to White Lake Observatory”. Mile after mile, trip after trip, road after road, memory after memory came and went.


By now memories were contagious. The trouble was, no one caught the same one, and those we had infected the other with increasing tenacity.


Missions aren’t to be trifled with, neither of us wanted to admit defeat. This place was simply too remarkable to ignore. Hungry, grumpy, and getting a little testy, I suggested the Green Lake Road just before Okanagan Falls. Driving along the west side of Skaha Lake, White Lake Road stopped us in our tracks. We had the White Lake part right, but approached it from the wrong direction.

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If you find yourself in the south Okanagan Valley of British Columbia – take White Lake Road for a few miles off the highway. I promise this pet cemetery is worth the effort.



Road Trip

Miraculously, a window of mid-week opportunity opened in my schedule. With summer threatening to breath her last gasp – the only sensible thing to do is take a road trip. This time tomorrow I’ll be 250 miles away enjoying all the Okanagan Valley has to offer. Visiting family, a little wine tasting, exploring back roads, and hopefully witnessing a thunderstorm or two. I’ll be back Friday – undoubtedly with pictures and a full report.


Until then, a link to a post written about my hometown…..