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.

Ruta

Black and White Badlands


Over the years I’ve learned about photography from my husband. If nothing else, his instruction on subtleties of light, perspective and patient correction of distance and angle make me think before clicking. Our recent road trip to Battleford, Saskatchewan proved no amount of instruction will make me a photographer. Photography is an art form, a canvas reserved for those able to see beyond the ordinary. I won’t stop taking photos, but remain in awe of my husband’s ability to tell stories by snagging the essence of time and place.

Ruta

A Changed Notes


Home tonight after nine days on the road with my husband. Over 5,000 Km.,(1,300 of them today) three provinces, gravel road meanderings, secondary highway diners, family, strangers, thunderstorms, road-side attractions, heritage sites, gob smacking geology and demon mosquitoes. Stay tuned – snippets of ponderous elasticity quiver but I’m too tired to catch them. Until tomorrow….

Stumbling Upon Sweet Spots Close To Home


Decent weather and a work free weekend allowed two days of adventure with my husband. Nothing crazy, just a mutual fondness for starting the car and seeing where it takes us. The unspoken prize – stumbling upon sweet spots a stone’s throw from home. “Let’s go for a drive” is a call for fresh eyes on everything taken for granted. An opportunity to meander peacefully from confines of routine. Late Sunday afternoon, Lighthouse Park couldn’t have been any sweeter.

Notes at Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver

View from Lighthouse Park – https://www.flickr.com/photos/15574096@N00/

 

 

Home Again


 

A few hours ago I opened my front door. Life put in stasis Tuesday afternoon began to splutter and whir, opposing forces took their place in line.  Three days mail, the dog demanding full attention, my son with a litany of questions and answers, emails, phone messages, garbage I forgot to take out – that excruciating transition between holiday and home.  Always happy to home, yet never comfortable with the “transition” , I eased myself back by downloading almost 500 photographs.

Those pictures solidify three short days in my life – a spur of the moment road trip, covering upwards of 2000 kilometers – days packed with laughter, numerous odd quests and eye popping discovery. Too muddled to nail down a single “ponder” – a few snapshots – each one destined to become ponder fodder a day or two from now.

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Too tired for background, location or explanation, these were taken over the last few days in the interior of British Columbia. Each has a story to follow.

 

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.

http://www.okanaganbritishcolumbia.com/

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

Road Trip


 

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My Dad’s house, the only remaining corner of the old farm, served as a focal point for my recent impromptu road trip. I can’t call it my house – I kicked up dust trails, screeching tires as I bolted 36 years ago, Nary a glance in the rear view mirror – no thoughts other than to escape a perceived rural prison.

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Keremeos B.C.

Hitting the freeway out of Vancouver, traveling the 100 miles or so to Hope and the point at which rain forest, farmland and open space gives way to sharp ribbons of mountain highway – the only change in perception is one of feeling my trip has begun. Familiar surroundings still void of emotional attachment. I know what’s coming, understand precisely which bend in the road will ignite inexplicable memories – yet find myself awestruck each and every time. It begins to simmer at Princeton, by the time I reach Keremeos I’m hopelessly lost in another time and place. It isn’t regret or longing, rather an appreciation for the place I came from.

In no particular order, some images of “home”…..

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The place I was raised will never be home again. I can’t “wish back” sprawling acres of fruit orchard we inhabited by telling all the vineyards to go away. It serves no purpose to boo-hoo our baseball diamond – now a parking lot for wine tours or whine because our long driveway now leads to many houses. Beneath the surface I can still make out dirt roads once traveled by our tractor, the “cactus hill” in the middle of my old stomping ground may have a strange home perched on top, yet cactus still bloom and remnants of our old forts still litter the periphery.

What I can do is embark on a road trip – a restorative reminder, not of a physical home but the home that shaped me. A home of sagebrush, rolling hills, clay cliffs, wildflowers and wooden structures. These photographs aren’t impressive, particularly well composed or artistic. What they are is “home” – images that mean something to me.