We left Vancouver this morning for a 400 km, or so, drive to the town of Osoyoos in the Okanagen valley. This is a very dry area of Canada, just adjoining the US border, and is very suitable for growing grapes and fruit. As a result, there are a considerable number of wineries in this area.
We travelled for the first part of the day on Highway One – the Trans Canada Highway. For the first 45 minutes the traffic out of Vancouver was quite congested because of roadworks. We crossed a rather impressive bridge that was advertised as having a toll charge. It seems that if you exited the highway to go to one of the local communities, then you had to pay a toll as you exited, but there were no tolls on the highway itself.
In the early part of our day, the highway passed a lot of market gardens and small plots on which farmers grew berries, grapes and vegetables. It then passed the northern end of the Cascade Mountain Range (which is actually located in Washington State in the USA) with its very impressive snow clad Mt Baker. From there we travelled through Manning State Park, following some rather attractive rivers that gurgled along the steep valleys to the side of the road.
The first town that we came to was a little nondescript town called Hope. I think that the best thing about the town was actually the road coming out of it. The town had nothing going for it at all, other than the Tim Hortons restaurant where we bought a coffee and a donut for morning tea. We thought about many puns that would apply to the town – No Hope and Hopeless but the most fitting was Hopeful, as at the Tim Hortons store, I found that the zipper on my pants had broken and I was hopeful that I didn’t excite too many of the local ladies. A quick change of pants up a side road fixed that problem.
Further on, the valley broadened out, until we reached the area near Osoyoos which is situated on a large lake and surrounded by orchards and vineyards.
We had two wildlife sightings today. The first was a little chipmunk which was scurrying around some rocks at a lookout that we stopped at. The second was a deer that was trapped on the road near some roadworks by a series of temporary fences. At one point, we stopped at a beaver pond, but the only animals that we saw were squadrons of very large mosquitoes.
There were really only a couple of places to stop for lunch on the way today. The first was a fuel stop at the east gate of Manning State Park, but the lady there seemed totally disinterested and rather disgruntled that I had disturbed her from reading her newspaper. In the end, we stopped at the little copper mining town of Princeton and found a delightful bakery that offered a melted cheese sandwich accompanied by a delicious bowl of mushroom soup. If you are ever traveling this way, you should visit this little bakery which can be found just across the road from the town supermarket.
Our only disappointment today was at the resort at which we planned to stay for the night. We had read some very good reports on Trip Adviser about the Walnut Creek Resort. However, on our arrival, we found that because the summer season hadn’t really started, the resort resembled more of a mausoleum than a resort. I had been looking foreword to having a drink on the deck overlooking the lake as the sun set, and then moving on to a nice dinner. However, everything here was closed; the bar was closed, the restaurant was closed and the breakfast room will be closed in the morning. Even the restaurant in town recommend by the receptionist was closed. The resort management advertise that they ‘strive to deliver service beyond your expectations’, but this didn’t happen tonight. I can however recommend the humble pub in Osoyoos which was fully open and provided excellent service along with very good ‘value for money’ food.