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Dad and Kerry's 2003 Trip to British Columbia

Day 6 - Third Day in BC: Vernon -- Kelowna -- Osoyoos -- Christina Lake

TUESDAY, 19 August 2003

Before leaving the Gold Panner Campground this morning...

...Dad took me on a "hike" to show me some of the trails...

...and old mining paraphernalia that the campground folks had set up.

In a way some of it was a little "cheesy", but only when viewed from a cynical point of view. For a child it could be a springboard for flights of fancy. I took quite a few pictures there, and had a good time. We went straight to the cafe up by the office and [ate] a Breakfast Special before breaking camp. Finally, I called Frank Anderson in Vernon. He was at home, and he gave me directions for getting to his home. I didn't remember them well enough, so we had to stop and ask where his street was.

We found Frank's house [Map Point #2], and found him mowing what little green grass he had in his yard (because of drought conditions and water restrictions). He was very friendly, very gracious, and very talkative.

He showed us his white Honda Pacific Coast and his son's Honda 750, then invited us up on his deck which overlooks part of Okanagan Lake (or is it Kalamalka Lake?).

We sat and drank ice water and swapped stories for probably an hour and a half or more. He kept hustling off to bring back maps or riding accessories or other things to show us. I got the feeling that he really enjoyed having us there. He gave us some pins to take with us (Vernon BC; Canada; PC800) as well as a handful of soft earplugs. We got back on the road at something like 2:00, having only ridden 35 miles so far....

We got on 97 and headed south toward Kelowna. Long before we got there we could see the smoke from the big Kelowna fire we had been hearing about. Kelowna was one of the largest cities we had been through on our trip, and the downtown traffic was terrible.

I was tempted to take highway 33 to the east and south just to get out of the traffic...which would have meant skipping Osoyoos altogether. I asked Dad what he thought, and he surpised me by saying that we should just stick with our planned route even though the traffic was really hard for him to put up with too. So we inched along for a mile or so, turning the bikes off altogether many times so they wouldn't overheat. Things eventually loosened up as we got to the bridge across Okanagan Lake. As we rode south on the other side we got to see a plane touch down in the lake to take on water for fighting the fire(s).

We filled our tanks in Summerland (I think) and then went mostly around Penticton. Around that time Dad and I passed 3 or 4 cars in a slow pack and tucked in behind the two lead cars because of oncoming traffic. About a kilometer later, the white car right in front of me flashed a light of some kind in the rear window. I looked closer and realized that was a "police" car! (Actually an RCMP - Royal Canadian Mounted Police - car.) That kept me from trying to advance further, and after another couple of kilometers the RCMP car pulled off the road and turned around. Whew!

After passing through Oliver we made it to Osoyoos [Map Point #3]. We parked downtown and walked about half a block to the Mailboxes, Etc. store where a lady helped out Randy and myself last year when I lost my credit card. (I guess she mostly kept Randy engaged in conversation while I made phone calls and stuff.) Anyway, I wanted to say "Hi!" and report on what became of us last year and introduce my dad. Unfortunately she wasn't in the store and I didn't know her name. The youngish storeowner asked about her general build (slender vs. heavy) and then said I was probably looking for Val, who no longer worked there. He said she now worked at Joe's Plumbing, across the street and up about a block. Dad and I walked up there only to find that it had closed at 4:00 (it was now about 4:45). Oh well - we walked back down, got on our bikes and headed east out of town on Highway 3.

I wanted to go at least as far as Grand Forks, and then I got the bright idea to stop for the night near the town of Christina Lake. (I remembered the lake looking all misty and mysterious during last year's ride through the area.) And that's what happened. After about 4 passes through town we gave up trying to find the advertised Provincial Park and went to a private campground after all. We were charged $16, but the facilities are fairly nice. A young boy of about 8 years attached himself to us right off. He wanted to help us set up, show us the feats of skill he could do with his bicycle, have a ride on Dad's motorcycle, and so on. He seems to have almost unbounded energy! Later on his mom saw us sitting in the dark and asked if we needed some light. We ended up talking for a while, both about traveling and about politics -- Canadian and Canadian-American. Interesting stuff.

I tried to call Sue, but things were "different" with the pay phone at the laundromat and I couldn't get a call to go through....

Miles covered today: 263
Total miles covered: 1844


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