Kelowna to Osoyoos

16 May

Wednesday

Ok so nobody was reading the last blog that closely to notice I had two Mondays, you all failed the test – or are you just too polite! My excuse is that it is sooo easy to lose track of the days.

We left Orchard Hill and once again crawled through the busy Kelowna traffic, a new bridge now crosses the river replacing the floating bridge to accommodate the volume of traffic continually passing from one bank to the other, the commercial developments continue along the roadside until eventually some sort of balance is restored near Peachland. The road is being further upgraded and we had to stop for around 20minuites, the road having been closed, we think, for blasting rocks. When we got underway again and passed by the construction area the dust and some stones were still settling, there were climbers on the rock face, presumably checking the condition of the rock after the blasting, it was this sort of work which last November identified a huge unstable area of rock and closed the road for several weeks, giving the traffic a huge detour. Eventually this road looks like it will be a four lane highway, and I expect the commercial premises will follow behind, thus spoiling another once beautiful part of BC.

We stopped off at Oliver, it seemed like a town again suffering from the recession with very little going on, we called at the Chamber of Commerce Offices and picked up a bundle of information, chatting to the lady there who had originated from Cheshire. The Wine Country Visitor Information Centre was along the street so we popped in to see what they had on offer. We were attended to by a young man who appeared very knowledgeable about the local wines on sale and their vineyards of origin, he helped us chose two bottles of local wine, assisted by another customer whom it emerged worked at the vineyard the bottle of wine we were intending to purchase came from. We were sad to hear from him before we left that the store was closing soon as they were unable to attain the sales required by the BC liquor licensing authority, thus putting him out of a job and removing a collective supply resource for the local wine industry.

After discussion with the lady at the Chamber of Commerce we took the Black Sage Road route to Osoyoos, this follows the main road but a slightly higher elevation, travelling through field after field of vineyards. The vines are just coming into leaf so still look a little bare, some small areas were still planted with apple and other fruit with apple blossoms again softening the view.

The NK-MIP Campground sits alongside the northern end of the Osoyoos Lake, and with nearly 200 sites could be oppressive, however it has been laid out in a way which breaks it very successfully into smaller areas and we settled in to a site next to the lake. Unfortunately it was a reverse in site, we don’t have any windows on the back, so only had a small view of the lake from one side window or of course if you sat out. There was a strong wind blowing across the lake and despite the sunshine I found it a little too cold, Robert enjoyed some time reading his book and talking to the ducks, oh and the neighbours from Quebec who arrived in a little chalet camper.

Thursday

Having taken a look at the weather forecast for the next few days and it being a holiday long week end here we decided to book another two nights allowing us to stay until Sunday morning, this would also allow us a to explore the trails around the lake.

After lunch we set off, expecting to be able to walk a considerable way around the lake and the surrounding countryside. We soon discovered that it had been partially fenced and the access was through the interpretive centre, an admission fee of $12 per person we thought was a bit too pricey so walked as far as we could then back to haRVey for a cuppa.

This area is Canada’s only official desert, it actually is very green, much more pleasant than the area around Spences Bridge and Kamloops which to me seemed far more desert like. On and off all day we had watched storms blow over the opposite end of the lake and rise up the low mountains to our left, the wind was very strong as it blew them away, we experienced squally showers but nothing of any significance. Around tea time it was obvious the next storm was coming more in our direction and the wind began to blow extremely hard the back of haRVey. It continued to blow like this for probably ten minutes or so with a rain shower too, then it cleared, the wind dropped and left a beautiful calm warm evening to end the day.

Friday

To enable us to stay the extra two nights we had to move site, Robert had booked us into a space on an elevated area a little distance from the lake, which had a much bigger area around us and the back overlooked the entrance driveway. haRVey has electronic jacks to level and stabilise us before we slide out our sides, the ground on a site varies sometime grass, sometime tarmac and sometimes as in this case gravel. It seems the site which looks the most level (as this one did) is conversely, always the one that causes the most difficulty in setting up and it took four attempts, manoeuvring around and on to wooden blocks before we were settled. By now it was lunchtime and growing hotter, today was such a different day to yesterday, no wind and no clouds encouraged us to do nothing but watch the steady flow of campers come in through the gate for their long week end break. After tea we went for a stroll which included the campsites near the lake, which by now were fairly well packed and a hive of activity with people still setting up, cooking meals (much cremation of the cow evident) and gathering in their groups for the evening.

Saturday

From first thing it was obvious it was going to be a warm day, one of those early summer mornings that feel fresh but with an underlying promise of heat. Robert was up early giving haRVey a much needed bath before the sun was high enough to dry and leave water marks all over the paintwork. By 10.30am haRVey was spick and span and the temperature had already risen to 20 degrees C.

We had promised ourselves a walk into Osoyoos town and around the other part of the lake, so suitably equipped with water and sun hats we set off along the road from the campground. Typically there are no footpaths and this road was no exception, it is probably not a problem on normal week ends but with the campground full and many other folk wanting to go into town too, except driving, it perhaps wasn’t the best of walks to take. We did eventually find a short stretch of very nice walkway alongside the lake and also stood over the bridge between the two sides of the lake for a time watching the numerous speed boats go back and forth. Many of these boats were moored at our campground alongside the lake sites where the owners had parked there RV’s. The boats were mostly being used by young people out for the thrill of a fast drive across the lake, with music playing loudly and not a care for the poor wildlife who normally enjoy the peace and quiet around here.

We were grateful when we got back to haRVey to flop into a chair with a cold drink and as the afternoon temperature soared to 26 degrees C not many people moved, even the children seemed to have gone quiet and not a lot happened until the temperature began to fall around 7pm. As I am writing it is 9.35pm and still almost 22 degrees C, we have all the windows wide open to catch the breeze but I think we are in for a warm night. Just a week ago we were driving on roads with snow along the side so this taste of summer has been nice but I think I will be glad to be back to more normal temperatures tomorrow as we head west.

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