Okanogan Valley and Lower Mainland BC, August 31st to September 20th 2017

Our experience at the border was much better returning to Canada then when we left.  Once again we were pulled into secondary but after a few minutes we were on our way again.  We were happy to be home!


Osoyoos Lake and Osoyoos…

We found our RV resort on the east side of Osoyoos Lake at Nk’mip Campgrounds and we called it home for a week in Canada’s desert town, Osoyoos on Canada’s warmest lake.  The Okanogan was smoky however as there was a fire raging just south west of us in Washington State and made for a hazy view of the mountains around Osoyoos.


…bear warning!!
…young wine!

We started to explore with a motorcycle drive up the Okanogan Valley.  We headed north of Oliver to go on a beautiful hike up McIntyre Bluff which gave us a nice view up and down the southern Okanogan.  This trail head just happened to be on a vineyard so after the hike we rewarded ourselves with a nice bottle of wine and a local charcuterie board.  Our second outing on the Harleys was going east out of town and up the Anarchist Mountain on the Crowsnest Highway.  This took us into the curving switchbacks of the mountain road and then to the higher meadows and streams above.  It was a spectacular motorcycle drive which took us to an old tavern in Rock Creek for lunch before heading home and stopping at the mountains edge to look back towards the valley and Osoyoos.  At this look out is also Canada’s largest collection of private Observatories.



…forest fire smoke to the west!
…apples on vines?
…grape harvest!

One of the benefits of being in the Okanogan in autumn is fresh fruit, and lots of it.  Apples, plums, blackberries, grapes and much more!  We ate fresh and local, and it was amazing.  The other thing that was in season was cider.  The Okanogan is known for its wines, which were very good but also their cider is delicious.  We made it a point to try several different cideries and were not disappointed.



…cycling route!

Cycling is also a good thing to do along the valley so we headed north to Oliver again, this time using” pedal power”.  This took us along the lake and river as well as many vineyards with lots of grapes just waiting to be harvested.  A second shorter ride,  but a lot harder, was to climb up the Anarchist Mountain pass to the lookout by the Observatories.  This was a 10 km ride to the lookout but almost a 500 metre elevation climb.  The ride up took about 45 minutes but the ride down was under 15 min with speeds topping out over 60 km/h!  Unfortunately most of the week we spent under the cover of smoke.  This was not a great way to see the beauty of the surrounding area but it did give us some very cool views of the sun in the sky which was an orange ball.  We also spent some time just checking out small town living and chatted with a few locals about the benefits of living in the southern Okanogan Valley.


…our home in Penticton!

After a week in the south we headed north ( only by 62 km).  We know that it was 62 km because June’s bicycle computer told us so.  June cycled and I drove the RV to our new location on Skaha Lake at Wright’s Beach in the south of Penticton, BC.  Here we enjoyed some great cycling and with the wind shifting we actually got to see the beauty of the lakes and mountains in the area.  A great cycle took us around Lake Skaha and another one up the side of Lake Okanogan to Summerland.  We settled into

…fighting fire from the air!

Penticton living for a week and loved it.  There was a Dragon Boat Festival going on at our end of the lake as well as a downtown market where they close Main Street downtown every Saturday morning.  We cycled up to the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory which is located just outside of Penticton.  This Observatory can see radio waves back in time to the beginning of the universe.  We tasted some local brews at the craft breweries and picked up some more Okanogan wines.  Another motorcycle ride through the mountains took us for another visit to Twisted Hills Cidery for some more cider and cherry juice.  During this ride we parked along the side of the road and watched the water bombers drop their load on the forest fires burning just on the other side of the mountain range.   June even received a job offer at a boutique shop in Summerland.  A week was not enough time in this area, we will have to come back, but for now it was time to head further west.




…CHIME, the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment!


…Abbottsford countryside!


…after 50 km with Ben and Brianna!

So once again we packed up our home and headed west on the #3 Highway and the beautiful drive through the Cascade Mountains.  This was a slow drive in our house but amazing.  After multiple switchbacks and peaks and valleys we drove into the Fraser Valley and arrived at our cousin, Janet and Ben, in Abbottsford.  We parked for two nights in their lane at their raspberry farm along the Canada US border.  We missed raspberry season but their plum trees were overflowing and ripe when we were there so more fresh fruit was enjoyed!  After a lovely dinner and evening the next morning we headed into Abbottsford and participated in the Mennonite Relief Sale.  June had helped fry donuts in the New Hamburg Mennonite

…the Janz gang!
…Canadian road on right, US road on left!

Relief Sale for years and this time she helped in Abbottsford.  OK, she did not flip donuts this time, she helped sell Portzelkis (Russian raisin fritters) and Larry rode a 50 km cyclethon with Ben and Brianna (Janet and Ben’s daughter) raising money for the same cause. We then had the pleasure of an evening barbeque out at Cultus Lake with the whole family, well, at least those in Canada!  Brianna and her boyfriend Ryan, as well as older sister Rachel.  We have said it before but it is so nice getting to know our extended family as we travel!  When we left Abbottsford we drove along 0 Avenue where there are two roads, one in Canada and one in the USA.  Only divided by a ditch, no wall needed!



…the Vancouver Zehrs
…the other half!

From Abbottsford we headed into Surrey, BC.  Here we have Bryan and Alexis with their two children, Helen and Madoc and now Danielle and Connor as well.  We only were in the Vancouver area for a few days so we had to pack in a lot of

…with Danielle downtown Vancouver!

stuff.  It started out with a nice dinner at one of Helen’s favourite restaurants in Ocean Park where they have their new house. Then a nice cycle through White Rock and Ocean Park before heading to their place for

“Family Night Dinner” where we got to see Grace, Chris and Irene as well as Danielle.  The next day we took the public transit system into downtown Vancouver to see Danielle’s office and then took her out for a nice sushi dinner and drinks down by the waterfront.


The next morning we had to be checked out of our campsite by 11 am, but our ferry did not sail until 5 PM out of Tsawwassen which was only a 45 minute drive. So, we drove our home and parked it on Bryan and Alexis’s front yard for a few hours and had lunch with Alexis and Grace.


…two Zehr homes!

Our British Columbia mainland stay has come to an end and we finished it sailing off into the sunset!  This statement is true, as we took the ferry from Tsawwassen to Nanaimo and watched the setting sun over the water.



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