We had hoped to leave the rain behind us, but unfortunately it followed us through the mountains and into the Okanagan, luckily it only lasted for one day!
We arrived at site #18 at Holiday Hills RV Resort and upon arrival Dave and Sue had a welcome party waiting for us which made it feel like home. Since it was July 1st, Canada Day, there were fireworks at the beach down below us in the evening. The sun came out the next day and we got settled and made this site into our home. Since we were going to be based out of here for the next 4 months we had to put our personal touch on it. We set up our gazebo, purchased a second outdoor rug to cover the gravel, made a wooden planter box for our cedar fence that we brought with us from Chilliwack and placed our “touch of Arizona” around our home. Our spot here is on the top tier of the park which gave us a great view of Lake Skaha. Not a bad spot to be “stuck” for the summer.
Our month of July was an active one. Meaning, lots of cycling around the Penticton area for us. With routes along the east side of Lake Shaha to Okanagan Falls, along the east side of Lake Okanaga called the Naramata Bench, up Green Mountain Road towards Apex Mountain and south up into the mountains to the Radio Observatory, we had lots of great options. Combine that with the nice little gym at the campground we were not greatly affected by covid as far as our daily activities were concerned. We even had weekly “socially distant” Happy Hours with Dave and Sue, Vicky, Tom and Wendy.
We were happy to have visitors from the coast come over middle of July. Bryan, Alexis, Helen and Madoc (Grace and Ruth also joined them) had rented a room at Naramata for the Grand Fondo bicycling weekend. This of course was cancelled, so we had our own Zehr Fondo Sunday ride which took us up past the Radio Telescope, past White Lake and Green Lake before looping back down the mountain and into OK Falls. Continuing on we brought the East Sideroad back to Penticton along Lake Skaha with a refuelling stop at Wayne & Freida’s for a blueberry peanut butter smoothy and then finally back home. This was a great 66 km ride for us with almost 1 km of elevation gain! Bryan and Alexis ended up with 95 km that day as they had to come, and then go back to Naramata. It was a well deserved pizza party that night! To finish off the weekend we had a fun couple of hours on Lake Okanagan on a pontoon boat pulling the kids along on an innertube, with a picnic in the park and perogies, cabbage rolls and schnitzel from the Polish Bistro.
Then came a visitor from out of this world! Comet Neowise was shining brightly in the late evening and early morning sky. The first couple times we tried to see it the clouds got in the way but finally at 3:00 AM one morning, there it was in all its glory high above the city lights of Penticton. Beautiful!
To help pass some time and to be good citizens of the Okanagan Valley we joined a volunteer organization caledl the Okanagan Fruit Project. This organization organizes people to go to homes and farms that have fruit trees on them, but the owners are uanble to harvest them, or there is too much for them to get rid of. All the pickers volunteer their time, the home owners volunteer the fruit and then it is donated to the area food banks, soup kitchens, men’s and ladies shelters and school programs. It is a good project all around. The amount of fruit that is donated is usually in excess so as volunteers you can take home some as well. The fruit that was ready in July was cherries. We soon became expert cherry pickers and thanks to Vicky ended up making some cherry vodka liqueur from some of our proceeds.
As the days started to get hotter we took the Harleys out a few times to explore the beauty of the area. There is a stunning drive south into the mountains to Keremeos and Cawston and then east over to Osoyoos before heading back north to Penticton through the lower Okanagan. The day was so hot that even the wind of the open road did not cool us off. Another beautiful drive that we took was to meet up with Bryan, Alexis, Helen and Madoc who were camping for the weekend at Mabel Lake Provincial Park along with the Melansons. This park is at the north end of the valley tucked up in the mountains outside of Vernon. The drive along Lake Okanagan and then into the mountains was amazing. Stunning views and Mabel Lake was a beautiful mountain lake tucked amongst the pine trees. The 2.5 hours that it took to drive there was stunning, and we were happy to have to drive back later in the day to get home.
Penticton is also known for its leisurely canal tubing ride. The 7 km canal that joins Lake Okanagan at the north and lets the water flow south to Lake Skaha is filled with people floating along its length. The day we chose to do it the mercury was in the mid 30sC so it made for a perfect day. June,myself, and Vicky floated the length twice before being shot out into Lake Skaha to slowly paddle our way over to Wrights Beach where we could walk home from. There were moments where you did not think you were moving and there were moments where you bobbed over mini rapids. It turned out to be a lot more fun then we anticipated.
To close out our first month in Penticton and to shake up the happy hour scene we rented a pontoon boat again. Since it was our turn for happy hour at our place we decided to host it on Lake Okanagan. Dave and Sue picked up some pirate supplies aas well as sushi, and Vicky, Tom and Wendy all joined in and we had a great time on the water and finished as the sun was setting over the mountains on the last day of July.
With the change of the month the temperature also climbed. With most of the days in the 30s and some reaching 40 it gave us time to read in the shade. We still did some cycling but earlier in the day. The other chang was that instead of cherry picking we moved to plum picking for the Okanagan Fruit Project. With numerous pickings we ended up with LOTS of plums for ourselves. So, we made pflaumenkuchen, the English translation is plum cake. We always enjoyed Tante Krystal’s cake so we called her and got the recipe. It turns out she got the recipe from June’s grandmother! so it was very fitting that we liked it so much. It turned out to be a great hit among our friends as well.
To give our legs a break from our almost daily cycles we went with Dave and Sue up to Chute Lake Lodge. This is a rustic lodge on Chute Lake and to get there you need to drive into the mountains for 11 kilometers on a logging road. After a short walk along the lake we had lunch outside on some picnic tables. On our way home, out the logging road we made a detour into Okanagan Provincial Park. This park is one of the most rustic parks we have seen. It is a one track “road” back into a parking lot. Definitely need a high clearance vehicle to get back in and we were the only ones there. Not a park where we could with our home!
A few days later we had another outing with Dave and Sue. This time Dave had borrowed his brother’s boat and we spent a wonderful afternoon touring around Lake Skaha.
Now it was time to go for a little mini holiday. This time we packed up just our motorhome and left our trailer and bikes behind. The next two nights we were meeting Bryan, Alexis, Helen and Madoc at Fintry Provincial Park which is just north of Kelowna along the western side of Lake Okanagan. The last 20 kilometers of the two lane highway was a slow go with our coach. The road snaked along the cliffs and in some areas had dips in the road that made the whole motorhome sway from side to side. However, it was all worth it once we backed into the double site that we were sharing with them and their trailer. The Melanson Family had the site beside us so we settled for two beach days and campfire evenings. Here we finally had a chance to try a stand up paddleboard. Bryan had brought their blow up board along and when the kids were jumping from the lighthouse we were paddling by. We even fit in a star night from the top of our RV since it was during the Persied meteor shower. The timing of this getaway worked perfectly into meeting up with Dave Nicholson (our Thunder Bay friend) who was mountain biking with his nephew at Silverstar outside of Vernon just on the other side of the lake. So we drove over to meet them for dinner one evening.
The following week once settled back home, was spent trying to stay cool. The beautiful Okanagan summer was in full force. The daytime highs pushed into the 40C degree mark, so most of our days were spent working out in the air conditioned gym and then reading in the shade of our beautiful yard. The one afternoon as we were finishing our workout we noticed smoke in the mountain across the lake. Over the next few hours as we watched from our lounge chairs, the fire engulfed the mountain side. We were very glad that there was a lake between us and the wind was blowing from our side. From our location we had the perfect view of the bomber planes taking off, dumping the fire retardant and landing again as they fought to keep the fire under control. We went for a cycle along the fireside of the lake the next day and watched as the helicopters filled up their buckets and bellies with water and raced back to help keep it under control. We felt we had a personal connection to the fight as our neighbour was one of the pilots of the bombers! Over the next few days the fire grew to 2000 hectares! All of the firefighters did an amazing job of containing it and not letting it get to the city, and only 1 house burned down.
Another great way to spend a hot day in the Okanagan is to get in a two person kayak and start paddling north on the Lake. What a beautiful way to see the Naramata Bench! We stopped at 3 Mile Beach for lunch and then continued north towards Naramata. With the wind from the north and the swells about a meter high and breaking over the front of the kayak we turned around before we got there. The paddle back to Penticton was much quicker with the wind on our back. We even timed it right a couple of times that we could surf the waves. By the time we beached it at Penticton the swells were reaching 2 meters and there were lots of white caps behind us.
We even had visitors stop by for dinner the one evening. Peter and Darlene from Bridal Falls stopped on their way home from Calgary. They parked their motorhome at the Walmart and we had a nice take out dinner from the Polish Bistro at our place.
Some more plum picking rounded out August which meant more pflaumenkuchen eating and we even washed it down with plum martinis!
With Labour Day Weekend and the end of “official” summer upon us it was time to go for a road trip again. This one took us up north to Central BC. Our destination for the weekend was Emerald Bay Campground at Green Lake Provincial Park. Here we were meeting not only the Zehrs but the full Boudreau family. With Alexis booking 3 sites we drove 5 hours close to 100 Mile House and set up our home. We were the first to arrive but by evening Bryan, Alexis, Helen, Madoc, Wayne, Grace, Liv and Camille had arrived as well. Glen and Jen joined us the next day. Most of the weekend was spent down by the water with the kids building a rock tower off shore. Bryan and Larry spent some time playing a stick tossing game that they brought back with them from their time in Sweden. All the meals were quite an event that was shared by everyone.
It was also a good time to do some maintenance on the motorhome. Our one slide topper awning was ripped from the sunshine and wind, and Vicky and Pat’s trailer also had their awnings ripped. With Pat on holidays for a week it was the perfect time for Larry and Pat to replace our one awning and all three of theirs. A borrowed 12 foot step ladder and a few hours of time was al lthat was needed and they were replaced.
Being “stuck” in Penticton all summer really made us fall in love with the location. So, we decided to check out some condos in different parts of the city. We toured a few of them and feel when we are done with our wandering lifestyle we really could settle down here.
One last get away to meet up with the other Zehr’s, took us up to the Shuswaps. With a double site booked at Shuswap Provincial Park we arrived for what turned out to be a fun, but wet weekend. We introduced Helen and Madoc to pizza pie irons over the campfire, where we made smore pies and Madoc turned to Alexis and said, “this is the best food ever!”.
We finished our time in Penticton with a visit from The Zehr gang who spent the weekend in the site right beside us. We celebrated Bryan and Alexis’s anniversary with them. We also took them apple picking as the Okanagan Fruit Project had a family pick day. But, the big event was Captain Helen captaining her first boat with her newly acquired boat license. We rented a pontoon boat for her and we all went out as she drove us around the southern end of Lake Okanagan.
Most of October was spent golfing, cycling some of our favourite routes, and of course happy hour. With Thanksgiving upon us we had visitors again. Bear and Wags came for a weekend stay, off course they were driven here from Ontario by their humans Bob and Ann. We had a nice turkey and stuffing dinner to welcome them to the Okanagan Valley. The next day we hopped in their truck and spent it driving around Lake Okanagan which gives you a majestic view of most of the Okanagan.
The snow came early with a good snowfall in the mountains before the end of October. This made for a beautiful drive down to Osoyoos to visit with the Clarks again as they moved down to Nk’Mip Campground a couple weeks ahead of us. We were lucky enough to have a car now, Tom has a little Chevy Spark that he does not drive in the winter, and offered it to us if we wanted to use it for the winter. So, for less then $1500, we paid for the insurance and bought winter tires for the car. We were now ready to spend winter in BC.
With our goodbyes said it was ready to head south for the winter. Unfortunately it is only 60 kilometers down the #97 to Osoyoos and Nk’Mip Campground! Covid 19 Winter 2020, in Canada 🙁