Friday, 26 September 2014

On the roads to and around Kelowna

The Okanagan Valley has a complex geological history that I am going to ignore in this entry. The upshot is that it has steep sides and flat terraces that are somewhat frustrating to the average cyclist as Highway 97 goes up and down a fair bit between Penticton and Kelowna which is quite provoking as they are at the same altitude in the same valley! However all fairness, the 97 does try to make the rises and falls as long as possible so you can stay in the same mode for sustained periods. (This later had a downside.)

As the distance was shortish, I allowed myself to stop fairly frequently along the way at things such as historical markers and fruit stands. After lunch in West Kelowna, I went screaming down towards the Bridge to Kelowna passing some construction by the side of the road which distracted me long enough that I saw the sign for the bike route across the Bridge too late and it was only after the sign forbidding bikes on the road proper had passed that I could bring Leonardo to a halt, just as an RCMP patrol car went by and then braked. It didn't stop or turn on its "cherry blinkers", but suspecting I had been spotted, decided to lift Leonardo over the concrete divider to where I should have been rather than go back up and around. While I did so, I practiced my defense in case the Law did come around! ;-)

Anyway, I made my way across the bridge and to Rebecca and Paul's house. After supper, Paul told me about some of his childhood train trips. It turns out that his grandfather had been a VP at Union Pacific and had the use of their private cars. Naturally, he used it to entertain his grand kids. He also used his connections to insure that when Paul and his brother got beyond first class treatment when they traveled on Amtrak! At this, a light went on above my head. Paul's grandfather's position explained the "Union Pacific" decor in the bedroom I was assigned!

Rebecca was working from home this morning, so she was around to give me a local's perspective on which of Kelowna's many wineries were the best bets. After some discussion, I headed off for a day wine tasting. The first three were low key and landed me some interesting wines (thankfully there is no duty on alcohol within Canada) but the fourth, Summerhill Pyramid, got on my nerves with its holier-than-thou organic this and permaculture that. It was also more commercial and much more crowded than the others.

As I rode towards the downtown area the primary schools began to let out. I was joined on the road by a surprisingly and pleasantly large number of kids on bikes. What I found particularly interesting was that at a glance, many of them seemed to be "good bikes" (including road bikes) not just the big box store bikes I tend to see kids riding in Montreal. Furthermore, they knew the rules of the road!

Shortly before I got downtown, I stopped to consult my maps to figure out how best to get to my next destination. A man whose age I would put anywhere within ten years of seventy asked me if was lost.
"No, I know where I am. I am just trying figure out where to go next."
"Go to Mount [something], that's my favourite ride!"
I laughed. I rather like the attitude of this town!

A couple distilleries later, I am back at Rebecca's, soon to dine. It's been a good holiday. Back to Montreal tomorrow.


Susan Gwyn said...

Wineries AND distilleries in one day?!

Bikemoose said...

Yes, why not?