It was almost lunchtime when I left Penticton to continue my slow crawl around the Okanagan. Before that, I had accompanied Rita to a dog beach near Naramata and visits to one or two of the vineyards she wanted to show me. Much to my disappointment, she wasn’t interested in tasting. There are so many vineyards it is hard to decide which ones to visit. It is not so much fun on your own so I had only been to the one with Brad. I left feeling a little deprived!
I only went as far as Osoyoos, stopping for lunch in Oliver on the way. The latter sprawled along the highway but I had parked on a side street and spotted a cafe away from the centre. The large room had tables spread around the edge and a stage containing a piano at the side. I assumed that it must get lively sometimes! The sandwich and coffee were very good.
The weather had deteriorated by the time I arrived at the motel in Osoyoos. An Indian Fijian couple ran the motel and were familiar with N.Z. so we had a short chat about ‘home’. I did nothing for the rest of the day except visit the supermarket. I was tired and realised I had acquired an enormous blister on the ball of my foot so didn’t feel like walking.
The next day I left about 9am on the 4 hour drive to Nelson, which is in the Kootenays. It was a beautiful morning, and I now observed that Osoyoos is situated between two lakes and is very scenic! What a difference the sun and blue sky make. I drove up and out of town and had to stop at a viewpoint to marvel at the spectacular vista beneath me. I could see the entire valley with lakes and vineyards stretching out in each direction. A group of cyclists had also stopped. The ride up must have been hard work!
Over the ranges, the scenery turned green and lush again. I had intended to stop at Grand Forks but as I drove through Greenwood, I spotted a cafe that looked intriguing. Intriguing enough for me to turn around after I had driven past. It was worth it. It was also an Art Gallery housing work by local artists and it made coffee how I liked it!
The town appeared small and had an inexplicable big chimney in the trees. When I drove down the main street, it reminded me of the Wild West and I had to stop and investigate. It began as a mining town, transformed into a logging centre and now attracts hikers, skiers and cyclists. I couldn’t decide whether it was being restored, dilapidated or was just quirky! Some ‘shops’ only had frontages like movie sets. I went into several businesses. The first, run by an older gentleman, sold crystals, clothes, paint and quilting supplies. Meditative music was emanating from the speakers. Another had everyday household goods alongside antiques and collectibles. Some of them were just empty. I came away smiling!
Grand Forks looked boring from my position in the driver’s seat. It may have had some charm somewhere, but I didn’t find it so continued on my way until I reached Castlegar. I was starving by this time so aimed for the downtown area to look for a cafe that was still serving lunch (having gone past the bewitching lunch hour again). There weren’t any cafes and not much of a downtown area. After wandering around for a while I located two cabins masquerading as a cafe and bought a panini. I ate it sitting on a bench outside the City Hall. It was delicious and I saved the kettle chips to have with my wine later.
The road to Nelson followed the river along which were several dams. It was a beautiful drive, and I easily found my Airbnb near the golf course on one of Nelson’s many hills. The accommodation was perfect. It was very new and well set up. I was the only guest so had the whole apartment to myself. Apart from a bottle of wine, what more could one want?