The Road Trip Begins! - North to Kelowna and Vernon

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April 27th 2010
Published: May 15th 2010
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DAY 15: Tuesday 27th April 2010 - KELOWNA (by Darryl)

Today was the day to start the big road trip, and as we were packing had a call from Peter Choi to invite us back to the dealership for breakfast before we left. After a hearty cooked breakfast and some photos for the blog, we said our goodbyes and hit the road.

Peter really looked after us and we really appreciate the time and effort he put into helping us out. There wasn’t a day that we didn’t get a call from him to check up on things and help get the car sorted. If you are ever in Vancouver looking for a car - go and see Peter Choi at Carter GM for great service!

Our journey starts on Highway 1, and although a bit anxious about driving on the wrong side of the road I soon settle in as the highway is easy - it’s the intersections that I have to worry about!
The scenery was great again, with mountains getting steeper, waterfalls, a snow shed tunnel, and some snow starting to appear alongside the road. Our first stop is beside a fast flowing boulder river called the Coquihalla, where we picnic for lunch and the boys practice throwing rocks in the water.

Our next stop is near the peak along the 97c Highway, where we turn down a side road to stretch the legs. There is lots of snow around so the boys are straight into it, and while walking about near a pond and a tea stained stream it even starts to snow lightly on us. Back in the car the weather sets in a bit with more snow and thick fog. Soon the hills open up to the Okanagan Lake and eventually we are into Kelowna where we take a short walk to stretch again and pick up some bakery bread and a nice cake to go with dinner.

We arrived at Jerry's place and it was great to see him again as it’s been a few years since he left Hamilton City Council. We all went for a walk out along the hillside to look over Kelowna in some light drizzle, and had a lovely dinner with Jerry, Connie and the boys - staying at their house.

DAY 16: Wednesday 28th April 2010 - KELOWNA

Today started off a bit cloudy with a cooler morning, but the skies cleared in the afternoon for a red sunset.
We had a nice chat with Connie over breakfast and then headed into town to sort a few things out and have a look around. I spotted an interesting old second hand bookstore and scored a couple of fishing and flytying books, but couldn’t locate a fishing shop to get my licence. Sarah posted some things off to NZ for birthdays, while I hunted for a place to print out my resume and other documents in preparation for a job interview later today. I eventually got things printed out at the local library.

Jerry had kindly put a word in for me with three local Engineering consultants, and this resulted in an interview for me at 4:30pm today. (I'm keen to pick up some temporary work anywhere to extend our stay in Canada by up to 3 months if possible.)
I am also meeting up with Ken Woodward (a contact from the FlyBC fishing website) this evening to go fishing in Lake Okanagan, so I desperately need that licence. Back at Jerrys place I track down a fishing shop, so Callum and I scoot around there before heading back into town for the interview, and only just made it for 4:30! Thanks to Callum for some sterling navigation while I concentrate on staying on the wrong side of the road. I got honked at again today - but don’t know why this time?
I met Charlie Higgins from Focus Corporation, and we had a good yarn for about an hour - covering engineering stuff, work possibilities and even fishing.

After that it was off to the Lake to meet up with Ken. I enjoyed discussing fishing and comparing notes while we cast away into the bay - with fish leaping occasionally but no takers for us! About 5 Beavers also cruised around between us and the floating logs, keeping their noses up in the air and sometimes slapping tails on the water surface. Ken bought out his 12.5 foot double handed Spey rod and demonstrated about a dozen different types of Spey cast. He taught me how to switch cast but it took me a while to get it right - Ken makes it look really easy.
Unfortunately Ken just happened to be using my rod when it decided to snap near one of the joins. Don’t worry about it Ken - I previously snapped the tip section while casting on the Tongariro, so think it might have been a dodgy blank. Gives me an excuse to buy something better aye! Thanks for the flybox and all the flies , no fish tonight but a very pleasant evening and conversation, I really enjoyed the chance to try out the spey casting too.

Back a bit late to Jerrys place, and we had a good catchup and a photo for the blog before we called it a day. Thanks to Jerry, Connie, Joseph and Mica for putting us up for two nights, we had a great stay and it was nice to see you again.

DAY 17: Thursday 29th April 2010 - VERNON

Connie cooked up a nice batch of French toast for brekkie, and after packing all our things we were off for Vernon. A brief stop in Winfield for some picnic gear turned into an early lunch at the A&W burger joint (great burgers, with super thick sirloin patties and onion rings).

The drive along Lake Wood and Lake Kalamalka was quite scenic, and it wasn’t long before we arrived at Vernon, checking in to the Schell Motel. We were looking forward to the pool and spa but found it was empty due to water shortages (and it’s still only spring!) Apparently the low snow pack over winter hasn’t filled the water reservoirs, and it gets real hot here over summer - over 40 degrees C!

Downtown Vernon isn’t flash but there are some good shops and all within walking distance of the motel. We stocked up on the last few items for the road, and juicy steaks for dinner.

Later on we had a visit from Mike Andronik (Andys Brown Bug - from the FlyBC website). More fishing discussions, and Mike told us about his time in Smithers and Alaska chasing Steelhead and Salmon. He also loaned me a lure casting rod & reel, gave me some local flies and a guidebook for travelling BC to Alaska.
We had a good long chat over a beer, Thanks Mike - nice to catch up.

DAY 18: Friday 30th April 2010 - VERNON

Breakfast was drawn out this morning with the toaster on the blink, and 3 replacement toasters later - still no go!
We drove down to Paddlewheel Park on the upper Okanagan Lake for a wander and a picnic. The water is quite clear and a few jetties give us some good casting posies, so its out for a spot of fishing after lunch. Lachie lands the first Canadian fish (showed up Dad & Callum!) but we don’t know what it is yet?
Its silver with a long mouth and pale yellow fins - around 1.5 pounds, caught on a Veltic spinner & released. (Turns out to be a Northern Pikeminnow, as identified by Ken)

We had to be back at the motel by 2pm as I was expecting a phone interview with a recruitment agent, which went well, but he hadn't read my email properly and lost interest when I pointed out I was only looking for something temporary. Sarah took the boys to a swimming complex nearby, and I wasted lots of time trying to set up the travel blog. The first website was great but limited to only 100 photos. The next one was a bit tricky to use, so found another but will need more time to get that up and running.

We also had some trouble finding accomodation in Banff as we had left it a bit late and most places were booked out. I guess we had it easy so far as its the quiet season and all our motels been pretty empty to date. There were some big groups staying here tonight and partying large. I met a group of 4 who were here from Golden for a bowling competition. After a night on the town they were quite toasted (this is before the bowling) and super friendly. I don't think they did well in the comp for some reason!

Tomorrow we hit the road destined for Canmore (near Banff, where we did eventually find somewhere to stay)

Additional photos below
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21st May 2010
With Jerry at Kelowna

Nice to see the old crew together again. Only yesterday I was browsing through some old photos and came across our 'Amazing Race' photo taken next to the Riff Raff statue.
22nd May 2010

Needless to say have a great time there. Hope you get yourself a job soon and don't forget to score me one too. I'm about had enough here! Ken Woodward is huge! He looks like a bear himself. lol

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