5th Week in Canada

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May 12th 2010
Published: May 12th 2010
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Adam's Blog:

Sorry about the delay this week folks....we have been offline for a few days....

Picking up our Ford Escape for the country leg was pretty smooth...We headed east to the mountains on a rainy day and before long we were up in the hills, stopping at Hope where they had a massive mountain slide 40 years ago wiping out 3km of the road....the temp. had dropped to a biting 3 deg. The drive through the hills to Manning Park was pretty as we had miles and miles of fir trees all over the hills. We had decided to break the journey to Oliver at Manning Park Resort - which is a skiing/campground lodge place....whilst it was quiet - no snow around, it was a tad disconcerting seeing the posters saying "Bears around, Beware!" Whilst we didn't run into any, there were plenty of squirrels to be found and the kids fed rice bubbles to them.

The next day we drove down the mountain into the Okanagan Valley and Oliver....and whilst the pictures of the landscape show it to be barren, its worth pointing out this is a semi desert area and being early spring the foliage including the vines was only just coming out. We arrived at River Rock Vineyards, home of Ted, Lorraine and their kids Foster, Will and Avrey for lunch. Their two dogs Gus and Charlie were very excited to see us as well, while the cats Spot, Rascal and Tiger were non plussed. Ted was busy prepping the vineyard for this coming seasons crop as well as getting the winery established this year.....cellar door to open next year - keep an eye out for Riverstone Winery.

The kids played on the trampoline, ran around with the pets, had rides on the golf cart, chased deers from the vineyard and anything else that took place. One night we lit the fire pit and toasted marshmallows till we were full. The first week went very quickly as we found our way around Oliver (4000 pop'n) and visited nearby lake town of Osoyoos which is 2 mile from the USA border. We had to visit some of the wineries as Oliver is known as the 'Wine Capital of Canada' so stopped by Burrowing Owl and Tinhorn Ck. Another day we went north to Penticton and the wineries at Naramata bench - La Frenz - with an aussie winemaker and Hillside - both have gorgeous settings overlooking Lake Okanagan. There was a spring wine festival on so we joined in...although their Festival of the Grape is bigger in the Fall. Gracie was enjoying playing with Avrey most afternoons when she finished school, Kit was trampoline king. The Canucks were down 1-3 to the Blackhawks and despite my attempt to throw full support behind them by not shaving (a tradition in playoffs) and wearing the shirt on gameday - something was not working.

On the weekend, Ted & Lorraine offered us to stay in their Log Cabin at Mt Baldy, 40 mins away...we accepted having never stayed on snow before. We arrived just as it started snowing, so it was very exciting - there was still up to 2 metres of snow in some places and despite our load of groceries falling into the mud when the rear door opened, we soon got settled into our cabin for the mother's day weekend. We got the fire going, went for a walk - Al saw bear footprints and thought she heard a grizzle so turned around and came back to home base....despite there being other cabins nearby, no-one else was around as the resort (charilifts,lodge) was closed for the season. We went tobogganing and had it literally to ourselves.....the kids were yelling and screaming and the echo boomed around us. Bakc at the cabin, we contacted our mum's to wish them a very early Mother's day in Aussie land.

It was special waking up on Mother's Day - the kids and I did breakky for Al and handed out cards and pressies, she enjoyed the day on the sleds, speeding down the hill - not to mention the kids who were getting more daring each time, whilst Dad was left with the job of taking the sleds back to the top of the hill. Tired but satisfied we retreated back to the cabin, shed our wet clothes and had a hot chocolate.

We were without TV, computer or phones for 3 days so took opportunity to play games - UNO, Yahtzee and Lego - we had a darts comp and Al won the day - yours truly having to do the run outside to the snowman 'sans underwear'.....very chilly. Our last night sitting around the fire telling stories made this stay very memorable.

On the way down the mountain we saw horses from a nearby Indian reserve so stopped to take photos.....we got home just in time for the kids to play and had dinner with Ted & Lorraine....Unfortunately the Canucks ended their season going down 2-4 to Blackhawks....but it was fun while it lasted...Gracie will be happy the beard comes off.

We head north through Okanagan into the Rockies for our next week with the weather warming up over 20 deg and now hotter than Melbourne....stay tuned for next update.

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