Taking a Road Trip Through Beautiful British Columbia
Time to hit the road!
Traveling has always been one of my favorite things to do, and over the last few years I haven't had much of a chance to do so, but this year I was determined to take a drive around lower, and central BC. After getting rid of Betsy (1989 Honda), and upgrading to a Suzie (2002 Honda) I figured there'd be a better chance at me not breaking down while going over the Coquihalla Pass on the way there, and through Manning Park on the way home. After a bit of planning as to where I'd be staying, and what I'd be doing I grabbed my Mom and took off.
It had been a while since I last went on a road trip with my mother, and honestly I love how both of us are so like-minded. Last time I went on a trip with my mom we had gone to Toronto then all the way down to Florida. We explored the Everglades, and went as far south as Key West before deciding to come back home. I remember it was one of the best times I've had in my life. So, I figured it was time to go for a trip once again. Mom didn't really have much of a plan as to what she wanted to do, but she came along for the ride, and the fact that I was going to stop in at Trail, BC to visit my brother and my new little nephew had given her incentive to tag along. After checking all the fluids, and filling up the tank at 1.34/L in Coquitlam, BC we were finally on the road...
The drive was absolutely breath taking. I ended up stopping numerous
times as we passed over the Coquihalla to take pictures, and enjoy the
scenery. When we came to a part where the Coquihalla River passed next
to the highway I had to stop again. Mom and I walked down a little hill
to go look at the river, and discovered some small rock mounds that
someone had built in the river. It gave me an idea. So I took my shoes
off, rolled my pants up and headed into the river to find a rock. Mom
didn't know what to think considering she was telling me not to, but I
wanted that rock. When we got back to the car I wrote Coquihalla River
on the front of the rock, and stuffed it away in my trunk.The plan with collecting these rocks was simple. I was going to find a rock that was iconic of each region we passed through, label them, and paint them with a picture of each region so that I could share my travels in my preschool classrooms with the children. After leaving the river Mom and I were finally headed to our first destination in Kelowna, BC.
When we finally got to Kelowna it was like we were hit by a heat wave. The weather was fabulous, and I was definitely looking forward to going to beach somewhere. We stopped in at a friends place, who I hadn't seen in a while. She was really excited to see us, and considering my mom had made peanut butter cookies for each place we stayed; her children were just as excited. It had been about two years since I was last in Kelowna, and so much had changed. The city seemed to have expanded, and it looked a lot cleaner than I remembered. There was a beach not too far out of Kelowna near Winfield called, Reiswig Park. No dogs were allowed, and it had security coming through quite often to make sure no one was drinking or doing anything they shouldn't. The beach itself had plenty of shade, kind of a gravel and sand mixture near the water, and the water was warm. The ground under the water was covered in large smooth stones which made it a bit tough to walk out on, but I definitely enjoyed myself while we were there. After carefully collecting a rock to take with me we went back to my friends place to rest.
After visiting in Kelowna I really wanted to go to Vernon and check out the area. I had lived there for one year and being a small city with tons of beaches it was a great place to stop in at. Vernon hadn't changed much from the last time I had seen it. Some of local pubs had closed down, and the casino moved to a new location, but that was about it. I knew of three beaches in Vernon. The one beach, Kin beach was not exactly all that nice. The water was kind of gross with so much pollution, and garbage, and the beach itself usually had local misfits wandering around looking for their next fix, so I figured that we would skip Kin beach, and go check out the next one. Further up the road from Kin was Waterwheel Park. Waterwheel is a great spot to stop with family. They have a huge playground, volleyball, basketball courts, and a big boat launch. The water is much cleaner near Waterwheel, and the people you find there are very respectful. We pretty well drove right past Waterwheel as I was more interested in going to another place called, Ellison Park. Ellison was just as gorgeous as I remembered it to be. Crisp clear water, smooth sandy beaches, and plenty of shade. There was a spot in Ellison where you could hike over a small hill, and go rock jumping into the lake off the other side. It was a perfect spot to stop, and we spent a good amount of time there just basking in the sun, and swimming in the water. Ellison was split into two different beaches. Both beaches were very much the same, but when everyone is crowded down at the one place it's usually quite quiet at the other one. There isn't much there for children other than swimming, but there was some picnic tables equipped for having a barbeque if anyone was interested. I made sure to collect another rock from this spot. Mom and I really enjoyed our time at Ellison, and I'll be making it a regular stop for next time I go on a trip.
After Vernon our next stop was in Enderby, BC. I had lived in Enderby for ten years, and really wanted to see if anything had changed. Not much to my surprise it hadn't. Enderby was still just a small town with a lot of the same faces wandering around. I almost felt like a stranger as people didn't recognize me at first, but soon enough there were lots of old acquaintances coming up to say hi. My favorite store had closed down, and the owner had moved to Revelstoke. The Flea market just outside of town had expanded, and was even more interesting to check out than before. For anyone going through Enderby I would suggest checking it out. Some of the vendors sold used items that they were simply trying to get rid of, but others sold local precious stones, and native jewelry. While others were traveling vendors and set up their stalls with imported goods. After looking around the flea market it was time to go meet up with a few more of my friends at Waterwheel Beach. This beach has always been one of my favorites. being located at the north end of Enderby it has the Enderby River passing through it, and a great view of the Enderby Cliffs towering over the valley. It was one of the first beaches I had gone to in BC when I moved here in 1998. I was so excited to see my friends. So much had happened since I had seen them last, but they were still the same great people I remembered them to be. After swimming, and basking in the sun at Waterwheel I collected another rock, and we all headed out towards Gardom Lake where my one friend lived, had a barbeque, and settled down for the night.
Being the first time I had ever gone to Trail I was absolutely entranced by the beauty of the area. The drive seemed like we were going through the crevasses between the mountains, and there was so much wildlife to stop and see on the way. Trail happened to be even hotter than it was in the Okanagan, and it apparently was considered to be a desert. The Columbia River was amazing. You could almost see the strength of the currents in the water by simply looking at it. Mom and I stopped to stare at it for a while before continuing on to my brother's place. I was way too excited to see him, and meet my little nephew. It was the first time I got to meet my brother's wife as well. We had a great time sitting on his porch and catching up on what has happened in each others lives. Mom was completely engrossed with my nephew. It was really cute to watch her play with her new little grandson. I found out that Trail was a huge mining area. It made sense considering the stone in the area was a dark red copper color. My brother was excited about a new contract he had established to build the housing for the workers. I was surprised people could work in that heat, and especially in a mine. We had a great visit, and stayed for one more day after that so that we had plenty of time to spend with the family, and after collecting yet another rock from the area we were back on the road, and headed home.
Christina Lake, BC.
This lake was absolutely beautiful. As soon as I saw it we had to pull over and get a few pictures. The town is rather small, but the lake is enough to draw people to it. I was entranced with the beauty of the area. Mom and I ended up taking a drive around the lake to see if there was much of a town near it. We found out that it was like living in the country. There were a few people, but mostly camping areas. Lots of places were up for sale, and it seemed to have enough of a variety there to be able to sustain itself. Over all it was simply beautiful, and I figured it would be a great place to go on a short vacation. I'm sure Mom would love to come with me when I do that.
While driving away from Trail we ended up coming across a place called Greenwood, and it seemed like not much more than a truck stop, but something had caught my eyes. I gave mom the big, "Sorry ma.", and popped a u-turn to go check it out. Turned out that this little truck stop has a really interesting monument just outside of it. It was supposedly an old train station tunnel, and inside of it was tons of graffiti, but on the outside you could see that people had painted their various flags of the world in a collection on it. It was amazing. It felt good to know we could share our cultures, and pride for our cultures in such an artistic fashion. We spent about an hour there snapping photo's and thinking of different countries to see if we could find the flag. Out of every country I could think of, not one flag was missing. After that I collected another rock, and we headed on the road towards Osoyoos, BC.
Coming down the hill into Osoyoos we stopped at Regal Ridge to check out a long lost wonder. Turned out they had put up a Bigfoot statue next to the road. I thought it was hilarious, and what was even more funny was Bigfoot has a case of Pilsner in his hand. Osoyoos was another breath taking spot. The mountains were covered in wild sage, and the town was beautiful. It had a small lake on one side, and a very large lake on the other side. The town seemed to be well-off and growing. I had to stop and check out the water. It was the warmest I had ever felt lake water to be. After visiting Osoyoos I considered it to be a place I would think about moving to one day. Again I grabbed another rock, and stuffed it away for my collection. Then we were back on the road and headed towards Keremeos, BC.
Keremeos was another great spot. Mom and I stopped in there to check out the local farm's and get some fresh fruits. Cherry season happened to be over, so it was pretty well apricots and peaches that we were picking up. The town was really interesting with lots of small local businesses, and tons of berry pickers traveling through. We decided to stop and check out a small town diner there named, Riverbed Bistro. The food was exactly what I had expected. Home-style cooking, and delicious. After our meal we were back on the road again and headed towards Manning Park.
Manning Park, and Almost Home!
By the time we got to Manning Park the sun was going down so we didn't get to see much of the scenery, but the sky on the drive in was literally on fire, and absolutely gorgeous. I was getting a bit tired so I let Mom take the wheel for a while. She had been through Manning Park before so she was more familiar with the roads than I was. It was nice to sit back and look around while she drove. The road was really twisty, and kind of small for being a major highway, but it was a great drive. It seemed like we had been going downhill for nearly 2 hours on our way through there. By the time we got through Manning Park we were almost home, and it was great to finally be going back, but I was also a little sad that our trip was over. We had a lot of fun, and I look forward to doing it again next year.
The End of Our Trip.
After finally getting home I dropped Mom off at her place, and helped her to get her stuff inside. We were so tired. The drive from Trail that was supposed to be 8 hours ended up being 12 hours with how many times we stopped, and everything we just had to check out. Mom was happy to be home too, and I'm glad she came on the trip with me. It wouldn't have been the same without her. When I left Mom's place I went straight home to my own place, and set all my stuff on the living room floor then fell asleep. My little rock collection turned out to be perfect. I'm looking forward to painting the pictures on them and sharing them in preschool. The trip in total was completely worth it, and I'm always going to remember the great experiences we had.
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