Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Road from Naramata, Part Two

Just a few miles past where we'd awoken, we past vineyards – lots of them. Naramata vineyards were abundant. It was too bad we were very hungry and passing them so early before they opened. Most didn't open until 10, and we were pedaling past at 6. As we past some orchards with ripe apples and pears hanging on the roadway side of the fence, I was tempted to help myself to these gifts on the “public” side of the fence. Ultimately, I thought better of it and continued on with the forward momentum.

As we passed the “Welcome to Penticton” sign we pulled off the shoulder to enjoy the remainder of our rations – a few bites of dark chocolate and nuts. Feeling somewhat more satisfied we traveled on and very soon thereafter met the Trans Canada Trail co-located with the Kettle Valley Railway – which is now a rail-trail. We eagerly took on this wide trail buffered from Naramata Road on our left and the lake down below on our right. The TCT here is situated between walls of agriculture. Being surrounded by so many vineyards and orchards made my heart leap with joy. I couldn't get the grin off my face. The riding was easy, too, making the day before seem so very far away. This blissful riding felt especially rewarding for our forward progress was evident.Before long we were in town. We turned on Main St. and rode until we reached White Spot diner. We grabbed our bags and came in for a big breakfast. During breakfast Trevor talked to his parents and coordinated a pick-up for the afternoon around 4 pm. We would ride as far as we could get, then establish a pick-up location later in the day. I wanted to linger a bit after we ate. It was drizzling outside and I felt sluggish after the big meal. Trevor encouraged, and we picked ourselves and our gear up to go. We stopped at several places in town looking for some place that might sell single rolls of toilet paper and finally met with success on the last of four places we checked. Then we rolled toward the edge of town and picked up the canal toe path to Skaha Lake.

At Skaha Lake we passed through a campground and continued on a path by the shore of the lake. It was beautiful, scenic and easy. I also felt joyful. I wondered how to find enough superlatives for how I felt about the trip by this point in time. The positive energy must have been radiating a half-mile radius in any direction. I felt on top of the world.

We pedaled through the small town of Kaleden and pulled off into Pioneer Park where we got in the lake to wash off a bit. We took some pictures, lounged in the grass, and filled our water bottles before pushing on.

We reached Okanagan Falls and pulled into the Wedge pizza place, ordered 2 10'' pizzas and enjoyed lunch off the saddle. Following lunch I ran across the street to pick up batteries and a pair of sunglasses because I knew we were heading to a portion of our trip that was alongside a highway. I wanted to be sure I had eye protection in case anything was kicked up by the vehicles and reached me on the shoulder.

Departing Okanagan Falls, we went down a residential street for a while before turning on to Sunvalley Way where we visited two wineries – Tangled Vines and Wild Goose wineries. After tastings at both, we purchased a bottle of wine from Tangled Vines and followed the a longer route to return back to the road we had been on earlier, then we dropped down to the highway.Turning left, we rode along a beautiful stretch of highway – certainly the more scenic than I expected. When I think highway, I think narrow lanes, fast traffic, and scars on the landscape left by the “cut” of the land road. On this highway, there was a lakeshore to the right with big rocky mountains on either side of us. Trevor instructed me to keep my eyes out for big horned sheep, but I never saw one.Along the highway we passed another fruit stand. We got two fairly mushy peaches and some cherries. The cherries weren't as good as the ones we'd gotten closer to Kelowna. We pedaled on to another winery. This one is big with a distribution center and everything. We pulled in and gathered our necessary belongings and went inside. There must have been a tasting special in effect. We got four complimentary tastings each instead of two as the sign indicated. Because we had shared tastes, we sampled a total of eight wines there. Surprisingly, the rose tickled my fancy of all of them. Trevor and I found less in common at this winery than we'd found at the others. At this winery we got a call from his folks who were now getting closer. We arranged to meet in Oliver, so Trevor and I pedaled on. This time we were back on a path alongside a river. Most of this path was paved all the way to Oliver. Once there, with a little way-finding with the help of the woman at the visitor's center – we located the proper park to meet up with Trevor's parents. They were napping in the cab of the truck.

Deciding that Ossoyos Lake didn't seem all that far away, and taking advantage of their nap time, Trevor and I decide to push on and to see how far we could make it. The trail surface changed from paved to fine gravel. We kept a good pace though I felt myself more fatigued in this late part of the afternoon. I know I had a lot more energy left in me though because at one point as we passed an orchard, the farmer started spraying his crops. Not keen on being anywhere near the poison he might be using, we pedaled hard and fast (me holding my breath) until we had passed the farm and the wind that pushed the chemicals our way.

We rode within a few miles of Ossoyos Lake when we met up with his parents. We loaded the bikes in the back of the pick-up and got into the extended cab. The drive back was nice, and we stopped for ice cream at a popular spot along the way. We drove on the west side of the lake as we returned to Kelowna, and from my seat I could see most of where we'd come from through the park (see picture of park across the lake).Contented and delighted with our journey, I enjoyed a lavender bath salts soak before dinner and a hard sleep.

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