June 2019
  • Day11

    The End of the Road

    June 17 in Canada ⋅ 🌧 18 °C

    Nancy arrived home safely and the two sisters made it to the Kelowna Airport in time to return the rental car and catch the Swoop flight home. Our travels over the 10 days totalled 2770 km. Our total gas bill was $183 CAN so the Toyota Camry we were driving was very fuel efficient. The 4 hotel stays in mid-range hotels were very expensive, averaging $198 CAN per night, as we were travelling to high tourist areas at peak times. The timeshare units were booked with our prepaid points so that balanced our accommodation expense to make it very reasonable overall. Our meal costs were minimal as we enjoyed our picnics at the seashore or in the woods and took turns preparing dinners in the condos. We covered a lot of territory, saw and did so much, and learned a lot about the area history, geology and environment. One obvious observation we made was that Canada is very multicultural in comparison to this area of the USA. The sisters had their usual squabbles about snoring, decision making, navigating and back-seat driving. Of course, you are only hearing one side of the story....mine!Read more

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  • Day10

    Okanagan Valley

    June 16 in Canada ⋅ ☁️ 24 °C

    We only had a 100 km drive to Kelowna so we had ample time to explore the Okanagan with no specific plans. I was interested in some of the wineries but since I was the only driver I was unable to enjoy this. We did stop at Jackson-Triggs to use their facilities and at Black Sage Vineyard where I bought Malbec flavoured sea salt since I had no room in my carry-on for wine. I did get a taste of their award winning Malbec and it was very good. Down the road I spotted a u-pick cherry sign so we picked 2 pounds of cherries at $2.50 per pound to take home. There were other stops we could have made but my navigator of the day was more interested in looking at the scenery so we tended to pass all the turnoffs! At this point in the trip I wasn’t about to turn back. It was for this reason that she spent most of the road trip in the back seat! So we arrived in West Kelowna late afternoon and had an early dinner as Nancy had decided to leave for her Maple Ridge home today. We made sure she got on the bus and then the two sisters carried on to Kelowna. We walked around the pretty waterfront for an hour and then made our way to our hotel in Vernon, getting there just before dark set in. Across the parking lot was Lake City Casino but neither of us had any Canadian money nor were we interested in finding an ATM. It was a quiet, relaxing evening. We finished two bottles of wine that each had a few ounces of wine. Our total wine consumption for this trip was a meagre 3 bottles....one Washington Riesling, a French Bordeaux and a Napa Pinot Grigio. We should have been trying the local wine but our choices were based on the best deal and all 3 were very good.Read more

  • Day9

    Rivers, Coulees & Scrubland

    June 15 in Canada ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    Our route today was tricky to plan as there was no direct route through this part of the State of Washington. We were working with a new GPS and had to make a couple of stops just to make sure that we were taking the best route as we tried to avoid two mountain passes. Ninety percent of our route so far has been on two-lane highways and today was no different except for short stretches on interstates. The landscape was varied as we drove along the Columbia River, on the Coulee Corridor National Scenic Byway, past caves, lakes, dams and the Rattlesnake Hills (with rattlesnake warnings at the rest areas). The road was winding and rolling. It was hot and dry. This was our longest day of driving as it took us 10 hours to get to Oliver, BC , just 30 minutes from the US border.

    This was the first time that I have had a very bad experience at the Canadian border crossing. There was only one lane open and a semi truck in front of me. When the semi pulled away from the booth, I moved forward from the stop sign. As soon as I got to the booth I was greeted with, “DID I GIVE YOU PERMISSION TO COME HERE?” He was red faced and yelling at me. I told him I had stopped at the stop sign but apparently I “DIDN’T WAIT FOR THE GREEN LIGHT”. After 10 hours of driving, I honestly didn’t even see the red light. He kept reprimanding me and eventually yelled the routine questions. I was tempted to ask for his name and number but I knew that would just escalate things. He did mumble something about “guns in a vehicle” and “dangerous situation” so maybe something was happening at the border or he was just having a rough day or he hated his job. I would have preferred “Welcome home to Canada”!

    We ended our day in Oliver with the best Greek food that I have ever eaten. Service was slow and prices were higher than usual but sitting on the patio of the Savvios Family Restaurant with a glass of local wine was just what we needed.
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  • Day8

    Northward Bound

    June 14 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

    It was time to start heading home as we have a long drive ahead of us. We made a short stop at my favourite bargain-finding store, Ross. Hard to believe but this was the only shopping that we did and we purchased very little. We took a longer route northwest in order to go to Timberline Lodge in Mount Hood National Park. The Lodge is a National Historic Landmark and was part of a Federal Art Project in the 1930’s. Built during the Great Depression, it provided jobs for local artisans. The exterior of the hotel was used in the Steven King movie, The Shining. We were impressed.

    From here we continued north to Hood River that is a port along the Columbia River. It is also called the windsurfing capital of the world due to strong wind gusts and river currents. Along our route was an area known as the Fruit Loop with orchards and fruit stands. Unfortunately we were too late for apple blossoms and too early for fruit. We did a short walk along the waterfront park while waiting for a table at a nearby restaurant. After dinner we headed to The Dalles for the night, just another 35 km. We mistakenly took an exit that took us off the interstate and along a scenic route where the road was so curvy that the speed limit was only 50 kmh. As a result, we didn’t arrive at our hotel until nightfall!
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  • Day7

    Two Wheels

    June 13 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

    Our timeshare provides 2 free rental bikes to each unit but we had been arriving home too late to make use of them. So today we were able to take turns going for a bike ride on the many paved bike trails throughout the expansive resort and came across some friendly (?) horses. It was a fun way to end the day.Read more

  • Day7

    Hot & Dry

    June 13 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 26 °C

    Because it doesn’t look like a typical desert it is easy to forget that we are in the desert, except that our body parts are dry, particularly our eyes and lips. This is the high desert where the annual rainfall is less than 12 inches. Today we went to the High Desert Museum, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institute which almost guarantees a good experience. We were there for over 4 hours wandering through both indoor and outdoor exhibits, historical and environmental. We listened to a presentation on river otters and a most interesting one on wild horses. About 4700 wild horses roam the free ranges in Oregon as they have no natural predators and another 2400 are held in government corrals, costing millions of dollars each year. It’s a big political issue as well as an advocacy issue. Great museum!Read more

  • Day6

    More Volcanic Wonders

    June 12 in Canada ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C

    We were on a roll so we decided to drive 30 minutes south to the 4 mile x 5 mile caldera. We were all interested in hiking a short trail called the Big Obsidian Flow. After ascending some stairs we were surrounded by huge jagged boulders of black volcanic glass. It was unique and impressive. Once we reached snow on the trail at about the 1 km mark we decided we had enough and turned back. While in this area we visited 80 foot Paulina Falls which was a very short walk through the forest to the upper Falls. It was another full day of exploration and such a contrast to the ocean setting just yesterday.Read more

  • Day6

    Volcanic Wonders

    June 12 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

    We quickly learned that there was a lot to do in this area as we were in the middle of Newberry National Volcanic Monument, a 55,000 acre National park. Our first stop today was a 2.5 km drive up a narrow, winding road to the top of Lava Butte, a 7000 year old cinder cone (which I learned was created by fragments of lava thrown out during eruptions). Linda and I walked the .5 km rim trail with panoramic views and it was HOT....sunny and 32!

    To cool off, our next stop was the Lava River Cave where the temperature dropped to 5 celsius inside the cave. There is no artificial lighting in the cave so we had to rent large flashlights for $5 each to walk through the 1.6 km lava tube that was formed during Newberry Volcano’s eruption. The lava tube is about 58 feet x 50 feet at it’s largest point but deeper in the cave it drops to about 5 feet x 4 feet.. We had to walk down 126 steps at the entrance and climb over a jumble of volcanic rocks. The 2 wimpy sisters turned back at about the half-way point but I carried on to the end which had the most interesting features. It was a fascinating experience and far superior to the lava tube on the Big Island in Hawaii. We had our picnic lunch near the Visitor Centre where NASA astronauts trained to walk on the moon in the 1960’s. We’ve learned a lot today about volcanoes.
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  • Day5

    Goodbye Seashore.....Hello Interior

    June 11 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C

    We packed a lot into the short time we had at the seashore and now it was time to head east to Oregon’s interior. Our next destination was only 300+ km. We couldn’t resist making one stop enroute at a town called Sisters. It is an Old West town full of unique shops and cafes. The population is only 2000 but it is well known for it’s rodeo and quilt show where more than 1300 quilts are displayed outdoors in gardens. Our destination was the Sunriver Resort just 15 minutes south of Bend. Here we have another one bedroom unit that was more spacious with a woodsy decor.Read more

  • Day4

    Yakhina Head Outstanding Natural Area

    June 10 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    After a relaxing morning we drove about 10 minutes north to Yakhina Head. This really was an outstanding place. At 93 feet this is the location of Oregon’s tallest lighthouse which extends out from the coastline, one mile into the Pacific Ocean. We were fortunate to be there at low tide and once again were able to explore the fascinating tide pools (at least one of us did!). The beach is made of black balls of basalt rock, making it somewhat difficult to walk on. As well as the tidal pools, the views were spectacular and the Visitor Centre had lots of informative displays. Staff were also at the seashore with displays and were helpful with answering our questions.

    As I am writing this, the two sisters are asleep but snoring loudly in unison. I’m hoping I packed a pair of industrial earplugs!
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