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Not your average year!

19 Mar

Just finished celebrating my birthday (March 14th), the last year of my 50’s as my youngest so delicately put it. Sitting around the fire, eating BBQ ribs, scalloped potatoes and drinking tequila, talking about how much longer we all have before we have to head home once more.

The population of campers on the beach has halved over the past week, signaling the end of another season. For all of us, it’s a time of sadness as well as anticipation; sadness because some may not make it back to the beach next winter and anticipation as we all look forward to seeing friends and relatives back home!

This is what the waters have looked like up until today.

This is what the waters have looked like up until today.

As I sit here writing this (March 16th), I’m listening to the VHF radio, hearing chaos out in the Waiting Room and Inner harbour at Puerto Escondido, as boats break loose from their moorings, dinghies capsize and docks are torn to pieces. Today is the very first north wind, exceeding wind speeds of 55 knots! That’s higher than the wind from Hurricane Paul of 2012. It almost seems as if Mother Nature was saving up everything for this one blow!

..and this is what it looks like today!

..and this is what it looks like today!

Up until today our weather has been unseasonably calm, and warm. We’ve had mostly gentle breezes when we would have appreciated slightly higher ones, due to all the mosquito and no-see-um activity all season and we’ve had our little heater on for exactly 45 minutes the entire winter. While everyone at home suffered through some of the worst winter weather on record, we seem to have been sitting right on the very edge of the drought conditions hitting the southwestern United States.

This has been an odd season because normally the Grande Nortes start blowing in November/December and the temperatures begin to drop. It usually gets cold enough that most of us are wearing long pants, with a light jacket during the day because of lower temperatures and blowing sand. Nights and mornings are usually cold enough to have a heat source on for at least a little while.

This year, as I said no winds and average daytime temperatures never dropped below 70 F with averages in the low 80’s. Even the water temperatures have stayed high. High enough that even I’ve been out swimming recently and that’s never happened in the past, at least not for me! Once the water gets below 65, I just don’t want to go in, but this year, it had only just reached that when it started to rise again and it’s now fast approaching 80 again.

For those with years of experience on the water, they’re starting to be a bit concerned about the coming hurricane season since 80-degree water sustains them. They believe with the high temperatures this early in the year that it could lead to a very bad hurricane season with multiple storms. I guess we’ll see and we’ll be watching the weather closely before we venture down next fall.

Ladies fishing day

Just me and Jan out fishing and successfully I must say!

Other than strange weather and worrying about our families back in the extreme cold up north, it’s been pretty much an average year, lots of parties and get togethers, BBQ rib nights, bocce ball games, when we weren’t getting eaten alive by the bugs, fishing, kayaking and hiking. I even got to catch a couple of large Yellowtail on my single action reel which I’d been told was impossible plus we managed to have a couple of Ladies only fishing trips which were highly productive and the cause of much conversation around the fire!

Awesome fight with a 24lb Yellowtail on my single action reel and 10 foot rod!

Awesome fight with a 24lb Yellowtail on my single action reel and 10 foot rod!

The big difference this year was the season brought us kittens instead of puppies. We are usually the recipients of abandoned dogs and puppies on the beach, from the locals, since over the years the folks here have managed to find homes for almost every one. This year it was 9 kittens and 1 cat, most likely the mother of 8 of the kittens, maybe. I have to thank our friends and neighbours on the beach, Sy and Jan, who actually shouldered most of the burden of looking after this brood. We only had one at a time appear on our doorstep, while they had almost the entire group!

Sadly, out of the original 8 kittens, 2 had to be put down and 2 died, most likely from complications of Feline Leukemia, which is a major problem amongst the cat population down here. One of them, I’m sad to say, was a little Siamese cross female that we had decided to adopt and named Bella.

This was the lovely little girl that we originally adopted, before she started to show symptoms of illness.

This was the lovely little girl that we originally adopted, before she started to show symptoms of illness.

Happily, however the other 4 found homes and still remain healthy. For this we have Jan to thank as she did all the leg work and doggedly searched for people to adopt these lovely little girls! The adult cat was eventually live trapped, spayed and released, where she will hopefully manage to survive without producing any more unwanted kittens.

Unfortunately there is no place to take cats in Loreto. Animalandia, a volunteer organization, deals with dogs and has no facilities for cats beyond arranging for spaying and neutering.

Just when we thought we were done with all the animals, I went for a walk up to the little convenience store, and on the way found a very young, very cute, puppy. I may not be a dog lover but there was no way I could ignore this tiny little girl so I carried her to the store and then back to our campsite. As I was showing her to Richard he exclaimed in horror that she was covered in fleas and upon putting her down, it became obvious she really was! There were so many on her, you could see them seething through her fur and she was covered in bumps from bites. Surprisingly enough, not one got on me, nor did I receive a single bite!

Thankfully one of the campers had a flea spray medication that was suitable for young animals, and we soon had the little girl completely free of fleas. She was very appreciative, though I imagine, the previous bites itched like hell! The next morning we took her into Loreto and turned her over to the kind ladies from Animalandia, who figured she would be very easy to adopt out, since the size of her feet indicated she would probably grow quite large, had the colouring of a Rottweiler, and good guard dog instincts, all desirable traits.

Feeling good about ourselves, we headed for home knowing that thanks to our actions, this little dog would have a much happier life, rather than getting hit by a car, being eaten by coyotes or bobcats or dying from starvation or dehydration. We walked through the door of Grummy, only to have our neighbours knock on it moments later, with a small furry bundle wrapped in a silk shirt and the greetings of Happy Birthday!

On their walk early in the morning they came across another kitten, all by itself very near the highway, and they just couldn’t leave her to get killed by a car. Knowing that we had lost the kitten we’d adopted, and that we had talked about getting another kitten when we got back to Canada, they brought her to us. And so, Bella 2 came into our lives. (I would post a picture but WordPress seems to be having major problems uploading photos these days)

(The name was stuck in our heads and even when we tried calling her something else, “Bella” always seemed to come out. She responded to the name almost immediately, so we figured she was destined to be called it).

You know, we had both forgotten what it was like to have a kitten.  They’re crazy; fun, entertaining, cute and cuddly, but crazy and they wake up way too early. So now we have to figure out how to travel with a kitten and live with her in our Dodge van at home. So far she’s taken to the Grummy with no problem at all and doesn’t seem inclined to wander out of sight of us. We’ll see,  I guess it’ll be one step at a time. We’re really hoping it will work out for her, and us, but if not, we’ve already had a couple of folks at home volunteering to take her. So one way or another this little lady is going to have a great life.

Stay tuned; I may have to change the title of this blog to “Travels with Bella”!

NO MEN ALLOWED

3 Jul

 

Painter’s Lodge, sitting at the mouth of the Campbell River.


Every year since 1992, Painter’s Lodge in Campbell River, B.C., has hosted a women’s only fishing derby. As a rookie guide on the dock, I didn’t get the chance to fish the first one, but I did guide the next 14. Since I was the only female guide on the dock, I was a favourite with the contestants, so much so that when I announced my retirement in 2006, the ladies were horrified.

 

At the award ceremonies that year, I was called up to the front of the room and stood there perplexed. None of the 3 sets of ladies I had guided over the tournament had caught a winner with me, so I couldn’t figure out why I was standing there. The next thing I knew, another senior guide came up to the front and announced that the ladies would not hear of me not being there and since I wasn’t going to guide anymore, I should come as a contestant! My seat was paid for courtesy of all the ladies attending that year. They had all chipped in and paid my way!

 

Since that day, I have attended all but one, and that only because I was dealing with torn muscles in both shoulders. (Don’t ask!) This year was no different.

 

Travelling Highway 97C

I now live in Penticton, and the journey is a fairly long one, so off we set, my daughter Alena and I, early in the morning of June 21st. The derby didn’t actually start officially, until 10 AM June 22nd, but since we had to drive to Vancouver, take a ferry across to Nanaimo, then drive the rest of the way to Campbell River, we figured getting there a day early was a good idea.

 

We drove north to access Highway 97C, more casually known as the Connector, bypassed Merritt to hit the Coquihalla Pass, then down the Trans Canada Highway through Hope and down the Fraser Valley into Vancouver.

Going across the Port Mann Bridge
There isn’t supposed to be water behind the front group of trees.

 

The Fraser was running extremely high and all week before we left, we had been watching the news hoping we wouldn’t be forced to cancel our plans because of mudslide or flooding. It doesn’t matter which route you take, to get from Penticton to Vancouver, requires you to eventually drive down all or part of the Fraser River Valley. Though there had been a few small slides and flooding in some very low-lying areas, we were lucky and the highway remained open.

One of many rocks and islets that dot the Straights of Georgia.

 

A sister ferry heading back to the mainland.

I know that sounds like a short trip but it takes 4 hours of steady driving to get to Vancouver, then another 45 minutes to get through to the North Shore and into Horseshoe Bay to catch the ferry for Nanaimo. The ferry trip across, to me, is usually uneventful and rather boring because I’ve been travelling it since I was a little girl, but when I look at it with the eyes of a tourist, it makes me realize just how beautiful this area actually is. I know that sounds trite and it is, but there really isn’t anything else one could say without having to resort to a thesaurus. As the ferry pulled away from the dock, the background of highways, marinas, tall buildings and homes faded slowly away and was replaced by the multihued, verdant greens and disparate browns of the shorelines of the mainland, Vancouver Island and the various smaller islands and islets that the ferry passes on the way to it’s destination, the Port of Nanaimo. Upon arrival it was off north, heading for Campbell River, where we spent the night with some old friends.

Our welcome!

 

Since Campbell River was our home for 20 years, we took our time in the morning, picking up the odd necessity for our 3-night stay and our favourite types of boat food, arriving in good time, which gave me the chance to say hello to a few old friends, who still work at the lodge.

 

The other guests started arriving and eventually we were in full swing. First, there is the registration, licensing, and gift bag give out, then lunch, guide assignments, room assignments, unpacking and then dressing for the first fishing, which takes place from 4PM to 8PM.

The first night out, calm, and very wet!

 

The called for rain had finally arrived with a vengeance and it was going to be a very wet evening. Off we went, every boat out to win!

 

I have the unique experience of being the only contestant who has both guided the derby and been an entrant; so a little background would be in order.

 

The original derby had a maximum of 100 women, all 50 boats on our dock would be used for the derby and every Guide took this one more seriously than all the others, since this one carried a prize for the Guide who guided the biggest fish, a 3 day trip to the Queen Charlotte islands. It was the only time that women outnumbered men in the lodge and it used to scare the crap out of all of the boys. There would be frantic preparation on the dock and unusually, no information sharing was taking place amongst the Guides! Special lures were cleaned, hooks sharpened, rods and reels run through their paces and secret spots closely guarded.

 

Fishing partners, out for a good time, and a few fish!

Each boat was always trying it’s best to win, but even in the pouring rain, as uncomfortable as only sitting in rubber in a downpour can make you didn’t mean that there wasn’t fun! Every time a fish was hit all the other boats cheered them on and clapped when a fish was finally netted. Jokes were told from boat to boat and good natured jibes filled the air. Most of these women, including myself are friends, though many of us only get the chance to see each other at the derby and we look forward to it all year. Sure there is intense rivalry, but it’s all done with great good humour.

Alena’s first fish, a nice 12 pound Chinook.

 

At 8 we all arrived back on the dock, where the few fish taken that night were weighed in. Then it was off to dinner, a couple of drinks, door prizes, then to bed because 5AM came damned early. Yep, I said 5AM! If you wanted to eat before going fishing that is. The boats left the dock at 6 and the rain that had been pouring all night continued unabated until moments before we arrived on the fishing grounds. The rain might have stopped and the sun came out, but the wind came up and it got lumpy. More than a few ladies complained of feeling a wee bit queasy by the time we were done!

 

We fished until 10AM, with the possible winner arriving on the dock, a 34-pound Chinook. My daughter caught a nice 12 pound Chinook, not in the running for the top 3 prizes but certainly capable of taking one of 3 hidden weight prizes. The rest of the day was given over to whatever the guests wanted to do, at least until 4PM.

 

Every year the derby has a theme and since this was the 20th Annual derby the theme was, quite naturally, the Roaring 20’s. The wine and cheese takes place in the gardens at 4PM and costumes are expected. Every year, though there are no prizes, great effort and thought is put into the costumes. We drink a little wine, eat a few appetizers, take a lot of pictures and head in to the dining room for dinner, and then we party!

I came as Auntie Mame. Kind of fits doesn’t it?

 

There is always some sort of live entertainment, more door prizes, music, dancing and drinking. Sadly, there are few who have the fortitude to last very long, what with the late night before and the very early morning, but we try to soldier on as long as we can.

 

In the public parts of the lodge hang many photos of guests taken during the 20’s. These ladies came dressed as the women in one of the photos.

The final day started slowly as always, and in ones and twos, the ladies gradually appeared, to enjoy a lovely buffet breakfast, sitting on the balcony in the blazing sun. The weather was finally cooperating and at 11AM we all hit the water for one last chance to win it all! Back in by 3PM, it was apparent that a couple of big fish had come in, so there was a competition for 2nd and 3rd, but nothing came close to knocking the 34lber out of first!

Alena’s second fish

 

Alena again came home with a small 10 pound Chinook this time and I took in a respectable Ling Cod. It may not have been a valid entry but hey, they taste great and salmon is NOT my first choice in fish cuisine.

 

Richard, my friend and our intrepid guide for the last 4 hours of fishing on Sunday.

We had time for a shower and drink then down for dinner and the awards. At this meal it’s customary for the guides to attend if they wish and certainly the winning guide comes, to be wined and dined by the guest who took the top prize. Dinner is always steak and being the meat eater that I am, I enjoy this meal over all. Damn, but Painter’s cooks a mean steak!

 

The First Place trophy

After desert are the official prize presentations, with 1st prize being a choice between a paid trip back to the derby next year, or a trip to the Queen Charlottes. Then we wandered off to the pub for a riotous night of live entertainment, and a little more drinking and dancing.

 

Eventually the night came to an end and all of us headed to bed. The next morning, those who caught nothing the previous 3 days and were determined to give it one last shot were out on the water again at 6 AM, but Alena and I were just packing up and heading home, retracing our steps and planning the trip back next year.

 

The prize for 3rd place.

The Painter’s Lodge Ladies Derby is 3 days of nothing but women fishing, laughing, dancing, talking, singing and having a really good time, with no men allowed! If this sounds like a something you’d like to do then contact Oak Bay Marine Group and get on the list. You might want to hurry though; the ladies who were there this year are mostly all going back next year including Alena and me, baring unforeseen circumstances, that doesn’t leave many vacant spots!

 

 

Heading to the 25th parallel

13 Oct

Hidy Ho Campers! Here we are on beautiful Rattlesnake Beach in Southern Baja, once more, ready for another winter in the sun.

Daytime temperature is 33c and nights cool down to a balmy 22c. The water is holding steady at 28c. Yeah, I know that’s rubbing it in but hey, this IS a blog about travelling and I’d certainly be remiss if I didn’t tell my viewing audience what to expect if they decide to come for a visit or want to live vicariously through me, right?

Now, the last little missive I posted told you I have a peeve I want to rant about, so I might as well get it off my chest right away. I started to notice as we slowly made our way down roads less travelled that everything had a name; roads, bridges, overpasses, parks, beaches, trails, underpasses, byways, freeways, you name it. (hahaha, sorry)

Lake Crescent, northern Washington, on Hwy 101

What got me going was that almost everything was named after, in most cases, “Some Politician”.  Now, I tried looking up some of these names and for the most part Google just went “Huh?” What is it about your average politician that they just have to have some edifice named after them, especially since within 20 years, no one is going to remember who the hell they were, except maybe their closest friends, (Is that possible?) and relatives.

I’ll give you an example, in the town we lived in, there was a lovely park in the downtown core, on the foreshore and it was called simply, Foreshore Park. Kind of says it all doesn’t it? Certainly tells you where and what. A couple of years after a Mayor who had served for 3 terms died, his wife and political cronies who still made up the city council decided it would be a great idea to rename the park after him. So in their finite wisdom, the local politicians changed the name to the “Robert V. Ostler Park”. Pretty much everyone still refers to it as Foreshore Park and even my kids who grew up there have only a vague recollection as to who Robert V. Ostler was. Give it another 10-15 years and only those who stroll through City hall and see his name on the list of mayors will have any clue.

The first beach we came to in Washington State, Ruby Beach

Don’t get me wrong, I see no problem naming things after “famous” politicians, you know, the ones you learn about in school or read about in history books, but the local ones? Give me a break! These, as far as I’m concerned are just a bunch of arrogant, self-centered egotists who see a way of giving themselves a form of immortality and the really crazy thing is, WE GO ALONG WITH IT!

Okaaaaay…..enough about that.

Back to our story…

We were enjoying our last visit with our youngest daughter and her family, playing with our Grandkids, sampling the fruits of their garden and being overwhelmed with her gustatory expertise when the rain started. Sure it was only a little and the sun did come back out every day, but the temperature was going down and this year there was nothing holding us back. Richard was starting to get antsy but I kept delaying leaving as a Mexican Visa is only good for 180 days and the last thing I wanted was to be coming home in March. Richard however, held out a carrot. I have a last surviving aunt in Ontario so he suggested that we could work our way along the southern US and then up into Ontario before we headed home. Damn, that was a good carrot!

One of many, free, secluded spots we always find on our travels

Cape Ferrolo, Ore. The last time we saw the sun. If you have the time and the weather permits by all means travel the 101. The views are to die for.

Once again we took the Coho Ferry across to Port Angeles, but this time we turned right instead of left and took the 101 Hwy down the Pacific Coast. The weather was good and we moseyed down the road instead of thundered. The scenery was gorgeous and we had high hopes for a slow, picturesque journey, hopping from secluded forest campsites, to beautiful beaches, all the way down the Washington, Oregon coasts, with a side trip to McMinnville in northern Oregon.

The best shot I could get. Big isn't it?

McMinnville is a small town but it contains one of the biggest airplanes ever built, Howard Hughes’ Spruce Goose. This is the crowning glory of The Evergreen Air and Space Museum there and though we had known about this place for sometime, our route and/or schedule had never let us stop and visit. This time we did and we spent the day wandering around, while outside the weather was summer like…and that was the last time we saw the sun, until we crossed the Mexican border.

Not bad eh? Okay it's a picture of a picture, but if you like space stuff, this is a good place to start!

I’ve only included one picture of the Spruce Goose because it’s impossible to get a correct perspective of this baby, but suffice it to say that there are over 100 planes of all sizes nestled under her wings. If you’ve ever been up close and personal with the Martin Mars, you’ll have some idea, but even these don’t come close to the Goose. If you get the chance, enjoy looking at historic airplanes or are interested in the history of the space race from both the American and Russian perspective, go, it’s worth the visit. McMinnville is on Highway 18, just south of Portland and be prepared to spend the day!

Well, folks that’s enough for now. You know where we are and the winter is just beginning, so stand by for the continuing adventures of Travels with Grummy!

TTFN

Come Fly With Me!

14 Jul

We finally got home on Monday after spending 5 days at the Arlington Fly-In. Arlington is in Washington State, just off the I-5, south of Seattle and is the 3rd largest air show of it’s kind in North America.  We on the other hand, coming from Penticton, came over the Cascade Mountains.  They sure were pretty!

One of the many peaks of the Cascades

We found many small towns along the road including this one. A beautiful representation of the old west as seen in the movies.

The whole town looked like this!

Now, you will notice I said, “of it’s kind”, because this type of show is a little different than the shows that most folks have seen.

Never did figure out what this one was.

First, it’s called a fly-in because more that half of those attending, fly in, in their own small planes. Second, this type of show celebrates, home-built, experimental and antique air craft. Not to mention antique cars and military equipment. There is a military camp called Camp Adams, set up at the very edge of the grounds and they showcase everything from cars and motorcycles, to guns, tanks and planes, with nothing younger than the Vietnam War. Most of this stuff was from WW2, with lots of folks in costume appropriate to the time frame.

These folks spent the entire show living in Camp Adam and dressing the part.

Do these guys look like they were getting ready for their next mission? Perhaps they were waiting to board the B-17 that came and spent the week with us.

Crews on board and she's ready for one last mission!

This old beauty was parked with the antique bi-planes.

There were lots of antique cars, one of a kind planes and most interestingly a few that were the only survivors of their type left in existence like this restored Bi-plane below.

A Boeing 40, the only one in existence!

A Fly-in is the place where those who want to learn more, can, since there are many workshops available, as well as venders selling everything an aviator could possibly want to or need to build or outfit their newest projects. Those who don’t have planes but enjoy them, can come onto the grounds and camp for 5 days while the shows and displays go on all day.

The Grummy in at the very top of the photo, see if you can find her. Look for the green shade. There's only a small number of RV's showing as this was the last day!

Traditional air shows usually involve military planes doing formation acrobatics as well as purpose built planes doing their shows, with static displays that you never actually get to touch.

This beautifully restored Spitfire was one of the few you couldn't get up close and personal with

There was a little of that at Arlington, with a few purpose built acrobatic planes, and a couple of antique war birds doing simple fly overs, but most of the shows were done by average guys flying home built planes or older WW2 Trainers. Plus all the planes that had been flown in were parked in groupings of their type, where everyone could look at them, and in lots of cases touch or even get inside of, with the proud owners available to answer questions.

A group of like minded individuals who own the same plane and work hard to have fun!

We were treated to fairly impromptu shows like this one for the entire 5 days! Not only that but Camp Adam wasn’t just a pretty face. These folks came loaded for bear and were more than happy to show off their wares. Nothing like a little tank battle and flak gun shoot to give you some idea of what the sights and sounds actually were during the latter stages of WW 2.

One of the many types of tanks and support equipment on display.

These guys were having just too much fun!

Just so you know, these were all my photos, but it just seemed apropos to present some of them in the era appropriate format.

 

This flak gun was fired, giving us all a sense of the drama those in the sky must have felt when approaching their bombing targets.

There were a couple of these old Harvard Trainers and this gorgeous DC-2. The DC-2 was fully restored and open to walk through. Apparently there are only 2 left flying in the world.

This was one of the more interesting acrobatic participants. She was amazingly graceful!

This old girl looked like she had just taken a break from her usual route to come and visit for a while!

On the last evening, these folks turned up and gave us quite the show, called a Light Up. The wind was a little too high for flying but that certainly didn’t stop all of us from being highly impressed with the beauty of Hot Air Balloons.

First one up and lit.

Going for the full burn.

Trying to coordinate the light up

The last thing I did, was go for a ride in a 1929 barnstorming bi-plane. It was quite the exciting end to a terrific time. Next time we’ll head over to Oshkosh, Wisconsin for the biggest fly-in there is. You know the saying, “Go big, or go home!”

My ride has arrived!

It’s the crazy season!

30 Jun

Yes, I know I haven’t posted in a while. I’ve been busy. My Dad used to say, “that’s not an excuse”! No, it’s not, but it is an explanation.

We’ve been Grand parenting. Never heard of it? It’s what all retired folks with children do when their kids, have kids. It requires vast amounts of patience, good humour, and most importantly, poor hearing. Kids are noisy, no doubt about it. What do you think? Do we go deaf after years of listening to loud music, cars and kids, or is it a defence  specifically for older folks so they can continue to spend time with very small children? I’m going with the latter, never mind all the concerts I attended in my youth that were in excess of 100 decibels.

What’s that? Speak up I can’t hear you!!!!

It’s interesting, visiting only every 6 months with our daughters and their growing families. We get to watch the grandkids grow up literally by leaps and bounds, and we get to spend the summers with them, when there is always so many more things to do. Now, there is a down side to this, we miss things, like birthdays (at least we call), first steps, first teeth, but we hope the quality time we do spend with them more than makes up for it.

A June Baby! The one birthday we'll never miss!

One of our daughters and her husband, moved to Penticton, which is in the southern interior of the province in an area called the Okanagan. It’s a desert area that specializes in wine grapes, tree fruits and tourism, with high temperatures and low rainfall. My kind of place after living on Vancouver Island for 35 years. This is currently where we call home.

Now, don’t get me wrong, we love to visit our youngest daughter and her family on Vancouver Island, but she has her husbands Mom and Dad around a great deal of the time.  They help the kids out around their house, they babysit, give them advise, even take them on holiday, something Richard and I could never afford these days. So we visit, at least 2 or 3 times over the summer, but we don’t spend large amounts of time there as we feel they are being well looked after and we just kind of get in the way.

The other daughter only has one child, but her in-laws live a long ways away and her husband is estranged from them, so we feel we can be of more use here. That’s one of the reasons, that plus we just can’t afford to be going back and forth on the Ferries anymore, not when a one-way fare for us, Grummy and our car is almost $200.00. Not to mention that the average summertime temperature is around 25-28 c, while Victoria, on Vancouver Island is around 19-20 c and I like it warm!

So we stay in beautiful, sunny Penticton, a tourist destination.

This truly is a place that relies on tourists and to keep them and their dollars flowing, there is a festival of some sort or another every weekend. Not to mention that within 50 kilometres of Penticton are many more towns and cities that also offer tourist entertainment.

One of the many Kid's Festivals in the area.

It’s a grab bag of things you would like to do, with virtually something for everyone thrown into the mix. Like Elvis? There’s the Pacific Northwest Elvis Festival, where impersonators vie with each other for the title of Best in the World.

Interested in classic cars, then just for you we have the Peach City Beach Cruise, not to mention all of the other Show and Shines that take place in the area over the summer.

1 of more than 800 classic vehicles on the beach last weekend.

Want something for the kids to do? Then take them to the Kids Festival in either Penticton or Kelowna, or the Action Festival in Summerland.

Do you enjoy lifting weights and looking at ripped bodies? Come on over and see the Mr. and Ms. Muscle contest.

Are you a runner, biker, or swimmer? Maybe you’d enjoy seeing the Ironman Triathlon that Penticton has hosted since 1983.

There are rodeos, bike races, and festivals for just about anything you can think of, and some that would never occur to you. Most importantly though, there is something to do every weekend, even if it’s just going to the local Saturday Market.

And if you don’t want to do any of those things, there are the wineries, lots and lots of wineries, many of which are medal winners, whose products are sought after by those in the know. You could spend days just visiting and sampling, while enjoying the warm temperatures and beautiful scenery.

How about just hanging at the beach,  sailing, fishing, kayaking, or swimming? Did I forget to mention that there are more than 30 beaches in the Okanagan area from Osoyoos to Salmon Arm, with Okanagan Beach at the north end of Penticton, considered to be the very best?

We’ve been busy with both of our kids, helping with the chores on the Island when we first got back, then helping with the same things in Penticton. I’ve been back to the island, and stayed for 2 weeks helping my daughter while her husband was at a conference in the States, and just visiting.  We even managed to do a few touristy types things while I was there.

Feeling cold and wet? Depressed? A visit to Butterfly World in Brentwood Bay will cheer you right up!

Right now, we have the house to ourselves as the eldest and family have headed over to the island for a camping holiday!  Ah blissful quiet!!

Next week we are heading out on our own to see the Arlington Air show in Washington State, then it’s back to the Okanagan for a while. We’ll see the Island kids once we get back as they will be up this way for some holidays with my son-in-laws parents and if I know them, they be visiting some of the local wineries. I can hardly wait.

In the meantime, I’m cranking up the music,  pouring some great Pinot Grigio, and waiting for the cherries to come ripe.

Mmmmm!

God, come October, we’re really going to need a vacation!