20110917

9/11 - 9-13 Penticton, British Columbia


On our last night in Jasper, we looked at the atlas and realized that retracing our steps down the Icefields Pkwy and back into Montana didn't make a whole lot of sense when we're trying to get to the West Coast. That minute we decided to alter course and come down the west side of the Rockies out of Canada and into Washington, thus knocking about 400 miles off our overall journey! And, altho the Icefields Pkwy is one exceptionally scenic road, we don't like doubling back on ourselves.

 

View of Skaha Lake from our Camp-A-Long campsite.


A romantic full moon rising over Skaha Lake.

So, we set off on Rte 5, Yellowhead Hwy, into the heart of the Okanagan (oh-ka-NOG-an) Valley. I was sold on our new route when I read that irrigation transformed this sun-kissed valley into one of the most productive fruit- and vegetable-growing regions in North America. But, I was really surprised to learn the southern end of the valley is so arid it's considered the northernmost reach of the Sonoran Desert that extends all the way to Mexico! 

Another distinguishing feature of the valley is its chain of long, narrow lakes stretching from north to south, created by retreating glaciers. Well, we saw it with our own eyes: Put water on it and it grows! We saw orchards everywhere. Flowers grow prolifically. Lucky for us, we're here in prime growing season, tho too late for peaches and a bit early for apples. Espaliered apple trees are loaded with ripening fruit! This is big wine country with vineyards, heavy with grapes, marching up and down hillsides, and wine-tasting rooms every few miles. We bought some of the sweetest corn we've ever had at Thor's Viking Farms stand, along with pears, nectarines, plums and a couple of early apples. Really delicious produce!

 

Penticton has a showy flower garden!


Jimmy at 69-mile long Lake Okanagan.

While walking along Riverside Park and Lakeshore Drive, we spotted these two gems, and I couldn't resist taking pictures. Please note Barbie has her seat belt on!

 


Cute set-up!

We had a great stay in Penticton - our last stop in Canada. Next will be our US border crossing. That took 45 minutes while we waited for the "Ag Inspector" (Haha, I thought it was Egg Inspector!) to appear. All the motor homes, trailers and fifth wheels lined up like huge beasts of burden waiting their turn, and getting agitated by the wait. Our "inspector" was a young girl who wanted to know what we had in our fridge and freezer, and what portion of fruits and veggies came from the states (who knew?).  Then she came into our RV home, opened both the fridge and freezer and took my only tomato ... that was our Ag Inspection.  I asked her if they were going to pay me for the tomato. Jimmy is still laughing!  Hmmm, I wonder what they do with all the fruit they confiscate?

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