Sunday, August 30, 2009

that’s a wrap


Its a wrap...our vacation of 2009 is all done!!

2009243133913059We left Nk'mip RV Park at 8:00 am..we followed this old beauty through the Hope Princeton..


and we were at the storage lot in Maple Ridge at just before 1:00 pm.


It was uneventful, easy drive!..Well easy for me..I just sit in the passenger seat..


and keep the driver entertained.. The sun was shining and there was not too much traffic on the roads that lead to home.

2009243134020018Today was the annual Subaru Ironman ..a very busy time in the Osoyoos, Penticton area and we passed many rest areas for the athletes on our route through the Similkameen Valley. There was over 2600 participants and over 4000 volunteers.

The athletes swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and run 26.2 miles. Quite the feat to actually finish this race!!

We have been one of those 4000 volunteers helping at the rest stops. We started volunteering in 2003 and Doug helped last year at the Harker's Organic Fruit Ranch rest stop in Cawston, B.C..just a few miles from his brother's home in Keremeos.

Here is an excerpt from the Subaru Ironman Canada website...

When the cannon called "Maranatha" fires at 7 AM on the last Sunday before Labour Day, more than 2,000 athletes will embark on the long day that includes a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2-mile marathon run in Penticton, British Columbia.

Since it began as an "ultra-distance" event in 1983, Ironman Canada has been a popular fixture on the triathlon "map".
The race starts at Okanagan Lake Beach, which offers one of the widest swim starts of any Ironman race in the world ... a necessary feature, considering Sunday's race will likely have more people heading off at once than any other Ironman!

After exiting the water, the riders start the bike course with a gradual climb up Penticton's Main Street. Apart from one significant hill at about the 10-mile point (McLean Creek Road), the first 30 miles of the course are relatively flat or downhill.

It is one of the most beautiful bike courses in the world - the athletes enjoy incredible views of mountains and lakes almost throughout the ride -- but all that great scenery can distract the riders from the task at hand -- getting through those major climbs and descents!

Like the bike course, the run course is incredibly beautiful, but it also has its challenges! Even with the thousands of athletes, spectators, and volunteers that line the course, it is the beautiful scenery along this run course that stands out. The wonderful views provide a welcome distraction to the pain of the race.’

Doug would have loved to volunteer and receive the FREE T-SHIRT..another one to add to his collection..not so this year..our timing was off!!!..maybe next year??

Anyway, we are home safe and sound and ready to embark on another adventure if only work did not interfere with our RV lifestyle!!

We have driven over 6750 kilometers (4218 miles for our American readers) this summer since we left home mid July. We have seen lots of beautiful places, met some great people and have lots of fond memories of our summer of 2009...

stay tuned to BIGDAWG AND FREEWAY ...we will not be sitting idle for long..time to purge this place we call home!!!

just a little footnote..

I have also added a picture of Tucker with his "doggy cousins"..Chase, Nikki, Tucker and Bailey...this photo was taken in April 2009...and we all knew that it probably would be the last time that all four "doggy cousins' would be together...


.it is with a heavy heart that we acknowledge that Bailey has passed away...she had a great life living in in peace Bailey..we will miss you..

‘Just this side of heaven is a place called RAINBOW BRIDGE...

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.

There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.

There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigour; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.

The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers.

Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again.

The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....’

Author unknown...

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Glam-pers..that’s us..


We are now on the downhill side to the end of our 2009 vacation. The last two days have been sunny and warm. Lows of 12-15 and highs of about 35. We have spent the days around the campsite and at the beach.

In the town of Osoyoos, there is a Home Hardware Store that seems to do a booming business. They sell everything from nuts and bolts, pots and pans, gardening items, and beach items. We always make a few trips to this Home Hardware when we are in Osoyoos. It is fun just to wander around the store and see what is on the shelves.

Yesterday, while we were at the dog beach, a gentleman arrived with his golden retriever, Katie. A nice quiet girl, unlike our rambunctious boy!

Anyway, as it turns out this gentleman is the owner of our favourite hardware store. What are the chances??
I wish we would have asked him his name but we didn't..??

He told us that the population of Osoyoos is about 4800 people with only 300 children, and then in the winter some go south to Arizona!! He did ask us if we had ever camped at Haynes Point Provincial Park. We said no, we like our power,water, cable and sewer sites!!...He said we were GLAMPERS..GLAMOROUS CAMPERS!!..all the people staying at the provincial park in their tents..those are CAMPERS!!!

He also said that the busiest time in Osoyoos is the last two weeks of July and the first two weeks in August. That may explain why Nk'mip RV Resort is proverbial ghost town this week. Not that we are complaining!

It is nice and quiet and it's great to watch all the RV's pull out from our vantage point and know that it is not our turn YET!!!

This morning it is raining..if you can call this rain??..the awning is wet, as is the least it is not a downpour like we had two weeks ago!!

Our plan today is to tidy up, pack up all the unnecessary items and get organized for travel day tomorrow.

The cleaning and purging is all done..after almost eight hours of hard work we are all packed -the wine is securely packed…


and we ready to head out on the road tomorrow morning..

We are sad as our 2009 vacation is coming to an end but we have to be thankful for all the sights we have seen and are looking ahead to 2010..

Not too worry though..we are not quite done with BIGDAWG AND FREEWAY as yet..there is still a few more weekend trips in the works!!! stay tuned..

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

We need a ‘tom-tom’


After a very windy night and losing the outside garbage can to a gust of wind we are happy to report that it has been returned to it's rightful spot beside the trailer door.

This morning the weather was a bit cloudy but the sun came out before long and we were well along the way to yet another sunny day. After spending the morning doing our usual activities, we headed out on the highway towards Okanangan Falls once again. We seemed to have worn a path down this stretch of Highway 97 towards Tickleberry's Ice Cream.


Before we arrived at Tickleberry's we stopped at Stag's Hollow Winery...the following is an excerpt from the winery's website..


‘Established in 1995, Stag's Hollow Winery is one of the hidden wineries and undiscovered gems in the South Okanagan Valley. Nestled in the hills, it is surrounded by vineyards, mountains and large tracts of land owned by the Nature Trust.


From the beginning, hands on owners, Larry Gerelus & Linda Pruegger, believe their passion and involvement in every aspect of the vineyard and winemaking process has created a unique style. This style is a fusion of both Old and New world.

2009238223244253This is exemplified in our very popular Sauvignon Blanc, which some critics have likened to a Sancerre from France, while others say it leans more to a New Zealand style. We like to think it is uniquely Stag’s Hollow, expressing the terror of the Okanagan with minimal winemaking intervention.

From the day the vineyard was purchased in 1992, concerns for the environment have been a priority at Stag’s Hollow. A geothermal system was built into our home and winery building in 1995 at a time when going ‘green’ was not yet the thing to do. When space in this facility ran out, a new winery building was constructed in 2005, which again included a geothermal system.

This system heats and cools the winery building, heats and cools all the wine tanks and provides different heating and cooling requirements to the barrel room, fermentation room and wine storage areas. In addition, high efficiency windows, energy efficient lighting, and high insulation values were utilized throughout the building. All these environmental initiatives earned Stag’s Hollow recognition from Fortis BC and the Federal Government in 2006.’

2009238223250656Two more bottles are now added to my collection of Okanagan Wines..this is getting to be an addiction!!

Once we were done at the winery it was time for lunch!!..Tickleberry's Ice Cream here we come...after our fill of ice cream we were off to find the BLASTED CHURCH.


In a previous entry I mentioned that we had gone to the Blasted Church Winery and that there was an actual church. We had success and found this 103 year old church on Willow Street in Okanagan Falls.

After we were done in Okanagan Falls we took Green Lake Road..


heading south towards Oliver and we found another winery stop..this one was called See Ya Later Ranch.

2009238223329382The following excerpt is from the See Ya Later Ranch website explaining the history of this beautiful winery...

‘See Ya Later Ranch is located outside of the town of Okanagan Falls, British Columbia in an atmosphere of old world timelessness. The winery’s tasting room and wine shop are housed in the estate’s well-restored, heritage stone home, which dates back to the early 1900s.


A patio offers visitors a place to relax while taking in the spectacular view. The wine shop and tasting room are open year-round, and tours of the winery are offered May to October.

2009238223427609The winery produces premium varietals that include Chardonnay, Gew├╝rztraminer, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Meritage, Semillon,Icewine, and a classical method Brut.

2009238223421946Located high above Okanagan Valley, Hawthorne Mountain Vineyards is now known as "See Ya Later Ranch", as it was once known years ago.

In 2003, a series of wines were created under the See Ya Later Ranch name to salute both the site's quirky history and also the man who first planted grapes in the beautiful mountain setting.

See Ya Later Ranch wines are in honour of Major Hugh Fraser, who was born in 1885 and died in 1970 at the age of 85. In celebration of the Major's pioneering life in the Okanagan,the See Ya Later Ranch (SYL) series were unveiled.


The vineyard site was first established as a working ranch in the early 1900s by the Hawthorne Brothers. The brothers and their families stayed on the ranch until shortly before it was sold to Major Fraser.
Major Fraser first visited the Okanagan as a guest of a local playwright, C.C. Atkins, and loved it so much he stayed.

After a stuffy upbringing in Eastern Canada and time spent as a prisoner during the First World War, the Major found the freedom and open skies of the Okanagan Valley to be the ideal frontier for his outgoing personality.

The Major made the ranch his home for more than 45 years. Like any true local celebrity, the folklore surrounding him is sometimes murky, a blending of myth and reality. One story notes that the Major, a compassionate man, was said to have fired a maid over the treatment of a pet, while others tell of elaborate social gatherings that lasted for days.

2009238223418740What is known for sure is that the Major became a favourite among the locals, due to his kind nature, eccentric parties and his love of dogs. His many dogs were given free run of the ranch and were ultimately laid to rest in a doggy cemetery that still exists at the winery. His favourite pets were given headstones engraved with their names, dates of birth and deaths.

The label for See Ya Later Ranch wine series features a white dog with angel wings in celebration of "man's best friend", the individualist lifestyle of the Major and the pioneering spirit that has always surrounded the winery site.

2009238223410345According to Winemaker Dave Carson, while the label may be light hearted, the wine in the bottles is anything but. "These are serious wines that the team is very proud of," says Carson. "These are the new tradition for Hawthorne Mountain. We believe the Major would definitely approve of SYL Ranch and its wines."

See Ya later Ranch’s tasting room and wine shop remain in the Major's old home, which is made of hand-split stone and dates back to the 1900s. The winery is worth a visit for its well-crafted VQA wines served in an atmosphere of old world timelessness. A patio offers visitors a place to enjoy a glass of wine (and something to eat in the summer) and take in the spectacular view of the surrounding valley, vineyards and lakes.

Located just 15 minutes south of Penticton, British Columbia and only five kilometres from the town of Okanagan Falls, the drive to the winery offers the scenery of the Okanagan Valley, Skaha Lake, and the historic See Ya Later Ranch site.

Major Hugh Fraser..
Born in Montreal in 1885, Hugh Fraser graduated from McGill University in 1912 and was engaged as an accountant until the outbreak of war in 1914. He enlisted immediately and was stationed in France, where he was captured by German troops in 1916. He spent the next two years living in one of three prisoner-of-war camps for commissioned officers and was released when the Armistice was signed in 1918.

After the war, Major Fraser returned to Canada and accepted an invitation from a friend, Naramata playwright C.C. Atkins, to visit the Okanagan. He loved the wild, scenic valley. Quickly determining that he wanted to make it his permanent home, he purchased the Hawthorne ranch. Although he lived in a remote location, the Major was a social person who loved nothing better than a good party.

He was also a prolific letter-writer, staying in touch with dignitaries around the world like Lady Shaughnessy, Princess Patricia and the Duke of Connaught.
He would end each letter with the signature phrase, "see ya later," which was shortened to the letters S.Y.L. and led to the naming of the property – SYL Ranch.

It is unclear as to how the Major made his living, or if the financial feasibility of the ranch was even of concern to him. Prior to the invention of electric pumps, constant water supply was an issue, making farming the ranch a challenging enterprise. A few head of cattle grazed the land and most likely the Major kept chickens and a milk cow.

The Major was the first to plant grapes at the ranch and was a true pioneer of viticulture, being one of the first to plant Marechal Foch, Chelois, Buffalo and Bath. None of these grapes exist at the ranch today since they are not favoured by modern winemakers; however, the wine-growing tradition was established at the time and it was recorded that the site was an excellent one for grape production.

The Major lived at the ranch until 1966. He then moved 24 kilometres north to Penticton, where he became active in community projects. He was a patron of the S.P.C.A. and served as its president for five years. He was also a director of the Penticton chapter of the Red Cross for 10 years.

The Major, who remained single and did not have any children, was content to spend most of his life with his dogs as his main source of companionship. The dogs came in all shapes and sizes over the 50-year period that the Major was a pet owner, but according to locals, Scotch Collies were one of his favourite breeds.

The Major passed away in 1970. Unfortunately, with no immediate family in the area, most of his possessions and treasures did not remain in the valley, although some of his prized belongings were donated to the Penticton Museum.’

Keeping consistent with this winery holiday, another purchase was made of one bottle of pinot gris and also a bottle of RUFUS TEAGUE BARBECUE SAUCE.


We continued south on Green Lake Road heading towards Oliver, passing three lakes along the way. One of the lakes is called Mahoney Lake, an ecological reserve.

Mahoney Lake has a depth of 18 metres and a surface area of 21.6 hectares. It occupies
glacially formed kettle depression and has no outflow. The surrounding and underlying bedrock is fractured lava of highly alkali composition.
Mahoney is one of the few meromictic lakes in the province.


These lakes have very limited circulation and the unusual water chemistry creates strong stratification of water layers. The upper surface waters are clear and have a variety of plant and animal life, including algae,plankton, and aquatic insects.


Under this surface zone is a layer or plate of purple sulphur bacteria that extends across the lake. This layer is the most striking feature of the ecological reserve and is considered to be the best example of a purple sulphur bacteria plate in the world.

Once we had stopped to take a few photos of this lake we continued to travel south on Green Lake Road, passing through the town of Willowbrook, population 175.

It was after we passed this town that we made a wrong turn, or rather did not turn when we should have and we wound up at a junction that would have taken us to Twin Lakes or Penticton...once we got to the Radio Observatory we knew we had a made an error..dumb dumbs..should have turned at the stop sign at Fairview Road.....we need a "TOMTOM"..!!!

We turned around and headed back the same way we came and found the right way back to Oliver and Highway 97. We finally made it back to our campsite after our big adventure!!

It was only a 10 kilometer error, but we got some good pictures, so in the end it was worth it!!! Sometimes it pays to go off the beaten never know what you will find!!

We found some great spots for geocaches to be if only we had a GPS..there may have been some caches to be found!!!


Winding down…


I just finished reading our friends journal entry today and Mary had two pictures of sayings that deserved to be shared.

These new friends are in Cheyenne, Wyoming, on their way slowly to the state of Kansas. These two plaques are located in Lions Park. Their journal address is If you get a chance go along for their ride.

Cheyenne 10

Cheyenne 11
Today was yet another sunny day here in the warm Okanagan. The temperature was 32 degrees with some high cloud. We had no real plans today but we managed to get out and take a few pictures once again of this lovely area that we have called home for the past few weeks.

After breakfast we headed east on Highway 3 for about 5 kilometers to the view point. From this vantage point there is a great view of Osoyoos Lake, Haynes Point, US border crossing, Orville and Veranda Beach Resort (where we had lunch a couple of days ago). This was my second visit to this spot but it is well worth another trip and more pictures.


We also stopped at the Twisted Tree Winery on the way down the hill. This is a nine acre winery located on the east bench of Osoyoos Lake. The Twisted Tree has a panoramic view of the town of Osoyoos and Osoyoos Lake.


They make only small quantities of wine each year in order to ensure that they remain the hands-on winemakers. I, of course, added another bottle of chardonnay to my Okanagan wine collection.

During our stay in Osoyoos we have visited a few of the wineries in the area and have noticed that they all seem to be located on prime pieces of real estate. Even if you don't do the wine tasting or purchase any wine, the visits are worthy of many a picture.

Our afternoon was spent in the usual place..gotta make the four-legged boy happy..He had a great time and was very tired when we got back.

Doug took him for a walk up to the Spirit Ridge Resort but he wanted no part of it..poor thing just wanted to sleep!!


OSCAR is now repaired..good as new or probably better than new now!..The bill is paid and Mom and Dad can now carry on with the balance of the vacation!!

The wind is now blowing but we are getting use to it..except our outside garbage can has gone for a little ride in the wind..darn it..we should have put our name and address on it!! We will have to have a look for it in the morning!!!

Our last week here is going very quickly and as the sun sets on yet another day we are counting down to the end of our vacation of 2009.

Aww nuts…

How on earth does someone do a recap of the past seven months?… The last post that I did was on May forward to today, December 3...