Rachel and Ira’s Romp Through Western Canada – Part Two – Smoke Crack

the vineyards of Kelowna


Woosh, as I write this I sit on a what looks like a custom made bed draped with the finest in Ikea pillows and duvets that money can buy. Woosh back to where we were in this timeline accurate, non-Kafka-esque (or trying not to be, pardon the floral descriptions) blog. Odd thing is, it was only as I wrote part of this was I sitting on such a nice cushioned surface. Most of it was written at 5am, avoiding rain, hiding under an undercover area, unshowered at the Nelson City Campground. What a contrast!

Day 2 in Kelowna is an early one. Our wine tour is booked for 9:30, but we still want to indulge in the all expected Hojo’s (Howard Johnson for cool people) complimentary (cool word for free and a way to make free breakfasts sound as distasteful as they look) breakfast. Rachel didn’t believe me that the owner of this particular motel in the chain makes waffles to order. To our pleasant surprise I was right, and we scarfed down plate size waffles drizzled in manufactured sugary syrup.

Waffle bliss

9:30 on the nose, a blue minivan with the Wine To Go (I think that was the name…I am terrible with names so throughout this blog I could be completely bullshitting to your amusement) logo on the side windows. Shalyn was our sommelier extrodinaire, who would guide us through our tastings, pushing our palettes to seek out the fermented flavors of golden Gewurtzerminers and full bodied Chardonnays. Nah, she was quite laid back and focused on taking out the snobbery sometimes associated with the art of wine, which as the tour winded on (a pun and a truth all in one a the wineries seemingly were always located on the most treacherously steep inclines) Rachel and I both realized that wine was just that, a supremely crafted art of great skill and a lot of hours put in to palette pilates.

and more vineyards…

We hit up some of the big guy wineries like Quail’s Gate,  with their large oak walled tasting room and multiple staffed exorbentley priced gift shops and restaurants. The cool thing about Quail’s Gate was that the original owners’ of the property and the winery’s cabin was still located on the premises, and though closed at the time, with the magic touch, the doors were opened for us and a treat of a peak inside was had into their one roomed home that housed 8 children and themselves. The small wineries were great as well, with one of them seeemingly located in an old airplane hangar. All and all, everyone was down to earth and the wine was always swallowed, with not a thought of spitooning a single droplet of aromatic alcohol laced elixirs. By the way…was totally bullshitting, it’s called Wine Your Way Tours. Check em out on the nets and do it up when your in that part of the world. Or I’ll hunt you down and eat your soul. Kidding a bit.

Ira and Rachel gettin’ tipsy.

After a few more stops, we said adieu to Shalyn and roamed around a farmer’s market. Picking up some wine on the tour, we made a great pairing of local artisan bread and some Chardonnay jalapeno wine jelly and cheese lunch along the water. Shalyn tipped us off on a good hike up Knox Hill, so heeding her words of local wisdom, we stormed the mountain at a horse’s gallop.

Our lunch that we ate with a hunk of fresh made bread




A good portion of the hill was conquered in no time flat. But then the weight of our ridiculously sized backpacks and handbags anchored our ascent to a screeching halt, as the sun beat us up like we had lunch money it wanted.  Bodies sinking on the arid terrain, we called it a truce, even though, in all actuality nature had prevailed.  The view alone of the entire city was victory enough, as we made our way back down from whence we came.

and descending…

nature abound.

We wandered for a bit, looking for an outdoors store. With our budget for this trip being confined to mere pennies (lies, tres lies), we looked for a tent to conquer the outdoors with. After a quick run in with a homeless guy who tried to pick a fight with me after he thought I was trying to take a picture of him, WHICH I WAS, which is beside the point by the way! Could of totally taken him too. Would of felt a bit bad since it took him the good part of our five minute run it to stand, drool a bit, and wield him mouth with much concentration to make something sensible slur out of his slopping sinuse. Well, after that occurance and a look at some heritage homes, we followed our fine honed noses to where all good woodsmen go to get quality gear. Why the aisles of Walmart of course. And there it was, beaming orange and on sale for 14 buckeroos, our home in Osoyoos and beyond, the junior scout tent. Sleeping bags scoff scoff. Ground sheets….tutt tutt. We were above such cozy comforts. We are true pioneers, but of course!

A sign we passed. Seemed a bit off to me.

And the tent. I would not be detoured by the picture of the child playing in front of tent that was plastered to the front of the box, nor would allow the 5 feet in size height measurement either. No, we would make this work! Kerchinged, purchased and back to Hojos!

one of the many heritage houses we saw

Oh yeah and I enlisted. Almost forgot about that.

The next day, at the UPS Store, we shipped some more items of crap we wondered why we had brought along with us in the first place. Correction, I simply was astounded by the amount of dreck (a yiddish word, a good question to ask your yiddish speaking friend) I owned. A Homer Simpson figureature? Really Cooper? But I couldn’t part with it. So in a box and off to Edmonton with several other items that only delight toddlers and trained animals.

The dinner from our last night in Kelowna.

On the bus again and heading to Osoyoos. Four hours of half naps, a few stops and some more half naps. Oh wait, there was also that wee hour and a bit break in the middle in Penticton, which allowed us to stretch our legs, walk down the main drag, take some snaps of some interesting people and pretty cool graffiti and force Rachel to sit in a lazy-e-boy situated in an alleyway. Her expression alone describes how comforting this lay back and relax photo op really was. Even the locals chimed in about our going ons, stating that the chair belonged to some old man possibly, living in that house that the chair was situated behind.  The words “lice”, “insemenated” and “incontinent” made me regret making Rachel do as she did.

Graffiti example 1

and example 2

and Rachel in a rancid chair

Ice cream heals all wounds and with a monstrous two scooper balancing on a pin sized cone in hand, we were heading back to the bus depot, passed the aromas of a burger shack I almost stopped in, if it weren’t for the fact that I was not at all hungry. It was a burger shack that looked like it was part of a boat! With all those cool thick ropes and a life saver and everything!

Rachel exploring

Ira exploring

Pirate BURGER!

Before you know it, but not before we knew it, we were in Osoyoos, BC’s only desert, confounded by the distance that we would need to travel to get to our campground. I assured Rachel that my people were very well trained and adjusted to life in the desert and though it may take a while, that I would lead her and her sheep to the promise land, give or take forty or so years. The joke didn’t fly, especially as I wrapped my jacket around my head a mock kafia and blurted out the ten commandments in my best Charleton Heston in the Visitors’ Centre.

entering Osoyoos


Epic sculpture at the Visitors Centre

Luckily luck was on our side and a guy named George, a random local who was hanging out at the visitor’s centre (sort of like Happy Days Fonzi, but just completely at the wrong spot to be considered cool…nix this reference as he was not at all like Fonzi….more like…the dad from Beverly Hillbillies). George offered to take us up to the Nk’mip Campgrounds, which, unbenounced to us at the time, were possibly the farthest situated campgrounds from town (a fact that I would later take much flack for on several, much deserving situations). George showed us all the sights in town, including the beach where he said all the “young people” hang out, the local bar, The Sage, where bikers and baby boomers alike lap up ales beside fancy Manhattans and the Nk’mip Desert Cultural Centre, Resort and Winery that we would explore the next day.

Tentin’ and winin’ yo!

Good place to stop. Don’t worry I have written 40 more blogs to follow up and will release them each day. Too much of a good thing is bad for you. Except for video games and don’t you dare say otherwise, you lying, lying, unhappy person.



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