We headed north on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend. I usually avoid traveling on holiday weekends, but if we were going to fit our trip into the window available we needed to leave sometime during the weekend. I thought perhaps Sunday wouldn’t be too bad – everyone would already be where they wanted and wouldn’t have started home yet. Well, it didn’t work quite that way. Traffic north on Interstate 5 was full to heavy. There were several slow-downs for no apparent reason other than heavy traffic. But for a summer weekend, there were surprisingly few RVs or boat trailers. Perhaps all those people were already where they wanted to be. We stopped just south of the Canadian border.
We were going to cross into Canada Monday morning. My theory about this was that even though it was Labor Day – in both Canada and the US – traffic would be sparse early. And this theory worked. We got to the queue at the border before 9 with our ducks lined up all and our papers in order. After a friendly chat with the border guard, we were again on our way.
We spent the day driving around Vancouver. It’s a lovely city. And a very big city. It has a different look and feel than any US city, but it isn’t like a European city either. It is Canadian and has its own flavor.
Monday afternoon we headed east on the Trans-Canada Highway for a more quiet overnight in Chilliwack. Our plan had been to go to Lake Louise in Banff National Park and then north on the Icefields Parkway to Jasper, east to Edmonton, and back south east of the mountains. It began to seem like too ambitious a plan. I’ve been through that area on my motorcycle, but that was many years ago and I am less adventurous than I was. We cancelled all our reservations and went to Okanagan Valley – an area neither of us had been in before and much easier to reach. We decided that instead of driving every day, we’d explore a smaller area.
Kelowna, the largest city on Lake Okanagan, is a tourist center as well as a city in its own right. The valley is full of wineries and fruit orchards. We were fascinated by the orchards with trees planted close together and trimmed to be narrow and tall. It makes them easier to spray and to pick, plus the outer branches don’t shield the inner ones from the sun. An orchardist said they’d been planting them that way for about ten years.
And the peaches are wonderful.
We’ve avoided frequent mental calculations by changing our car speedometer from mph to kph. Even though prices seem a little high, once we do the currency conversion (CA$1 = $0.77), things cost about the same as in the US. And so far in Canada, we have seen very few homeless, almost no litter, and zero graffiti.
We couldn’t ask for better weather.