On our last day in Kelowna, we began seeing wildfire smoke. We’d been very fortunate with the weather during our stay, with sunny days that were warm but not hot. But by the evening of that last day, clouds began moving in, and in morning, with some smoke and a solid cloud cover, the day started pretty dark. The young woman at the hotel’s front desk said that once smoke came into the valley, it took stormy weather to blow it out again. It was time to leave.

As we headed south to the border, we talked about the second half of the trip. We had planned this trip as two loops – one up into Canada, and then down into northwest California. The smoke in Canada and northern Washington was visible but not bad, but looking at air quality readings for our planned route, we could see that the smoke was bad in central Oregon and terrible around Lake Tahoe.

Our stay on Lake Okanagan had been idyllic. We were relaxed and refreshed. We thought that if we drove another thousand miles, through worsening smoke, we would lose all the good feelings we’d acquired in Canada. We decided to postpone the second half of the trip and head home.

Heading west along the Columbia River, the skies gradually cleared of smoke. We arrived home on Tuesday, happy to be in clear air and happy to be home. It wasn’t a long trip, as some of ours are, but it turned out to be a really nice one.

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