Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Westward, ho!

Our summer days off technically started with the comic expo, but our holiday didn't really kick into gear until we left Calgary on the Sunday afternoon. We went as far as Golden that day, and took an overnight break in a motel there. Normally we'd at least go as far as Revelstoke in one day, but we'd also normally be leaving first thing in the morning, not late in the day after a weekend of geeking out. And we were planning to have a long visit with friends in Vernon, but still had to be in Penticton by the check in deadline at our campground.

We were blessed with smooth travel, and arrived in Vernon a couple of hours ahead of schedule. We managed to connect with my aunt and uncle from Revelstoke, who were in Vernon with my cousin, and we had lunch with them at Red Robins. I don't think we have any of those in Alberta - they're a great burger joint with probably every combination of burgers and toppings you can imagine. Oh yah - it was HOT in Vernon, which was glorious after suffering through an uncharacteristically soggy Calgary spring!

We spent the afternoon hanging out with our good friends Chris and Kelsey, and their new baby. We were lucky to catch them, as the left Vernon permanently later that week! They took a break from packing to take us to their favourite lake-side patio for some EXCELLENT calamari.

Boys on the patio, waiting to be fed!

Too quickly we had to hit the road for Penticton, as rush hour highway traffic through Kelowna can be terrible. Again we were blessed with smooth sailing, and we made it to Penticton about an hour before it would have been too late to check in. The campground was practically deserted, as we were just ahead of the main tourist weekend. Our site backed onto a lagoon, home to assorted friendly ducks.

It also had an excellent view of the sunset!

On Tuesday we met up with our good friends Scott and Sam, and their two super-cute little girls for some time at the beach. The weather was hot hot and the sky was as blue as it gets. I tried my hand at kayaking on the lake - it's quite a bit of work! My right arm is much stronger then my left, so of course my strokes weren't even and I spent a lot of time trying to stop veering, and to go in a straight line. :)

It was getting on nap time for little girls, so the family went home, and Trevor and I picked up lunch, and headed to the beach on the other lake, at the north side of Penticton. It was quite windy there, and not nearly as hot. There were lots of ducks and geese to watch, as well as some entertaining tourists.

At the far end of the waterfront promenade, past the beached paddle-wheeler, is a beautiful rose garden. Some of the bushes hadn't even bloomed yet, but most of them were at their peak, and it was lovely. They all had incredible aroma, and I had a lot of fun stopping to smell the roses, and take a million photos, while Trevor humoured me!

We headed over to Scott and Sam's for dinner, and I was entertained to discover that they have the exact same Ikea dining room table as us - great friends think alike :)

Wednesday was quite the adventure. It was the first day I was able to register for my university classes, and being the highly organized person that I am (some say OCD, but that's another story :) I already had a timetable mapped out and I was ready to go first thing. Alas, I discovered that not only was the Spanish class I wanted full already, meaning I had to chose a different language option and fit it it, I couldn't actually register until after 12 noon! And we had to leave Penticton ASAP because we had a booking on the ferry that evening. But I was at least able to put the classes I wanted in a 'shopping cart' to hopefully save a bit of hassle later.

So we packed up camp (and it's a good thing we bought a larger car last winter, because otherwise we wouldn't have had enough room - I don't pack light!) and made tracks for Vancouver. The last time I was on a trip in that direction, I was about 13, so not remembering how to get to the ferry, we relied quite heavily on old-school paper maps, the GPS on Trevor's BlackBerry (I LOVE having my own personal computer geek!) and printed Google maps.

I decided that we should head south out of Penticton and take the Crowsnest route, because I'm a big fan of scenic trips, and I'm pretty sure I've never been that way before. I had an anxious half an hour when we got stuck in construction, but we made good time after that. We stopped in Hope for lunch, but sadly got turned around in the ridiculous labyrinth of highways that surround that area, and ended up going BACK THE WAY WE CAME! I JUST about had a heart attack. Fortunately Trevor isn't nearly as excitable, and we only lost a few minutes before we were able to head in the right direction again. Whew!

We made it to Chilliwack by mid-afternoon, and drove through town until we found a coffee shop with free wi-fi for customers. I got tea and something...I don't even remember go along with the wireless password. I was able to quickly register for my classes, and then we were back on the road again, and this time my goal was to make our ferry sailing.

Thankfully we avoided construction and getting lost in Vancouver, and were perfectly on time to check in and get in line for the ferry. We even had a few minutes to check out the shops and get some supper. I don't know if words can adequately express my relief at being safely registered for school, and not missing our boat.

We were even the first car on to the ferry!

I don't ever remember such a windy crossing before, but I loved every second of it. It's been FAR too long since I pilgrimaged to the island!

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