Memory of my Dad & our Road Trip to The Okanagan

Happy Summer guys!

I hope you all had a great weekend celebrating the beginning of summer. And you enjoyed some time with your dad, too!

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While I LOVE Summer Solstice (except for the days getting shorter after it…eek!), it was a bit of a tough one for me as it was Father’s day and my dad’s birthday– double whammy. My dad would have turned 71. Thankfully, I had a busy weekend with a few events and I got to spend some time with wonderful friends who happily distracted me.

I also went through my old family albums and enjoyed reminiscing about my dad. Most of our photos are hilarious since my dad was such a ham for the camera (the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree I guess) so they made me smile. While taking my dad’s photo, my mom used to always ask him: “Can’t you ever take a normal picture?”  (needless to say, she eventually gave up).

Not sure what was going on in this picture, but it is rather amusing.

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What’s with the freaking Holly Hobby shirt? Yikes! So much for telling everyone I used to be a tomboy. Maybe this was taken at Halloween? (Um…yeah, let’s go with that one).

So– in memory of my dad, I’m sharing one of my family’s rare travel stories with you.

Growing up, my family hardly ever travelled as we had a cottage and we spent our summers there (lots of fond memories of my childhood summers by the lake). Plus my dad wasn’t a big travel fan and he definitely didn’t like road trips (clearly I didn’t get the ‘road trip gene’ from him).

But they eventually sold the cottage (when I was in my early 30s) and we finally got a chance to travel together. We mostly went to Vancouver to visit my brother.

On one of those trips, my dad decided he wanted to drive across B.C to Nelson (a small town in B.C, near the Rockies). I thought he was joking at first because it’s an 8-hour drive and his ideal road trip was about 20 minutes.

But he’d been wanting to go to Nelson since his brother moved there in the 70s. My dad wanted to finally see what it was about B.C that my Uncle fell in love with (enough to keep him from moving back to Ottawa, anyway).

We almost didn’t go, actually because my dad was considering putting it off since work was quite busy. In hindsight, I’m SO glad we pushed him into doing this trip as sadly, he started to get sick not too long after this trip.

BC travel          My parents and I on our (one and only) road trip to Nelson, BC

We spent a few days in Vancouver with my brother and his family, then we were on the road for our big trek across Southeastern, B.C.

I was really excited because I love a good road trip, of course, but it was even more special because I was finally doing a road trip with my parents (and my awesome Aunt Colleen). We had a great time on the road and shared loads of laughs along the way. There may or may not have been some singing and a few insults thrown around the car, too. Oh and lots of coffee, but that probably goes without saying.

We rented a pretty cool car for the drive, which my dad really loved. Especially for driving those windy mountainous highways (he was a pretty big car buff when he was young).

He sure looked pretty happy in this photo, considering he generally hates road trips. Must have been the nice wheels– 0h, and the company too….of course.

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My mom looks like such a celebrity in this photo, almost like she’s saying: “No more photos or autographs folks, that’s it for today!”

We stopped a few times along the way and enjoyed some sightseeing and soaking up the stunning scenery across the semi-arid region of British Columbia.

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My parents really LOVED this drive, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard them ‘Ooh’ing’ and ‘Ahh’ing’ as much as I did while we were driving along this beautiful mountainous road. Just gorgeous…

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We decided to stop in the Okanagan for a couple of days. It was the perfect spot to break up the drive, being smack in the middle of our route, and it gave us a chance to do some relaxing & sightseeing.

I’d been here in the Okanagan Valley twice before, but this was the first time for my parents. They completely fell in love with it. In fact while we were here they told me they both wanted to move here. I was shocked as I’d never heard my parents talking about moving away from Ottawa before.

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While planning the trip, we decided to stay in a B & B while we were here so we had a nice home-base for our stay. We chose the A Grand view B & B in West Kelowna and we couldn’t have chosen a better place if we tried. This place is just beautiful. We were all speechless when we climbed out of the car and saw this view in the backyard of the B &B:

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It was absolutely beautiful, very clean and the owners were super friendly. This was a few years ago that we were here though (2007) so hopefully it’s just as great as it was when we were here. If so, I highly recommend it. However I’m surprised to see the last tripadvisor reviews were from 2013 though).

My dad hardly ever pulls out the camera (another thing we never had in common..ha ha) but he had his camera permanently attached to him on this trip. As I mentioned earlier, he usually liked to be in front of the camera acting like a ham. So he very rarely ever took photos himself.

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My dad, mom, and my Aunt and I had a wonderful stay here, we didn’t want to leave. The view from the deck was just mind-blowing, it almost looked like a painting. Very surreal.

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My dad took this photo of me in the backyard at this B &B.

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Because he rarely ever took photos of people, that makes this picture even more special to me. It’s one of the few photos he took of me ever, aside from the few he took at my University graduation (proud papa!).

The breakfast at this place was just scrumptious. It was like a 5-star hotel brunch, we were very impressed. My parents, Aunt Colleen and I had a wonderful time relaxing on this deck after breakfast. We shared lots of laughs and giggles, and I think we drank all the coffee.

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It was here at this B & B where my dad got into the hot tub with his cell phone (that was still in his bathing suit pocket…oops!).

Who puts pockets on bathing suits…seriously? Not too surprisingly, he was pretty stressed about his phone getting fried but it was really hard to be stressed for very long when this is all around you:

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Sunsets in the Okanagan Valley are absolutely breathtaking.

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We took a stroll of the beautiful lakefront in downtown Kelowna and got to see the Ogopogo Lake Monster. This one’s fake actually, the real one is somewhere in Okanagan Lake.

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Not only is the Okanagan simply stunning, it’s also wine country. So that may or may not have been one of the reasons we chose this area to stop for a day or two.

I mean somebody’s gotta help taste-test the wine, right?

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After some more sightseeing, we decided to head to a winery for a tour and dinner. Based on my research (and great reviews) we choose Summerhill Winery. It was spectacular! I could live right here easily, I think.

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We did a brief tour and enjoyed walking around the vineyards and the grounds as well. The most amazing thing is that this place is only a few minutes away from downtown Kelowna!

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We had a delicious meal in the restaurant, which offers an incredible view of the lake especially on a spectacular evening such as this one. My Aunt colleen missed out on this big-time as she was visiting her grandson who lived in the area at the time (and I think they went to a kids-friendly restaurant chain for dinner that night too…shh, don’t show her these photos).

But my parents and I had a wonderful time together, and it was especially fun because we had rarely ever spent this much time together before (aside from when I was a kid, of course). It was a really nice change, especially since no one was distracted by work.

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To cap off our wonderful dinner and visit here, the owner–completely out of the blue–sent us a bottle of ice wine to take home with us!!! And it was complementary, even though we hadn’t bought that much wine in the shop either). We were shocked at his generousity as my dad had only talked to him for a couple of minutes in the gift ship before we sat down for dinner.

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A long time after this trip, my dad STILL talked about this place often and told everyone about how incredibly nice and generous the owner was to give us this bottle (worth about $50). I’ve considered writing a note to the owner (even though it was so long ago when we were there) to tell him how much we appreciated it and that my dad loved our visit there. A bit late for sure, but perhaps he’d really like to hear that he actually played a part in making this dream trip for my dad extra wonderful.

Sometimes people don’t realize how much they can do to make a difference in someone’s life, even if it doesn’t seem like much at the time.  And not everyone appreciates it either, but my dad always remembered it and spoke highly of the sweet owner and this beautiful winery.

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After we left the Okanagan, we finally made our way to Nelson and had a GREAT visit there with my Uncle. He enjoyed having us visit and finally getting a chance to show off his lovely town to my parents (I’d been there many times before, and so had Colleen)

We had a wonderful trip and I will always cherish the memories from this one and only family road trip.

It probably goes without saying, but if you have a chance to do a bit of travelling with your parents (especially if you’re like me and did it so rarely growing up), please don’t keep putting it off thinking there’s always next year. We almost did that, and thank goodness we decided to go anyway. We didn’t expect my dad to get sick, especially so quickly, so it caught us by surprise. He would never have been well enough to travel again (this far, anyway) after that summer when we were in the Okanagan together.

But fortunately my dad did get that chance to do his dream trip with his family and got to visit this beautiful area of our country that he fell in love with.  It was an amazing road trip and I have lots of memories from it that I will never forget and cherish always.

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I miss him dearly. Yes, even his really bad jokes!

Dana xo

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