Turning right onto highway 97 we headed north with good intentions to reach the northern side of the Okanagan Valley and possibly grab a hotel in either Kelowna (1 hr 33 mins) or Vernon (2 hrs 10 mins) or possibly as far as Sicamous (3 hrs 15 mins) which would assist us in tomorrow’s endeavour of reaching Edmonton by 5:00pm.
The obvious choice at 4:45pm in the early evening would be to drive just over 3 hours and get ourselves into a good starting position for Sunday morning by making it to Sicamous. We could even pop into a local watering hole in north Kelowna to grab ourselves a nice dinner and search for a resting place around Sicamous. After all starting in Sicamous would be advantageous as we would be within an eight-hour drive to home (Edmonton, AB aka YEG).
- Starting City
- Kilometres to YEG
- 1,019 kms
- 969 kms
- 919 kms
- 872 kms
- Drive time to YEG
- 11 hrs 10 mins
- 10 hrs 22 mins
- 9 hrs 40 mins
- 8 hrs 8 mins
Driving through the intersection of highway 97 (north / south) and the Crowsnest highway 3 (west / east), we drove past the now closed Osoyoos Visitor Centre on our left. As we passed on by, I said to Shauna that perhaps she should use my cellphone to try and locate a hotel room somewhere within a couple hours drive of our current location. That if possible we should aim for spending around $150.00 CAD for a good nights sleep.
Whilst the orchards, fruit stands and vineyards sailed by on the left and right sides of the Tacoma as we travelled at a ripe speed of 95 k/mph. She says, “perhaps you should slow down a bit… its getting to be dusk down here and you look pretty tired.”
True that, I thought, I’ve only been driving for nearly 15 hours since Friday morning at 7:30am to get us down to Castlegar that night, then over to Grand Forks this morning and across to Osoyoos this afternoon and now heading north to an unknown destination?
The windshield time had finally caught up to me and I was feeling the stresses of driving, feeling the road, and picking out the details one should concentrate on whilst driving. Several times in the past 36 hours I had suggested that she drive but was being provided with all too vague responses which I took as her unwillingness to drive the Tacoma. Thus I pushed on with the driving duties.
Considering where we had been, what types of terrain we had driven through and the five mountain passes we had climbed then descended it was about time for my body and vision to give out as all I wanted to do was just reeeeelax for an afternoon. Hence the 35-minute catnap earlier on the GP’s couch.
But here we were driving through Oliver as we reminisced about possible vineyards with lodging. All of course were currently booked. She continued her search further up the highway at Vaseaux Lake, Okanagan Falls, Penticton, Peachland and Summerland.
“I’m sorry! Everything that is $150 is a 2-star hotel and not the very nice looking. Its June! What more do you want?” she said after my ninth inquiry into if she found a place to stay yet? I was struggling to keep my eyes open and the Tacoma on the highway as we slowed down coming into the south end of Okanagan Falls.
“Its too bad, we can’t stay up at See ya later ranch, or over at that one place… what was it called? Therapy Inn,” she says to me. “Did you check,” came my mean spirited voice tired of driving and ready to pull into a ditch for some much needed R&R.
“Seriously,” she began… “you don’t have to be mean!” She left it at that and starred out the window instead of continuing the search for a place to sleep.
“Do I have to do that too?” again in my mean spirited voice as the frustration was getting hotter in the front of the cab. She tossed the phone on the floorboards in frustration with my ranting about hotel prices in early June. This is not our typical holiday time. We’ve always stayed away from high-season with its higher then usual nightly rates.
Passing by Okanagan Falls KVR Trestle Bridge, I suggested she up the price to $200 and see if there was anything that was in the 3 or 4 star range. “If you have to, check Air BnB, we just need a place to crash for the night,” my frustration hitting both the hangry and tired stage of the evening.
“Look….” she began, then starred out the right side of the truck looking at the shores of Skaha Lake instead of at the phone. Her frustration also reaching a place of too tired from being inside the Tacoma and probably also being hangry.
We both starred in silence for the next fifteen minutes until we reached the south side of Penticton. “Why not just look for something here in Penticton,” I said followed by, “I realize its not as far as we hoped to get but I think we are both hungry, tired and in need of some quality time in the outdoors.” She starred out the window her expression and frustration still sitting on her brow. She was afraid to speak as she didn’t want to cause another argument like the one that had just ensued.
We drove in silence going past the Penticton Regional Airport, Okanagan College, the local Canadian Tire where we had to buy a mosquito net a few years back, the VQA centre where Grape Vines Wine Tours started us on that one wine tour we took with Louis a few years ago. Then I spotted the signage for Penticton Visitor’s Centre and made the executive decision to go there and see if they could help us out in our time of need.
Of course we pulled into their parking lot at a quarter to seven and their CLOSED sign gently swung on the glass door. They had gone home for the day. And we were SOL. Stepping around to the back of the truck I pulled down the tailgate and unbuckled the 5-gallon jug of water. Spout pointed downwards I filled up the Yeti mug and drank it in 8-seconds flat. A second cup filled and down. Then a third. She starred at my thirstiness and began to laugh. “You truly are a camel, you know that right?” Her making fun of the 36-ounces of water I sucked back in 24-seconds made us both smile.
“Okay,” I laughed, “you are right, I’m a bit thirsty. Its been a looooong drive again today. Okay its been short, but I’m tired of being behind the windshield and just need some down time. Here, let me take a look for a hotel,” I said putting out my hand to receive the cellphone.
Opening up Google Maps to search for nearby hotels. The Lakeside Penticton Resort popped up. I checked the price. $289 for a double queen room for the night. What the hell, why not? We like downtown Penticton. We can just walk everywhere and be rid of the truck for the rest of the day.
Punching in the phone number it began to ring and ring. It was answered by one of those push this number for this person etc. And continued to ring. As it rang, I went onto their website and booked us a room. “That’s it,” I said, “lets go to the hotel.” “Well… had you said spend $300, I could have picked that place like an hour ago,” she laughed and climbed back into the Tacoma.