Roundabouts, Burgers and Ice Cream from Kelowna to Sicamous, British Columbia

Walking back down the hill towards the Tacoma we scanned high above the roundabout parking lot checking out the large cumulonimbus clouds merging above the lake, “hey do you think its going to rain or will we be lucky enough to reach Sicamous without it? As I’d rather eat ice cream in the sunshine than in a down pour.” She smiled tucking her three new bottles of wine into the slowly growing cellar in the back seat. After closing the rear door she rapid fired a few random thoughts and a couple of questions then climbed into the front seat as I fired up the truck. “I am a bit famished from all my wine tasting, should we grab a little something-something before we reach Sicamous? Where could we stop? How far is it? “

Pulling the truck around the roundabout parking lot and heading down the slope back to the roadway which would lead us out to highway 97 north, I replied, “Its about an hour and a half from here. We should reach the D Dutchmen Dairy by say five and Golden by six-thirty. We might have to stop in Revelstoke for food because there aren’t as many restaurants in Golden. You might want to do a quick search for something you can actually eat.”

She smiled at the suggestion and pulled her phone out of her purse then dialled up Gluten-free restaurants. She didn’t find any in Sicamous, one in Golden and five in Revelstoke. “Okay, your right once again. Perhaps we should grab a small snack around here on the way out of town. I’ll check on it. Hey do you want a burger? Then we won’t have to stop later. We could take another hour and just get on the road. How does that sound?” Sounds like a pretty good plan as we’ve got a long road ahead, is what I thought and said, “navigate me to where you want to go.”

Seventeen minutes later I pulled right into a random side street then another right and another into a parking lot with a building under construction. “Are you sure these is a place to eat?” I said hopping out of the driver’s seat. She too got out looked around and a frown came over her face. “It said on Google Maps that they were open and we know they have great Gluten-free burgers,” she said. At the moment I thought this is a joke, then looked up the restaurant and called them. A person answered, “Hello, you’ve reached Red Robin how may I help you?” Hmmm, I thought looking around the parking lot. Is this a prank? “Yes. I’d like to know if you are open for service today?” I stood across the parking lot watching a person standing next to a hostess stand with a phone to their ear. As they spoke I realized they were saying what I was hearing. I giggled and kept on listening and watching. “Yes, we are open during construction. We have our patio service open. We have a full menu of burgers and beverages.” Well that sounds great! We’ll see you soon.” and we both hung up. Smiling I said to the wife, “they have patio service open whilst they are renovating the interior of their building. Its genius in many regards. Hopefully I don’t get paint chips or saw dust on my burger.” We both wandered over to the hostess, received a table and she headed off to the restroom. Upon her return she exclaimed it was a very clean port-a-potty out in the parking lot. I smiled at the ironic things we first world humans say when our circumstances become interesting.

Within a half-hour we had two cheese burgers with jalapeños, mushrooms the fixings and salads sitting before us with a pair of strawberry milkshakes. We hungrily chewed through our burgers and talked about the three wineries we had visited in West Kelowna. As usual we ordered them from our favourite to least. We agreed on the order, almost. She said, “Black Swift, Beaumont and Grizzli.” and I replied “Beaumont, Black Swift and Grizzli.”

Paying the bill we walked over to the Tacoma where I pulled down the tailgate and withdrew the 5-gallon jug of water to fill out the 1.5 litre spare water bottle, and the two 1 litre Yeti traveler mugs. Back into the Tacoma, we pulled out of the parking lot, turning left than a right at the lights and were back on the roadway at 4:13pm. Shit! We’ll be home sometime after midnight if we get lucky. Slowly we pulled through North Kelowna’s rush hour traffic making our way up to Lake Country, Vernon, Armstrong, Enderby and finally pulled into Sicamous just before 5:45pm and I checked the fuel tank which sat a little below half a tank, which I knew would easily make it to Revelstoke where we could stretch our legs and grab more fuel.

Pulling around the corner we spotted the D Dutchmen Dairy and we weren’t the only ones with ice cream on their mind. There must have been 35-vehicles parked out front and across the street another 15. Both the farmer’s market and the triple D were packed. We laughed when we realized it was June in the early days of summer instead of the shoulder-seasons of April or September when we normally travel through this area.

“Are you sure you want ice cream?” I said to her after she returned from using the washroom. “I’m good if you are. How about we grab a beverage and a road trip snack from the market instead.” I shook my head in agreement and we wandered into the farmer’s market. Twelve minutes later we had a bag of dill pickle chips, a sack of kettle corn, and two kombucha beverages. Back in the Tacoma, I smiled, waved at the ice creamery and pulled away.

~ Aaron JacksonCrabb

Tasting patio at Black Swift Winery, West Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada