Kelowna - Swan Song for the Jetta - CycleBlaze

July 11, 2018

Kelowna

Like much of the country, southern British Columbia is suffering through a heat wave.  With highs forecast to be in the 90’s in the coming days, we’re doing what we can to get an early start and put our miles in before the days grow to hot for comfort.  Today, we’re out the door at 7 and on our way to a quick breakfast at Eatology. We’re on the road by nine, which for us qualifies a spartan-like start to the day.  

As good a reason for drinking coffee as any.
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Sidewalk chairs, Vernon. I’ve never seen public seating arranged quite like this. The city must be trying to promote conversation.
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We have a much shorter ride in store today, barely more than half yesterday’s distance.  It’s challenging enough though, with a few significant climbs.  The ride begins with a thousand foot climb up the spine of the ridge that separates Lakes Okanagan and Kalamalka.  From this first summit the road drops a bit and then climbs another seven hundred feet before finally topping out.  We like our climbing like this, especially on a hot day - do it early and get it behind us.

Looking down on South Vernon the north end of Okanagan Lake
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The day begins with a gradual climb up the ridge south of Vernon.
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In case you needed another reason to like Canadians, there’s this.
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Cochrane Lake, at the apex of the climb. Our road climbs over that small rise at the end of the lake and then drops steeply to Okanagan Lake.
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This part of the day was very pretty, with open ranchland to the east and Ellison Park to the west. Occasionally we get glimpses of the large lakes far below on either side.
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From the summit it’s a long, steep drop to Carr’s Landing in the shore of immense Okanagan Lake - too steep, really.  We have to clamp on the brakes the whole way, and it’s a relief to finally bottom out.  With the day heating up as it is, I was starting to get concerned about the temperature of my rims.

Too steep to enjoy, and too steep to stop and take photos.  Fortunately though, Rachael had the GoPro on so we have something to remember the ride from.

From here, we follow the lake for a few miles and then climb over the now small ridge before dropping to Lake Country at the south end of Wood Lake.  By now it’s getting seriously warm.  We only have fifteen miles to go, but we’re hungry and need to cool off.  We stop at the grocery and then head for a shaded spot beneath the overhang of a bank to sit and enjoy our feast.  Rachael has delicious raspberries we picked up earlier at a fruit stand and a tuna sandwich with way too much mayonnaise, and I have cherries from the fruit stand, trail mix, and a litre of milk.

The next five miles as we climb south away from Lake Country are the least pleasant we’ve ridden in a while, and decidedly tense.  Narrow, shoulderless, too much traffic, giant trucks bearing down on us, ugh.  It was a great relief when we finally came to a shoulder again, marked as a bike lane.  The remaining eight miles to Kelowna were safe but still too busy to enjoy.

The ride up the ridge was beautiful, but I wouldn’t take this ride again because of the climb out of Lake Country.  I understand that a bike route from Vernon to Kelowna that mostly follows the shore is under development, so maybe we’ll come back this way some day to check it out.   That would change everything.

Okanagan Lake is huge, extending farther than we can see to the north and south of us. This is the view north.
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Looking south along Okanagan Lake, toward Kelowna.
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Ooh, we want some! Fortunately, they’re easily had - we’ll be passing roadside fruit stands for the next several miles.
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You can’t see it from here, but Kalamalka Lake is in the trough behind the farm, about a thousand feet below.
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When we arrive at the waterfront in Kelowna, we like it immediately.  It is a beautiful public space, with an attractive waterfront promenade, public art, and plenty of inviting places to hang out and enjoy rhe views and the crowds.

We check into our hotel (an immense, four star place - I dont remember now what led me ro reserve a room here, but maybe i couldnt find anything reasonable near the waterfront), clean up our act, and head out for a pair of satisfying pizzas.  Later, we head down to the water and loiter around for an hour or two before heading back to the room for another earl6 night.  It’s a hot one again tomorrow, and we want to get n early start.

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Xx

We’re in this ridiculously large room by accident. Our hotel booked someone else into our room by mistake, so they upgraded us to this spread. I hope we don’t roll off the bed tonight!
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Bruce LellmanA bathtub right inside the room!! For some reason this creeps me out. Especially if someone else is booked into your room.
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3 years ago
Scott AndersonTo Bruce LellmanPretty kinky, alright. Especially considering that the bed is big enough for a few friends too. A shame that we’re all too old to be swingers!
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3 years ago
Ron SuchanekTo Bruce LellmanYou guys went right to the gutter with this. I love it!
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3 years ago
Bruce LellmanTo Ron SuchanekOh, I think we could have gone a lot lower. We were holding back!
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3 years ago
It even comes with a dedicated bike parking spot.
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We ate here, at one of the outdoor tables at the Old Naples Pizza joint.
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Image not found :(
Isn’t this a blanched dragon arum? I’ll have to go back in the morning to look at the plaque.
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This is one of those pianos in the park, placed for the public to stop by and use. He was quite good!
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The Simpson Walk, a beautiful promenade along the shore of Okanagan Lake.
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On Okanagan Lake
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We stayed for awhile to listen to the blues, until we started wondering about the gnats swarming around.
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Dragon arum sculpture, dragon boat racers. Is there a theme here?
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Ride stats today: 37 miles, 2,900’; for the tour: 201 miles, 9,000’

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