Talked In To A Good Time

Talked In To A Good Time

I don’t get excited easily, I used to but for some reason it is really difficult to get me all worked up for things and events. I might pop for an unexpected surprise but the anticipation of most things does not often get my motor running. I have been known to drive people nuts with my perceived indifference, which it is not, I just rarely get a case of jittery impatience. Last week I told you all about my issues with the concept of a vacation and a recent trip to Penticton but I purposely left out a portion because it was a personal highlight after being my most reluctant piece of scheduling. Since I don’t often get away I have never been on an ATV, my fiancee had found Okanagan ATV Tours ( ). Now to be clear I was more concerned with the chronic back problems my fiancee has than the machines involved, to top it off she tripped on our way out the door and twisted her ankle, we would find out later is was actually a spiral fracture of her fibula, for my part I have had my bouts with back pain and lately a sore hip which had been bothering me with all our driving time that weekend. I point these things out because my big fear was one of us ending up worse for wear in the end. This proved to be completely unfounded.

We pulled up to the site and met our guide, Al who is also the owner, in the street out in front of a line of red Honda ATVs. He is very personable and knowledgeable and easily imparts the knowledge to the uninitiated, me. We met the other two riders for the tour, a father and his visiting daughter, and Al explained the operational basics and code of conduct for the ride. After a quick test of the basics we all fell in line behind him and did a run through the training track. Al swapped a couple positions in the line and off we went into the hills over looking Lake Okanagan. Our first stop was a simple view point where we could see where we started and how far we had gone in a short time. This was where he stressed the safety aspects as help was not close? even though he had first aid training and kit, a serious situation was to be avoided and the importance of safe operation not just to preserve his fleet of brand new Honda ATVs but our health. He gladly recounted stories of those that did not heed the advice which resulted in near misses and damaged machines.

As our ride continued on single file, Al was sure to check back to make sure our little caravan was intact and to make sure we went around obstacles properly by allowing us all to be in sight when he approached them. We wound out way into the mountains and had a break at a tranquil little lake. The group stretched our legs, took some photos and chatted for a few minutes before we got on to our next stop. We were all feeling more comfortable driving the machines and for the most part we had gotten used to the handling and controls, not that we felt that we were experts but the hesitancy of the first time out had greatly faded. Eventually the five of us ended up a a view point over looking Lake Okanagan where we could see for miles. Al was great at recounting the history of the area and answering questions. He would gauge our comfort level and adjust accordingly and soon we found ourselves at the two hour mark of our trek, which meant we had to meet another guide as our new acquaintances would be heading back to the base. To my great joy my fiance and I still had two more hours to go.

We waited single file at the side of the road for the other guide, Brandon, and when the time came for the other three to pull off Al was standing to the side of my ATV near the front and though I could only see his eyes due to the helmet they suddenly bulged out and I knew I was screwed. The sudden knowledge of impending impact tightened my sphincter enough to create a diamond, thankfully the impact never came. The girl behind me, in her mid twenties, had lurched forward too quickly but had managed to brake in time to avoid rear ending me. Thankfully that was the closest call we would have and the next two hours we would visit a higher view point with an even more spectacular view of the lake, another smaller mountain lake and zoom along mountain roads, I may have pushed my luck a tad with the speed on a few long stretches but I couldn’t help myself, I regret nothing either.

In the end we had a great ride and neither of us felt any worse for the wear, the ATVs were as smooth a ride as possible and we had a great deal of fun talking with with Al and our other companions. It even turned out that the same morning an 89 year old woman was out for a ride so if a pair of chronically pained people and an octogenarian can come out unscathed so can you. We also discovered that you can get package tours with the ATV tour and a wine tour or zip line session as well, to be fair I’m split on those or an eight hour ride. Sadly it will be at least a year before we can get away like that again but I am already excited to get back up there and ride through the mountains. If you are up in Kelowna, Penticton, Peachland and the surrounding areas I highly recommend you look up and go for a ride.


Vay Cay Shun..?

I am not a vacation inclined person. I just never really got into that habit or tradition. There may be a future story in that but for now just go with me here. I can take down time and shut off the stress in smaller increments. Honesty it’s the way I have done it for so long I just don’t crave the holiday like many others I know. Full disclosure it doesn’t always work, never the less it’s what I know. I have gone on vacation before, a week in Texas, weekends in Toronto, camping or visiting family, the travel bug never dug into me though. A few times employers noticed that I was racking up a ridiculous amount of time owed or vacation pay and frankly there was one incident where it was so lopsided that HR demanded I take some time because it was damn near a civil rights violation, wasn’t on the company though it was on me.

The last few years it has been brought to my attention that I was selfishly depriving my family of memories and my fiancee of her traditional time away. Well…fuck. So in mid August I started beating down the selfish impulse to blow off the suggestion of time away and get comfortable with the idea of not being home and living out of a bag for a few days in a hotel, more specifically a yurt. I’ll wait while you google that term, better yet let me get a tad bit further and I’ll add a link. This Labour Day weekend happened to fall neatly around my fiancees birthday, I had little grounds to deny her wish of a weekend away since last year I set an impossibly high bar with a marriage proposal, so I resigned myself to the trip and did my best to silently battle the revulsion that I get when faced with such a prospect.

We started off on a slight misstep and a side trip to Lillooet to visit my Mom and drop off my daughters, while not ideal we did enjoy the shirt visit and my girls often feel starved for tome with their Nanny, so it was a blessing. Despite Lillooet not being an entertainment hot spot there is one attraction that we love rain or shine Fort Berens winery, this proved to be a crucial component to the rest of our weekend. Jodi at Fort Berens ( )  was not only delightful and knowledgeable but she took the time to recommend her favourite wineries and a distillery to us in Penticton and write out a list of them for us. Customer service folks, it goes a long way.

Our ultimate destination was Barefoot Beach Resort ( ) in Penticton on Skaha lake, we had found a cool little yurt to stay in and though it wasn’t exactly on the beach it was still a lovely temporary abode. kitchenette, bathroom, TV, internet, king size bed, in short my kind of camping. Our first full day was filled with wine, we took a drive up Naramata and checked off many of the suggestions we had been given. We found great vodkas and Blasted Brew a fantastic coffee liqueur at Legend Distillery, good bye Bailey’s we had a good thing but I’ve found something better. We continued through Naramata enjoying the views, various wines and each others company. We were in no hurry and found several vintages to bring home and a few gifts. We topped our drive off by stopping at Tin Whistle Brewery and found more friendly staff more than happy to talk with us for nearly an hour while I casually enjoyed a flight of the brews I had not had before and getting a growler fill of their Peach Cream Ale topped off with about 1/3 Black Widow which is an incredible combination.

I could tell you we then went out and panted the town red and partied like we were 20 again but it would be a lie. It was my wonderful fiancees birthday and we had reservations. My fiancee had found a lovely Greek restaurant to enjoy for her birthday dinner. Then we were told another was better, so we headed there and blew off our reservation. When we arrived we had to agree that with the crowd it must be good, it’s smelled good, the food we saw looked good, this was the place indeed. The 45 minute wait for a table was not going to work for us though and neither was the complete lack of service and rude hostess, so we walked down the block to the original restaurant and found it too was packed, this time we had a reservation and were still 5 minutes early. La Casa Ouzeria ( ) delivered in spades. I can honestly say I have never eaten better. Giant portions, mind blowing food  and a fantastic staff, if this really was the 2nd best Greek food in town they had the best service and I would love to see the other place try to out do the food, personally I think we got hosed by the recommendation. When our waiter returned to offer us dessert we both nearly passed out at the though of trying to put anything else in our mouths. ” We get that a lot.” he reassured us as we stumbled over each other to decline due to being far too full.

I had to walk back to the truck alone as it was a few blocks away and return to fetch my girl but as I walked back I contemplated this vacation thing. I was feeling relaxed and mellow, I felt I was reconnecting with this woman I am committing my life to, what have I been missing out on? My most exotic vacation was a week in Houston, Texas which I loved but as far as just letting go and being away I was just realizing why people do this on purpose. We would have a few more winery stops and an incredibly fun ATV tour that I will tell you about next week because I could go on forever about it and the near tragedy that preceded it. As I strolled back to the truck alone in the warm and mugged ( it would rain shortly after we returned to our yurt too bloated with dinner to move, our sheer indulgence ruined our beach camp fire before the rain could.

It will take me a few more tries at this to become truly comfortable on vacation but when I step out of my own bullshit I understand that one of my few true axes left to grind with my childhood I am repeating on my kids and future wife. There are a few things I would like to experience still, to do that I must travel and take vacation. So here we are again, I am admitting to you all that I had fun, lots of it and would like to do it more but to do that I have to do the one thing that has kept me below average my whole life, I need to get over my shit which really is why I’m writing in the first place.