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 ( http://www.okanaganatvtours.com ). 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 http://www.okanaganatvtours.com/ and go for a ride.

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