It is Certainly Spring in Vancouver

Penticton to Vancouver is a good drive. I just love the pine and grass hills between The Okanagan and Keremeos. The only problem was that it rained off and on the whole trip.

On the way down from Manning Park, in an area of steep hills and twisty road I passed a guy, with a backpack on a unicycle, working his way up the hill. That was when I knew for sure that I was in B.C.

Vancouver as always, is lovely. I drove into town in a light rain but during the short work I made of my fish and chips and a beer in what used to be the overlooking English Bay Cafe, it cleared off.

As I walked by the edge of Stanley Park three bald eagles were circling the heron rookery by the tennis courts causing quite an uproar from the nesting herons. A couple of braver herons harassed them for a while and eventually the eagles got bored and headed of to hunt somewhere else.

In the park, the walkers and cyclists were out in force and the sea wall would have been crowded had there not been a brisk westerly breeze.

It is a tough town to beat in the spring.


Naramata Bench Tastings

This morning was beautiful in Banff. I tried to sleep in a bit and started a bit later than I normally would. I was on my way by 8:00

I love driving in the mountains. No matter how many time I make the trip, I am always blown away by the scenery. I tried to take my time, stopping often to take photographs.

I decided to drive to Penticton to visit a couple of vineyards I particularly like, even though the drive down the valley can be slow.

Kelowna traffic was the usual hassle. What was at some point a pretty little town has turned into miles and miles of strip malls and condos. It is a prime example of how success can spoil a good thing.

I really wanted to hunt up some of the wine we loved from the Naramata Bench the last time we were here.

A few summers ago we spent a few days at the B&B situated right on the edge of d'Angelo's Vineyards. It is a great spot. I remember sitting high up on the deck outside our room, sharing a bottle of something nice and watching the sun set over the lake.

So of course I drove down to D’Angelo’s Winery and as luck would have it Sal D’Angelo was sitting outside on his ATV and he opened up the wine shop for me. When we stayed at the B&B he hadn’t yet put his wine on the market and I was keen to try it. Sal loves to talk about his wine and is a good story teller. He won a gold medal for his 2005 Merlot the first year he released it. I bought a few bottles of what he had on offer. Lovely stuff.

I then headed up the road to Hillside Estates. I quite like their wine and if you are visiting the area, stop in. The staff are very friendly and know their wine well. Br forewarned, it will be tough to leave without a bottle or two, or a case.

If you are biking on the old Kettle Valley Railway plan to stop at their restaurant for lunch. The trail goes right by their facility and they are happy to see cyclists. After a good lunch a couple of kilometers will bring you within a stone's throw of D'Angelo's. Stop in and chat with Sal.


Driving to Banff

I didn't really get off to the most auspicious start this morning, all things considered.

I am on my way to Vancouver for the Fair Vote Canada AGM. I thought I'd drive. I was almost to Grande Coolie when my check engine light came on. Considering that I'd had my car serviced yesterday I figured that was a bit much so, I turned around and went back to Regina to the dealer.

They said they'd order a new catalytic converter and reset everything and I was off again.

It was nice for a while, lots of birds flying north, the Canada Geese in their regimented orderly v's cutting through the sky. One leading then falling back to let a new leader take over and the snow geese all over the map flying in u's and w's mixing it up every which way. My sense is the Canada geese are more impressive to watch but the snow geese would be more fun to have a drink with.

The drive was good until Parkbeg then, much to my surprise, it started to snow. It was a heavy slushy, hard to drive in winter storm for over 100 km. Everyone managed to stay on the road and we all drive through it.

Calgary was sunny and warm. Banff is a bit cloudy and cooler.

That is all he wrote. Time for supper.


How does it Look Outside?

There was an article in the paper today suggesting that Canadians don’t have much faith in our weather forecasting.


Where I live, in Regina, the long range forecasts seldom actually match what those prevailing westerlies bring us, day in and day out. Of course, the meteorologists responsible for predicting our weather live in Winnipeg, a six hour drive to the east of us. They can't even take a look outside and give it their best shot, or perhaps they do.

My sense is that we’d have better luck if Environment Canada re-located those guys to Calgary. At least that would give them a 50-50 chance of getting it right.

That damn five day forecast changes radically day to day. I am not sure why I even look at it.

When they say predicting weather is a gamble, I thing they are right. I figure that every morning a few of the Environment Canada staff get together around a big felt covered table and bring out the five forecast dice. I imagine that each side has on it a different icon, the sun, rain, sunny with a bit of cloud, cloudy with a bit of sun, you know what I mean. Then they roll them and what ever comes up, goes on their site and gets sent to newspapers as the five day forecast.

At least that is the most logical explanation I could come up with.