Sunday dawned earlier than I might have liked, given the fun of the night before. Packed up, and breakfast in the hotel restaurant. (My review would be “meh.” There’s a reason it only has 2.5 – 3 stars. But it fit the bill for all of us.) Car brought down, loaded, goodbyes said, and momma and I hit the road.
Our first stop was Chateau Ste. Michele Winery. It was about 25 minutes from the hotel, and on our route. As we’d enjoyed many good beers over the past 2 days, a wine tasting seemed appropriate to start our return trip. The grounds are beautiful and picturesque. Manicured lawns, gorgeous architecture, families enjoying picnics…clearly a place to be on a Sunday afternoon in the summer. I wish my impression of the tasting room were as good as the outside. While the staff were helpful, they did not have time to, or did not want to, give us more than the basic description of the wines and move on to the next. At $15 a tasting (we did opt to share one), and only having 5 wines on the tasting list, we could have bought 2 bottles at the grocery store and enjoyed it as much, possibly better. But we can say we have been.
Perhaps if we’d done one of the bigger tours and tasting the experience would have been different. But the Canadian border was calling us, and we had about a 4 hour drive to our destination.
We had about a 30 minute wait at the border crossing in Sumas, WA and drove into Canada about 4:08PM. A bit of traffic along Trans-Canadian Route 1 as we started, but it soon opened up. Fortunately I remembered to set the speedometer to KPH before we crossed the border. The mountains soon loomed ahead of us, and I tried to keep at least one eye on the road as I turned my head from side to side and watched the beauty unfold before us. Unfortunately, not a lot of places to stop and take photos. I managed to get a few at a rest stop near Coquihalla. The Coquihalla Summit was 1244 M (4081 feet). It seemed much higher, but will be nothing once we hit the Canadian Rockies!
We checked into our hotel about 7:15PM in West Kelowna, BC. They had a restaurant attached, so we grabbed a sandwich and called it a night.
Today (Monday) was a short drive day, roughly 2 1/2 hours from last night’s lodging to today’s. I didn’t realize when setting the return route I was taking us right through the heart of British Columbia wine region. (Those of you who know me personally may find that hard to believe! But seriously, I didn’t until I picked up the brochure last night.) Anyway, when you have a short drive day, why not stop and see how the wine is, right? We stopped first at Sandhill Winery in Kelowna. The staff were friendly, knowledgeable, warm and made us feel right at home. The wine was far better than I had expected. One of the labels at Sandhill is Wayne Gretzky’s. We passed his winery near Toronto last October but didn’t stop. I couldn’t pass this by without at least a photo or two!
If we were staying one more night in the area, we would have bought a bottle and sat on the couch for a few hours! Such an inviting tasting room and staff.
Our next stop was Blind Tiger Winery. They are situated on a ridge overlooking one of the many mountain lakes in the area. Absolutely beautiful views, and some pretty good wine there, too.
Such fun to pass apple and cherry orchards on our way down to the highway!
We left this area and began our trek north and east. There were a few scenic overlooks today where I was able to stop and snap a few photos of the majesty around us. When we have criss-crossed the US, we can usually say “this reminds me of…” and fill in the blank. The past two days have left us at an absolute loss. Mountain lakes that are fed by waterfalls of varying size, pastures that seem to be among the clouds, and the vast expanse of space. Rivers, creeks and streams that flow alongside the road, what seem to be rolling hills but are just smaller mountains. The photos will not do its beauty and majesty justice, but it’s better than nothing.
Tonight we are staying in Revelstoke, BC. Rather quiet in the summer months compared to the winter. In winter this is home to snowmobiling and heli-skiing. Not sure that being dropped off at the top of a mountain by helicopter and skiing my way down would be my idea of fun, but it seems very popular in the area. Summer is mostly mountain biking, canoeing and hiking. Certainly a picturesque area to do any or all of it!
We are staying at the Glacier House Resort, set off from town in the quiet of the forest. We have brought all food in from the car as there were bear sightings earlier. All rooms are on the 2nd floor, so we are safe. The view from the room and the peacefulness of the surroundings should make for a restful night’s sleep.
View from the hotel restaurant patio