Our friends Barb and Kevin retired in July and moved to West Kelowna so our next stop was a visit with them. On the way, we stopped at some wineries and loaded up the car with some new discoveries. First stop was back to Burrowing Owl to pick up a bottle of Pinot (they were sold out of the wine Dale had with his dinner, bummer). Then we went across the road to the Desert Hills Winery, a small, family run winery that has won many awards. With bottles of their wine in the car, our next stop was Church and State Winery. It was definitely the funkiest tasting room, Dale wanted to pull his chair up to the bar and have a full glass. But he was driving so we just did a little tasting and then filled up the rest of our wine box. By then we were getting a bit hungry and the timing was perfect as we just happened to be driving by the Tinhorn Creek winery. We had a very nice lunch on the deck of the Mirador Restaurant, aptly named. Last winery stop was at the Dunham and Froese winery. We had first tasted their wine at a Lake O'Hara wine weekend and were eager to get another bottle of the Amicitia red. The winery is located off a side road North of Oliver and after picking up our bottle (one of the few they had left), we decided to continue driving on White Lake Road as the map showed it reconnecting with the highway further North. As we drove through the grasslands, we saw what looked to be a bunch of telephone poles spaces evenly in a "T" shape across a large area. We stopped at an exhibit and found that we were at a place called the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory (DRAO). It has been there for years but only recently was opened to the public. It is a bizarre place, like something out of "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" with huge telescopes in addition to all of the telephone poles. Turns out the poles were actually one of the first low frequency radio telescopes, built in the 1960s to monitor radio waves coming from distant galaxies. The poles were eventually replaced by the huge white telescopes that are there today. The largest, a Synthesis Telescope was used to create detailed images of the Milky Way by studying radio waves and atomic hydrogen. A very cool place, definitely worth a stop and who knew it was even there!
From there we headed right to Barb and Kevin's place near Shannon Lake. We enjoyed the view from their patio while we got caught up, did a short walk along the lake and then drove to Quails Gate Winery for another excellent meal. The next day, the 4 of us hiked the McDougal Rim Trail, a nice hike close to Shannon Lake with great views over Okanagan Lake and Kelowna. We're pretty sure that we followed not too far behind a bear for the first couple of hours. We didn't see him but he left some nice fresh, berry filled deposits on the trail for us. On the way down, Barb and Pam were in the lead, walking along minding their own business (OK, gabbing), when they heard a rustling in the dry grass. Next thing they knew there was a rattle to go along with the rustle and they spotted a coiled up and not too happy rattle snake, right beside the trail. They let out a yell and high tailed it down the trail. Kevin and Dale followed in a more reserved manner but keeping a good distance away with hiking poles extended just in case. Kevin was thrilled, it made his day. 2 poisonous snakes in 3 days was a bit much for Pam! She didn't stick around for the photo...... We finished off the day and the visit with a beer on the patio, followed by the best chicken in the world, lovingly coaxed to perfection by Kevin in his brand new "Big Steel Keg" smoker. It really was the best chicken! Dale is expecting barbequed rattle snake on our next visit.
Unfortunately, this is the end of our road trip. Although we are retired and can go where we want to, when we want to, we still have a house with a lawn and flowers that need looking after. That and Pam planned a barbeque at our place in Calgary for Saturday night so we should probably show up! So tomorrow we head home to the land of grizzly bears and wolves, which we'll take any day over poisonous snakes!