Vernon Again

There were a number of things we left undone when we returned from Vernon on Thanksgiving weekend so I went back on Thursday. In between shopping for furniture, meeting lawyers, and other errands, I was able to do some driving around the area.

Back when I lived in Vernon I was so busy with work, school, and friends that I didn’t take much time to explore the backroads. During my recent visits, I’ve made an effort to go on some exploratory drives and learn where the roads in Vernon take you.

On the way home I decided to stop by Gray Monk and pick up some wine for Sharon. Rather than take the highway I tried Mission Road out of Vernon which ambles along some lovely farmland before passing Predator Ridge golf course and becoming a dirt road.

Cow hanging out on Commonage Road

The dirt road doesn’t last long and I eventually joined Carrs Landing Road where I drove alongside the shore of Okanagan Lake. I stopped at a couple of beaches to enjoy the views and get some photos, something I’d hadn’t done much of on this trip.

Kopje Park Beach
Beach at Kopje Regional Park
Gibson Heritage House
Gibson Heritage House at Kopje Regional Park

After over an hour of driving and exploring I pulled in to Gray Monk and demanded fine wine for the people in Vancouver. Sharon now has a tasty Merlot and the next time we run into our friend Patrick he can expect a bottle of Gray Monk’s fancy-pants Pinot Noir.

View From Gray Monk Winery
View from Gray Monk winery
Squeaky Cheese
In hindsight, I should have stopped to see what “squeaky cheese” is all about

After Gray Monk it was time get moving so I rejoined the highway and made the run to Vancouver. I had heard it was raining on the coast so I did take the opportunity to have lunch in Merritt and enjoy the last bit of sun I was likely to see for a while.

Thanksgiving in Vernon

Last Thursday my Mom signed the paperwork to move into a suite at Carrington Place Retirement Residence in Vernon. Sharon and I came down to the Okanagan for what will likely be one of the last visits to the house that I grew up in. The weekend was spent cooking, eating, and helping my Mom prepare for her upcoming move.

Saturday night Sharon made up Scott Jurek’s, the ultra-marathon runner, “Minnesota Winter Chili” recipe which is a favorite of ours. Scott Jurek claims that, “The night I tasted this chili is the night I decided I could be a happy, athletic vegetarian.” I agree, it’s pretty damn good! In fact, I prefer it to any meat-basedĀ chiliesĀ I’ve had.

For Thanksgiving Sharon whipped up a vegetable stuffing (using vegetable stock instead of turkey drippings) and a number of sweet potato dishes. Again, an excellent meal.

I’m enjoying eating at home more often. My Mom isn’t fond of cooking so whenever I would visit we would usually go out for dinner most nights. It’s nicer to be inside, cooking like a traditional family would. We also eat healthier food too.

Sharon’s sister lives in Kelowna, as does a friend of mine, Tamara, so we all met at Tonics Pub downtown for lunch today. Was great to see everybody and catch up. I haven’t run into Tamara for over a year since she’s busy with her boot camp and personal training business.

After lunch, Sharon and I went up to Quails’ Gate winery where we took in some spectacular views of Okanagan Lake. Tamara lives just up the road so she gets the same view off her deck (yes, we’re jealous!). We made a second stop at Volcanic Hills where Sharon picked up a couple of bottles of red before we made the Coquihalla run back to Vancouver.