Distance = 480 km Gas = $21.86 ($1.37/L in Merritt)
So far, Canada is mostly trees. This was my view today:
They don’t call this Beautiful British Columbia for nothing. Between Merritt and Princeton it’s all winding single-lane highway through rolling ranch land dotted with small lakes, and then further south it gets even scrubbier with dun coloured hills and little pine trees. There’s also a lot of vinyards in the Southern Interior. On one side of the highway, there’s a lush crop of grape vines, and on the other side are dusty pale rocks and sage brush. Quite a contrast.
I left Merritt at around 9 a.m. this morning after a hearty breakfast of eggs from the backyard, avocado and apple. In Keremeos I stopped at a roadside fruit stand to buy a big bag of apples for $7 and what was by far the best peach I’ve ever eaten. I had to eat it standing next to my car, with the juice dripping everywhere. After that, I stopped to sit in the sun for a bit in Osoyoos – a beautiful little desert town on a big lake in the Southern Okanagan, and in Grand Forks, I bought a $1 loaf of French bread and a brick of Havarti and took my lunch to Christina Lake to eat next to the water. (It was a good food day.)
Once you get near Castlegar the landscape starts to become more mountainous and the pine forests are really dense. Past Castlegar it was mostly uphill, winding highway and not much to see besides the evergreens. Now I’m in Nelson, where there are even more hippies per square mile than on Commercial Drive in Vancouver. It’s a nice looking town, stacked on a hillside next to a lake. In winter, the skiing around here is supposed to be excellent.
So, the whole drive took about seven hours, including stops along the way. Except for one little section of road work, I didn’t have to deal with any traffic volume, and it was an awesome drive with Joni Mitchell on my stereo.
Tonight, I’m staying with a friend who was once was my next-door neighbour in Merritt. Small world. Tomorrow, the Rockies!
NEXT POST: Nelson to Canmore