Whistler to Kelowna. 9/3/19

We leave Whistler this morning with regrets that our time here has not been what we were hoping for. But, we are eager to start phase two of our vacation. Today we are heading to Kelowna in the Okanagan Valley.  It is the Napa Valley of Canada. We plan on doing some wine tasting on Wednesday.

Today, though, we have mountainous territory to cross. There are very few towns but I think we will find some interesting stuff.

Our first stop is in Lillooet. In addition to being gold central and part of the Jade Trail, Lillooet is majority First Nations (the term used in Canada for its indigenous peoples.) When gold was first discovered here, the miners had the First Nations people do the prospecting jobs and the entrepreneurial miners had the gold sent to San Francisco for money. Of course the word leaked out that there was gold up in Canada and everyone came running putting an end to the original miners scheme. Lillooet became the second largest city west of Chicago. About 2200 people live here now.

Our first stop is at a Jade Trail monolith and the 23 Camels Bridge.  The 23 Camels Bridge is so-named because in the late 1800s someone got the brilliant idea to import 23 Bactrian camels to use as mining pack animals. The camels scared the other animals, smelled horrible, and were very ornery. They released them into the wild after the failed experiment.

Jade monument in Lillooet along the Jade Trail
The story of the 23 camels
Bridge of the 23 Camels

Then we go to the old plank bridge aptly named The Old Bridge.

Old Bridge in Lillooet
Old Mary and John on the Old Bridge

After wending our way for another two hours we come to Merritt, BC. We stop at Brambles Cafe and have sandwiches and soup. Today’s soups are borscht and cabbage roll, both so homey and good.

Lunch in Brambles Cafe

It turns out that Merritt which is at least 60 miles from the nearest town is the country music capital of Canada! In addition to having a big music festival each year, they have the faces of their favs adorning the sides of their buildings.

Randy Travis mural in Merritt
Reba McIntyre and Carrie Underwood mural in Merritt

Those are just a couple. They are all over the place!

After Merritt we drive another hour and a half to Kelowna, a bustling resort town on the edge of Okanagan Lake. The area is known for its wine. Tomorrow we will taste some.

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