Posted by: Silver | April 3, 2011

Vernon to Kelowna

Distance: 51 km
Ascent: 707 m
Cycling time: 4 hours, 13 minutes

Hills, headwinds and heavy traffic: my favourite combination… NOT! The journey started very well: some of the ladies I’d met at the dinner party the previous evening came to give me a ‘proper’ send-off, complete with a supply of milk chocolate for the journey, and a banner saying ‘Send Off Silver’, with the S O S especially highlighted! I was extremely touched by their support 🙂

After that high point, though, things went a bit downhill – or should I say, uphill. And the winds were blowing too. Apparently, that’s very unusual around here: how many times have I heard that on my journey so far?! Highway 97 is probably quite an attractive route really, with frequent views of Kalamalka Lake and the mountains, but until they finish the widening work they’re doing (in about two years, apparently…) it is not a route I would recommend. There are several narrow, twisting sections where the shoulder virtually disappears into sheer rock walls, which also create nicely blind corners. It was never actually dangerous (at least, that’s the story I’m sticking to for as long as my Mum’s listening…), but it certainly didn’t make for a very pleasant cycling experience. With fairly constant traffic in both directions leaving very little room for anyone to get out of anyone’s way, I spent a lot of time in the dirt at the side of the road – when there was any, that is… I made it through safely, but was pretty drained by the time I arrived at my hosts’ house (at the top of a steep hill, of course…).

Fortunately, the rest of my time in Kelowna was far more pleasant. Opinions seem very divided on the city: some people decry its crowded, fast pace and ‘artificiality’, while house prices seem to indicate that a good many others find it very desirable indeed. I certainly found the downtown to be a very attractive and civilised place to walk round, but the roads were the busiest I’ve encountered since I left Vancouver, and the population is apparently still expanding rapidly, so, since the strength of so many Canadian communities seems to be their human scale and warmth, perhaps it has outgrown that strength a little. My personal experience of the residents of Kelowna was very warm and genuine, however, and I would happily go back there – just maybe not until after they’ve finished widening the highway…

It really was rather windy: this roadside marker would normally be entirely upright...

As I say, highway 97 offers some quite attractive views - when the road is safe enough to look up from

This was the only yama I could see in Oyama (just north of Kelowna), and it wasn't really very O (apologies for the in-joke with my brother, but hopefully everyone can enjoy the picture!)

Kelowna has a lot of interesting public art: this is one of the most recent, created to celebrate Kelowna's name (a corruption of a native word meaning 'female grizzly bear')



  1. Hi Silver:
    Enjoying your blog! Just to clarify re: Kelowna’s housing prices. They are actually among the highest in the country and are favourable only to those moving from Vancouver (which is hideously out of range), which is what we did . . .
    So sorry about this crappy weather we’re having. Hope it gets warm & sunny for you soon!
    Stay safe – Pat

    • Hi Pat!
      Glad you’re enjoying my updates, and thank you for saying so! Yes, my comment on the house prices was a bit ambiguous, wasn’t it? What I was meaning was exactly what you say: the fact that house prices are so high would seem to indicate that there’s an awful lot of demand from people who find Kelowna so desirable that they’re willing to pay the price, however high! Your apologies for the weather are fully accepted, although, if you hadn’t said anything, I never would have realised it was your fault 😉 Dealing with whatever the weather throws at me is just an inevitable part of the journey though: it still pales into insignificance next to the difficulties orphans around the world have to face every day, so I reckon I’ve got nothing to complain about 🙂

  2. Silver,

    It’s fine. It’s just Oyama, not Ōyama.


  3. As ever, you are – of course – entirely right, mein Bruder; you may retain the Ōyama blog monopoly…

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