The Flower Fed Buffalo
The flower-fed buffaloes of the spring
In the days of long ago,
Ranged where the locomotives sing
And the prarie flowers lie low:
The tossing, blooming, perfumed grass
Is swept away by wheat,
Wheels and wheels and wheels spin by
In the spring that still is sweet.
But the flower-fed buffaloes of the spring
Left us long ago,
They gore no more, they bellow no more:--
With the Blackfeet lying low,
With the Pawnee lying low.
- Vachel Lindsay

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Farewell Penticton ...

We've had a terrific time here in Penticton with our great friend and considerate host Jon Jones, who has put up with our foibles for almost three weeks. Along with making us feel at home in his condo, he's shared some of his favourite routes up at the Skaha Bluffs and graciously ensured that we got back into some climbing without overdoing it and getting injured. It's been great fun and we look forward to more time on the rock soon.
Jed and Claire from Hobart were here for a while on their honeymoon. They seemed to like the climbing: Jed in particular as he ticked one of the three star 12a routes while he was here. On our last day at the crag we bumped into another Hobartian: a guy named Kim who is on his way to Chamonix to climb with Nick Hancock. The climbing world is a small one indeed!
 We've played on the rock at Skaha on several occasions now and no doubt we'll be back again. Basically, it's just a fun place to climb!

Still, the time has come for us to move on down the road, literally. Tomorrow we head south on Highway 97 to the border at Osoyoos, then across into Washington State and on to Leavenworth. (As an aside, Highway 97 is the longest provincial highway in any province of Canada, running 2081 kilometres from the border with the U.S.A. in the south to the Yukon Territory in the north. And we'll be on Route 97 when we cross into Washington).

It's been great hanging out in Penticton, despite some uncharacteristically patchy weather for the Okanagan Valley in June. We've managed to climb on 10 of the 18 days we've been here, had a visit with Doug's aunt Florence and Uncle Eddie in Kelowna, dropped in at an artist's studio (more about that shortly) and generally chilled out on the other days.

Yesterday was Di's birthday, and she celebrated by leading a 5.10b gear route (about 19 on the Australian grading scale) and followed an 11a, which is pretty good for a 62 year old grandmother.

Speaking of being a grandparent, I pray your indulgence with a slight digression. We were greatly disappointed to hear that something funny has happened with the post: for the second time in a row we've sent postcards to both the grandchildren at exactly the same time and only Asha's has arrived.  So, here is a special card for Zavier:

So, back to Di's birthday. We went out to dinner at an excellent Italian restaurant called Villa Rosa. We'd certainly recommend it if you're in the neighbourhood! We got the one of the wait staff to take our photo:

You might not have noticed, but Di is wearing a new pair of earrings. Here's one in situ:

(Asha, our gorgeous granddaughter in Cairns always notices when Nana is wearing earrings, so this photo is especially for her ... )

The earrings came from the Delong Studio in Summerland, just a few kilometres north of Penticton. I managed to whisk Di out of there before we ended up with too much cargo!

It's now Saturday the 23 of June, and we've had a chilling out time for our last day here in the Okanagan Valley. It started with a stroll down to the  Penticton Farmers Market for a cinnamon bun (yum!) and to pick up some veggies to put in Big Blue's fridge. A little bonus was that the first cherries of the season had appeared in some of the vendor's stalls, so we grabbed a bag of them too. After a coffee at one of the many fine cafes close to Jon's condo we took in the sights of the Peach City Beach Cruise, a celebration of classic - and not so classic - cars. Here's a Youtube video of what it's all about:

Now, we're not car buffs by any means, but it was sure easy to appreciate and even delight in the craftsmanship and pride that has been put into restoring and modifying the vehicles that were on show. A few pictures will give you a bit of an idea of what I'm talking about:

If you'd like to see a few more photos from the Peach City Beach Cruise you can go to the gallery I've created on our Smugmug site.

We haven't found the motivation to take in the Elvis Festival that runs at the same time as the car festival but in a different part of the city. Maybe when we're a few years older, eh!

Meanwhile, our own "classic, unmodified (apart from the foreign stickers you can see if you look closely)  vehicle has been waiting patiently to hit the road:

See ya later, alligator!

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