Coast to Canyon | The Home Stretch: Leavenworth & The BC Okanagan

…Continuation from Coast to Canyon | Bryce Canyon

After Bryce Canyon was a lot of driving for us. I don’t think I even busted out the camera once. We found a few nice drives here and there, but most of Utah was really quite boring and we just wanted to push through it as fast as possible. In fact, all of Utah was really quite boring except for Bryce Canyon. We stopped for a late lunch/dinner in downtown Salt Lake City, which at rush hour is practically a ghost town. It was the weirdest thing! Then there was the task of trying to find a restaurant/coffeehouse/pub. Yeah, that took a long time. We did, much to our surprise, find a really nice bakery/restaurant. I think our favorite experience in Utah, aside from Bryce Canyon, was finding a beer called Polygamy Porter, with the tagline, “Why have just one!”.

We rushed through Utah, and through Idaho, and Eastern Oregon, and Central Washington(Which has some weird looking giant government facilities in the middle of nowhere), before coming into the Wenatchee area and  settling down in the wonderful little Bavarian town of Leavenworth. This was a fantastic idea, and couldn’t have had better timing. We spent a bit of money on a stay right in the middle of town at the Bavarian Ritz, and discovered meanwhile that the accordion festival was in town that weekend. We spent that warm afternoon/evening wandering the town, and found an excellent cheese shop called Cheesemongers. We tried many different variations of cheeses(we bought wasabi cheddar and one other and they were both delicious) and then sat down at Icicle Brewings‘ patio for a beer taster flight. The beers were all incredible, and we got the chance to meet and chat for awhile with a really nice family(who told us we have an accent, which is kinda weird, but really cool because we have never been told that before) and their beautiful Burmese Mountain Dog.  We finished the evening off with some bratwurst, warm pretzels, and a very dynamic selection of twenty five or so mustards at the Munchen Haus where we sat down beside some accordion players who serenaded us in a traditional european style as the sun dropped behind the Cascadian Mountains and the evening became lit by the warm glow of lanterns.

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The next morning was full of bright sunshine and the sounds of accordions as the people from the festival, with their hundreds of accordions, paraded down the main street in a very Bavarian fashion. The town was up and teeming with life and this was a good thing because by noon it was ready receive the hundreds of German cars pouring in from the annual Leavenworth Drive that hits the town every year. I had been a part of this drive in previous years and come into the town with the crowds of VW’s, Audi’s, BMW’s, and Porsche’s but it was honestly nice to already be there and be relaxing as all the cars drove in. Kristen and I found some friends who drove down from Vancouver and met up for lunch at Baren Haus.

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Shortly after lunch, and after all ze German autos rolled in, it was time for us to roll out. We were on the road and headed for the border, so excited to get back into Canada! We drove through the Washington OkanOgan area, and up across the border into the Canadian OkanAgan. We had a fantastic time in the States, and are very thankful for our experience there, and for all the people we met and spent time with, but we were so glad to be back in Canada. We settled down that night in Osoyoos with a spot right beside the water, which was an excellent idea for all of half an hour. We were happily setting up our tent, just about ready to peg it into the ground when all of a sudden these super strong winds picked up and almost carried our tent into the water. We both had to stand there holding the tent back, unable to do anything but hold it under the relentless wind until thankfully a kind neighbour came and helped us hold it down while I quickly pegged it into the ground. We got the tent secured down and the wind stopped not 10 minutes later and stayed dead calm for the rest of the night. Worst timing ever to put up a tent!

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We woke up again the next morning to a calm lake and blue skies and packed up to head West.

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We took the drive home slower and made a bunch of stop offs in the Similkameen Valley Vineyards to stock up on some bottles of wine for family, and friends, and a few for ourselves of course. Our first stop, and our favorite of the valley, was Forbidden Fruit Winery. It can be easy to miss this place, but it is well worth turning around if you do miss it and going back. These fruit wines are to die for. We took home a bottle of the Pearsuaion for ourselves, but we will definitely be back for their other incredible flavours in the future. We made stops at Orofino(the only strawbale construction winery in Canada – such a cool idea), and Crowsnest Vineyards where we found one of our favorite wines because it is so good and because it is so different than any other wine we have ever tried. It’s called the Taj, and that’s all I’ll say. Go get one for yourself.

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With some bottles of wine packed into the car, memory cards fully loaded of photos, and a plethora of really good memories, it was finally time to complete the last leg of our trip; the Crowsnest highway back to the lush, green coast of BC!

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