Day 9 - Vernon to Penticton

Well, I said we were right by the railway, but we'd seen nothing go by. All that changed at 7.30am when, with horn blowing, couplings clanking, diesel roaring and bells clanging at the level crossing, a mixed goods train went past at walking pace. And then backed up. Then went off again. Then backed up. We can only assume that it was dropping off or picking up wagons from a siding - anyway it gave us plenty of chances to take pictures, and for the girls to wave at (and be waved back to by) the engineer (I'm learning the lingo!). We're still not sure why it's a Central Kansas Railway loco....

And so, we pack up and leave town. We never did really find any centre to Vernon!

Just south of Vernon, we dropped down from the highway to Coldstream and Kalamalka Lake - lovely beach, if only it were a bit warmer.

As we climbed back the sun came out a bit. The lake runs north-south parallel to the much bigger Okanagan Lake.

We took a small road round the back of the next lake, and found a small town where they had an international sculpture convention. This man, a Japanese from Victoria, and another Chinaman from Beijing were at work.

We stopped for lunch on the way into Kelowna, in a provincial park. Taking a walk, we paused by the spawning channel - made to help the salmon get upstream and breed.

Kelowna itself was chaotic - we went round some back roads to see a heritage church and the mission station and rejoined just before the floating bridge (below) but didn't stop. As we left, the queue for the bridge the other way was a couple of miles long - it's a bank holiday weekend coming up.

Our route followed the lake south - nice views but little chance to catch them. At Summerland, we picked up the sign for the Kettle Valley Railway, a restored steam railway. We'd missed the two runs for the day, but persuaded the conductor to let us go down and visit the loco as they put it into the shed. Unlike any steam loco I've seen before, it has 8 bevel-gear driven wheels, all pretty small, with the engine itself amidships. Apparently this gave it a high pulling capacity and protected the important bits from damage when the loco fell off the oft-dodgy rails or hit a tree dropped by the preceding train! However, small wheels did mean a lower top speed.

And so, via a roadside fruit stall (this is the fruit growing heart of Canada) to our hotel - the Penticton Lakeside Resort, where we have a lake side room - this is the view from our balcony - and it's just like being at the seaside as the stiff breeze washes the waves up onto the beach below.

And now, we are off to dine. I've been told I'm not presentable, so I'd better go and work on a facelift.

Well, it was a bit cool at times on the patio, but the food was good and the view excellent - the hills and clouds changed in colour as the sun set.