Why Okanagan Valley?
Today begins The Senses Tour. Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada, from Kelowna to Osoyoos. This ride is about sense pleasure. Not hedonism; don’t get me wrong. It’s about deep, meditative sense-joy to feel richly alive.
As a student of Vipassana meditation, which develops body awareness, I know the satisfaction of being deeply aware of every inch of my body. It’s grounding, it’s delicious. This trip, I commit to taste, smell, feel, hear and see with rapt attention.Therefore OKANAGAN! This place is a sultry, beachy heaven of orchards, market gardens, wineries, distilleries and artisan producers of every kind. There are ample trails and beautiful views.
I will make the trip with as little highway travel as possible. It may be a challenge, getting a loaded touring bike through the length of the Kettle Valley Railway, starting in Myra Canyon. Some say it’s do-able, some give me that one eyebrow up thing.
(1) Coffee – Favourite spot is Pulp Fiction – a bookstore with a really good coffee shop that has a high tolerance for computing patrons. It’s decorated with covers from trashy novels. What an adventure in the lusty misogyny of yesteryear.
(2) Fine pastries and chocolate – Sandrine Boulangerie. My oh my. So, I’m not really big on grain and sugar anymore, so when I go at it, I reach for the top shelf. Sandrine did not disappoint.
(3)Fermented beverages – Okay, I’m excited now. Ward’s Hard Cider had five styles of hard cider to taste. These were all DELICIOUS. They nailed the delicate balance of flavour, freshness and sweetness. Look at this chalice of bliss. Just look! This apple and cherry blend is to swoon for. Just a soupçon of Bing cherry without any cloying sugariness of typical commercial ciders. Aromatically cheerful and absolutely refreshing.
Ward’s is a 3rd generation farm, started
with apples trees brought from Britain. Each brew has many different types of apples, blended to achieve a certain sumpin’ in the flavour.
(4) Lavender – Okanagan Lavender and Herb Farm
Oh wow. Even though the harvest was over (so no purple everywhere), every breath of air was infused with the wholesome, lovely scent of lavender. There are 39 species of lavender in the world and 400 cultivars. Three species are winter hardy in the mildest parts of Canada and,
according to these lavender farmers, only two of those are suitable for intensive commercial production here. This farm produces 4 different essences and a number of hydrosols. I bought the one that’s best for eating. Yes eating! Have you eaten much lavender? Do it! Lavender and roast garlic mashed potatoes. Lavender dark chocolate. Lavender and raspberry tequila cocktails…
And now it’s time to ride!
Myra Canyon Railway! The old Kettle Valley Railway system is now a prime biking and hiking destination. With 18 trestle bridges and 2 tunnels, it will carry me along some of the most beautiful lake views in the valley. This stunning ride will be the perfect kick-off to my Okanagan senses tour.