From One Reunion To Another

West Kelowna, BC to Penticton, BC

For the first time in a long time, I slept in today. You might expect that to happen from time to time especially after a particularly gruelling day of riding. However, yesterday was far from gruelling – although, not ordering a third Frosty was a challenge. Even still, my plan to get on the road by 9:00 took a serious hit when I woke up at 9:08.

I won't say this chair is just peachy.I could.  But I won't.

I won’t say this chair is just peachy.
I could. But I won’t.

On the upside, today’s ride hardly warranted such an early departure as I only planned to go as far as Penticton … less than 60 km to the south. As such, I didn’t exactly race to get myself on the road as soon as possible. I had some breakfast, chatted with my aunt and uncle, loaded up my bike, and actually remembered to get a family photo before I finally hit the road at around 10:30.

To say that today’s ride was easy wouldn’t even begin to describe it. Yes, there were some long hills. But they weren’t very steep. Or maybe the tailwind (yes, the tailwind) was helping more than I realized. Either way, the kilometres were just flying by and as they did I passed through two very pleasantly named towns. Peachland and Summerland. And from what I could tell, the name fit both places.

I didn’t actually stop in Peachland but I did stop in Summerland. And am I ever glad I did. It was a short stop and it was at a road side fruit stand, aptly named, “The Peach Pitt”. With a large orchard of peach trees out back, this seemed like a good place to buy some fresh peaches. And, oh my, was it ever. Peaches have always been my favourite fruit but I’ve never had much luck buying them. That wasn’t the case today.

Peach?  I don't mind if I do.

Peach? I don’t mind if I do.

Given the space and weight limitations on my bike, I bought a bag of three peaches with the intent of eating one now and taking two to go – hoping they wouldn’t get squished during their travels. That didn’t end up being a problem because they never made it into my panniers. Instead, they took a direct trip into my stomach. These were, without a doubt, the BEST peaches I have ever had. Ever. Seriously. It almost made me feel bad for all the other peaches out there. Almost.

I would’ve bought more to take with me but I knew they wouldn’t have made it any closer to my panniers than the first three did. Instead, I thanked the proprietor for the best peaches I’ve ever had and continued on my way.

The post-peaches ride continued to be every bit as beautiful as the pre-peaches ride. It was a gloriously hot and sunny day and I was enjoying every bit of it. And then, I suddenly found myself risking life and limb (and bike) on a mission of mercy. Okay, maybe it wasn’t that dramatic. Okay, it REALLY wasn’t that dramatic.

Random act of chair-ity.

Random act of chair-ity.

As I pedalled along I noticed something on the road up ahead. Not on the shoulder but in between the two lanes. It was clearly a folding chair. Not a big one. But one that cars were swerving to avoid. It was only a matter of time before someone didn’t swerve in time. And so, I waited for a clearing and rescued the chair from annihilation. As cheap, camping chairs go, this one was actually pretty nice. And clearly durable enough to withstand falling off someone’s vehicle. Sadly, taking the chair with me was far from feasible and so I left it for another traveller.

Did I mention today’s ride was easy? And beautiful? Ok. Just checking. Because it really was. So much so that it took less than 2.5 hours to get to Penticton. That gave me more than enough time to get myself a Frosty before heading to tonight’s accommodation. I’m not going to lie, I couldn’t help but think how good some of today’s peaches would have been added to the top of that Frosty.

My final destination of the day was to be another family reunion. Well, not technically family. But sort of family. For about a year and a half, starting in 1996, a friend and I lived in Burnaby, B.C. and rented a basement from Otto and Kveta. Otto and Kveta are about the nicest people from whom you could imagine renting. In 1997, I left Burnaby to move to Edmonton and, even though we’ve stayed in touch, I haven’t seen Otto and Kveta since. That was going to change today.

When Otto opened the door, it was hard to believe it had been 18 years since our last meeting. Before I left on this journey I made a point of telling my teenage nieces that time goes really fast. REALLY fast. This would be a perfect example of that. It seems incredible to me that 18 years can disappear so quickly. And yet it happens time after time after time. Note to my nieces: TIME GOES REALLY FAST!

We had a very relaxing evening catching up on each other’s lives (while enjoying a beer and later an excellent dinner by Kveta). After dinner we went for a drive and I was given a tour of Penticton. I can certainly understand why they chose to retire here.

We returned to the house where I provided some technical support for Otto’s computer and Kveta’s iPad. The latter took far more effort than it should have (for reasons I won’t get into). Suffice it to say it’s ridiculous that you need a cellphone in order to create a new e-mail account. However, we finally managed to get things working (I think) and called it a night.

It’s still hard to believe this reunion took over 18 years to happen but I’m glad it finally did. And it was worth the wait.

Today’s totals:
Distance travelled: 55.74 km
Ride time: 2:28:14
Average speed: 22.56 km/h
Maximum speed: 61.32 km/h

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