Playing With Dragons

Earlier this week, I decided to get away Friday night to, well, get away. I decided to go to Vernon, thinking it would be a quick drive as the city is just 155km north of Oliver.

Ha.

There have been road closures on highway 97 north of Summerland for months now and the situation is getting ridiculous seeing as that road is the only way to reach the north Okanagan without taking three times as long by using one of the ‘detours.’ Yesterday, I left Oliver at 1:15, figuring I would hit Summerland at 2, at the end of the scheduled 1 to 2 road closure, just squeeze in before the 2:30 closure and arrive in Vernon for about 3:30. Just as I entered Summerland, there came an announcement on the radio that the road would be closed until about 3:30. I finally pulled into Vernon at about 5:15, in the dark, and in freezing rain. Very relaxing. The four hours it took me to drive 155 kilometres doesn’t beat the 9 hours it took me to drive from the Mexican border to north of Los Angeles (less than 200km), but it’s pretty close.

At any rate, I sure was glad to get to the B&B I’d found via trusty old Google, Richmond House 1894. I’d called my hosts, Dinham and Kathy, to let them know I would be very late, so they were waiting for me when I arrived. Kathy lead me up to my room, the Tennyson, and showed me around the guest area. Richmond House is a beautifully appointed Victorian jewel with all the comforts of home. I had a specific reason for picking this B&B:

A sight for sore eyes for an RVer who loves a good soak!

A sight for sore eyes for an RVer who loves a good soak!

Before the ultimate of all treats, I asked for some suggestions for dinner and Kathy was quick to suggest Sushi 1 on 30th Avenue. Not having had Japanese in way too long, I headed that way. Dinner, while not inexpensive, was fabulous! I went for the evening bento box special which had sashimi, shrimp rolls, tofu, tempura, teriyaki salmon, and more. Add a Sapporo beer and I just about rolled out of there, LOL! One thing I love about Japanese food is that you rarely know what you’re eating, but just about everything is delicious. I easily recognized the salmon sashimi, but there was also some white fish I’d never had before. Both were equally delicious. Raw fish is not at all like cooked fish, it has a very delicate flavour and a ‘melt-in-your-mouth’ texture that is slightly gummy, but not slimy. When I started to eat fish voluntarily several years ago, I actually started with sashimi before ‘graduating’ to cooked fish. So, the bento box is a fabulous deal and I highly recommend Sushi 1 in Vernon!

Then, I had a much needed and well-timed soak as yesterday we moved ‘mega’ blocks weighing 25lbs to 30lbs each and my muscles were sore!

Sleep came easily in a luxuriously soft bed…

Breakfast this morning was the proverbial icing on the cake: fresh juice, excellent coffee, fruit compote with yoghurt, waffles with mounds of berries and whipped cream, two muffins, and a slice and a half of pumpkin loaf. I brought the muffins and loaf home as I was stuffed by the time they came out of the kitchen! The price for all this luxury is worth mentioning as I’ve paid more to stay in crappy motels with no amenities: 75$, taxes included.

It’s really winter in Vernon, with snow, slush, and freezing rain, so I wasn’t too tempted to tool around much this morning. I’d made a list of interesting-sounding attractions open on Saturday mornings and decided to visit the Okanagan Science Centre.

The museum is tiny and kid-oriented. At present, it is between exhibits, so there isn’t really much to see. It was still worth a detour for me because of the reptiles!

First, though, I toured their astronomy section and really enjoyed the exhibit featuring a ‘what if’ scenario for someone stranded on the moon: your craft is damaged, there is stuff to fix it 100km away at a station, and these are the items available for your journey. Which five items will help you and which three will hinder you? I was surprised by some of the answers.

As I was heading out, a lady asked if I want to pet the one snake available for public touching, seeing as the others were digesting after being fed yesterday. Of course! The snake in question was a young (two year old) albino boa (making him cream and orange-coloured) and such a darling! The lady even let me hold him for a surprisingly long time. I love boas! After getting my fill of the boa, I was invited to take a look at the resident anaconda (a member of the boa family), not something I was about to turn down! To my delight, this wound up being a green anaconda, not a black one like I’d seen in San Francisco and Brandon. Her name is Bridget and she’s a beauty, olive-skinned with black spots. Just as I thought the visit couldn’t get any better, I was invited to hold one of the resident bearded dragons! I’d never in my life held such a critter before and it was quite the experience! He was a rolypoly fellow, with a huge tummy and a love of having the top of his head scratched. Anyone who thinks that a reptile can’t show affection has never met Ralph the bearded dragon!

And that was the end of my over night trip to Vernon. The drive home was better, although I still hit an unscheduled 15 minute closure at Summerland.

When I left yesterday, I turned off the space heater, left the radiator on high and the furnace set to 60, hoping that this would keep Miranda’s temperature at 16 even though we were set for another very cold night yesterday. I got in this afternoon and it was 16.5 in here. So, that’s very useful information to file away for the next time I leave her overnight in cold weather.

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