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Destination Travel: Kelowna. Getting there -Gillian style

Getting there. It's Complicated!

Well actually getting from Vancouver to Kelowna for normal people is not complicated. If you want to get there fast it is about a 40 minute flight from Vancouver to Kelowna Airport and there are direct flights also from Victoria, Calgary, Edmonton and Toronto. Driving from Vancouver should take around four hours and from Seattle, Spokane or Calgary- about 6 hours.

However, when it comes to driving I am not a "normal person." Firstly while I don't drive especially slowly I can say that the first and only speeding ticket I have ever received was over thirty years ago. And it was not really my fault! I was cruising over the Second Narrows Bridge and got distracted by my kids arguing in the back seat so my foot may have been a little heavier than usual on the accelerator and I did not spy the cops lurking behind the concrete pillar on the Mountain Highway exit.

Secondly, as a downtown gal, I walk rather than drive and in 10 years, I have accumulated the grand total of 50,000 kms on my little Audi. So while several of my neighbours drive back and forth between Vancouver and Kelowna like I drive from Yaletown to Kerrisdale, planning to drive to Kelowna for me became a logistical exercise akin to planning an expedition to the North Pole.

The dashboard indicator was warning me sternly that my car needed a service in about 1000 kms, I decided to jump the gun and take it in prematurely so everything would be in perfect condition before I set out. Lucky for my logistics but not for my pocketbook. Many dollars later my car was in great physical shape - better than me in spite of my trainer's brutal workouts (just kidding, Cale!) - but my bank account was making gasping noises when I accessed it on-line.


The next anxiety I had to deal with was road conditions. I forgot to mention that on the rare occasions that it snows in Vancouver I hibernate. If I have to eat, or run out of supplies, I emerge like a hungry bear from a cave and forage on foot. Despite growing up in warm, sunny Cape Town, I was not always like that - scared of driving on snowy roads. But when I slid uncontrollably down the hill near Cambie and Broadway when caught in a totally unpredicted snowstorm a couple of years ago it traumatized me for life.

I kept compulsively checking the video cam for the Coquihalla on the BC Highways info page and by Saturday the descriptor said "slippery and slushy" or something like that. Slippery!! Oh no! So instead I decided to take the Hope-Princeton route - well it is also really scenic though it adds an extra hour or so to the drive. No problem I said to my travelling companion, we will just leave earlier so we will be there in good time for lunch at my Kelowna friend's home.

Earlier at that stage meant around 7:30 BUT yet another wrinkle made me wonder whether I should have just gone by air. When I arrived home at 11 pm on Saturday evening after seeing The Marriage of Figaro, a notice in the elevator warned that thanks to the Marathon that was happening the next morning, all egress from side roads onto Pacific Boulevard would be blocked from 7 am on Sunday morning onwards. That meant that if we did not leave before then we would be trapped for several hours. Great. So we planned to drive out of our building at 6:45 am and avoid being trapped.