It’s been a long time coming, but we are finally heading south for the winter.
After five weeks in southern British Columbia, we headed south less than a week after the USA reopened its border to Canadians travelling by land. It is a milestone we have been anxiously awaiting. We had planned to leave a bit later in the month, but the cold, rainy weather has really been wearing on both of us, so we moved up our departure date. I can now understand people who deal with Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Our last RV site in BC was Eagle RV Park in Keremeos. It was a nice, quiet park. Keremeos is a small town with one grocery store, two pharmacies, a handful of restaurants, more farm markets than you can count and not much other retail. Penticton, about 40 minutes away, was our larger town of choice for most of our shopping.
We left Keremeos and headed to the border crossing at Osoyoos. The crossing was speedy. They only had one line open, but there was no line-up. The usual questions about where we were going, how long, what we had for fruits/vegetables/liquor/tobacco and if we had more than $10,000 cash on us (haha!) were asked and answered. Surprisingly, we were not asked for proof of our COVID vaccinations. The border officer looked through the truck’s windows and lowered its tailgate before he told us to carry on.
Omak, Washington is not very far from the border, but the casino there has been recommended as an overnight stop. It also allowed us to restock on groceries and alcohol. I had used our border allotment for my favourite Ontario craft vodka, Top Shelf.
12 Tribes Omak Casino Hotel offers RV parking at an inexpensive rate. Our overnight rate, including hydro, water and sewer in a pull-through site was $21. The RV parking is at one end of the casino parking lot, and our site was perfectly level, so no levelling jacks were required for our one night stay. The casino is relatively small but has a few options for dining. We went in for dinner, and I was able to try the Indian Tacos. My sister has always raved about frybread, and this was my first opportunity to try it. Unfortunately, I wasn’t crazy about the chilli they used, but I loved the concept of this meal. A player’s card will give you 10% off in the casino restaurants.
After our night at Omak, we rose to a sunny day and a weather forecast of 20C for Pendleton, Oregon, which was our next planned stop. We got moving quicker than usual and hit the road.
A large part of our day was spent on the Coulee Corridor National Scenic Byway. Beautiful terrain and lots of sky. It’s pretty amazing how much the landscape changed in the few hours since we left Keremeos. Mountains changed to dry canyons changed to farmland.
In Pasco, WA, we stopped at the Country Mercantile to browse their fantastic store. They have a bakery, deli, chocolates, fresh fruit and vegetables, and loads of gourmet food items. We managed to control ourselves and keep our shopping to a minimum.
We arrived in Pendleton to the promised 20C – I think I did a little happy dance! The Wildhorse Casino & Resort had also been recommended to us for their RV park. The casino is much larger than Omak’s, and staying at the RV park also gives you use of the hotel amenities. A player’s card will provide you with a 10% discount.
We spent a day in Pendleton exploring a bit. The downtown has what look to be interesting stores, but it was Monday, and most of the stores were closed.
The Pendleton Woolen Mills were open, and we visited there. They had clothing, accessories, and household items. One of the big items they sell is their blankets. One design reminded me of the Hudson Bay blankets. I was interested to learn that although Pendleton’s has been around a long time; the Hudson Bay Company is about 100 years older.
Our true find in Pendleton was the Oregon Grain Growers Brand Distillery. It is nothing fancy as a restaurant or bar goes, but it has a pleasant ambience and a great bartender. Our lunch consisted of Dirty Duck Fries (easiest to explain as duck poutine) and a pizza. Both were excellent, and I would highly recommend this place. Al was able to get a local craft beer, and I had their watermelon vodka with lemonade – oh my, that was tasty!
When we left Pendleton, we continued south toward Boise, Idaho. Watch for my next post about the Boise area and our tours.
Postscript: For those of you who have been following along my posts, you will notice there is no mention of our much loved Ozzy. Unfortunately, Ozzy has passed and his ashes are spread in an orchard in British Columbia.