Tuesday, January 15, 2013

going the distance...

We heard there was to be a birthday dinner for our brother-in-law John on Sunday night. John was married to hubby's sister until her passing 9 years ago.He will always be family as far as we are concerned!

We decided to crash the birthday dinner...to which we had not really been invited!  The problem is that he lives in Kelowna...which happens to be two mountain passes away from our home in the valley. But the weather forecast looked good, so we decided to go for it. 

Somehow we expected bare roads...but up in the pass it seems there is always snow. 

We had a bit of a surprise all our own...at our half-way point coffee break on the trek down. We stopped at our usual Tim Horton's in Merritt, and were about done our small coffees when we saw an old friend enter the restaurant. We knew him well for several decades...he and his wife were in our small group for many years. About ten years ago they moved to a house overlooking a lake in the North Thompson area of our province...and our paths no longer crossed. What are the chances of meeting here in this little mountain community on the Coquihalla Highway? He never saw us when he came in, so we quietly went for more coffee and joined him at his table without invitation. He almost fell off his chair. Our little coffee pit-stop became a marathon as we caught up on what had happened in his life these past years. He happened to be on his way to Vancouver to visit a specialist at the hospital that knows him well...where he spent 85 days last year. Our chance meeting was just the best...but eventually we had to leave for the last leg of our trip...if we were actually going to show up at the birthday dinner. 

The skies were grey...and the snow fell lightly for the rest of the trip. The Coquihalla Connector is not always a friendly winter drive...but it was fine on Sunday. We had compact snow...and little traffic...and listened to Paul Brandt's latest album called Just As I Am several times over. And we sang along. If you like country music...and you enjoy the old hymns like 'It is Well With My Soul'...this one is for you! Paul Brandt is Canada's most awarded country musician of all time.  A great singer, a nice guy, and one who uses his success to point people to God.

We crossed the bridge to arrive in  Kelowna just in time for dinner...wonderful Chinese cuisine. I'm not sure I'm allowed to tell you how old John is...but let's just say that our my kids remember celebrating his 50th more than 25 years ago. Here's the thing...we brought John a card and our 'presence'. He sent us home with a box of apples from the family orchard when we left for home. And that is how it has always been. We have enjoyed the 'fruits of his labours' over all these years. We wish him many more 'happy birthdays' to come!

We spent the night in Kelowna...where it seems we have a spare room (thanks, Martha!).  After enjoying a lovely post-birthday breakfast in the morning...

...we made the trek back over the hills from whence we came.  It was a lovely drive!

I actually would recommend  'driving' the Coquihalla n winter...if I can sit in the passenger seat with my camera! 

I would also recommend washing the car after!

Enjoy the weekend.


  1. What a wonderful trip! I'm sure he was surprised and thrilled to see you. But oh, what weather to drive in!

  2. I've been following your blog for a while now and i have to say your so lucky to live somewhere so beaufiful. I live in MI.

  3. Oh I'd say the same thing...fine if I wasn't doing the driving. Those roads looked rough! John must have been delighted to see you...bet you made his day. And how providential to meet up with an old friend at T.H. So like God to plan these things.

  4. Oh thanks for taking us along on your trip! Your pictures and words are delightful. What a wonderful way to honour and surprise your forever BIL!! I like how Vee put it "so like God to plan" the unexpected meeting of an old friend at Tim Hortons.

  5. What beautiful scenery in the winter. We have driven it in summer but somehow the snow on the mountains makes they stand out a lot more. I also like those "God moments" that only He can plan. What a blessing! Thanks for sharing your little road trip with us. Blessings, Pamela

  6. What a fun encounter along the way! I love the photos and happy you made it across and back with no problems with snow!

  7. I must admit Judy that I'd rather be looking out to the snow covered fields than travelling the route you took in the winter. i'm glad you had a safe trip there and back and that you had the chance meeting with your long lost friend. John must have appreciated your unexpected birthday visit and of course you left with a box of apples...I remember even when our kids had played at their friends' houses they arrived home with a box of cherries or peaches or apples and then had to help pick more the next day. That's what happens in the Okanagan. I'd love to live there again!!

  8. That's one highway I've never traveled - we always take the #3, and I in truth, never in winter. You two are intrepid! I'll bet John was a very happy Birthday Boy to get such company!

  9. Getting out tends to lead to unexpected pleasures and adventures. Glad you both decided to make the trip and share the lovely views and meetings. I feel like I got in on the road trip too!

  10. I love that drive...and it's always fun to bump into acquaintances along the way. A quick get away with a great purpose in reuniting family celebrations.
    Should I come an wash your car?

  11. It sounds like a wonderful trip. And your little car wears its mud and miles well! :o)
    xoxo Carol

  12. Beautiful photos, Judy! Happy birthday to John --I'm sure he was happy to see you and Elmer. I love mountain drives and now i will be in the passinger seat with my camera clicking for many of them :)

  13. Isn't the providence of God something special? The fact that you and your friends met in the small coffee shop, in an unexpected meeting, is proof positive that God leads and directs His children. What an extra special blessing for the four of you.

    As for the drive, I am so thankful that you were on the passenger side and that you had your camera. It certainly added a huge dose of beauty to my early morning. Gorgeous country that you live in!

  14. In Kamloops everyone has the same color car right now...brown.

  15. In Kamloops everyone has the same color car right now...brown.


'The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it.'
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


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