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.