Volvos in Osoyoos 2004

Held: September 10 to 12, 2004

Our second 'Volvos in Osoyoos' meet has come and gone. The event was great fun and seemed to be over in a flash.

This year I decided to take the 1800E to the event and I gave it a spit and polish, tune up and packed ready for the trip. Unfortunately my back had other ideas. It was good and sore the day before we left, and the 1800 is deadly on sore backs, so we hosed off the 544 and headed east.

Rose and I left for Osoyoos on the Tuesday before the event to prepare for the festivities. Leaving early was not a hardship as we both like Osoyoos, particularly in the Spring and Fall. I am not that fond of the freeway so we stayed on the north side of the Fraser River all the way to Hope and after a stop for coffee we headed for Osoyoos on Highway 3, the Hope Princeton. The weather was sunny with broken clouds and that was to be the weather conditions right throughout the week and the event weekend. We could not have asked for better weather because it just poured on the coast and was generally miserable through most of the province, except Osoyoos.

Once past Hope we pretty much had the highway to ourselves. It never ceases to amaze me just how beautiful our BC scenery is and the drive was pure pleasure. We stopped for gas and a picnic lunch in the town center park in Princeton. From there we took the Old Hedley Road that parallels Highway 3 from Princeton to Hedley, on the north side of the Similkameen River. It is a pretty and winding backwoods road that gives you glimpses of Highway 3 and beautiful views of the river. There are a couple of provincial camp grounds right on the River that we will have to try on a future tenting expedition.


A few miles short of Hedley we rejoined Hwy 3 and continued to Keromeos. I love the way the terrain and vegetation changes as you leave the soggy coastal forest and a few hours later enter the semi-arid landscape of the south Okanagan. In the orchard town of Keromeos there are fruit stands lining both sides of the highway and at this time of the year they have huge multicoloured displays of squash and pumpkins. Highway 3 forks at Keromeos. The southern route leads directly to Osoyoos. We took the northern route which deposited us in the Okanagan Valley just north of Okanagan Falls and very close to the first winery on Friday's tour. We visited the Hawthorn Mountain Vineyards and warned their tour guide of the yellow school bus full of Volvophiles that would arrive on their doorstep on Friday. Leaving Hawthorn we headed south on the backroads to confirm the route that I had planned for the Friday tour. It would not be too clever to get the tour bus lost.

We checked into the Holiday Inn late in the afternoon and took the rest of the day off. Over the next couple of days we arranged the food for the winery tour, talked to the events manager for the Osoyoos Golf and Country Club about Saturday's banquet and Sunday's breakfast, arranged with the Holiday Inn to prepare the Friday night reception room, confirmed the Saturday drive route and car display location. We also found some time to swim in the lake and make a couple of therapeutic visits to local wineries.

By Thursday afternoon the underground parking of the Holiday Inn started to fill up with Volvos of all vintages and wearing BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Washington and Oregon licence plates. Chef, Bert Sherlock turned up on Thurday and invited a few couples over to their house in Osoyoos for a warm up feast for the event. Very good start.

Friday morning the 48 passenger Yellow School Bus arrived and we all piled in for the of winery tour. We loaded up coolers full of fruit/cheese/meat trays that SuperValue had prepared and headed straight north on the Okanagan main drag, Highway 97 to Okanagan Falls. As with all the activities we would enjoy, the bus tour was a pay-as-you-go event so I collected bus fare. We all got a laugh as I think it was Don and Mary Lou Johnstons from Washington who paid part of their fare with a Canadian $2 bill. It is now in our meet photo album.

Just past OK falls the bus took a hard left off the highway and the bus driver started to earn his keep. The road to the Hawthorn Mountain Vineyard is a steep winding switchback called Green Lake Road. The people looking out the low side of the bus were edging away from the windows. As my uncle liked to say "we were on the bitter edge of bugger all". This part of the journey worked a treat, because at the top of the hill was the winery, and the bus riders were certainly ready for it. The tour guide at Hawthorn, Elaine Gowing was great, She had a wealth of knowledge and just bubbled with enthusiasm. After the tour we congregated on the outside terrace for tasting. The winery is perched on the mountain and has the most amazing view of the Okanagan valley. A very nice spot to be sipping wine in the sunshine. They even offered to set up picnic tables on the lawn for us to have our lunch.


Leaving Hawthorn we headed south on the scenic back roads on the west side of the Okanagan Valley. Besides being a great road it avoided having to ride the bus back down the switchback. The route was part of the drive organized by Bryan Coles for the Volvos in Osoyoos 2002 event and conveniently deposited us at the Tinhorn Creek Winery with its tasting vineyard, then the Gehringer Brothers Vineyard and finally the Silver Sage Winery. Silver Sage was a riot. The hostess had a great sense of humour and an obvious love of the business and was almost too generous with the tastings. After a short drive we were back at the hotel in need of a nap before the welcoming reception.

Lots more people had arrived while we were gone and the reception was a bit crowded. We were all in a good mood and with the digital slide show of past event showing in the background and a few 6 ft long subs from Quiznos to soak up some of the refreshments we enjoyed ourselves immensely. We drew tickets for the door prize gifts donated to the event by club members, Volvo related companies and VCBC. I kept the welcoming speech to a bare minimum and the most important announcements were the plans for Saturday's country drive, car show and banquet.

First thing Saturday Morning most of us headed for the Osoyoos/Oroville, Canada/US border crossing for a drive on some beautiful paved secondary roads directly east of Oroville. Brian Coles had taken the time to warn the border of our arrival and we were welcomed and passed through the border in no time. We re-grouped at a Chevron just south of the border and made an impressive and colourful display with 20 or so Volvos that spanned all the models from 544 to S60.

Our route took us due east from Oroville to a truly unique area. The scenery here is quite beautiful with rolling desert grasslands, and bright blue sky, lots of horses and cattle and almost no people. The roads themselves are curvy and well paved, just pure entertainment for those who like to drive. I chose a route that wandered the farm lands and passed the metropolis of Chesaw and then dropped into a treed canyon to Mary Lake for a rest stop. Actually the Chesaw Tavern is worth a stop but we did not stop this trip. The tavern looks like something out of a cowboy movie and the interior is papered with signed dollar bills and even the odd loonie nailed to the walls. You can buy yourself a T-shirt that says "Where the hell is Chesaw, Washington".

Its hard to lead a large group on a drive like this. First you have to choose a route that won't lose somebody along the way, and then set a pace that isn't too fast or too slow. I spent a lot of time finalizing the route on the principle that the lead car can drive quickly and then stop and let the rest catch up at critical junctions. It seemed to work. We got to drive fast and we did not lose anybody. Along the route we stopped at scenic spots for pictures and at a couple of spots Peter and Marla Madsen of Washington and Peter Eulau and Cameron Lovre of Portland climbed hills to take pictures of the parade. They have promised our club copies and these will be included in a digital slide show of the event as well as our photo album.

After Mary Lake we reversed our route and headed west to the Ghost Town of Molson, Washington. I took off early to warn the Molson folks of our arrival, and left Bert Sherlock to lead the way to Molson. Rose and I drove quickly so that we would have lots of time to sort things out at the museum before the rest of the cars arrived. What I had forgotten about was Bert's usual pace. No sooner had we reached Molson than Bert shows up with an innocent look on his face followed by the others with slightly bemused expressions muttering about speeds. No matter, everyone arrived safely.

Molson, Wa. was originally a gold mining boom-town founded by the Molson Family of Montreal. It served as a trading center and home for the miners until the boom ended in the late 1890s and its population plunged until the area opened to homesteaders in 1900. A new boom occurred in the early 1900s when the Great Northern Railway came directly through town and contributed to the construction in 1914 of an amazing 3 storey brick school house and a brick recreation center. Its bazaar to see these structures now, in the middle of nowhere.

Molson is a Washington, historic site and the school has been converted to a large museum. A block away is an outdoor museum with a congregation of ancient wooden buildings and equally ancient farm and mining equipment. The climate in the south Okanagan is so dry that nothing rots or rusts. The museums usually closes for the season on Labour Day, however they graciously agreed to re-open just for our visit. The men and ladies of the Molson Museum even made us a wonderful lunch and we were all generous in our donations to the Historical Society.

Full and happy, we left Molson bound for our car show at the Haynes Point Provincial Park in Osoyoos. We were a bit late because of all the interesting things to see at Molson, but we still had lots of time at the car display to inspect the cars and talk to our friends. We distributed ballots for peoples choice awards and Peter Eulau's white 72 1800E took first place closely followed by Chris Ainscough's dark green 69 122S. The long distance award was well earned by Randy Heathcote and Lise Merritt for driving their V8 powered beautiful black 262 Bertone all the way from Regina Saskatchewan.

It had been a busy day but it wasn't over yet. After the car show we returned to the hotel for a rest and to clean up in preparation for the nights banquet at the Osoyoos Golf and Country Club. We had used the same venue in 2002 and at that time our banquet coincided with the Golf Club Members banquet and we were able to share their feast. To my amazement the same thing happened this year and we had a great supper. The 'speech-giving' was limited to thanking our attendees, giving out the awards and raffling a bunch more door prizes. One very coveted prize was a handmade broom donated by Rob and Janet Schwieger who operate North Woven Broom, in Crawford Bay at the north east end of Kootenay Lake. Their hand crafted brooms have been used for the Harry Potter movies and the remake of Bewitched. Ironically it was bachelor, Charlie Teetzel who won the broom, to the envy of most of the women in the room. Rumour has it that the broom changed hands for future considerations and is now happily sweeping in the Sherlock's, Osoyoos Residence. We all left the banquet full and happy and ready for some rest after a very active day.