The celebrations after the opening win of the tour meant a couple of sore heads the following morning when we all met up at 10am to board the coach for the 600 mile trip to Calgary. However we were not going to attempt it in one go and had arranged for an overnight stay in Kelowna, about 250 miles from Vancouver.
The trip was pretty uneventful with most of the squad catching up on sleep after a late night but we were delayed by a traffic jam an hour out of Vancouver, then at our stop in the nondescript town of Merritt, lunch took a lot longer than expected.
We arrived at the town of Kelowna about an hour late so the planned coaching session with a local rugby group had to be scrapped but a touch rugby session was arranged. While preparations were made we all went to the lakeside beach to make the most of the beautiful sunny weather with temperatures in the high 20s. Some got changed into swimming trunks and had a dip in the lake, others tried out beach volleyball, but all the players caught the attention of the locals on the beach, particularly the young ladies!
Kelowna is a town of about 120,000 people in the Okenagan valley and enjoys a temperate climate with the Coast Mountain region to the West and the Rockies to the East providing shelter from the worst of the elements. The rugby session was organised by CORE, the Central Okenagan Rugby Enthusiasts (corerugby.com ) whose team of volunteers spend their time promoting rugby for men and women, boys and girls of all ages. The touch sessions lasted for about an hour before we were invited back to a local club for drinks and a barbecue.
Our hosts were Vicars RFC, so named because their home ground is Priest Fields. Their clubhouse is basic but it has the essentials of a club room, a bar and a kitchen. It also has a deck area where we could all enjoy the balmy evening sun. The players were staying at University accommodation and would continue their journey by road in the morning, but Brian and I had booked into a hotel by the lake and would fly to Calgary. We accepted the offer of a lift to the hotel from Vicars President Frank Byl who told us about the area. He has lived there for 25 years and as we were in no hurry we were happy to go back to his lakeside home where a group of his friends were having a few drinks on his veranda.
The view over the lake was wonderful and over a couple of beers we heard about the sailing and fishing on offer and the general high quality of life that living in Kelowna offered. I have to say that it all seemed idyllic; even the winter temperatures rarely get below zero.
We eventually had to leave and checked into our hotel about 10, but when we tried to find a bar downtown for a final drink, we struggled to find anywhere that was open so we retired for the night. Clearly there are some downsides to life there.
The players drove through the Rockies the next day and there are some spectacular photographs on individual Facebook pages. Meanwhile, we spent the morning soaking up the sun by the pool before taking our flight over the mountains with views that were equally dramatic.
Now everyone is in Calgary, the players continuing to train hard for their game against the Prairie Wolfpack on Tuesday evening, an opposition that promises to be a tougher proposition than the BC Bears.
Pictures from the day