Making our way through BC, we have set up the trailer in an RV park in Kelowna. Kelowna is part of the beautiful Okanagan Valley, and the city borders the Okanagan Lake. Translation is from Okanagan First Nations – Kelowna means “Grizzly Bear”. There are approximately 115,000 people currently living in Kelowna, but it has become one of the fastest growing cities in North America.
Since we arrived, the weather here has been beautiful – 26 to 30 everyday, which is apparently above the area average for this time of year. The climate here is characterized by dry sunny summers, and cool winters. Precipitation averages just under 15 inches annually. The very warm temperatures and arid dryness put Kelowna at high risk for forest fires. In August 2003 a wildfire destroyed over 200 homes and approximately 30,000 residents had to be evacuated. Then in July 2009, wildfires destroyed hundreds of acres of forest in West Kelowna – 17,000 residents were evacuated. Homes have been rebuilt, but evidence of the forest damage remains.
During the summer, Kelowna averages 300 hours of sunshine in July, but only 40 hours of sunshine in January (by comparison Winnipeg has 120 hours of sunshine in January). The winter months are mostly overcast because of the valley clouds.
Kelowna has miles of beautiful sandy beaches and parklands to enjoy. The acres of orchards are amazing! The fruit groves are interwoven throughout residential areas. Quite amazing to see, but I am disappointed we will be moving on before the fruit is harvested. Each vineyard has a winery inviting guests in for tours and tastings – we plan to do this later in May when my Aunt & Uncle from Calgary come to visit. It is easy to see why tourists liken the Okanagan to the Napa Valley area of California