Osoyoos: Road 22

It’s 7:00 in the morning and it’s hot. Along with the RV traffic on the highway, I had hoped to avoid the heat. I don’t function well in extreme heat. My second cup of mediocre, but complimentary, coffee is cooling as I look out the widow of my hotel room. I know that Osoyoos in August is hot. That’s just how it is. I was expecting that. But there’s a part of me that was hoping by waking up early it wouldn’t be so bad. Admittedly, it was a bit of wishful thinking. You roll the dice and you take your chances I guess.

Man, I’m grumpy this morning.

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At least the highway’s quiet. I figure the RVs, a regular summertime fixture around the Okanagan, won’t start to rumble down the road for another couple of hours. If only for the heat, I have timed this ride well. The occasional pickup drives by. The vineyards are slowly coming to life. I make a mental note of the wineries to stop at during the drive home.

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As much as I like the Okanagan, there’s always something that feels a bit off to me. It’s hard to put my finger on, but I think it’s the mountains. They’re too small. The only other place I’ve felt like this is Marseille. There too the mountains seem to be out of proportion to everything else. Too small. Maybe I just expect my mountains to be more imposing. Domineering. Commanding. Whatever the word, the mountains around the Osoyoos are too small, too stubby, for me to feel entirely comfortable. Maybe I’m too picky. That could be it too.

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Bump.

“HISS!”

“What the fuck was that!? Oh shit! That was a snake. Aww, I’m sorry snake. Damn.”

I could’ve sworn it was crack in the road. I guess it was warming itself on the asphalt. Makes sense I suppose. I can already see the telltale shimmer of the incipient heat of the sun’s near vertical rays on the road. Today is going to smolder.

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Bump.

“HISS!’

“Fuck! Again?! Stupid snake.”

It happened again.

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“Hmm… is that another snake? Or is it a branch? Is it a branch? I’m going to go with a branch. Pretty sure it’s a branch”

Bump.

“HISS!”

“FUCK! You’ve got to be kidding me! STUPID snake!!”

The ride home becomes a game. I call it Is That A Snake? Traffic has started to pick up, making it difficult to ride outside of the shoulder. Every bump, every crack, everything on the road now gets put through a complex evaluation. Every potential obstacle is scanned and analyzed for its snake-like properties. I feel like Arnie scanning the bar in Terminator 2, except with snakes. I chuckle to myself.

Your clothes. Give them to me.”

I love those movies… I don’t think I’m very good at this game.

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The rest of the ride goes something like this:

“Is that a snake? … Nope, it was a sealed crack.”

“Is that a snake? … Nope, it was a rubber … thingy.”

“Is that a snake? … Nope, another sealed crack.”

“Is that a snake? … Shit, that was snake.”

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I avoid as many as I can. At least it’s just been snakes. I have a feeling it could be worse. There are bigger things to watch out for on Road 22. At least that’s what the sign tells me.

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