We took off from Vernon before noon and stopped at Osoyoos CBB9 for a picnic lunch… Butted up against the Crowsnest Highway, CBB9 is a bleak airstrip with absolutely no amenities, no hangars, no visible resident aircraft, no flying club shack (nor buildings of any sort, save for the industrial sprawl across the highway), and has all the appearances of hosting beer-drinking drag racers at night. We were loathe to leave our plane in such a place and venture into Osoyoos itself, which was a shame, as the beaches were dog-friendly (according to a web-search), and from the air, looked idyllic. However, we had a pleasant picnic lunch in wonderful heat, surrounded by spectacular hills and vineyards across the way. Tucked into a little dip at the end of RWY 30 (and thus cleverly hidden from the highway) we discovered visiting CGPQX—a Pipistrel Sinus ultralight with a remarkable history. The pilot wasn’t present, though by the time we were on our take-off roll, he was on the radio and doing a run-up, so we had a quick chat during out climb-out. This modified ultralight was once owned by a Mr Matevž Lenarčič of Slovenia, and, among other records, it holds a 2004 world record for its journey around the globe.
After a picnic lunch, we flew back north a wee bit to Oliver, a friendly little airport that welcomes under-the-wing camping adjacent to an accessible flying club that has picnic tables, a bathroom with a flush toilet (not to be undervalued, when camping), a small fridge (excellent for re-freezing gel-packs overnight for our little cooler) and the usual old couches and plethora of flying magazines.
The town of Oliver is within very easy walking distance (10 minutes) of the airport, with several grocery stores and a few restaurants. We rambled along a portion of Oliver’s very pretty Hike and Bike trail (18.8 km long, paved and flat), beside the picturesque Okanagan River.
We accessed the Hike & Bike trail from the Kinsmen’s Children’s Waterpark in town. We returned to our tent, cooked dinner on our campstove, and ate while the sun set, doves cooed in the trees, and coyotes gave cry in the surrounding hills.
As the fires throughout the province raged on, little did we know that this was to be our only night of camping in the interior of BC, at least for this trip….