Okanagan Valley, British Columbia – Wine tasting and school bus inhabitant

We are reaching Okanagan Valley in Vernon, one of the most developed touristic areas in British Columbia. The area is known for relaxingly un-Canadian weather, dry and hot. Today this is scarcely noticeable, because it has 12°, and it rains continuously. Okanagan Valley is Canada’s largest wine-growing area with nearly 90 vineyards. We will not even basically manage to visit all of them, but we will try hard and heroically to fight our way through the wine tastings. What a hard day!

The few campgrounds are expensive and loud because of the nearby highway. It is not easy to find any other solution in this densely populated area. We are going uphill on a road where are nearly no houses yet, but beside the turning area in the end of the cul-de-sac a scrapped school bus is parked that doesn’t seem to be in best condition. Inside somebody is pottering about and burning something on the open flame of a camping cooker. A – put cautiously – not very wealthy man is looking from the window. He obviously lives in the bus, and not very comfortable. He has long grey hair to save the money for the hairdresser, as well as the money for razor blades, what degenerates into an untamed beard. We are asking Ralph if we might park our truck beside him for a night. But he is evidently afraid that two vehicles could attract more attention than just one and might fear competitors. He was looking for a job as a picker. Cherries, nectarines and plums are ripe, and apples won’t be a long time in coming. We could park on an unsold plot a few metres further down, nobody should be bothered. As soon as we are convincing him that we don’t want to pick anything, we’ll leave tomorrow morning, and that our truck even has a valid license plate, he is well reassured and makes concessions. But we already decided to use the neighbouring plot. An hour later, we are cooking dinner, it is knocking on the door. It is Ralph with a pretty big water canister in his hand. He would like to make a coffee, but he ran out of water. Could we help him out? We have enough water. Besides he didn’t manage to buy sugar. Do I have some packs for him? I am filling some sugar in a bag and adding some of the ciabatta breads from the restaurant sack. He is apologizing that he has nothing in return. Singing and whistling he is jumping back to his bus. Obviously we made somebody happy.

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