The Char Bar Experience

It was a ladies of leisure kind afternoon, and after driving around for sometime trying to make a decision, we ended up choosing to head into the Simmons building in East Village where we got all comfy in Char Bar.

It’s funny how there are so many fabulous restaurants that I want to try in the city, and for some reason when the time came to go out and dine somewhere – my mind went completely blank, and I couldn’t come to any sort of decision what-so-ever, nor could I even think of a name of an establishment that I wanted to visit.

Ahhh, where am I again?! Oh right! Calgary. The mind of a traveler. Although it was a last minute decision to head out, so we really didn’t put a game plan into action before hand. Had we have planned the lunch excursion the evening prior, I would have put some damn good thought into it. However that being said, spur of the moment spontaneity, does lead to some pretty favorable experiences. Not to mention, the ambiance in the Simmons Building is right up my alley. I love the fact that it’s a historic building that’s been restored, I am all about history, vintage, and recycling. The open concept of the Phil & Sebastian cafe, Sidewalk Citizen Bakery, and Char Bar that are inside, is also a winner. Three separate, local businesses, whom are like minded and working in union to create this wonderful culinary experience.

The feel when you walk into the Simmons building is warm, chic and inviting, with plenty of aromas to savor, from the fresh ground coffee, to bakery delights, onto the culinary creations.

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Having spent the better of the last 5 years living on the island of Mallorca in Spain, and having that still as my home for half of every year, I have been quite spoiled with my luxury Mallorcan lifestyle and incredible dining experiences. So I suppose my bar is set pretty high. I myself very much enjoy atmosphere, setting the stage for my experience. Obviously having worked in the hospitality industry for many years, service is quite important to me as well. Natasha and myself got seated at the most perfect quaint little table, nicely tucked away, where we could have our photo shoot and laughs without being amidst loads of people. It was 2 in the afternoon as well, so there was not a massive crowd as it was.


Obviously first thing was first. Get on top of the vino situation. Yes, if you have followed my blog up until now, you know, I am a massive wine lover. Having traveled the world for 10 years and visited many vineyards around the globe, my palette is finely tuned and has a massive appreciation for fine wines.

Today the Rosé was jumping out at me. Mirabeau En Provence from France, was the wine of choice.



I absolutely adore French rosé, particularly rosé from the Provence region – where they are famous for their rosé. Producing it from as early as 600bc, so you could say they have had some practice. This one was a nice combination of wild strawberry, red cherry and raspberry. It went down beautifully.


We had a very fantastic server, Tyson, whom was extremely knowledgeable and very happy to give us any and all recommendations on what to try.


We were interested in just a few small things to share, and so decided on the vegetable ceviche, pistachio and avocado bruschetta, plantain chips, and a small portion of regular fries.


Wait! Before you dig in, let’s not forget to place your napkin.

Being classy makes you cool – and so does sipping on fine wine in a classy establishment.

The vegetable ceviche was super flavorful, and well prepared, I enjoyed every bit of it. The pistachio and avocado bruschetta was made with a different take, but I am a massive avocado lover, so there is no way I won’t enjoy some avo. The chips and fries where exactly that, chips and fries – as you would expect them to be. It was all very tasty.
We were treated to some dessert which was super nice.


In which I washed down with a nice steaming almond milk cappuccino.

Look how much love they put into that cup

 I was trying my darnedest to make the ol’ classic heart with my hands. For some reason though, I couldn’t quite do it. What the heck?! After struggling with it for a bit, I came to the conclusion that my hands just weren’t made to make a damn heart. Well I suppose my real heart is just big enough as it is.

Before our dining experience was concluded, we were also kindly offered to be taken on a tour of the building. To which we obviously accepted.

Tyson continued to wow us with his knowledge of the place.

That table happens to be 103 years old.
The flooring and brick are also completely original.
An original fire door. In case of a fire, the rope would burn and the door would automatically close, keeping all the money safe.
The room upstairs that I would book my private functions in.They do also have ample seating upstairs, as well as a patio in the summer.
Have I mentioned how much I love oysters?!
They take great care in dry-curing their meat.

We were feeling very knowledgeable after that tour. It’s always so nice to see people whom truly enjoy and take pride in their job. Very impressive. What was also impressive is that Tyson proudly hand crafts all his own bow ties. That’s a good stitch if you ask me.

Having had such a fabulous experience for the second time around at Char Bar, you can guarantee that I will be back again in the very near future. 

There is a couple of very satisfied customers.

So, if you happen to be scratching your noggin trying to decide where to take yourself for your next culinary experience in Calgary, then make sure to head down to Char Bar, and make it a memorable culinary delight.

 

3 Steps to take when your locked in an Outhouse

First of all, how in the heck do I end up these situations?! Really now, the most random situations always seem to sneak up on me. It’s either the most incredibly amazing things, or the most ridiculously random. There seems to be no middle ground.

So yes, in case your wondering, I did get locked into a damn outhouse. I have been accustomed to outhouses all over the globe. Or at times shall I say versions of outhouses…. I mean the rotted wooden hole filled caving in ones that I had to use when I was working in the jungle’s of Central and South America were one version, oh and there was that one in very rural Mozambique which was 4 thatched walls, strung together, and inside is no hole in the ground, yet just a pile of boulders, in which you have to step on top of other people’s business and find a spot to do your business – and being the only foreign person these people have ever seen, you have a whole village just stand there watching you go inside and do your thing. Of course I maintained my classy composure, did it like a rockstar(literally rock-star), while smiling and waving at everyone while I entered and then preceded to try my best to hover over these rocks that you would rather not step on. When in Africa…. Sounds like pretty pleasant experiences don’t they?! They definitely weren’t the most glamorous loos that I have ever had the pleasure of using, nor did they smell like a bouquet of roses that some hunk bought me.  Trust me that’s only a couple of many outhouse stories.

Of course I prefer porcelain and marble, however in some circumstances, you just ain’t got that option – and if there is one thing that I am, it’s Adaptable. Whether I enjoy the experience or not, its still an experience that I am alive to feel, so I always maintain a smile, and a good sense of humor to the best of my ability.

So here I was yesterday morning, on my 15 hour drive from Northwest Territories to Calgary, in – 30 c weather, and ridiculously icy road conditions, when nature decided to call.


I should know better then to drink a coffee and a tea directly before hitting the highway, as there isn’t much of anything for the first few hours of the drive.

The first road side turn out with an out house that I came across and I immediately pulled over to try and answer natures call…..

Holy geez! Someone did their business all over the toilet seat rather then inside, and it was -30 so it was frozen to the seat. Let’s just say it wasn’t pretty – and I could darn well hold it and give nature a busy signal.

40 km later, and I reached the NWT/Alberta boarder, where there happened to be another outhouse. I pulled over once again, jumped out, looked inside, and was once again flabbergast at what I saw. Are you freaken kidding me?! Is it the new in thing to use the toilet seat rather then the toilet hole? Is there some sort of stomach bug in the area? So many questions. Yet I couldn’t stand looking at the sight, so I put nature on hold once again and hit the road. You and I both know, nature does not like being put on hold, and she was getting a bit antsy and starting kicking me in the bladder. Ok, ok, I promise not to ingest so many liquids before my road trips in the future.

20 kms down the road again, and I came up to a little place called Indian Cabins, where you get snacks and cheap alcohol in the middle of nowhere.


I seen the frozen out house and instead of going inside to see if they had a nice warm ladies room, ‘as there just wasn’t time for that’, I went straight to the outhouse and answered the call. I mean third times a charm right?


Mother nature was peeved though, and not so charming this time around. As soon as I found my relief and went to vacate the stall, I realized I was locked in. What the!? There is no way this is happening I thought. I rattled the door knob, and to no avail…. I kicked the door a couple times… Wearing my sneaker wedges weren’t exactly the most ideal for the job. I rattled the knob and pushed the door at the same time… Well it didn’t take me long to realize that Nature was obviously pissed at me, and was trying to hold me captive! In such brutally cold conditions, and not having mitts a hat, or proper boots, I could feel frosty starting to bite at my toes.

I dug in my jacket pockets and all I had with me was my car keys, and my bottle of Abundance essential oil…. I started calling for help, knowing that the one person that was inside would never hear me, and in that kind of weather people don’t go outside unless they have too. I also contemplated inhaling my abundance oil, although I wasn’t sure what kind of abundance it would bring me in that moment, but it would never fail to be relaxing.

So on to Plan B, ‘Survival of the fittest’

I am pretty quick thinker, and I do have loads of wilderness first aid and survival training… So, I stayed calm, and rationally assessed my situation. Freaken Petrena…. How do you find yourself in these places. Here are the three steps I took, to free myself from Natures cold ass cage.

Step 1Call for help, I mean even if no one can here you. Call your little heart out. Not to mention it keeps your blood pumping, which keeps you warm, and keeps your vocals singing. Its darn cold outside, and I was about to turn into an ice princess. I have too many ambitions in life for that shit.

Step 2 – Use whatever you have in your pockets as a tool to help you. I realized that on my keys was the car alarm!! I know whomever was inside would never hear me calling for help, but perhaps they would hear the car alarm. So I sounded the high alarm! It would only go off for about 5 minutes at a time before I would have to press the button again, but I wasn’t giving up.

Step 3 – Look at other ways of escaping. Seeing as how my super human strength wasn’t happening when I tried to kick the door down, I looked up and seen there was a bit of openings going over to the other side. It was quite high, but I tried my best to shimmy up. I realized I could probably do it, I would have had to kick off my wedge heels though, and then figure out how I would get down on the other side without breaking a leg on the 6 foot drop. So I decided to wait it out bit longer before that attempt at being in Cirque De Solier.

45 minutes later, I was starting to lose hope and body heat…. But it was in that moment I heard someone come outside, and boot steps coming towards me. It’s always in the moment where you feel like you hit rock bottom that something amazing happens.


A man got to the door, unlocked it, opened it, and said, ‘What are you doing locked in the outhouse?!’

Oh you know, I was just hanging out for some shits and giggles, no big deal. Who doesn’t like a good outhouse sesh? NOT! Clearly I had to pee like a race horse and ran into the first clean looking outhouse I could find. Although sarcasm aside, he was my night in shining armor, and I wanted to through  my arms around him and thank him for saving my life. I didn’t though. I mean I did thank him, but I also kept my classy composure, and hands to myself.

He told me maybe I should go inside and freshen up in the nice warm washroom. Oh Petrena, you silly silly women, you shud have followed your gut in the beginning when it told you to go inside and look for a warm ladies room.

Moral of the story: Always listen to your gut – and when you fail to do that, then, be a survivor in the most awesome fashion possible.  An hour behind schedule, but I was back on the open road of adventure, and I have finally arrived in Calgary!


So here you go, keep this trusty little step-by-step guide handy to get yourself out of being locked in an outhouse, or you can use this guide to not do what I did, and just don’t get yourself locked in a darn outhouse.

Happy road tripping days!

Snow, and the shoes for the occasion.

Winter time entertainment. It come is all forms, shapes and sizes. I love a good ol’ winter adventure sesh, especially when you find yourself amidst a beautiful balmy winter day. Not to mention in the stunning Northwest Territories region of Canada. It’s not uncommon to find temperatures dipping down to -50c in January/February, yes freeze your limbs right off kinda weather, so -22 was feeling like a Arctic summer dream. I always say, once you get past -30c, its just friggen cold, and the number of it no longer matters.

That is where my fire place comes in handy, oh yes, a nice toasty warm fire. I get that bad boy blazing in the winter, so when you come in from the ridiculously cold conditions, and need to thaw your lungs since the air pretty much froze in there – your house is like a oven sent from heaven! I absolutely adore it. It’s a winter pleasure for sure. Every season has its perks, no matter what, you can always make the most of any situation, and this is an example of me looking on the the bright side of any circumstance.

Being a balmy winter day, my friend Krystina and myself decided that we needed to get out and enjoy some time with mother nature and all her winter glory. Gosh, its damn stunning out here in the winter. Sheer winter blanket beauty coating all the tree’s and landscape. So I kicked off my high heels, covered my bare feet and we dawned the best shoes for the wintry occasion, which happen to be none other then, snowshoes, and we hit the trails at the golf course just outside town, in Hay River, NWT.


Literally I hadn’t gone snowshoeing since high school, which was quite awhile ago now…. I mean at the very least it was 16 years since I had a pair on – which made this little excursion extra exciting. Not that snowshoeing is a great level of difficulty, its just a nice, relaxing form of winter exercise.

Once we got out there and got ourselves together, it was GO time! Initially it was feeling cold ass out there with the wind chill. Even through my 3 pairs of socks my toes were feeling frozen, but we trooped on. Knowing that once we got our blood pumping we would warm up.


It really didn’t take long before frozen toe syndrome was a thing of the past.


The trails at the Hay River Golf Course are very well done. Full of snow shoe and cross country skiing tracks.


It’s apparent that these are pretty popular winter sports from all those tracks. We were in awe of the winter wonderland-esque beauty that we were surrounded by. Totally engulfed in it.

 There wasn’t the best path markings, and we did get lost in and amongst it all for awhile, not in a bad way though, in an adventurous way. As any good traveler knows, “It’s not always the destination that’s important, its the journey along the way”. Oh, and we did at one point find our way, or should I say, ‘Ricardo’s Way‘, so we followed the snowy brick road.


It was so peaceful, calm and serene. At many parts the snow was being blown off the branches giving the effect as if it was snowing. There was another area where there were birds chirping, and squirrels playing. It was majestic to say the least.

In the end we covered just shy of 6 km of distance, and killed a few hours, enjoying every moment, stopping to bask in the endless splendor, playing background music(when my phone was actually working), and held up trees….


  Oh, come on now, who doesn’t like to spend some time holding up a pine tree?!

I say when my phone was working because the darn thing kept freezing and shutting off on me….. So I would stick in my shirt and un-thaw it. It’s not as though I have loads down there, so there was plenty of room for it. Worked like a charm I tell yah. Iphones clearly aren’t built to brave arctic winter conditions, but she did well considering. We even had icecycles on our hair and eyelashes.

  Being awesome kept us warm though. It never fails.

We knew we found base again when we came into view of the club house.


Yes we were melting with enthusiastic joy of our accomplishment of the day.


Another afternoon of rocking my little world, and doing so with the epic company of a life long friend. It was a breath of fresh scenic air, and a bonding event with mother nature herself. So if your feeling like a nice chilled little winter adventure, slap on some snow shoes, grab a good friend, and get your asses out there.


I am already preparing for round two before I leave my Northern homeland, this time busting out cross country skis. Let’s put our best foot forward. Happy winter days!

Fishing, beers and bonfires North of 60.

Fishing, one of my favorite lifelong past times(well so is beers, and bonfires actually). From playing the card game ‘Go Fish’ from as early as I could master the art of cards, to fishing my little heart out on the Hay River and Great Slave lake in Northwest Territories, Canada-  from as early as I could master the art of operating a fishing rod.

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Yes, with all that experience under my belt – you could basically call me a pro. An extremely amateur pro that is. You can be whatever you want! So today for me, amateur fishing pro it is.

A few months ago, I was invited to go on the fishing trip of a lifetime. Seriously it had always been a dream of mine to go to a remote fly-in fishing lodge. Long behold, that dream became reality this past summer, and it was just as amazing as I had imagined. Heck yes it was. Lucky  ass! I have my moments anyways. Don’t we all?!

I flew from Yellowknife NWT, on a float plane all the way to Gordon’s Lake, NWT – where Sandy Point Fishing Lodge was awaiting my long overdue arrival. Just thinking back to it brings a massive smile to my face. I want to do it all over again!! It was a remote weekend full of endless laughter, incredible fishing, ridiculously good food, a bear finding us all, hot tubbing, and campfire stories. EPIC, is the short way to sum it up. I wrote about the experience in this little article below.

https://apursuitoflife.com/2015/07/14/sportfishinglodgenwt/

Since then, I collaborated a video from the trip(yes I now do films), and I wanted to share it with all you wonderful people! So please, pop some popcorn, sit back and get comfy and enjoy the next ‘not quite’ 7 minutes of entertainment.

If you are ever up for a fishing trip adventure of a life time, then I say you should darn well go to this exact lodge! The owners are fantastic and provide their guests with an absolutely unforgettable adventure of grand proportions. I also left with a parting gift of a grand hangover…. It’s not my fault beers, fishing, and camp fires go so well together. Don’t you just love a good adventure?!

Blissdom at Blue Mountain, Snow & The CN tower.

My adventures just endlessly roll on, and I am a pro at going with the awesome flow. Being in the little picturesque Blue Mountain village was rockin my world. I  was booked into a super comfy hotel room, and was stoked for the Blissdom blogging/writing Conference that was about to ensue. After all the awesome things I had been told about it – how could I not be excited?! This was also the 6th and final year of the Blissdom Conference as its being changed into something else. So attending it was the only option.

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The weekend’s schedule was jam packed from the get go, full of workshop’s, networking events, and inspirational guest speakers.

First thing was first. I hit the slopes hard.

IMG_4597              Kidding! That was totally staged.

It was also pretty awesome that I was able to catch up with my friends Tiffany and Kyla, whom were the fab women whom told me about Blissdom earlier this year at a Calgary conference. They are both super cool, and made me feel extremely warmly welcomed. It was pretty kick ass of them, that’s for darn sure.

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Two exceptionally awesome ladies.

As any good evening networking event is, it’s also a party. So there was a different theme event every evening. I mean in all reality, after a few glasses of Vino, or personality in a bottle as I like to say, I become social as heck, and a bit more of a comedian. I exude clever wit at that point.

On the Friday of the conference weekend they hosted a Marti Gras party. They literally transformed the conference room all over an afternoon, and it became a most impressive scene for a fabulous social party.

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I was having the best time ever at this conference and meeting so many awesome people. Being at an event surrounded by ‘like minded‘ people, is always bound to be awesome. Not to mention all the stops were pulled out for the conference as a whole. The weekend went by way to fast. As does any fantastic time. I absolutely made a damn good decision when I said yes to Blissdom.

After it all was said and done. The cherry on top arrived my last day. I awakened from my sweet slumber in sleeping beauty land – I got up and opened the curtains, only to be completely shocked in the best way ever. The whole place was covered in SNOW! Glorious freaken snow.

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Heck yes it was. I love the snow. I pretty much had to rub my eyes to make sure I was seeing properly. ‘And once again, I love today!’ is precisely what I was thinking at that moment. It now looked like a real Mountain Ski Resort Village. Pure snowy bliss after my own heart.

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The only problem I had with this situation was that I only had my high heels – they were not meant for the snow, and this particular condition, wasn’t one for bare feet. I knew I needed to go check out the shops to see if they had any shoes I like.

These heels not only looked ridiculous in that weather, but they were feeling like they had serious potential to be a liability, and it probably wouldn’t look classy. So keeping my priorities in check, I as gracefully as ever, walked out the door, and skidded straight over to…… Starbucks. Like I said priorities. This lady shops better after a starbucks. Snow and Starbucks. I couldn’t have planned this day better if I tried. A few hours later with no luck of finding new shoes, I decided to hit the road and began my drive back to the big city lights(freeways) of Toronto.

It was so funny too because as soon as you drive 20 km away from Blue Mountain Village there was no snow in sight.

This trip was turning out to continually just get better and better, full of none stop entertainment. I didn’t expect anything less really. Me + Adventures(even when alone) ALWAYS = Awesome. Its just the way I roll.

Back in Toronto I once again met up with my mom and aunt so we could finish our trips together, and in nothing less then true tourist fashion.

So, we elevated ourselves straight up the CN tower. Beam me up!

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Literally the last time I was in the CN tower was about 20 years ago?! Crazy how that happens. As they say, ‘time flies when your having fun!’

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It was cool. We basked in some views of epic proportions,and had individual selfie photo shoots on the glass floor.

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It was a nice and trippy little experience.

There also happen to be a Blue Jay’s game going on at the stadium right beside the tower! The energies were high, there were excited Blue Jay fans everywhere and the sounds and noises were pumping.

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We already had dinner plans, but if we hadn’t, we would have been getting tickets, and as much Blue Jay’s/baseball  apparel as we could get our paws on, and went on to act like the biggest baseball fans ever! Without a doubt.

That didn’t stop us from taking a selfie outside of it. At least if nothing else we were making the most of being in the midst of it all.

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Really though, just being in the presence of it all truly was pretty amazing.

A massively successful trip once again. Note to self: keep on bringing out the awesomeness in everything you do. It works every darn time.

Toronto reunions, beer tasting, and being awesome.

Hello Toronto! At least that’s what I said upon arriving to the big city from Spain last week. Little did I know the reunions and beer tasting about to ensue, leading up to Blissom, a sweet ass blogging/writing conference happening at Blue Mountain Resort(my reason for being in Toronto) – were gonna be as fantastic as I imagined, if not a bit better. Knowing that this conference was something that I couldn’t miss, I just freaken went for it. I booked my tickets from Spain, a hotel room, and hit the bright blue skies. Jet setting across the Atlantic. It’s always a bit sad to leave Mallorca, but my love story of where I call home, belongs to both Canada and Mallorca. I was also darn excited to touch my true home soil. As per always.

After I arrived to the big city, I grabbed my car rental and headed straight to the hotel. Possibly straight was not the best description, as coming from driving on the island roads of Mallorca to the freeways of Toronto – was a bit of a shocker! Let me just say, I needed a day of it to get my barring’s and survive it all. Pinch me please! After which however, I did nothing less then rock that freeway driving.
Now guess who just happened to be waiting for me at the hotel?!

It was none other then my beautiful mother.

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I can’t imagine a face I would be more happy to see at that moment. Seeing your mother’s face always give a sense of home. My mother and myself never get to travel together. Even though it is just Toronto, it was exotic to us, simply because we were there together, and it isn’t the NWT or Alberta. It’s new stomping grounds, that we never stomp on together, on the other side of our rather large country, with wine and laughter waiting to be tapped into.
Literally no jet leg could bring me down from the cloud nine of this awesome occasion, and the vino was flowing from the get go. In reality, we all know it’s not hard to twist my rubber wine loving arm.

Things were of off to a phenomenal beginning(who doesn’t love a happy beginning), and within a very short period of time, it was about to be taken up even higher. Approximately an hour after the festivities began, a long lost travel buddy of mine gracefully arrived. Tanya!

Her and I met and traveled in Panama 10 short ass years go. At least it feels short. It’s amazing how 10 years can feel so short. Isn’t it just?! We had the best times ever, some of the best of my life in fact.

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This was another reunion of epic proportions. One of those beautiful friendships that feel as though no time has passed, as you just pick up exactly where you left off. I was super excited that her and my mother were getting to meet also.
So with the party so far being a massive success, and just when I was thinking ‘Wow, this night is rocking my world, I don’t think it could possibly get better.‘ Long behold, it got better.
A couple hours later, my fabulous aunt flew in from Arizona to join the party.
Three’s a crowd?? Well alright then. How about we make it 4 shall we? We laughed, we sang(maybe I exaggerate a tad), we drank wine, and then right in the middle of it all, my jet leg kicked in – and I passed the freak out pretty much mid laughter. As Tanya’s description was the next day, ‘One minute you were laughing, and the next minute I look over and you were sleeping’. Oops! But I am not surprised, and it’s a pretty entertaining story if you ask me.

Believe me, I gave it my best shot. An 8 hour time change(plus layovers) kicks an awesome women’s ass. No matter how awesome you are. I think I was entitled to be the first one to hit the hay. Beauty sleep is important, and I don’t wanna look my age if I don’t have too. Plus, there ain’t nothin’ quite like laughing yourself to sleep. Sounds pretty therapeutic if you ask me.
The next morning after a hearty ‘let’s soak up last nights wine party’ breakfast, it was time to hit the highway and get going on the next leg of my adventures. Which was, heading to Blue Mountain with my long lost travel buddy accompanying me on yet another travel experience. Although we did get a little side tracked along the way……          As any good travel buddies do.
Creemore, Ontario. A historically set quaint little village. Something like a little postcard. Alright, well I know postcards are pretty much the same size. So I suppose I mean – like your average size, picturesque postcard.

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So dang cute. Seriously. I love anything historical.

IMG_4586 Being an avid cyclist, I was stoked to see this! Every town/city should get some of these bad boys.

Aaaand,

IMG_4776 Every restaurant should have there own garden. That’s the definition of fresh food right there.

I also have a real soft spot for Autumn. The colored leaves added the stunning rustic ambiance to the already antique feel.

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I was loving life. As if that is any different than usual. I was particularly enjoying this experience though.

I was loving life even more when we stopped to take a tour of the local brewery. Creemore Springs.

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They fire brew their beer in an authentic copper kettle, and also use water from the local springs. Talk about fresh brew! For a little town, and a little brewery, they pump out some crisp and tasty brewski!

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The staff were absolutely fantastic. Very knowledgeable and welcoming. The staff that work there, really DO enjoy working there. That was apparent to me from beginning to end, and I am a huge fan of people doing things they love. When I see it, I know something right is being done, and it brings joy directly to the ticker in my chest. Life is too short to not love what your doing. Might I add, there are 80 employee’s at the brewery. That creates opportune employment in the community. Loving it. That’s my stamp of approval. Stamp, stamp, stamp. Stamps all over the show.

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It’s a small brewery so the tour doesn’t take long. However, for a small place, they do have a broad little array of beers.

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I was quite surprised at the volume of people that were coming and going during our time there. Which I am obviously not doing a good job of depicting in these photos. The establishment itself is fantastic. I must say. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

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Let’s not forget to grab a souvenir.

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That was a massively impressive pit stop, but I was happy to finally arrive to Blue Mountain and my hotel.

Ummm, hello big welcoming bed!!

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Sprawling out on this was sure to be exactly what the travel doctor ordered.

Not before Tanya and I went for a good one on one dinner sesh, put on the ol’ laughing pants type catch up. 10 years later, and the only thing that changed is we are not as shiny and sweaty as we were in the hot humid weather. Oh, and maybe I don’t have that sun kissed glow at the moment either…. Darn. Time for a vacay I guess!

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Everything so far on my trip was spectacularly awesome. Better then I expected. I am lucky, and when you love life, it loves you back. I was ready. Ready to attend the most incredible blogging/writing conference I have had the pleasure of attending yet.

Heck yes to being awesome and making the most of every awesome experience. I highly recommend it to everyone.

Golden adventures, around Golden BC!

Golden, BC. I love Golden! It is a small town, set in beautiful pristine settings, with a green river(yes green) flowing threw it, and a lush mountainous landscape surrounding it.

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The people are as golden as the name itself, and it just has one of those energies to it, the kind that pulls you in and engulfs you.  Like a nice warm blanket that you never want to leave. Not to mention, there are endless adventure activities for the outdoor enthusiast(i.e. ME).

I decided to stay in a hostel this time around. The Dreamcatcher Hostel. It was massive, beautiful and didn’t feel like a hostel. The service and helpfulness of the owners was impeccable. I made a new friend, whom had a very interesting story. His name is Robert and he was walking across Canada. It’s always fantastic to meet people on their individual journeys, and I so appreciate when people are doing things out of the ordinary. With some good company and conversation, night 1 was spent just enjoying what the town has to offer. We checked out the local watering holes, and enjoyed some Vino(of course), and then finished the night off enjoying an impromptu wine a cheese dinner back at the hostel – playing music on the jute box. My kinda night!

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Day 2, and I was super stoked for a jam packed day full of adventure! First off, I headed to Kicking Horse Mountain.  I took the chair lift up to see Boo the bear at the Grizzly Bear Refuge.

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Boo was a rescued bear, and his refuge was fit for a king. Apparently he is also an escape artist.

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Not only was it massive, he has everything he would have in the wild and more. They even built a little log house for him to hibernate in during the winters. Not a bad life if you ask me. I am such an animal lover, and that also goes for bears.  I am not one to watch animals in cages on display, however in this cirsumstance, since Boo was a rescue-ee, this situation was for his own wellness, he has an epic set up, and you can see he is one happy bear – I was excited to be so up close and personal with him.

Back down the chair lift and onto the Gondola back up the mountain.

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I was so looking forward to some hiking! Now I don’t suggest you go off hiking in the Mountains alone, as this is bear country, and hiking alone is not the best idea. Even though that has to be said and beared in mind; It wasn’t stopping me – and in order to take some safety precautions, I didn’t go too remote, and I stuck to trails that I could see other people hiking in the not too far off distance.

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The hiking trails around the kicking horse mountain range are what seem endless, and I could easily spend a week or two just hiking and camping, and being awesome in nature.

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The following photo is my ‘I feel super successful, as I just hiked the heck outta these mountains like a solo rockstar selfie‘. It had to be done. Celebrate your successes! It only serves to create more success in your life. Even when your just celebrating solo.

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For a week or two of hiking and being one with nature I would leave the heels at home, and also take a companion.There are so many endlessly awesome cycling trails, and I happen to LOVE cycling, it was so temping to just go rent a bike and head off. Alas, not this time around.

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That was hard. Hard to watch and not have a bike with me!! Watching the other cyclists only made me think, ‘I must go back and do some cycling! There is no other way‘ and that I will indeed. Golden is a place I intend on spending loads more time at.

After working up a good sweat hiking my little heart out, I was more than ready to find some hot springs to have some RnR and some soul soothing rejuvenation. There are absolutely loads of hot springs around BC. The only unfortunate thing is that most of them have been made into swimming pools. Swimming pools with spring water in them. That wasn’t the picture I had in my imagination. I was thinking something more natural , rural, and in nature. I asked back at the hostel, and they knew exactly what I had in mind, and kindly pointed me in the right direction.  2.5 hours later of cruising and cranking my tunes(oh and a wee bit of singing, come on now, you know you do it too). There they were. Lussier River Hot Springs.

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Fine, fine. No vino(since it is prohibited), and I will wear my swim suit(since nudity is also prohibited). So, chilling in your birthday suit with a bottle of wine is a definite no.

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It seems as though it is off the beaten track, but it definitely is not unknown.

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There were constantly people coming and going. It wasn’t crowded by any means, just surprisingly busier than I expected. Amazing though! None the freaken less. It was just what I was looking for. 3 different temperature pools, on the banks of a river, surrounded by pure lush nature. Oh heck yes!!

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My heart was singing with joy. Seriously, if you would have been there, and put your ear to my chest, you would have heard a sweet sweet song. Something far sweeter then my vocal cords could produce.

Immediately upon entering my silver jewelry turned copper. A clear indication of the minerals flowing in the water. My body, mind and soul, were soaking it all up. I was loving life – as per always.

I spent a couple hours loving life there, before making the journey back to Golden, where I slept like a baby after that beauty of a day.

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Having been on the road for 2 weeks days at this point, I was really torn between saying ‘screw it, I am moving to Golden right now!’, or hitting the road and finding a different place to stay another night or two, or to just spend the day venturing around and then head to Calgary for a late evening arrival. I decided to just take the day as it comes. Which ended up being sightseeing, and a late Calgary arrival.  Not to worry Golden, our story isn’t over. Being in Yoho NaIMG_2770tional Park, there were a couple things I had to check off my long time bucket list. First stop, get your park pass! I didn’t realize I needed one and had to turn around and go find the office to get one. Woops.
Then! It was onto the extremely majestic Takakkaw Falls.

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I could visit every waterfalls in the world, and never have them lose their luster. They always feel so powerful, and full of energy. Being around them just brings an inner peace like none other. There were loads of tourists there!. That didn’t change the experience though, not in the slightest. I hiked around, and stood in the mist, and took some selfies rocking my new hat that I had made in Golden.

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As you do on solo adventures. I think considering I travel alone alot, a selfie stick wouldn’t be a bad investment.

I hit the highway, and was ready for the next big check off my bucket list.

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To bask in the beauty of Emerald Lake. Woah!!!! Is all I have to say. I was blown away.

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Pictures don’t do it justice. The color of the water is insanely blue. The mountains hanging in the backdrop are like the cherry on top. My eyes were oozing with delight. I did the walk around the lake, wich took a couple of hours, and just enjoyed my surroundings.  It was incredible. There is a restaurant and lodge there, but this time around I didn’t go into either.

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Rest assured though, I will also be going back there to spend a weekend – and I will write the heck out of it.

Wow. That was the road trip of a life time. It was unplanned, unexpected, and one of the most invigorating experiences of my life. I love road trips, I love my own company, I love spontaneous adventures, and I love British Columbia. To sum it all up, I had the best time ever, and I would do it all again in a heartbeat. Even thinking back to it brings a massive smile of happiness and gratitude to my face. Next time I know exactly where I want to go back to, or the places I missed that I want to go to. Take your self on a road trip! It’s nothing less than incredibly epic and amazing! Just you, and the open road of adventure. Happy road tripping days!

Cheese tasting, drive in movies, and serious classy camping. All in a days road trip.

Even though being immersed in all those British Columbia winery’s was absorbing my attention. I still was up for checking out anything and everything else that popped up along the way and peaked my interest. So, needless to say, in my world that leaves the options pretty wide open – as I can find entertainment in almost anything. I absolutely feel lucky in that sense, as I am not easily bored. I can make an adventure outta thin air if need be.

Being such an avid wine lover, you can only guess what else I love. It pairs perfectly with vino, and I admit it – I am a self proclaimed addict……. Cheese. Glorious freaken cheese. I love it. Except for blue cheese. I know, I know, it’s known for being a refined tasting cheese. Sorry though. I may be a classy lady with refined taste buds, yet, I have tried to acquire the taste for it on numerous occasions. Alas, it still just tastes pungent and moldy to me. Who knows maybe one day my taste buds will change, as they get older, they will also like older cheese perhaps.

However, that aside, the Salmon Arm area also has some excellent cheese farms! Among plenty of other things. I absolutely love the Salmon Arm area, almost as much as cheese. This was my first time back since I went house boating in the Shuswap when I was 13.

Well I do believe with all that being said it’s pretty obvious there is no possible way I could pass up a cheese farm tour. I was in need of something to cleanse my palette between all that vino sampling as it was.

I ended up choosing Grass Roots Dairy Farm to venture off too.  Not for any particular reason, it’s just the one I decided to pull into. OK, well that isn’t entirely true…. I remembered reading a pamphlet about it, and the fact that it said they pride themselves on their grass fed cow’s, really is what peaked my interest. Long behold I was cruising down the highway and stumbled across the sign for Grass Roots. The sign said cheese farm, and I said GO! For some reason I kept missing the darn turn off though, so 2 U-turns later, and I finally got er!

What??? It was a small turnoff. You would have done the same. Trust me. Once off the highway and onto the little dirt roads, I easily found it.

IMG_1655 IMG_1646 IMG_1616 You can see how eager she was for me to sample some of that queso.

It’s a quaint little farm, with some top notch cheese production. Mainly producing various types of Gouda, they have also incorporated Maasdammer into their array, which is a Dutch Swiss style of cheese.  I sampled them all. One by one.

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They had loads of other products on offer as well, from milks, to preserves, and on wards.

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Every little cheese morsel I tasted was divine, literally, not simply because I love cheese. They were really really good – and fresh!

After my sample sesh, I got all settled in on a chair in the back room and sat to watch a little 10 minute informational video about how their cheese comes into production – while at the same time getting a prime view of the guys working hard creating the good stuff. If your there you mine as well take it all in. I was like a little sponge, eager to absorb all the cheesy info.

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After a stunner of a day wining and dining myself in true taste tester fashion, there was only one way to finish off my ‘take yourself on a date day‘ and that was to take myself to the drive in movies! The Starlight Drive-in Movies, in Enderby, BC, approximately 20 minutes outside Salmon Arm. It’s one of the very few drive in movie theaters in Canada, so there is no way I couldn’t go.

IMG_1780 IMG_1778                                     I got there nice and early so I could get a prime spot and got all settled it. Literally, like 2 hours early. Tick tock, tick tock.

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You can either sit in your car and listen to the movie tuning in over the radio, or you can bring some chairs and sit outside your car where you can hear it over the loud audio system.  It get’s jam packed! So getting there early is a good plan. They play two movies a night, both are included in the one price, and this night it was Minions, and Jurassic Park. It was actually super enjoyable, and one of those novelty activities to partake in. Fun for the whole family.

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Gosh I am good at taking myself on the best dates ever. Not to boast. I just happen to nail it every darn time.

So that being a long day of epic and random adventures, it was time to find a place to get my beauty sleep. Instead of picking a Bed & Breakfast this time, I remembered I had seen there just so happen to be a random tent in the trunk of my car. No idea where it came from – a mystery tent. Didn’t matter though, I figured I would switch up my accommodations and book a campsite. I do love camping. I picked up some supplies and then was off the pitch my tent at the campgrounds I booked into.

Was I ever in for a treat.

Note to self: the next time you decide to book a campsite and use a random tent that is sitting in your trunk, DO first open it up to check it out and make sure it has all its proper pieces, and is possibly made of some nice and quality material, not your everyday dollar store disposable tent.

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So after some struggling, and wondering if I was going to be able to even make anything out of this pile. Not to mention, almost diving under the picnic table out of sheer embarrassment anytime people came by and seen my ball of mess(and me looking like a total novice), I was able to Jimmy rig it to as luxurious of a tent as I possibly could.

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Barefoot & High heeled, prepared for a little bit of everything and more. I did sleep pretty darn good though. Although I was happy to ditch the tent for a nice bed in Revelstoke the next night after I did some hiking at Herold Provincial Park, where I checked out their wonderful little waterfalls. Being in the forest is also my kinda stomping grounds, most of my childhood was spent out in the bush, so I feel so at peace when I am in it. The waterfalls may be small, but they were big in beauty.

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And let’s not forget the pit stop I made at the Crazy Creek Suspension Bridge, where there was also some sweet little waterfalls with stunning green water flowing down them. Also located there is a resort if you feel as though you want to kick back for a couple days.

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Oh, and there were a couple more random unplanned wine tastings thrown into the mix. It’s not my fault there are vineyards everywhere. Twist my rubber wine loving arm why don’t yah?!

Next destination on my list was one of my favorite places EVER. Golden, BC. Are you ready?

My Top 3 British Columbia Winery’s:)

Wine Tours. Glorious wine tours. One of the best past times of my life. I have had the privilege of doing wine tours all over the globe. This time around, I had the pleasure of doing wine touring in my own spectacular Country. It’s often we forget what we have in our own back yard – and this was the perfect opportunity to remind myself of the incredible things we have right here in Canada. Not to mention the incredible vineyards Canada boast’s.

Trust me, seeing as how I was road tripping like a solo rock star, it was only fitting that I wine tasted like a solo rock star.  I took full advantage of being in wine Country while in beautiful British Columbia. Wine is an art, and here in BC wine Country, they take their art seriously. There were so many too choose from, I couldn’t get them all in, but made a massively good effort – if I do say so myself. I was blown away at the beauty of pretty much all of the vineyards I visited. I mean this is British Columbia, it’s over flowing with endless beauty. I also really appreciated the fact that all the winery’s I visited are family run – it definitely adds to their charm.

The wine touring I partook in was between Kamloop’s, Salmon Arm, and Vernon. That being said, as much as I would love to write about every winery I visited, I can’t. That would be very long, and I have so much to tell about at the moment – that I have to narrow it down and tell you about my favorites. So here are my top 3 wineries of this trip.

Monte Creek Ranch just a 10 minute drive outside Kamloops. An area rich in history – the family whom began Monte Creek Ranch, wanted to maintain and cultivate the land. Livestock share the ranch with grape vines and wild stock. They have two IMG_1464vineyards, Lion’s Head Vineyard, and Monte Creek Ranch Vineyard(where the tasting room is located). Everything they grow on the farm and vineyard is organic and chemical free. Just the way I like to live my life. Not to mention, every person working there, was very knowledgeable about about the ranch, and happily shared as much information about it as I could take in. Customer service at it’s finest.

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They have quite the array of wines, and I love their labeling, just as much as their wine. IMG_1600 The view from the tasting room, is as salivating for the senses as is their wine. With majestic mountains sprawling around you for your viewing pleasure.IMG_1961You can sit and enjoy some incredible vino and canape’s while taking it all in. Before you go, don’t forget to top up on all their farm fresh products, including grass fed beef, all the way to honey.  I am happy to say I enjoyed every wine that I sampled, it was hard to choose just one to purchase, as I could have taken a couple cases, but in the end settled on a bottle of the Rose.

Sunnybrae Vineyards & Winery Nestled at the base of the Bastion Mountain and on the shores of the Shuswap Lake, you will find the radiant and meticulously groomed vineyard of Sunnybrae. The staff were also very welcoming and friendly. Sunnybrae has also received awards for their finely crafted wine’s.

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From the tasting room you have an exquisite view of the lake and Mount Ida.IMG_1877When you step out to the Vineyard, you can not help but be blown away by the picturesque beauty. I had to just stand there and take a hard 10 of basking and taking it all in. When I say it is meticulously groomed, that is no exaggeration. IMG_1957 IMG_1917 IMG_1902

They proudly offer wines made from their Kerner, Ortega, Siegerrebe, Schonburger, and Marchel Foch grapes. Once again, not one of their wines I sampled disappointed. However my palette fell head over heels for the Ortega, and the Siegerrebe, and I ended up having to get a couple bottles of each(they had a sale).  What classy lady can say no to a sale?!

Larch Hills Winery A farm winery located at the Northern end of the Okanagan growing region, not far outside of Salmon Arm. There is a nice little drive up the mountain to reach this little stunner, and also warm welcome awaiting you in the tasting room.

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Larch Hills has some phenomenal wines, and as you can see, have received numerous awards.

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Specializing in cool climate grape growing, they offer wines made from Ortega, Madeleine Angevine, Madeleine Sylvaner, Siegerrebe, and Agria grapes, grown right there on their vineyard. Also Foch, Merlot, and Pinot Noir grapes outsourced from contract vineyards. I ended  up getting a couple bottles of the Lemberger, as they were so kind enough as to give me one as a gift too.  Being ridiculously good, and very limited due to the fact that there were only so many bottles made from what they yielded from the crop, and its popularity was very large – so they were down to their last few cases.  IMG_2005 Now I have more stop that needs to be mentioned. It’s not wine that is produced from what they grow, however it is something even more unique that comes from their crop, that being – Haskap Liqueur.

High Mountain Farm located in Salmon Arm, BC, is the first commercial grower in the North Okanagan of the marvelous haskap berry. Up until this point in my life, I had never even heard of the haskap berry, let alone Haskap Liqueur. However, thank’s to my lovely sister’s recommendation of visiting this particular farm, a whole new world opened up to me. Run by the most lovely family ever, they were more then happy to give me a tour of the 108 year old farm – and teach me everything I needed to know about the wondrous little haskap berry. I learned that not only does the haskap berry contain 3 times more antioxidants then blueberries, there are also various types. Here at the High Mountain Farm they proudly grow, Indigo Yum, Indigo Gem, and Aurora, all grown naturally and pesticide free.

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Let me tell you, these little berries pack a punch of flavor! Axel and Doris were so amazingly hospitable during my visit, I had the best time ever just visiting with them. Not only did I get to sample some of their delicious berries on ice cream, and some refreshing frozen haskaps.

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We also cracked open a bottle of the Haskap Liqueur that is not made on the premises, but is made directly from their lovingly grown haskaps.

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Careful though, haskap’s do stain the fingers. IMG_1707Stopping here was one of the highlights of my trip. Thank you so much High Mountain Farm! Well I can’t wait to go back to BC for round two of my wine tasting adventures. I will happily re-visit any of these places, and can’t wait to check out some new ones. With all my goodies, I was able to share some tasting’s of these fine wines with some other special people along the way of my adventures.

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Happy wine tasting days!

Road Tripping BC like a Solo Rockstar.

One of the best parts of a completely unplanned and unexpected solo road trip, is that it is literally just about you, and the open road of adventure. Seeing as how I was in Northern British Columbia anyway’s, and was on route to Calgary from there, I just decided – ‘Why the heck not make an adventure out of it?!’ I had no time frame, and I love BC, so I seized the freaken moment. There is something liberating about just cruising, and ending up wherever you end up. Sheer freedom.

After having an epic time around Quesnel, I hit the highway, cranked my tunes, and enjoyed my own awesome company. Finding myself in the Cariboo area, not to long down the road. Of course as soon as I seen a fruit stand, especially one that appealed to my eyes instantaneously – I had to stop to check it out, and stock up on some fresh road tripping goodies.

IMG_1236 IMG_1257-0 IMG_1240-0 IMG_1245I was digging the decor, very bright and inviting. It did make me slam on my breaks after all! I absolutely love how you can get all the fresh food your little heart could desire when in BC(among many other things that I love about BC).

IMG_1241-0 IMG_1244 IMG_1242-0I was digging the decor, very bright and inviting. It did make me slam on my breaks after all! I ended up having a very nice chat with the super lovely owner, who was eager to tell me places I need to check out on my journey’s. I so appreciate when you can feel that someone loves what they do, and it in turn show’s in what they produce. Life is that much more amazing when you strive to do things you love.

IMG_1253-0 Purchase made! A basket of cherry’s and a basket of rasberries, she even gave me an apple for the road. Happy days! I love apples(true story) – and parting gifts. It’s just a sweet gesture. IMG_1256-0The scenic beauty of BC grows and grows the deeper you get into it. As I was time frame free, I would stop at any place I found that had a little feast for the eyes on offer – bask in it for a few moments, snap some shots, and then on to the next.  It’s amazing watching the landscape change as you get closer and closer to the mountains. British Columbia definitely does not lack in the beauty department. IMG_1306

After quite a few pit stops I wound up in radiant Kamloops, where I decided it would be a good idea to spend the night.  It was already 8 pm, and I like to relax and enjoy my evenings, no need to push the peddle to the medal too late. It was chill time.  After pulling over and googling Bed & Breakfasts in the area, I decided on one that looked pretty pristine.  It was called Riverside Bed & Breakfast.

It is set on the banks of a beauty of a little river, and the owner Cynthia, was very welcoming and accommodating. Especially considering how last minute I booked in.IMG_1365 I was amazed at the stunning property. They have it set up so beautifully, with a fire pit, and hot tub. Very chic, clean comfortable rooms.IMG_1362 IMG_1361 IMG_1371 IMG_1331Exactly what the doctor ordered after a long day of adventuring like a solo rock star. I made sure to chill by the fire with a bit of vino before I retired to the comfort of my room. Which also comes stocked with Vino. You know what that made me….. And yes I mean happy! Not tipsy. I like to keep it classy. 

IMG_1309 IMG_1313 IMG_1317Upon awaking from my sleeping beauty induced coma in the morning from that ridiculously comfortable bed, I opened the curtains, so I could just lie in my bed and take in the view. Good morning world!IMG_1367Now that’s the view a lady likes to wake up to. My kinda morning. Breakfast was served up at 8:30 bells, and it did not disappoint. Freshly prepared and exquisitely presented Egg’s Benedict, with orange juice, coffee and fruit, accompanied with a view to match. That B&B was a total gem, and I will be going back there for sure. 

IMG_1354 IMG_1351Heck yes to that experience. I was rested, fueled and ready to rock again.  Not long down the road I came across Kamploops BC Wildlife Park.  Hmmmm, check out some local Canadian wildlife?! Why the heck not. Keeping my experiences local no matter where in the world I find myself.

IMG_1429 IMG_1404 IMG_1406 IMG_1400It was pretty interesting, nothing too crazy, the animals were as chill as I am. I think my favorite part of the experience was taking a goat selfie.

IMG_1428Me and my cheap thrills. But seriously, who doesn’t want a goat selfie? Goats are awesome, and he was a total poser, and loved it just as much as I did. 

So far this road trippin’ like a solo rock star was shaping up to be pretty freaken awesome –  and it was about to get better. I suddenly found myself in wine country! Let’s not forget, next to water, and green juice, I am a total wine lover. This was about to get real! Real freaken next level epic that is! Let’s go get our wine on.