Viper Nation

Supercar Dodge Viper site with pictures, technical info, experiential stories with a few other winter action extreme stories posted.

RTTTTed On November - 21 - 2010

Kelowna Wine Tour, 2009

 by Ted Hlokoff

 

Twisty roads, supercars, sunshine and some of the finest wines in the world came together on August 14th weekend in Kelowna during 2009.  25 of the World’s fastest cars thundered down the highways of the Okanagan Valley for the second consecutive year.  This year the focus was to travel to several of the World Premier Wineries to test their products, the ‘fruits’ of their labors, so to speak.  The drivers noticeably abstained from much consumption.

 

After enjoying a July Viper weekend at Harrison Hot Springs I was expecting to stay home through Aug.  When I mentioned a Viper weekend in Kelowna my wife, Deana, informed me that Kelowna would be a good start for a family visit to Ocalala Lake in Idaho.  With all the recent tax increases in BC, buying a couple Kayaks in Idaho would probably save hundreds of dollars and was an added incentive.  We’ve always enjoyed the ambience and friendship of the Viper events so the Kelowna trip was a ‘go’.   Did I mention that Deana is known to enjoy a glass of wine on occasion?  The short roof line of my 850bhp Roe Supercharged Viper GTS wasn’t conducive to Kayak roof racks, so I loaded the Viper into my enclosed trailerand hooked up the wife’s new Dodge Hemi Ram for the 9 hour drive to Kelowna. 

Deana and I used all of our info resources to make certain that none of the 20+ Forest Fires burning in BC would burn Anahim Lake Trading (our RAS/General Store) or community during the week we planned to be gone.  We grabbed our sunglasses and headed east.  Westbank/Kelowna was aprox. 500 miles from home.  Towing and travelling at the speed limit (62mph) the ’08 Dodge Hemi managed an average of 12.5 mpg (imp).  Slowing for mountain passes was not required.

Arriving at the new Westbank Best Western we checked our luggage into our room and exited the rear of the Motel, crossing the street to the Two Eagles Golf Course’s Restaurant for ‘meet and greet’.   We also ordered dinner and enjoyed a good meal with friends, new and old.  It was great to see Trevor and Terri Cameron from Edmonton again.  Last yearTrevor had surgery to rebuild his ankle shortly before the Hell’s Gate weekend.  Then, Trevor mentioned that his ankle worked the clutch pedal of his ’05 SRT10 just fine, now he was walking on it. 

About 11pm everyone paid their meal bills and headed off to their rooms.  Most went for sleep while I went to review the pictures taken by my ‘motion photographer’ (Deana) and myself.

Morning came quickly and I went out to liberate my Viper from the trailer.  With headers and Corsa track exhaust I considered my  Viper to be the final alarm clock of the morning. 

Outside I met HSSSS and HSSSSSS from Edmonton.  I also met VROOOM, ASUWISH and GOT VNM.  There was quite a few Red on White (Alberta) plates that had travelled 500+ miles to get here for this event.  Copperhead and All Blue were missing from the line-up that morning but there were 23 Vipers that filled the Chevron’s parking lot at 9am.  Many tourists were drawn to the parking lot as they stopped to enjoy the Vipers on display. 

Jim Tait handed all cars a Tourist ‘goody bag’ with maps etc. and we headed south.   

Our first destination was 50 miles to Keremeous.  Unfortunately, one of the Mountains alongside Okanagan Lake and the highway had spontaneously broken, developing a crack 5’ wide going deep into the bowels of the Mountain.  There was a massive construction zone for blasting, scaling and surface reshaping.  We were stopped in a large traffic line-up and watched climbers at the top of the cliff poking and pulling loose rocks from the cliff face.  In an attempt to keep our roads safe billions were being spent on the highway along the edge of the lake.  One of man’s attempts to ‘fix’ nature and beautify our environment?  Their plan is also to increase traffic flow with 4 lanes throughout the Okanagan Valley. 

 

Because “we were many” and running late our first few Winery stops were cancelled and the plan was to drive south along Okanagan Lake, through Penticton continuing along Skaha Lake, turning west along hwy 3A (Richter Pass) to Keremeous, then east to BC’s warmest and southernmost lake (Osoyoos) and north to our lunch buffet at NK’Mip Cellars.  We did make one rest area stop in the middle.  Joel Siegel’s new ACR was a hit with everyone and the first many of us had seen up close.  At the rest stop I made certain to point out to Brad and Monica that they were driving their Z06 and not their topless RT10.  Monica mentioned that the first thing she’d done that morning was to turn on her heated seat cover and she was still cold … touché, Monica.

Lunch buffet consisted of Chicken, Pork, Veggies and Dessert.  We ate lunch on the NK’Mip Cellar’s Patio overlooking Osoyoos Lake in the Valley below us. 

After tasting their wines in the store we gathered in the parking lot for another tasting.  The Winery had been kind enough to reserve the front parking lot for our use, allowing us to taste test wines within sight of our Vipers.  Next stop was the Jackson-Triggs Winery, which is probably the largest and most famous in the area.  All the members were enjoying the miles of narrow winding two lane highways that compromised the Okanagan Valley’s back roads.  The driveway of Jackson-Triggs entered between rock columns and the front yard was planted with lawn between the rows of grape vines.  With flowers at the end of each line of grapes the front yard was well groomed as well as productive.  More wine tasting on their veranda took about an hour.   They must have served some excellent wines as a I saw a couple cases go into Jim Tait’s Viper trunk before we left. 

We drove several more scenic miles until we arrived at the “See Ya Later” Ranch/Winery.  As suggested by the name there is an ex-wife story involved, which I won’t repeat, and the wines were, again, excellent.  We took the narrow road back down into the Valley cruising switchbacks for fun and sightseeing. 

Again in the Valley we again pointed our headlights north and started back to Kelowna/Westbank for Jim’s BBQ.

 

Jim and Debbie Tait’s house is in Green Bay of Okanagan Lake.  Jim and Debbie’s house is directly below another famous Vineyard, Quail’s Gate.  As the 23 Vipers rumbled into the neighborhood Jim’s neighbors all turned out and offered their driveways for our use which negated the problem of 23 Vipers to park.   A few members put up a VCA banner in Jim’s front yard and we all headed into his back yard for the lakeshore BBQ.  Salmon and Steak were the feature items of Jim Tait’s BBQ with an amazing ”VCA Kelowna Wine Tour ’09” cake.  Also featured were cases of Jackson-Trigg VQA wines.  As it became dusk members started to drift off to their homes and Hotel rooms.  We had a visitor from the wilderness as this Barnstormer Owl stopped by to perch in Jim’s Weeping Willow tree.

 

 Jim offered to show me his neighbor’s Collector cars and I accepted.  Jim’s neighbor wasn’t home, but he’d arranged for access his alarm system so we could go into the garage.  Across the street was parked an ’06 Shelby GT500 and entering the garage behind it we saw a perfectly restored ’70 Shelby Mustang GT350 convertible and a ’61 vette roadster!  Amazing cars and great neighbors Jim and Debbie have.  As darkness was falling Deana and I spent a few minutes helping clean up and then we headed off to our rooms, Viper into the trailer and us in the Motel.

 

Sunday morning started with Viper sounds early in the parking lot.  Many of the Alberta members had to work on Monday morning so they were leaving early and not waiting for the club brunch we had planned in Peachland.   They managed an early start and travelled back to Alberta as a group which added to their enjoyment of the trip.   Ron/HSSSSSS said it was his best holiday in years.

Since my plan was to leave my ‘trailerized’ Viper at Jim’s and Peachland was on the way South to Idaho I decided to tie down the Viper and take the Hemi Ram to lunch.  I then parked my trailer in Jim and Debbie’s driveway.  Once we got back to the Motel everyone was ready for Brunch so we drove out of the parking lot and headed to Peachland.  Driving the Ram meant I had to follow the snakey line of Vipers, which allowed me some more pictures. 

Most of the Vipers parked directly in front of the Gausthaus Restaurant and filled both sides of the street.  The restaurant setting was excellent with the beach out front and Vipers lining the street.  Like a car show this line of supercars drew many admirers.  With so many “volunteer guards” watching the Vipers we wandered into the restaurant’s atrium.   Trevor and I enjoyed a couple of the best cheeseburgers we’d ever had and everyone enjoyed their brunch.

The original idea had been for everyone to head home after brunch, but the plan was modified by popular demand to continue the winery tour and catch a few of the wineries missed yesterday.   I did stand on the side of the road and make a small video of the Vipers leaving and posted it on youtube.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUS6rKCXfqM

“Parting was such sweet sorrows” as Deana and I said our goodbyes and videotaped the Vipers heading north. 

The members that continued the Wine Tour drove east along the Okanagan lakeshore and were treated to more taste testing at Quail’s Gate.  Then driving north across the new Floating Bridge, rumbling along Lakeshore Drive to end the day with a taste of Cedar Creek winery, owned by retired Senator Ross Fitzpatrick.  46 people enjoyed some of the best wines produced in the world this weekend.  25 Vipers added another few hundred, to over a thousand quality miles to their odometers. 

The proper way to enjoy the money invested in supercars is to get out and drive them.

 

         The end –

 

Categories: Dodge Viper Stories

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