Every year for my birthday, my partner takes me for a weekend to the Okanagan, an easy drive eastward to escape the city and our every day lives. And this year we would made our getaway in the Honda Civic Sport Coupe.
Civics have continue to be the best selling car in Canada for a reason; and many of us have owned one, one time or another. For my partner and I, our first car was a Civic, in one of its past reincarnations. So the shared four hour drive up and down, also served as a ride down memory lane.
The Honda Civic is known for its reliability, a necessity when driving great distances, in areas with no cell phone reception. And it boasts a great fuel economy, thanks to its small engine displacement; ideal when fill ups can cost you an arm and a leg with Vancouver’s gas prices. It is also agile because of its size, making winding roads and the need to change lanes more fun, than a challenge. And a two door coupe spoke to our personal family dynamic, no children, nothing but storage space needed in the back seat. Thus, giving us the look of a sports car without the premium.
So off we went with our adventure-mobile! Our first day out we decided to go camping, and joked that the sporty coupe was more a street vehicle, then one you take when venturing out doors. But during the ride to and from on the highway, having a sports mode made the drive more enjoyable. The winds, the curves, the loops, and the turns tested the handling, and the Civic Sport Coupe rose to the occasion.
I was especially surprised to see how much we could pack into the truck and back seat. We were able to fit all that we needed for a comfortable camping excursion, as well as the supplies needed for a beach filled getaway, the days after.
Two hours breezed by and we were at Manning Park Resort, heading towards Lightening Lake’s campsite. We were limited in choices thanks to the long weekend, but were more than happy with our lot. It was a short walk to either the out house; or the facilities with running water, hot showers, and flushable toilets. We were only at lot 107 for the night. Many more families booked for the entire BC Day long weekend.
I must preface this by saying I don’t take to the wilderness well. But my partner pushes me out of my comfort zone, so that I can grow. We don’t camp often: one day, once a year and that is plenty. Therefore we haven’t found the need to spend much on our equipment. A cheap tent with 3 rod installation, an air mattress that you can manually pump with your foot or hands, and foldable chairs to sit by the fire pit with. All easy to set up and take down, but not necessarily the most comfortable or spacious.
Our tent was cramped and cold with very little room for more than our queen-sized air mattress. There was barely a boarder between us and the wilderness in our flimsy tent, and our mattress loss air steadily. My partner woke up several times during the night, uncomfortable from the lack of support. He found himself needing to pump with vigour in to re-inflate. I managed to sleep through this. He was also kind enough to borrow a sleeping bag so that I could be warm and cozy, to get a good night’s sleep. So I couldn’t really complain as he slept directly on the air mattress with a comforter wrapped around him like a burrito.
I also get bitten easily and often from mosquitoes and bugs alike. But this year I came equipped with a bug repellent lotion, an aerosol spray, and coiled incense that is proven to ward off mosquitoes with its unique smell. I ended up lighting them and surrounding myself with three of them. And for the most part they worked, I walked away the next morning with only 2 bites. But I am sure the smoke from the fire we huddled around helped too.
Thankfully, our BC summer has been wetter than usual and there aren’t the same fire bands as they were in summers past. So we were able to take advantage of the fire pit, stationed at our camp site. This also doubled as the heat source we needed to cook our dinner and breakfast over next day.
We grilled buffalo and sweet garlic chicken wings and a beef and souvlaki chicken skewer for dinner. And followed it with a toasted marshmallow for dessert.
And for breakfast my partner had miniature boxed cereal and hot buttered toast. And I had a grilled hot dog with our choice of condiments in mayonnaise, ketchup, and/or relish.
Camping just wouldn’t be the same without a campfire. We purchased wood at the local gas station and supplemented what else we needed by foraging. We then parked ourselves in front of our crackling fire for the night, stoking it, watching wood burn to ash. It kept us warm as we drank and talked, pausing to look up at the dark sky and the stars sprinkled throughout it.
The next day we woke with the rustling of nylon from our neighbours, who decided to get an early start. It is hard to sleep in with the light and heat of the sun transforming your tent into a sauna.
Lightening Lake was a 5 minute walk from our campsite so we decided to take a morning stroll to it. It was a nice body of water to take a dip in, paddle a boat across, or simply catch some sun by.
Check out was at 11am, and after a rough morning we headed out. There was only one sink running in the women’s washroom. So I made do by brushing my teeth and spitting the excess tooth paste over a bush. I passed on lining up for the one shower altogether. I figured it was only 2 hours to our air bnb in Naramata, and I could just clean myself there.
Our next 3 nights would be spent in a more luxurious setting, comparatively. This was newly refurbished studio that gave us the privacy of an individual home, with the adjacency to the city and its social life, that we as tourists were looking for.
It has a new kitchen and washroom. The former was furnished with a coil-less stove and all the equipment you need to make a meal, and the dishwasher to clean it all afterwards. Coffee maker, toaster, microwave, and kettle. The only thing we would have liked in addition was a barbecue.
The washroom was very modern, a smaller space that was well designed. The only downside was the door that hesitated to close and lock and the fact that if you didn’t, a window aligned with its door way, meant the neighbours could get an unobstructed view of you on the toilet.
The suite had an air conditioning unit that was quick to cool the smaller space. And best of all, when it got to cold or noisy at night, you could simply straighten up and turn it off from the bed in its alcove, overlooking the living room.
But hands down the reason to rent this lake side studio is for it patio. A step out of the living room gave you an elevated and unobstructed view of the farm land and fruit orchards below, and the lake in the distance. We would spend most of our time here eating meals, playing the available board games, and simply enjoying the scenery from sunrise to sunset. You can see the water by day and all the stars at night.
Our air bnb hosts also let us borrow their kayaks and their pick up truck to transport them and us down to the Okanagan Lake, which we had been admiring above. Our kayaks allowed us to enjoy the water in a different way. We kept dry as we sat slightly reclined, cutting through the water with our paddles. We were also invited to borrow their bicycles and helmets, although we ran out of time during this visit.
Instead, we would spend most of our time at Skaha Lake, the other lake that feeds the Okanagan Valley, and sandwiches the nearby town of Pentiction. Here, its smooth orange sands, ample parking, and plenty of convenient concessions make it out favourite beach in the Okanagan.
During this year’s trip we also visit several restaurants and wineries, but those will be covered in their own posts. For all those reviews, check out the “Travel” section of the blog, under “Okanagan”.
In short, another great annual trip to the Okanagan, all made possible by the Honda Civic Sport Coupe that got us there safely and back.