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Exploring Okanagan Valley BC, with fellow IFGian

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Exploring Okanagan Valley BC, with fellow IFGian

Postby ckkalyan » Thu Sep 15, 2011 12:17 am

IMG_0321.jpg
9th to 14th Sep 2011 - Kalyan & Baljit



Day 1 = Fri 9th Sep:
0930 – 1600 Greyhound Bus Journey Route: Vancouver, Langley, Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Merritt, West Bank (West Kelowna)

There has been a long pending invitation from Baljit to visit with him and play with his toys. We had spoken several times on the phone and exchanged a few emails, but we had never met in person. Once I had landed in BC, I figured it was high time to take action and accept the invitation.

I left my home in Richmond BC, bright and bushy tailed at 7.15 am with my carefully loaded backpack, some essentials and my trusty laptop. A short 10 min walk took me to the Bridgeport Sky Train Station from where I boarded a train to Waterfront Station. Here I had to change trains to the Expo Line which took me to Pacific Central Station and the starting point of the legendary Greyhound Bus service. I arrived well in time about 8.15 am and commenced my patient vigil for the bus to arrive.

The bus was delayed by over half an hour and I was a bit jittery by the time I boarded. However, it turned out to be a scenic trip on the Greyhound from Vancouver to West Kelowna, earlier known as West Bank. The natural beauty of the land drifting by the large windows put me in a jolly mood again. The scenery was so hypnotic that I nodded off into deep slumber.

When I woke up, the first sight I saw was a large signboard proclaiming welcome to the Okanagan Valley. It was a huge and pleasant surprise as I never realized that Kelowna was in Okanagan….I had heard so much about this beautiful, wine producing and logging area that I had decided to visit it some day. This was my first bonus on this trip.

The rest of the journey passed with me admiring the constantly, beautiful vistas unfolding across the windows of the bus. As directed by Baljit I texted him as soon as the bus left Merritt about 120 km from Kelowna so he would be at the stop to receive me. Sure enough as I stepped off the bus at West Bank, there he was with a welcoming grin. We recognized each other form the many photos that we had exchanged.

In my hurry to get going, I picked up the wrong backpack from the luggage compartment! I realized this sheepishly and apologized to Baljit. Baljit and I had to drive all the way to Kelowna bus station to recover my luggage. Fortunately, we were able to collect the right bag in short order and then had a leisurely trip (read rush hour traffic) back to Baljit’s home.

What wonderful, exemplary hosts! Baljit and his family’s welcome overwhelmed me and I felt at home immediately. Baljit lives with his wife Paramjit and his two sons Sunny and Shawn in a lovingly constructed home.

After settling me into my own room, our fellow IFG’ian invited me downstairs. It was a very pleasant setting in the backyard garden, with views of mountains. This is where Paramjit grows lovely vegetables like Jalapenos, Chilli, Squashes and Eggplant. My kind host then unveiled a very large bottle of Crown Royal Canadian Whiskey. Patiala Pegs were soon in hand, accompanied by the ubiquitous “Punjabi Snack Mix”. The piece de resistance, star of the evening was undoubtedly the Wild Boar Ribs prepared to perfection by Paramjit. Lubricated by the excellent W&S, our conversation ranged far and wide and carried on into the very late evening.

Baljit then quickly showed me his collection of weapons which were stored in two large safes. One contained rifles while the other had weapons for home defence, handguns and shotguns. The collection was a delight to examine, but we had to end the admiring session quickly as it was pretty late.

More on the weapons later, as the tale unfolds….more pictures, links etc on the way
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Re: Exploring Okanagan Valley BC, with fellow IFGian

Postby Vikram » Thu Sep 15, 2011 1:26 am

Kalyan,

Very well written and nice pics. It is such a pleasure to see friends meeting,bonds taking roots and a sense of camaraderie taking over. Those wild boar ribs are making me hungry.

Looking forward to more pics and the rest of the report.Keep them coming and thanks for sharing.


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Re: Exploring Okanagan Valley BC, with fellow IFGian

Postby ckkalyan » Thu Sep 15, 2011 2:07 am

IMG_0397.jpg
IMG_0395.jpg
Day 2 = Sat 10th Sep:

Links to Pictures are here https://picasaweb.google.com/ckkalyan/E ... directlink

The next day we woke up after a much needed rest, had a leisurely breakfast and made plans for the day. Baljit suggested that we take a trip to Jack Pine Lake, about 20 km away, through mountain tracks.

The two us took off on our road trip at 1400 hrs in Baljit’s impressive 4x4, a massive Ford F150, with a 5.4 Litre, V8 Engine. We stopped off at a sporting goods store to collect deer tags and then at the gas station to pick up water and beer; we had already packed some sandwiches at home.

Baljit carried with him his favourite Sako 7mm Magnum Rifle - as back up only just in case we came across larger game like bear (this is famous black bear country), moose or deer. We had also a CZ 17 HMR for small game.

We moved out at a slow, relaxed pace so as to absorb and appreciate the bounty of nature, mountains and evergreen trees. When we had travelled about 14 km Baljit suddenly stopped the vehicle; he had spotted a grouse sitting on the track. We had never expected any encounters at this point in our travel. He got out slowly with the CZ in his hand, loaded up with a single round. When he looked up back at the track - the grouse was nowhere to be seen. I had not kept my eye on the bird either as I was busy juggling my camera and scrabbling for ammo. Baljit then scanned the edges of the track for the missing grouse, keeping as quiet as possible.

Suddenly, he spotted the grouse which had flown all the way across the track from his original position and into the trees at the edge of the embankment. Baljit from near the 4x4 took aim, fired – ‘got it’ he said under his breath! He climbed up the edge to the tree line – then surprise, surprise - he had spotted two more grouse in the bush. Silently and frantically he waved at me in sign language for more ammo. I jumped out of the truck and scrambled up the steep bank as quietly as I possibly could and passed over several rounds of 17 HMR to him. Baljit fired twice in quick succession, without help of the magazine, which was still lying in the truck.

The next sight of Baljit was when I saw him balancing and sliding down the mound, triumphantly holding the bag of three grouse in one hand, his rifle in the other.

We quickly bagged the grouse into plastic shopping bags, got back into the truck and the first thing we did was to load up the magazine with 5 rounds of ammo. Now we were convinced that it was a great start and we would not be caught off guard the next time.

We continued our journey up the track; we had been climbing gradually all this time, excitedly discussing our good luck. The embankment was to our left while to the right was deep valley and trees, quite a few of them damaged by pine beetle. Some stands of trees had been logged and burnt out scrap branches visible in several spots.

After another kilometre, Baljit again stopped the vehicle – he had spotted something again on the track – a rabbit. This time our sense of surprise was not as much as the first time. Baljit got out snapped in the magazine, rested the rifle across the huge side mirror and took his shot. I could see that the shot had hit the rabbit in the neck.

I got busy with finding a shopping bag and bagged bunny. We carried on and arrived at the entrance of the recreation area that was Jack Pine Lake. Words are simply not sufficient to describe the beauty of this place. Some of the pictures I hope will convey what I have left out. It was about 4 pm when we sat by the lake and its serene blue waters, the sun shining warmly down on us and opened up the cooler, cracked open a can of Heineken each and agreed that this was what life was all about. We shot pictures and pondered over weighty matters until we decided it was time to head back home.

We left this paradise on earth about 6.30 pm and started our drive back. Here we go again – Baljit stopped the truck – we had espied another rabbit on the track. Got out, loaded, aimed fired, another game in the bag!

By the time we returned home it was 2100 hrs and were tired but happy and content. Total trophy Three Grouse and Two Rabbits!

More pictures and updates on the way... :cheers:

-- Thu Sep 15, 2011 1:40 am --

Vikram wrote:Kalyan,

Very well written and nice pics. It is such a pleasure to see friends meeting,bonds taking roots and a sense of camaraderie taking over. Those wild boar ribs are making me hungry.

Looking forward to more pics and the rest of the report.Keep them coming and thanks for sharing.

Best-
Vikram


Dear Vikram, thanks very much for your appreciation and comments - feels great. Another day uploaded, also more images on the way :cheers:
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Last edited by ckkalyan on Thu May 30, 2013 4:23 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Exploring Okanagan Valley BC, with fellow IFGian

Postby prashantsingh » Thu Sep 15, 2011 5:57 am

Lovely write up ckkalyan.
Baljeet you are blessed to be living in a place with such natural beauty.
ckkalyan you are blessed to have a friend like Baljeet.
Waiting for more updates and lot's of snaps.
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Re: Exploring Okanagan Valley BC, with fellow IFGian

Postby nagarifle » Thu Sep 15, 2011 8:10 am

great trip it looks like, thanks for sharing more pics please :cheers:
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Re: Exploring Okanagan Valley BC, with fellow IFGian

Postby rraju2805 » Thu Sep 15, 2011 8:26 am

Nice pic & write up. :cheers:
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BUT YOU CAN"T FOOL ALL OF THE PEOPLE ALL TIME
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Re: Exploring Okanagan Valley BC, with fellow IFGian

Postby Vikram » Thu Sep 15, 2011 1:10 pm

Excellent photos and write-up ,again,Kalyan. Fantastic place.Baljit,you are lucky to be living at such a beautiful place.


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Re: Exploring Okanagan Valley BC, with fellow IFGian

Postby brihacharan » Thu Sep 15, 2011 3:56 pm

Hi ckkalyan / Baljit,
> Wow! what a place to be ... Scotch & Barbacued wild boar ribs - too much man!
> Thanks for the pics & the wonderful write-up - took me back my own memory lane a longtime ago!
> Keep them coming - make my day!
Cheers :cheers:
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Re: Exploring Okanagan Valley BC, with fellow IFGian

Postby shooter » Thu Sep 15, 2011 4:38 pm

Wow! what a place to be ... Scotch & Barbacued wild boar ribs - too much man!


Im not sure if crown royal is scotch.
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Re: Exploring Okanagan Valley BC, with fellow IFGian

Postby The Doc » Thu Sep 15, 2011 7:57 pm

shooter wrote:
Wow! what a place to be ... Scotch & Barbacued wild boar ribs - too much man!

Im not sure if crown royal is scotch.



Crown Royal is a blended Canadian whisky, 40% alcohol by volume, 80 proof. :D
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crown_Royal

cheers,
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Re: Exploring Okanagan Valley BC, with fellow IFGian

Postby Baljit » Thu Sep 15, 2011 7:58 pm

Thank's guy's, look likes you guy's enjoy the pictures

Shooter , you are right Crown Royal Canadian Whiskey not scotch
the doc , you are right
more picture on the way

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Re: Exploring Okanagan Valley BC, with fellow IFGian

Postby ckkalyan » Fri Sep 16, 2011 1:26 pm

IMG_0426.jpg
IMG_0428.jpg
Day 3 = Sun 11th Sep:

Links to more Pictures:
https://picasaweb.google.com/ckkalyan/E ... directlink

Reloading Ammo, Remington 5.56 NATO or 223:

Baljit very kindly offered to share with me his experience of Hand Re-Loading Ammo. I was more than happy to accept his offer with alacrity as I am an inveterate sponge for information and….don’t miss a chance to imbibe!

He first familiarized me with the equipment and then took me through a practical course in reloading ammo (rifle ammo in particular - as I understood that the process for reloading handgun ammo is slightly different / simpler / more output over a comparable time period).

The process was, we first de-primed empty cases (drawn from large plastic buckets of used stock – tells one how many Baljit must have shot off and re-gathered) then cleaned the primer pockets. We then measured each case for length with V. Callipers and then, trimmed the cases for correct length on a sort of miniature hand operated lathe where one has to gauge by experience as to how many turns removes how many 000 mm of the neck. Then we measured again and after that de-burred the neck, both in and out to achieve a smooth lip. Next, we tossed the brass into one of Baljit’s two Tumblers to get rejuvenated.

Afternoon Sojourn to a Winery:
While the brass was tumbling, on impulse we decided to take a short trip to the close by Volcanic Hills Estate Winery, owned by Baljit’s relative Bobby. After all, we were in the best wine country in the province of British Columbia maybe even the whole of Canada – the Okanagan Valley! I simply could not resist the opportunity….we set off promptly.

Sarwan Gidda and his family have been producing grapes throughout the Okanagan Valley since 1978. Volcanic Hills Estate Winery is located in the west side of Kelowna and pays homage to Mount Boucherie, a 60 million year old extinct volcano.

Bobby, the owner, a very charming, and knowledgeable young man with twinkling eyes was kind enough to give us a personally guided tour of the facility. The tour was very interesting and we were amazed by the high tech systems, attention to detail, quality, equipment, processes and emphasis on an eco-friendly attitude starting with Geo-Thermal Heating.

Photographs at the processing facility were, unfortunately not encouraged. Although, I was very ready with my small, slim, but powerful point-and-shoot CANON PowerShot 1300 IS Digital Camera, borrowed from a friend especially for the trip - I had to desist. What a wise choice and joy, the camera turned out to be – quick draw – aim, fire (or even vice versa) – throughout the action-filled trip!

We ended the tour of the winery with the traditional wine tasting, where both Baljit and I got adventurous and tried out several unfamiliar wines, which were absolutely titillating, delicious, surprises. The result – we ended up buying a couple of bottles of their newest product, ‘Late Harvest Zweigelt,’ a fruity dessert wine.

Photos were allowed in the public area – Bobby was even kind enough to shoot an image of Baljit and self at the counter – hence the few shots uploaded of the place!

When we got back home Baljit decided that the brass had been tumbled enough. Sure enough, when we separated the casings from the ‘walnut shell’ tumbling media, using a hand operated, cage spinner, the brass shone like new! We blew off the final remnants of the media off the casings with compressed air.

We lubricated the brass with a spray can prior to dropping them into the hopper of the DILLON XL 650 press. We then powered up the machine and the brass started feeding into the lining station from the hopper. It was then only a matter of pulling the handle of the press up and down rhythmically and aligning the bullets on the cases. I could immediately see that Baljit had the timing and cadence really in hand from much practice.

Once all the casings were processed, came the hard part – we carefully hand wiped each finished cartridge to get rid of the lube. This had to be done immediately while the cartridges were warm and fresh from the machine as it would take much more effort if left for later.

I discovered that we had churned out 98 cartridges in a matter of 10 minutes. Baljit reckons that he can comfortably process 600 rifle cartridges per hour and about 800-850 handgun cartridges. I was quite astounded at how simple Baljit made the whole process look, while achieving such volumes.

After a hard day’s work, we retired to unscrew a cap off another bottle of the exemplary - Canadian Crown Royal Whiskey, Wild Boar Ribs and later try out the dessert wine – for what else - dessert?!

More news on day 4 and plenty of pictures from the CANON and…..look out for a video at the range. It turns out that Baljit is a good shot with not only many firearms, he is also a top notch operator of his SONY Video Camera!

-- Fri Sep 16, 2011 1:04 pm --

@ Vikram, prashantsingh, nagarifle, rraju2805, brihacharan,

Gentlemen - thank you very much for your kind comments....hugely appreciated!

@ shooter, The Doc - the proof of the pudding, I guess, is in the 80 proof!? :lol:
I never knew it was so potent till after...much after!! :cheers:

More pics and write-ups on the press...arriving on IFG - shortly.
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Last edited by ckkalyan on Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Exploring Okanagan Valley BC, with fellow IFGian

Postby Vikram » Fri Sep 16, 2011 1:49 pm

Lovely. Kalyan, you could write a travelogue.

Look forward to the rest of the report.


Baljit, all those shiny cartridges are mouth watering. :lol:


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Re: Exploring Okanagan Valley BC, with fellow IFGian

Postby prashantsingh » Fri Sep 16, 2011 3:11 pm

WOW.
Pork Chops ,Good Whiskey /wine and lots of Guns .
What else does one need in life. :D :D
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Re: Exploring Okanagan Valley BC, with fellow IFGian

Postby The Doc » Fri Sep 16, 2011 6:58 pm

Almost Heaven - Okanagan Valley ! John Denver was wrong about West Virginia . :D

best,
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