A drive to remember
This leg of the journey ends in Merritt--a sprawling place right on the edge of the east side hill-country. The change at that point is striking...the green of the early spring grass on the sparse hills will probably turn a bright tan in the summer, but for now it is a sight to behold--with the darker clumping of brush adding character and also perspective on the expansiveness of it all. What a sharp contrast and relief (if relief were needed) from the bold, imposing, tree-robed peaks along the Coquihalla!
The drive from there to Kelowna is relatively downhill... I coasted for a long time...saving a significant amount of gas.
On the drive back, you realize just how low Kelowna is, compared to the surrounding Okanogan ranges. The first major climb is a real killer: a consistently high-grade climb that lasts for about 20 minutes--all this, when the speed limit is set at about 70 mph (translated from kph), makes for a huge vehicular challenge, requiring Smokey to do 3.5k rpm in order to keep a consistent speed--which I maintained at about 60 mph in 4th gear...I must have burned almost a quarter of my tank in that 20 minutes!
Regarding the conference itself, I'd do better to direct you to Gloria's blog posts here and here, because I have the same exact set of pictures she does, due to a few instances of "file-sharing" over the weekend.