sweet home alberta

It’s so crazy to think I was in Ontario just over a week ago. I am having serious withdrawals. I miss it all so much… and don’t even get me started on not having any dogs around now. I’ve already been to the Humane Society once since I’ve been home. What’s even crazier is that I’ll be holding Jessica in my arms in 3 sleeps! We will be reunited so soon, and words can’t explain how ready I am! We start the adventure to Alaska on the 21st!

So let me tell you what I learned while being on the road for over 40 hours by myself…

  • Never cross the border at Sarnia – it looked like a scene from a superhero movie where the villain attacks and everyone in Times Square abandons their vehicles. Terrible.
  • Don’t try to use your DSLR while driving…
  • Michigan has some really funny town names.
    Christmas? Yeah… everything was Santa themed.
  • Pack more than one kind of snack. I was a fool thinking a huge bag of homemade trail mix wouldn’t get old.
  • Don’t stop! Road trips are seriously so much easier by yourself… I made great time because I didn’t have to deal with a hungry clan of siblings who usually have to pee every hour. It was awesome.
  • Hold on to any social interaction you might encounter with the vehicles around you on the highway. When an Albertan Volkswagen full of people my age waved at me because of my Mississippi tags, I was rejuvenated and probably made it home because of them! So funny.
  • When in Saskatchewan, always always always fill up your vehicle at any sight of a gas station. At one point, I had a back up plan that involved the 5 empty 1.5 liter water bottles in Sophie, my backpack, my rollerblades, and the Trans-Canada Highway…

I had many inspired moments on the journey. Being on the road for that long really gives you time to think about all of the things you usually avoid thinking about. It also is a great test of will power. It lends you time to catch up with those you love, and it allows you to practice the lyrics to that one rap song you’ve been working on forever. All in all, I really enjoyed it. But I’d much rather a road warrior companion for the next time.

I started the morning of my road trip with Shae-Lyn. We made Star Wars pancakes. Don’t even ask. It’s a secret.

IMG_4624

May the Force Be With You.

I made it from Sunderland, Ontario to Ironwood Michigan on Day 1. Day 2, I saw Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Saskatchewan. That was a long day, but I was definitely entertained by the differences in each state. Day 3, I woke up to breakfast with Nan (my grandmother), and eventually made it home to Alberta. My time with Nan was short-lived, but very nice. She had a fire rolling in the fire pit by the time I got there, and we ate fresh lettuce from her garden, as well as some of the most delicious potatoes I’ve ever munched on (also from the garden). I had the best sleep that night and woke up ready to face my last day of driving. We piddled around Pangman, Saskatchewan for about an hour – seeing the sights and new developments of the “Population 260” town. This town is dear to my heart. I had my first waitressing gig there!

A new train platform!

A new train platform!

I love the grain elevators of the prairies.

I love the grain elevators of the prairies.

Nan and me!

Nan and me!

After Pangman, I ventured out to another place very dear to my soul. My best friend from Caronport High School lived on a farm not too far from the little town we all lived in. I haven’t been there since the summer after my freshman year of university! Dallas wasn’t there. He is out in B.C. flying helicopters and doing exactly what I’ve always imagined for him. But his parents were! Janet and Dale are some of the most relaxed people I know, and I am so thankful for their words, hugs, and overall interest in my life. It’s always a pleasure coming back and seeing people. But words can’t describe how full my heart felt after leaving The Farm. I also got to see my favo(u)rite four-legged man – Max, as well as meet Dallas’ niece, Harper. She is quite the gem!

Max. Look at that smile.

Max. Look at that smile.

"Can I pleassseee have your ham sandwich."

“Can I pleassseee have your ham sandwich?”

Wildflowers.

Wildflowers.

The Fam Jam.

The Fam Jam.

My Maxie.

My Maxie.

After my visit at The Farm, I went to Saskatoon where I raided my sister’s garden and grabbed my first Booster Juice since January. Seriously – best smoothie chain there is. Hands down! I’m so proud of Bee and her garden patch. It’s flourishing with peas, lettuce, carrots, potatoes, raspberries, tomatoes, and more! I’ve always wanted a garden, but this is just even more motivation to make sure it happens.

flayrah - exceptional food to rabbits, such as lettuces, carrots, etc.

flayrah – exceptional food to rabbits, such as lettuces, carrots, etc.

My journey ended with the sale of my bike on Kijiji (to a man who literally lives down the street) and a huge hug from my brother, Lucas. He and I spent the next three days spending some epic quality time together. Our first day involved a car wash, the Edmonton Humane Society, How To Train Your Dragon: 2, smoothies from Booster Juice, and lots of popcorn. That night, Blaine surprised me! She is such a superhero. She drove all the way from Saskatoon on her Honda cruiser – braved the highway! We scored an extra ticket to Arcade Fire and spent the night enjoying some SWEET live music. If you ever have the chance to see Arcade… GO!

The brother.

The brother.

This reminded me on Neon Bible.

This reminded me of Neon Bible.

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Lights, camera, action.

A great performance.

A great performance.

Twinsssss.

Twinsssss.

The next day, since Blaine was here, we went on another family outing. Abigail, Bee, Lucas and I all went to see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Lucas is pretty much in love with kiddie combos. Before the movie though, Lucas and I went up to the West Edmonton Mall to check out Build-A-Bear. I have a Darth Vader bear that was given to me by my friends Alex, Schuyler, and Billy. I think it was Schuyler’s bear… but it was presented to me by all of them as we said “so long” after our freshman year of university. Lucas LOVES this bear. I’ve been training Lucas in the ways of a young Jedi, and he is surely becoming very passionate about Star Wars (muahahaha). Anyways, he asked if we could get some new clothes for the Darth Vader bear. Me, being the kid that I am, of course said yes. We ventured into a world of fluff, tiny outfits, silk hearts, and many bear hugs. We were able to make this old bear a birth certificate, get his Star Wars theme song fixed (he now plays my favo(u)rite tune on demand…), got two outfits, and picked out more for later. Darth Vader is now also Iron Man and Batman. It’s great to finally have a brother. #comics

A naked bear and a happy boy.

A naked bear and a happy boy.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was certainly hilarious. I probably would have liked it better had I grown up with the show like everyone else. But I’ll be honest… I didn’t even know their names before I went to the movie. After that, we all came home and welcomed Cannon back from B.C.

Okay wait. Do you know my siblings?

  • Blaine is the oldest. She is 25 and gorgeous. She works at Sephora and is a bad ass. Her boyfriend is Derek and he is so cool. They’re so perfect for each other. Blaine is filled with a spirit that resonates peace within herself and yeah. I could just go on and on. I only hope that I can be as whole with myself as she is. She’s so brave and I will continue to look to her for the wisdom she always provides so easily.
    IMG_3028
  • Cannon is 20. She is amazing. She works at Earls, which is a restaurant 3 out of 4 of us have worked at… she has just started a journey selling Juice Plus+ and venturing on her own into the world of being a personal trainer. She has made many strides in her life and is such an inspiration. She can hold me when I’m feeling down, insecure, and overall SOL… and she knows exactly what to say. I never thought Cannon and I would be at this point in our lives as sisters… and here we are! She’s a beast.

    So bright, this one.

    So bright, this one.

  • Abigail is soon to be 19. She is my soul mate. She is knee deep in the journey of life as a young adult and has made the decision to come with me to Alaska. I hope she comes. I can’t imagine how different my life would be. I’ve been going to school for the last four years without anyone like my sisters around. You can’t beat that connection – and if I get to have that with me in Alaska, I will be more than grateful. She is so pretty! She works at Hudson’s Canadian Tap House in the West Edmonton Mall. She rocks it.
    Bestiessss.

    Hanging at OJ’s… what we do best.

     

Okay, so now that the introductions are out of the way… Cannon came home from a trip to Nelson, B.C. with her boyfriend (Ross – who is also awesome), and we had a family dinner. Mom and Dave made cedar-planked salmon, asparagus, basmati rice, and a big salad. It felt so good to be sitting at the dinner table with all of my sisters, my brother, and my mom and Dave. We went for a family bike ride that night.

I love when we hit the streets as a gang. In our family, there is a collection of two Ducati Monsters, a Victory Vegas Jackpot, a Honda CBR, and a Honda Shadow Phantom… nonetheless, we’re a bit loud 🙂

The Gang.

The Gang.

Family bike night ended with an attempted fire – but the new mosquito hatch ended that reallllll quick. My sisters and I all hung out that night and had a huge sleepover in one room. It’s so funny how you fight for your own space your whole life growing up. “Mom, do I get my own room?” “Get out of MY room!” And then it suddenly changes to, “You’re staying here tonight right? We can all just snuggle…”

I love my sisters.

The next morning, Blaine left on her bike back to Saskatchewan. She hit a little bit of rain, but powered through! Lucas and I woke up and ate some breakfast, then went and painted pottery! He painted both a motorcycle and a hamburger. I get to pick them up on Wednesday and am excited to see how his masterpieces turned out! We went to Earls and ate some lunch with Abigail, Ross, and Cannon. Then we  came home and made R2-D2 treats from my Star Wars cookbook and watched Transformers 3.

White chocolate dipped bananas rolled in crushed peanuts with kit-kats stuck on the side.

White chocolate dipped bananas rolled in crushed peanuts with kit-kats stuck on the side.

That day ended with some work on the Rainbow Loom for Lucas and I. That thing is HARD. Try Rainbow Looming it up and see what happens. Lots and lots of rubbery knots…

The last few days have been spent with my family and my friends. We went to the St. Albert Farmer’s Market yesterday morning and picked up some of the essentials. SO much B.C. fruit! We got apples, cherries, olives, carrots, kale, dill… ugh. We were happy campers.

Today is my mother’s birthday. She’s only 30! Kidding… we are celebrating at Hudson’s tonight! Abigail gets a mad discount, and we’re totally taking advantage of it.

My next post probably won’t be for awhile! I have some ferries to catch, some Alaska terrain to conquer, and a brand new lifestyle to figure out. Yay for hauling water!

Until next time…

Ducati Monster love.

Ducati Monster love.

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