Monday, May 18, 2009

tales from the road... SD-BC

howdy folks!

i'm back home in my bedroom in west vancouver. not very exotic.. i know...

let me get you all caught up on the end of our journey...

we planned to get up early in rapid city and be on the road by 830. so we did that. for some strange reason my alarm on my cellphone hasn't been working, so braden has to wake me up every morning (his alarm still works). fortunately it only took me two days to train him that yelling "BROOKE! GET UP! ITS MORNING!" is not an acceptable way to be woken up. so now its "brooke, dear, its time to wake up"- much more tolerable. (you may think i'm kidding here. i'm not). so, from rapid city, its about an hour and a bit to mt. rushmore. and on the way we ran into a mini rally. like mini coopers. probably about 25 of them, all lined up, all with cute custom liscence plates. being a mini driver at heart, braden couldn't cut into their line (even though we had the green light), so we turned down a side street and hopped in line behind the last one. in our vw golf. but of course lola rocked it.

mount rushmore is pretty impressive. i mean, as a non-american it doesn't mean a huge lot to me in a patriotic kind of way, but its still really cool what you can carve out of a mountain. most notably it was cold. it feels like the 35+ degrees days in florida disappeared overnight and all of a sudden it was down to 7 or 8 degrees (all celcius obviously). second most notably was the group walking in front of us up to the mountain. it was four youngish guys, all dressed really cool, all with expensive video/photo equipment. braden turned to me and asks (or so i thought..) "how do you think you get invited to the hamster convention?" and looks back at the guys. so i looked at them a couple times and couldn't figure out for the life of me how he knew they were part of a hamster convention. turns out he asked how one gets invited to the HIPSTER convention. it made so much more sense. i probably shouldn't tell this story at parties...

moving on.

from mount rushmore we swung south to the crazy horse memorial- which will be the largest statue in the world, when its finished. which it is not. but its still pretty flippin' cool. then we hopped over into wyoming, where we stopped for brunch. and i had THE most amazing french toast i've ever had (and i've had my fair share of french toast). words cannot describe how wonderful it was. and at a little diner on main street in newcastle, wyoming. with a stuffed jackolope on the wall. amazing.

and then the driving started. we drove and drove. and then we drove some more. and if we're being honest, braden drove. although i did offer every rest stop we passed and ever time we did stop. all in all we drove about 1,313 km that day (which is about 816 miles). needless to say it was a very long day. i was a little cranky. our original plan was to stop in great falls, mt then head up to glacier national park the next morning. we drove through great falls at 830pm and it was decided that we carry on, to get closer to the park (which would have been 2 1/2 hours from great falls), so we ended up an hour and a half northwest of great falls in cut bank, mt- the coldest place in the nation (according to the giant penguin in front of our motel- seriously).

the next morning we were both up before 7 because it was COLD in our room. and sleeping is next to impossible if you're cold. so we were on the road bright and early. it was also braden's 20th birthday. so we had a mini donut with breakfast (as well as the usual cereal/ bagel). we set out for the park (glacier national park) and realized that the road through the park may not actually be open yet, as it was still very wintery and its a mountain pass road. so i called ahead, and turns out it was in fact not open. but it was partly open from the east end (which was the side we were on). so we headed 5 miles into the park before we ran into (no, not literally) the gate at the end of the road. it was cold and windy but absolutely gorgeous. clear skies, snow, mountains and lakes. amazing. we stopped in the visitors centre on the way out of the park, where braden was the first official visitor of 2009. sadly that honour didn't include a prize.

just north of that entrance to the park was another entrance to a shorter road (shorter than the total 50 miles of the closed road). so we took that in and followed it up to another lake. we played in the snow briefly, took some pictures and encountered some bighorn sheep on our way out. my personal favourite, we'll call him peter, was probably 2 feet from the car, and so i introduced him to jon bear (our polar bear mascot), and he proceeded to escort us to the edge of the wildlife corridor. no joke, we got to the sign marking the edge, and peter stepped aside and let us carry on.

we crossed back into canada half an hour north of there, in nowhere, montana/ nowhere, alberta with no problems. we grabbed lunch in cardston, alberta, and met up with maureen (another boat friend) and her former roommate for an ice cream and a tour of cardston- where maureen spent her high school years.

and then it was north to calgary, at 110 km/h which felt like crawling after two days of flying along at 140km/h. from calgary we pointed lola west towards the mountains and were in canmore within an hour. i did laundry and cleaned up while braden and lola drove 15 mins into banff to pick up lucas, braden's friend from oakville, who is in revelstoke, bc this summer. since it was may 2-4 weekend (victoria day for all you non-ontarians) he had both saturday/sunday as well as monday off. that night we went down to the pub/brewery and had dinner, then took the largest taxi-van i've ever seen back home, where we watched bbc's planet earth and fell asleep while learning about caves.

the next morning we were allowed to sleep in (i was still up before 8), and had a leisurely morning of reading/ sitting around and headed down to timmy's for coffee/breakfast then to johnston canyon, about 35 minutes drive from canmore. its a nice little walk along a creek, and has two sets of waterfalls along it. we usually go in the winter when we're there as a family, and crazy people are ice-climbing the larger of the two waterfalls. but its beautiful in the summer as well. i spent most of the walk on my own, as braden and luke went off scampering through the woods. but, being the long weekend i was very much not alone, as it was super busy. i had all kinds of fun eavesdropping on families and couples i walked by.

then it was back into banff for a tour of the banff springs hotel- one of my very favourite buildings in the whole world. its absolutely 110% amazing. it was built in 1888 by the cpr (canadian pacific railroad) and its essentially a castle in the mountains. its got beautiful old ballrooms and spiral staircases and secrety-feeling passages. its SO cool. from there we walked down to the bow river falls for a quick peek. and we saw elk, which is kind of a normal thing in banff, so braden and i weren't all that excited, but luke sure was!

THENNNN we went back to canmore and up the darkside of the valley (we live on the sunny side), past the reservoir, to spray lakes. which still had a layer of ice over 1/3 of the lake. the ice was probably a good 10 inches thick at least. so obviously the boys had to try to break the ice by throwing rocks & ice chunks at it. the ice that had been pushed up on the shore was SO clear, it was incredible. and poor lola got so dusty driving along the gravel roads. but she had fun being up in the mountains.

by the time we got home it was dinner time, so we slammed some pizzas in the oven (one of which may have been left on the cardboard disc.. fortunately it did not catch fire, it just meant the pizza didn't really cook...) and watched some more planet earth. then the real fun began. our place backs onto the first hole of a golf course, so we took a golf ball each from our extensive collection- a whole nother story.. we're not going there now... and played handgolf. (handgolf is essentially what it sounds like.. you throw your golfball instead of hitting it with a club- which we do not have). we played three holes. and played one hole a couple of times- regular, lefties only, and over-your-shoulder style. i lost all three holes, no matter how we were playing.

after retiring from handgolf, we watched some bbc blue planet and again, may have dozed off on the couch.

this morning we were on the road at 8:36am, grabbed timmy's (tim hortons...) for breakfast- if you get the chance, try the whole grain raspberry muffin- DELISH!) and set out past lake louise, into british columbia, to revelstoke. we dropped luke at his home for the summer, grabbed timmy's for lunch (because you just can't go wrong with timmys) and drove home to vancouver. braden and i were either over-rested or else over-tired because EVERYTHING was hilarious. so the 7 hours from revelstoke to home went really quickly, but the jokes were terrible. example: we drove through the town/city (?) of chilliwack, and just as i took a giant gulp of water, braden says "chilliquack, where the ducks are" and it was all i could do not to explode water everywhere. really lame jokes. all day.

we made it home just after 6pm. and so this brings us to the end of the adventure.
until next time....

you're probably asking yourself what kind of music we listened to on this journey... here are some of the most-played tunes...

rockstar- nickleback
mr. bojangles- nitty gritty dirt band
jump on it- sir mix-a-lot
good time- alan jackson
fast cars and freedom- rascal flatts
holes to heaven- jack johnson

and the theme song to the whole trip was.....
beer for my horses by toby keith.
---(which also happens to be a FANTABULOUS movie we caught the end of in st. joseph missouri. download/rent/buy it. like right now.)

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