This is the longest post in this blogs history. And that's after I cut photos out. The problem with picking and choosing photos to post is that people tend to save photos off the blog for their personal albums, and since we went out with so many different people during this week, I didn't want to exclude too many pictures. My apologies if it took forever for your browser to load, or if you think I'm being self-indulgent here. Which, really, in a way, I am.
I just finished posting all these photos, and I've come to the conclusion that I must have "Trouble: Buy Me a Drink" stamped on my forehead. I think this is all that is necessary in terms of a prologue for the the Alberta Roadtrip 2006.
Little did they know that they had to share a plane with us. We were over-tired and couldn't stop gigging and discussing inappropriate topics that should never be discussed at 7 am in a public place. Loudly. (First topic on the agenda: the loudness of beds. "Your bed is pretty quiet," Brie told me, "I've never heard you having sex before." I shot her a dirty look. "Oh. . ." she trailed off, laughing and realizing what she had just said. "Yah, there's a reason you've never heard my bed," I said bitterly.)
As we boarded the plane an exhausted looking woman asked us where we were sitting, "I want to get some sleep," she said sounding irritated. Luckily, we half-passed out right away.
"There's no trees here!" Courtney and Brie told me as the plane descended. The list began. (The list being "Differences Between Alberta and Southern Ontario.")
Difference #2: "I can breathe!" Brie said when we got into the country. "I can feel the air hitting every last bronchile!" I agreed with her.
We got caught up in the energy, despite the fact we hadn't slept in well over a day (or in Courtney's case, almost two days).
I have no idea how we were still functioning, but we spent the entire night dancing. Unfortunately, we lost Christine and her friends almost immediatly.
But quickly made new ones.
We saw the other girsl in the bathroom for roughly 5 minutes.
They were excited to see us.
Again, I don't know how we were functioning. Personally, I hadn't really slept in roughly 40 hours at the point in time that we took this picture.
Okay, so maybe we weren't quite functioning. (I love comparing this picture to the one we took at 4 am when we were leaving China.)
The next day, we went to pick up my car. Brie only had these shoes to wear since the rest of them were in the car. As we passed by Mount Royal College Brie had a blonde moment and asked, "Is that UBC?"
We drove to Banff for the day.
Since it was Courtney's first time in the mountains, we had a mini-photo shoot session.
Feel free to use this as wallpaper.
Afterwards, we headed up to the Banff hot springs to enjoy the +20 degree weather.
After we got out of the pool, we all felt really weird. "I feel like I'm tired, but I'm not," I said confused. "Me too," agreed Brie and Court. And then suddenly one of us figured it out. "Holy shit. We're relaxed guys! That's what this feeling is!" Alberta may not have been an exotic vacation choice, but it did the trick.
The Bow Falls.
The Banff Springs Hotel.
The obligatory beautiful scenery shot.
The next day, we got up early to drive to Drumheller. Brie had her second blonde moment. "Jess, are the Rocky Mountains in Alberta?"
On the way to Drumheller, we picked up a hitchiker. Court protested as we slowed down the car, "We don't have enough room!" she yelled at me. (Yes, she was talking about the same car that comfortably seats 4 people in the backseat. The same car that we later in the trip shoved 7 girls into. We had room.) Apparently Court didn't notice that the hitchiker was the least intimidating guy possible and had a suitcase on wheels. Brie and Court were okay with my decision to pick him up though, because it turned out he works for a Children's Theatre company.
"What kind of people usually pick you up when you are hitchiking?" I asked him. "Actually, this is my first time," he admitted. Awww.
Driving into Drumheller is crazy. One second you're driving across the flat nothingness of the Prairies. . .
. . .and then next second you drive into this desert-like valley. These two pictures were only taken a few kilometers apart.
The Horseshoe Canyon.
Brie had been so excited to go to the Tyrell Dinosaur Museum that she bounded into our room all chipper that morning at 9 a.m. to wake us up. We suspect that she had Christmas morning syndrome and probably hadn't slept a second the night before in anticipation of all the dinosaurs.
Brie wanted to bring this home for her dad.
Haha, check out the guy standing behind me. He's all like, "My 4-year-old is better behaved than you."
Which is probably true. We stopped to play a quick game of "Get Off That Thing: The Official Game of Cool Kids Everywhere!" (Speaking of which, Mark created a blog for the game. Check is out later this week for a critique of GOTT: Alberta Edition).
Another one for good measure. (The black plaque beside the dinosaur definitely said, "Stay off dinosaur" which indicates to me this was a completely legitimate round.)
Roar! (Oh, c'mon now, you try and think of a better caption for this picture!)
We had a picnic lunch that Christine's mom made for us (I seriously gained like 10 lbs this week, I ate so well). .
. . .before we climbed into the mouth of the dinosaur to wish Sasha a Happy Birthday!
Get Off That Dinosaur!
We drove down to the Hoodoo Trail.
It was +26 degrees out.
I think this should gain bonus points for being the most picturesque GOTT photo ever. (Also, we were risking a $50, 000 fine or imprisonment for straying off paths in a National Park area. Oops.)
We followed what we thought were trails up the side of the valley.
Turns out they weren't trails at all, but the view at the top was amazing.
I haven't been to Drumheller since I was a kid, but I remember trying to cross the suspension bridge and nearly pissing myself. This time wasn't any different.
I let Brie drive for a bit on the way to Edmonton.
"Alberta drivers are so polite," she said, pointing out difference #3. "This would never happen in Ontario," she said, as a driver pulled over to the shoulder of the highway so she could safely pass, and she exchanged a friendly wave with them.
Court mananged to avoid driving the entire trip.
And I took more pictures of the Prairies/myself. (Yup, that's me in the side mirror.)
That night, after eating a french onion soup Mike made for us, we took a trip to the liquor store before we went to the Druid. (Difference #5, liquor stores everywhere! Steve told us that in between his house and Whyte Avenue he counted 29 liquor stores. Alberta is awesome.)
Erica and my cousin Katherine were there, but they had to leave right away.
So we went to Stonehouse.
And then began "The Longest 6-Block Walk Home Ever!" I think this is an attempt at Get Off That Bull, but perhaps Brie missed the point. I can't remember, because I am solely responsible for "The Longest 6-Block Walk Home Ever!"
Courtney took a self-portrait of her and Brie.
I couldn't take the picture because I was too busy trying to sleep on the sidewalk.
This is one of those, "I love Mike and he's my best friend because he carries me home!" type pictures.
Brie has a hot ass.
It makes me feel better about myself that Mike has beer all over his shirt, though.
Longest walk ever. (Just to clarify, because its pretty self-depricating to post these photos and I think clarification is necessary, I was fine until we left the bar, and I definitely didn't drink more than I usually do. The determining factor in my behaviour was the fact we had been drinking cider, which is difference #4, since you can't get it in Ontario, and it hit me pretty hard at the last second. I had actually been drinking water at the bar.)
We met these random guys in the alley who were apparently also from Toronto.
And we had a mini-dance party with them in the alley on a dirty old mattress. Court and Brie later told me it was exceptionally bouncy.
This photo was actually taken two nights later, down on Whyte Avenue. The Oilers won the series, and the whole street was a gong show. Brie took it upon herself to show some Edmonton pride and pop out of my sunroof to give people high-fives. I participated in synchronized car honking and it took us nearly 45 minutes to drive 2 block.
Then we picked up Steve (who sadly, is not pictured) and went to Red's to play pool. (Also not pictured: a Sunday night BBQ at Chloe's with the Gateway folk.)
On Tuesday, before going to my auntie's house, Brie and Court plotted to make me cry.
They made me go on my first ever rollercoaster at West Edmonton Mall. That's me looking all pitiful in the bottom right-hand corner.
And this is Court and Brie laughing at me after we got off the rollercoaster.
I think we deserve bonus points for the sign in the picture.
Another for good measure.
That night, we crammed 7 girls into my car with roughly 4 mickeys of alcohol to head to Esmerelda's. (Amy was also in the backseat, but you can't see her in this photo.)
Erica and Leah.
It was my cousin Katherine's 23rd Birthday.
Katherine, Adam, Leah and Erica.
Yes, we're actually related. (First cousins, to be exact.)
I finally got to meet Ryan, whom I've been talking to for a few months and who designed my blog for me. Luckily, I didn't creep him out too much.
Dave organized the whole night for Katherine's birthday, and also got Brie into the bar for us despite her expired liscense. Thanks Dave! We had an awesome time! (Speaking of which, if I forget to e-mail you, I can't marry you and Jess. It turns out they don't allow liscensing for that sort of thing anymore. But I'm still all over a Vegas wedding!)
Court, Amy, Erica, Leah and Katherine.
Check out the cowboys in their flannel in the background. Ah, I love Alberta! Oh, okay, and I love Katherine too.
Rob, Adam, Mike, Court, Brie and Rob. (I also was meeting Rob for the first time. I met Rob on an online community about 2 years ago. He introduced Ryan to me, all via the Internet, but this is the first time we've met as well.)
Rob tried to play Get Off That Thing, but I'm not quite sure he understood.
Check out Courtney's hand. The girl has serious problems, in between cutting off her knuckle and slicing open her finger with a razor. You're awesome Court!
Team Road Trip Alberta!
Court and Brie, I think I know what's going on in this photo! I'm on a thing, and you're pointing at me to get off it?!
Brie, why is your hand on my thigh?
Rob and I.
When Katherine left the bar, I started to cry. I'm not a crier, but it's hard not to cry when you know you won't see this girl again until Christmas.
Katherine, Court, Rob and Brie.
Ryan, Brie and Mike.
"This is how I got kicked out of the Madison on my birthday," Brie demonstrated.
Courtney will never be kicked out of the bar for attempting this stunt.
We thought we were being so sneaky with this Get Off That Thing. But there were two problems. First, you couldn't see what we were on. Second, there was a security camera directly behind us. Yup, we're sleuthy and indiscreet all right.
We went in for round two so that you could see what we were on. The ride shirt in the background in the bouncer coming over and telling us to behave ourselves.
So we left. And in the process, we accidentally left Rob at the bar. Um, oops. Sorry about that Rob.
The next morning, I drove a hungover Team Alberta to Cold Lake.
We stopped in St. Paul to see the UFO landing pad. (Court in the background, is clearly being an alien as Brie tells her to Get Off That Thing!)
And we stopped in Glendon to tell Brie to Get Off That Giant Perogy!
As we were taking this picture, we noticed two guys standing across the street from us, laughing. They were obviously local boys, as they were driving a pick up truck and hauling farm machinery. Excitedly, they ran across the street to join us. "You're not from around here, are you?" they asked. They probably hadn't seen girls in a long time, because after asking us that question, they just awkwardly stared at us until we were like, "Uh, we should go now. . ."
And then we were in Cold Lake. (Driving up, Brie and Courtney told me that they finally understood what I meant when I said my town is isolated. Maybe it was the guys in Glendon that tipped them off.)
On Friday night, Tyler set up beersbi in his backyard and all the regulars came over: Brad (aka the second half of Team Couch circa 2004, the other half being Mike), Danny and two of his friends, Bonnie and Kevin Alessio and Tee Jay were just a few.
Court, Tee Jay and I on the way to Legends.
Brie conned Tyler into coming out even though he had to work the next day, for the sole reason that she needed someone to two-step with. If my memory serves me correctly, Chris and Scott (Danny's friends) also had to be up the next day to work at 5:30 am. They were troopers, though.
Danny, Court and random old guy.
At the start of the night, when I walked in, Harley (my friend who was DJing) started playing Lady Sovereign and M.I.A. for us to dance to. Brie and Court weren't in the dancing mood at the time though, and I ended up dancing with red shirt guy. We had the whole dance floor to ourselves!
Aaron and Tee Jay.
Tyler and Naomi.
The Kasper Clan (well, a very small portion of it) and Tee Jay.
Court's face in this photo is priceless.
I'm not going to lie. We didn't entirely fit in at Legends.
Court adjusting Mike's shirt.
Nomes and me.
Brandi and Brie.
Courtney busting a move.
In between the stolen hat and the drink all over the front of my shirt, I am one classy girl.
On Saturday morning, we were in rough shape.
Brie and Court slept while my Dad and I had a sing-a-long on the way back to Edmonton. (I generally speaking don't sleep in moving vehicles.)
Papa Bruce felt so bad for us that he got a room for us at Sutton Place, which according to Court is "where all the stars stay!" including the time her mom stayed at the one in Toronto and ran into the Backstreet Boys. (Wow, exciting, hey?)
We temporarily rolled out of bed to meet Steve, Natalie and Chloe for dinner at the Sugarbowl, but spent our final night in Alberta, here, in the comfort of our beds.
Other Highlights of the trip included:
-people recognizing me from the calendar
-people recognizing Court and Brie from the blog
-arguing about milk bags vs. milk cartons, horizontal traffic lights, the colour of snow plow lights, and all the other idiosyncratic differences between the two provinces
-people asking me, "So how's that beard thing going for you?"*
And now I'm going to go work on de-toxifying my body before I start work tomorrow. The first step? A nice, long shower. The second step? Hopefully, it involves a beard. (A specific beard, to be exact.) But first, the shower.
*Speaking of which, Leah's New Year's Resolution was 2006: Year of the Ring. At the time, she was single. As of now, she has a "promise ring". Katherine's was Year of the Free Ride. She hasn't paid for a date all year. I kid you not, this is the power of the resolution. Erica still has yet to achieve Year of the Million, though. (In which she gets a million dollars by the end of the year.)