there was nowhere to go but everywhere – a wonderful dissection of our trip

The United States - Road Trip 15“But why think about that when all the golden lands ahead of you and all kinds of unforseen events wait lurking to surprise you and make you glad you’re alive to see?”

– Jack Kerouac

The United States - Road Trip 41I’m not going to lie. The deadline for me to discuss our entire trip, including edited photographs, less than one week after we returned home, was a very daunting one. However, as writers we have to continually push ourselves to discuss key events in our lives in great detail soon after they occur, whether we are ready to or not. That’s when the memories are the freshest. Being kept on our toes can only help us learn from and improve our passion.

I kept a travel journal during our American adventures, but translating it from diary format to a public platform will not and is not going to be easy. I will try to do my best at deciphering what is relevant versus what is not. Hopefully, you will be able to relate to at least some of the sites that we took in. If so, then please share your own experiences in the comment section!

We covered over 5000 km (3100 mi) on our trip, averaging 600 km (373 mi) each day. It was the perfect amount given that we would usually begin our day in one state, end it in another, all while stopping to see at least one major monument and explore smaller towns throughout the day. Our days were usually around 9 hours long. We survived on gas station edibles (which turns out is actually pretty convenient and more delicious than Canadian gas station food), and would order an amazing feast in the evening once we were settled in. We quickly fell into this pattern, and embraced it. It was perfect for us and our dogs.

DAY 1:

The United States - Road Trip 1 The United States - Road Trip 2After picking Geoffrey up from work, we drove through the evening and southern Saskatchewan to my hometown. It’s only a few hours north of the Canadian/American border, and we were excited to get a head start on our grand road trip. 

DAY 2:

The United States - Road Trip 3We left the hotel by 8 am. We got gas, our last good coffee (à la Tim Horton’s), and made a stop at the first house that I had ever lived in. Then we headed south to the United States.

On the way, we stopped at a little town called Val Marie, SK. It was very prairie, and really picturesque. After taking a few photographs, we continued for another 30 minutes until we hit the border. Just before crossing, I asked Geoffrey if he had signed his passport this time. Geoff received his new passport only a few weeks ago. The last time we drove to the States, he had forgotten to and the border agents almost didn’t let us through. It was unnerving, but it’s something that we still joke about. Sure enough, when I opened it this time, it wasn’t signed. It never fails. Geoffrey is incredibly forgetful. So with the border crossing clearly in our line of vision, he veers off the road, quickly signs it, and drives the remaining feet toward the towering structure. I thought that we would certainly get questioned as to our erratic driving, but thankfully, everything went off without a hitch. We’re in America!

The United States - Road Trip 4The United States - Road Trip 6The United States - Road Trip 7Our first stop was at a tiny town named Loring, MT. We let the dogs out, took a few photos, and jumped back into our vehicle. Our final destination for the day was Billings, MT.

The United States - Road Trip 8The United States - Road Trip 10The United States - Road Trip 11On the way to Billings, we stopped at what became our favourite spot on day 2; the C.M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge. It was beautiful. We walked around for quite awhile, and took a ton of photographs. With the steep hills, greenery, and mountains in the distance, to me, this was the epitome of Montana.

The United States - Road Trip 12The United States - Road Trip 13Roughly four hours later, we were in Billings for the night.

DAY 3:

The United States - Road Trip 14The United States - Road Trip 17The United States - Road Trip 16Our third day’s destination was Douglas, WY. That morning, we went to our hotel’s bakery, drove around downtown taking pictures of antique stores and trading posts, then to Moss Mansion. Billings is very beautiful, and seems like a great city to live in.

The United States - Road Trip 18 The United States - Road Trip 20 The United States - Road Trip 19The United States - Road Trip 22 The United States - Road Trip 23 The United States - Road Trip 24On the way to Wyoming, we had two major stops planned. The first was Little Bighorn Battlefield in Montana. Although this was supposed to be a short visit to a site that I knew nothing about, it turned out to be my most cherished activity of day 3. Driving to the battlefield was quite nice, until we hit the more rundown areas along the interstate. At the last minute, we nearly changed our minds about visiting it because the turn off was so intimidating. Thank goodness we did go! Once we got out of that area and drove up to the monument, it was all worth it. From the cleanliness, to the gift shop, to the beautiful drive around the grounds (which includes scenic views and wild horses), to the importance of the site itself, Little Bighorn Battlefield is an understated must-see.

The United States - Road Trip 25 The United States - Road Trip 26The United States - Road Trip 27After finally leaving the battlefield, we drove 3.5 hours to Devil’s Tower National Monument, WY. If anyone has ever visited this monument, you may understand what I mean when I say that the drive from Moorcroft, WY to Devil’s Tower is not spectacular, by any means. It actually felt like a bit of a let down since I had high expectations for the actual site. Yet, Devil’s Tower itself was such an awe-inspiring experience. I found it quite unbelievable to be there, with the way that the tower loomed over its panoramic surroundings and commanded your attention from miles away to mere feet. It was quite stunning, and I am so glad that we went!

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 presetFollowing the tower was our final 3 hour drive to Douglas, WY. It quickly turned to prairie, and I instantly felt at home. Tired from the day we just had, Geoffrey and I became increasingly restless and giddy. By the time we made it into Douglas, it was dark. Yet, the beauty of the city was not lost on us. What a pleasant surprise! It instantly reminded me of Colorado, and given that our hotel was top-notch, I couldn’t wait to get settled, and begin the next day. I think my husband and our dogs felt the same. So far, day 3 was our favourite, albeit the most exhausting.

DAY 4:

The United States - Road Trip 29We woke up in Wyoming completely refreshed. We began the day with a long walk together with Holly and Truman, ate, packed up our belongings, and hit the road. Day 4’s destination was Glenwood Springs, CO. Colorado has always been our favourite state, so we were peeing our little britches in anticipation. The sky was also overcast that morning (our best kind of day). 

The United States - Road Trip 30We drove past Cheyenne, WY which I love. However, after a quick discussion, we decided that we wouldn’t be stopping. The day was already going to be too long. C’est la vie! Onward and upward.

The United States - Road Trip 31IMG_4791 We ended up stopping at the visitor centre just after the state border in Fort Collins, CO. This is where we stopped four years ago, and took pictures with the painted horse. I went inside to buy souvenirs while Geoffrey walked the dogs, and was immediately asked where I was from because “I talked funny.” Thanks, USA. 

The United States - Road Trip 34 The United States - Road Trip 35Leaving the visitor centre, we then drove to our all-time favourite city, Denver, CO! We headed straight to the Cherry Creek Shopping Center, given that I was in need of a Tiffany’s store. Forsaking GPS we initially relied purely on memory and maps. Then we got lost. Then we took some photos of impressive stately homes and Geoffrey was in heaven. Then we caved, turned on GPS, and made our way over to the mall. We were surprised at how much snow the city had! However, we were used to driving in it. Once we made it to the center, I got out, ran inside, went to Tiffany’s, and told them I wanted to pick out a new wedding ring for our forthcoming 5th wedding anniversary. I only had about 20 minutes. Honestly, this could easily be a blog post in itself, and I think that I will turn it into one.

The United States - Road Trip 37 The United States - Road Trip 39The United States - Road Trip 40Finding what I wanted, I ran back out of the mall, and after a few more stops, we left Denver. We were heading westward on I-70. Our first stop was, no word of a lie, a gorgeous little gas station in the picturesque town of Genesee, CO. I felt like they could’ve filmed movies there. We picked up some more souvenirs, and got more gas and some food. Then we began what should’ve been a 2.5 hour drive to Glenwood Springs, but felt much longer. Although our most stunning drive of the trip, it was also the most frightening. How do you guys do it?! I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

The United States - Road Trip 42We finally arrived at our destination. I didn’t want to leave, and we almost considered staying for a few extra days. In hindsight, we probably should have. Lovely, lovely, Glenwood Springs, CO.

Days 5-9:

Coming tomorrow.

<3

Emory

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our american road trip through instagram photos

America

We officially got back from our American road trip Saturday evening. What was supposed to be an eight day vacation to five states, turned into a nine day trip to seven states! Aside from Geoffrey getting a pinched sciatica nerve halfway through our holiday, and a chipped window in the last few hours, our overall adventure was amazing and indescribable.

Here are photos from each province/state:

1. Last Canadian town // Val Marie, SK

2. Northbound // I-15, MT

3. Best stop in Wyoming // Devil’s Tower National Monument, WY

4. Travelling through the Rocky Mountains // I-70, CO

5. Four states at once // Four Corners Monument, NM

6. Beautiful landscape // H-160, AZ

7. Treasured unintentional adventure // Moab, UT

8. Family photo // Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve, ID

9. Home safely // SK, Canada

Despite two minor pitfalls, this trip was more than worth it. We all had the best time, and our dogs travelled better than I ever could have imagined. Hence us extending our destinations, and time spent away.

I will be posting more photos and fun details regarding our trip on Thursday, and followed by a video next Monday. In the meantime, keep checking back!

<3

Emory

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tour around the potomac

Potomac Trading Post_I’ve recently noticed that while I am usually very good at bringing things to the attention of my readers (in regards to my life, that is), I am not so good at keeping them updated. Most noticeably was when we were building The Little Barn. I would go weeks, sometimes even months, without giving a single progress report. It also took me nearly two months to have a house tour once we finally moved in. Sorry!

Potomac Trading Post 2My uncanny ability to not be able to regularly publish on improvements has also extended to my store, Potomac Trading Post, Ltd. The last time that I gave a little tour of the place was in October 2014. I am writing this post today with that very thought in mind. These are the most recent photos of my little store.

Potomac Trading Post 4Potomac Trading Post 3Potomac Trading Post 5Have you added PTP on Instagram? I often create deals specifically for buyers from this social media site. It works, too! Here are a few shots of the store’s current inventory.

Processed with VSCOcam with a5 preset Processed with VSCOcam with se3 presetIMG_3258IMG_3232IMG_3245Thanks for taking this journey with me! 

<3

Emory

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what i bought // minkpink and vintage rocking horses

WIB 1-1I am an avid supporter of shopping online. I even do my part to contribute to this new age phenomena. Gone are the days when you have to physically walk into a store to find some really great items. There are quite literally millions of websites that will allow you to shop their inventory without lifting so much as a finger. Ok, so maybe you will have to move just one, but not more than that.

One of my favourite clothing stores in the province, Cade Style Lounge, is located 2.5 hours away from where I live. I follow their Instagram page as a way to be able to shop and support them since they, too, are a small business. Plus they have some really cool stuff. I previously dedicated an entire post to a purse that I bought from Cade. I still wear it, and only it.

WIB 1-6Last week I ended up seeing a shirt that I liked on their Instagram page. I contacted them through direct message, and after it was all said and done, I ended up getting:

1. Vintage Rocking Horse necklace

2. MINKPINK crop top

3. Gentle Fawn leggings

4. Cade bracelet (free)

Obviously, the many advances in technology make our lives so much simpler. They also allow small businesses to increase their traffic by reaching further audiences, which consequently increases their sales. As an owner of a retail store, I know that I would never be able to operate successfully without my presence on these sites, namely Instagram. While many may disagree with my proclamations on the benefits of social media platforms, I personally think that the strengths outweigh the negative aspects. At least in regards to local shops. I can only hope that these advances will persist. Until then, I will not only continue promoting my store, Potomac Trading Post, Ltd., but will also be an avid supporter of other independent shops. I hope that you will too!

Have the best weekend! See you on Monday.

<3

Emory

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a week of valentines: heart-y meal

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 presetHey guys!

Call me crazy, but with Valentine’s Day coming up, I’m thinking that you’re probably going to be sharing a meal with your loved one. Why not make it a delectable homemade dinner? After all, they say that the way to someone’s heart is through their stomach. Or gifts. Wait, the latter may just be pour moi. ;-)))

This meal is guaranteed to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. It’s also perfectly filling for those chilly February evenings. I made this Chicken recipe just after we moved into our new home and before we had gone on our first grocery trip. I had chicken in the freezer, a box of half-opened Shake’n Bake, potatoes that had seen better days, and frozen corn in the freezer. What I also had were a ton of spices. I thought, I can make something out of this. 

This is how I worked my magic:

Chicken

1. Turn the oven to 375°F. In a bowl, combine chicken wings, oil, salt, pepper, and Shake’n Bake. Adequately cover each wing with mixture. Place on a baking sheet and cover with tin foil. 

2. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil. Bake for an additional 15 minutes or until wings are golden.

Mashed Potatoes

1. Bring water and salt to a boil in a saucepan. Turn down to medium-high heat.

2. Peel the skins off of the potatoes. Cut them into chunks and put them in the boiling water. Cook until a fork can easily pierce through the potatoes. Drain the water from the pan.

3. Add milk, butter, pepper, and dill to the potatoes. Mash until creamy. Add more spices to taste.

Corn

1. Bring water and salt to a boil in a saucepan. Turn down to medium-high heat.

2. Add frozen corn to the water. Cook for approximately 5-10 minutes. Drain.

3. Add butter and pepper to the corn. 

Don’t be surprised if you have to beat your significant other off with a love stick after they taste this Valentine’s Day feast! Just chalk all of those kisses up to another HSB win.

<3

Emory

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  • Hello! My name is Emory. I am a wife, mother of four (three on earth in heaven). This is our life on the Canadian prairies.
    email: helloscarlettblog@outlook.com

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