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July 5th, 2003

It began the way most of my trips begin. Someone asking me, "Hey, do you want to drive to <fill in the blank> and me enthusiastically replying, "Duh!" Krista asked me if I wanted to take a week off of work and drive from Prescott, Airzona, to Peterborough, Ontario. She needed to take her truck up for her next school semester. So I packed up my birth certificate and a bag of clothes and my laptop, and the adventure began on Thursday, June 26th, 2003...

Steph: I was up at 6 am as usual to head off to crossing guard duty + watching children use computers. The day was uneventful, and as I headed on home I recieved on my cell phone a curious phone call from my cousin Krista, concerning our impending departure.

Krista: Yeah, so I locked BOTH sets of keys in the truck...I never do stuff like that....grrrr...Steph has a marvelous AAA card so we were bailed free of charge :o)

S: So, that was fun. We got out of Prescott an hour or so later than we’d intended, around 2:30. First things first - we have to stop at McDonalds for a bag of ice. (??)

K: I saw a sign at a McDonald’s in Phoenix advertising 69 cents for ice...I thought maybe it was at least a statewide thing...guess not...gas stations have ice though...yay.

We were off! Our first stint was from Prescott to Colorado Springs (I asked Krista the distance and her immediate answer was “Too long”) with our faithful traveling companions - Baby Anne and Elefie. As we were driving I asked her what our route would be. Turns out we were going through Albuquerque! One of my MUSH buddies lives there, and we’ve been talking about perhaps meeting each other some day. Here was the perfect opprotunity! I figured if he tried anything (he’s a 3rd degree black belt) Krsita would protect me. O:-)

Unfortunately Krista cannot fight off third degree black belts, but if provoked I can kick some serious ass.... ;o) I love driving and everything but that afternoon to early morning stint to Colorado was not fun....Albuquerque was...interesting...I had never even HEARD of this guy, but since I met my boyfriend on the internet, who was I to begrudge this chance meeting?

I debated on if I should call him from about Flagstaff to the border of New Mexico. I hate phones as we all know, but I wanted to meet him and we’d need to stop in Albuquerque anyway to get gas so why not meet up? I finally swollowed my fear and called, leaving a rather stupid message on his machine (oiy it was bad). He called back despite my idiocy. :) He was a very nice guy. Fearlessly jumped into the truck with these two strange women and we went to Denny’s. I had 2 cups of coffee as we had about 6 hours worth of driving left to do that night (I like 2 creams and 2 sugars) plus a Moons over my Hammy (Yum!). Honestly, I was already so exausted that I can’t really remember exactly what we talked about (as if my memory is that good on normal non-driving non-20+ hour days) but I had a great time.

It was fun, but having started my driving day at 9 am from Phoenix, I was a little...zoney, shall we say? But regardless, the guy was respectable, clean cut, blah are a lot of axe murderers...

He /assured/ me he wasn’t an axe murder! Said he didn’t even own an axe. I told him we had one. (Muah) He's a very nice guy. I had a blast, despite missing sunset where the granate mountains that border the city turn watermellon pink. I'll just have to go out again some time. :) Anyway, I drove through all of New Mexico, and handed over the truck to Krista again at the southern border of Colorado. We arrived in Colorado Springs at 4 am Friday morning, after keeping ourselves awake by playing 20 questions, analizing my meeting with my internet friend and for the last hour we quoted comics back and forth to each other (“Well that’s no bloddy good. I can’t steal from the fairly well off and give to the moderatly impovrished.” and “Dentists tell you not to pick your teeth with any sharp, metal objects...”)

I don’t remember that quote...
Regardless, we arrived relatively unscathed and promptly fell asleep on the futon at my sister’s. It was uncomfy and Steph is a bed hog....(she just went to the potty so I can say that....hehehehehe) We awoke a few hours later to the whole household waking up...yeah...LOTS of people...Misti, Gary, Griffen, Winter, Annelise (viewed at right) Jarred, James, two dogs, a cat...and probably other people in the neighbourhood....yeah, almost five hours of sleep so that you can help your sister finish some “last minute details”...lets just say...there are too many details to a Renaissance wedding, I shall have a regular one. Maybe a wedding planner....*daydreams*

(I am not a bed hog - plus /you/ steal all the covers!) Ahem. I slept next to the wall, placing Krista between the chaos of the room and myself. Yay buffer zones. I finally woke up and greeted...many people. Winter (she’s three) immedietly snatched onto me and the second or third thing she said to me was, “You’re very pretty,” so she was my friend for life. *grin* Throughout the course of the next few days I became the Stephanie-Chair. I’d sit down and immedietly have a child between the ages of 3 and 10 crawling into my lap to snuggle. Awww. They were so sweet. I sat around and watched TV and watched children and read Harry Potter. Krista was meanwile going nuts with the wedding plans...

If my sister know...a normal life, with normal people in it, and a normal idea for a wedding and more time, the wedding would have been so much easier to just go and be Maid of Honour, but alas...Misti is, bless her, a nut. I helped with everything I could, and was glad to do so...maybe that should be my future career....*more daydreaming...*

*kicks Krista under the table* Wake up, our pizza will be here soon. I stole the truck + cousin James + Krista and we went off to find me a costume. 1 sack dress + 1 emerald green bodice = peasant dress with...enhancing effects on several key parts of my anatomy. It was beautiful, despite its best efforts to prevent me from breathing. I think I’d like to have one of my own some day. Perhaps. James said that if we went in 1/2 with him he’d get a court jester costume, but despite my love of seeing my little cousin dress up - I’m still cheap. It was a no-go this time, but next time James...say, for Krista’s wedding? (Muahaha). about NO Steph?! I helped her pick out the costume while James tried on hats...hahahahahaha... I tried on my dress for Misti’s wedding...I looked like the town wench...well, all of the bmaids did, but that was the idea...i think of the three...i had the most agrees...Nicki (one of the bmaids) and I had a boob-bouncing war while getting ready for the actual wedding, but I digress...we’re missing the fun part about having to go to Security to find a Wal-mart and me missing most of the dress rehearsal...

Ahh, yes. A Super Wal*Mart, none the less. We were looking for a pair of black slacks for Timothy, cookies and stockings. The cookies were easy. The slacks (apparently the middle of the summer is not the time to buy black slacks) I finally found at the top of a shelf in the boy’s department. Did you realize how many kinds of pantyhose/stockings/knee highs/thigh highs there are? TONS. All shapes, all sizes, all colors. Then I got to stand in the “fast” checkout line for at least 20 minutes. “I need an associate to register number 36!” Gah, just shoot me now. I’m glad I have a lot of patience, or else those security cameras would have had some very interesting things to watch...And yes, we missed the rehearsal.

Well, not completely...just the only part I was involved in...I snuck down the isle and stood there like it was oh-so-natural. Then everyone went home and it was time for yet MORE last minute details...i.e. sewing tunics and pounding grommets in that wouldn’t hold in the fabric and doing so til 2 something am...ugly ugly ugmos. Stephanie got to go to bed...lucky cow...

Cow?! I asked if there was anything more for me to do and Misti said no so I went to sleep. Lucky me. :) The morning of the wedding arrived. James and I went - oh, wait. First I have to tell about the Ford truck not starting...



I am So glad my truck is normal. Misti has the truck we owned BEFORE the GMC, and before that, it belonged to my g’’s a family heirloom....that runs on occasion. Anyways, James went to start the truck, and evidently he left the lights on all Steph and I sleeping in the front room didn’t notice, I’ll never know. But the battery was everyone but me went to push the vehicle down the’s a steep hill and Gary said Misti was going to try and “pop” the engine?! Not a clue, but interesting none the less... the truck never popped, so it rolled to a stop sign and Misti somehow managed to stop it...meanwhile I drove down to meet her to find I had NO jumper cables whatsoever....damn. Once we borrowed some cables from the neighbour, we used the GMC to jump the truck and Steph and James were off to pick up chairs, Misti, Gary and Company were off to get ready at the gazeebo, and I was off to a Wal-mart that was actually in Colorado Springs...looking for a new pair of stockings, black chord for the tunics, and scotch an afterthought, I picked up some safety pins...good thing too....

Pop the clutch. It didn’t work, and so with Griffen, James and I went to A-Aa Rentals to get 50 gold chairs and 14 serving spoons. We were rather unprepared for the questions she asked us, like Misti’s adress and phone number. Lucally for us Griffen is a good child and had all that stuff memorized. The lady behind the counter thought James and I were his parents. Haha. The Ford’s fan belt must have been loose, because you know that high pitched squeal you get when you first turn on a vehicle and the belt is loose? The Ford did that squeal /all/ the time. No matter what gear, no matter what speed. We’re going 75 down the highway with this eeeeeeescreeeech! noise following after us. I gave apologetic waves to the people we passed who had their windows down. I don’t know if they saw me - they were too busy wincing away.

By the time I finally left Wally-world it was time to get on the freeway....the only instructions I had were “Green Mountain Falls”. That’s IT. So I followed the freeway, hoping it was an was and I drove through the town twice before finding the gazeebo and hotel where we got ready. Misti was amazingly calm and we all got ready, nothing really interesting happened until we were all dressed and ready to go walk down the isle.

James, Griffen and I got directions which were at least a little more detailed. I got an exit ramp and we proceeded to drive up through the mountains where I pointed out all sorts of interesting geologic features. I’ve never seen so much tilting and folding in road cuts ever. I saw layers of sandstone that had been tilted vertical. Stunning. And miles and miles of more layers tilted at about 45 degrees. I’d like to go back there and hunt up a geologist and get a lecture. Or else go out in the field and make my own lecture. *daydream* We arrived and since James nor I had managed to get any breakfast we ditched the chaos of the pre-wedding prep and snuck into the diner. I did grab some cinnamon rolls for Misti and Krista, but they didn’t beat out my french toast. Then I dashed to get dressed. Let me tell you, if you ever wear a corset and Krista offers to lace you, just say NO! Let’s just say my posture has never been so good.

She looked fantabulous, by the way...and the wedding was beautiful...lots of talking by the officiant, candles that refused to light due to the wind, and lots of Winter turning around to wave to people...I’ve never seen Misti so happy...
After millions of pictures, it was time to get on to change for the reception.

It was very beautiful, and everyone looked great. Misti did indeed look more happy than I’ve ever seen her. I ditched my costume in favor of comfortable jeans and my t-shirt, though I must admit I adored dressing up and “playing fancy”. I’d like to get a Renaissance dress one of these days. The reception was alright. It was fun to sit and chat with people, though I did swipe Timothy’s copy of Harry Potter and read a bit while poor James took a nap in the corner. He was sleeping in the boy’s room and I seriously doubt he got enough sleep. Krista finally graduated to the big person’s table, and sat up at the front of the room.

It was weird, but as Michelle said, It’s lonely at the top. The reception got better and better as Nicki poured more and more into my wine “goblet” (plastic cup).

James and I ducked out as soon as we could and (the pizza is here! Yay!) went back home to sleep. To bed at 8:30 after finishing HP5 and watching most of Lilo & Stitch. The next morning I was up at 6, dragging Krista out of bed.

Litteraly. I did not want to move. I was out til 11:30 visitng my family at the hotel, so the next morning i was, once again, zoney. We headed out, Steph at the wheel and drove from the Springs to visit my dad’s grave in Denver. Once we saw that, paid respects, we were on our way to Nebraska. Steph drove the whole way...I dozed.

Woo, 9 hours straight, baby! I drove through the rest of Colorado and all the way through Nebraska. *growl* Nebraska is first off, flat and generally geologically dull. Secondly, people with Nebraska plates do not seem to understand the concept of using the left lane as a passing only lane. 9 hours of this. I amused myself by making Krista laugh so hard she cried. *beam*

*giggles at the very memory* After we were FINALLY out of Nebraska, I took over to drive through Iowa...we made it as far as Davenport, and are now in the motel Best Western Steeplegate Inn. tired tired tired....

Yeah, tired and happily full. Tomorrow I drive us to the Canada border, and then Krista takes over for the final push. Night!

(Editor's Note - Due to, well, life n'stuff, the remainder of this page will be written by myself - Stephanie - because Krista and I never did get another chance to co-write again.)

Construction plagued me yet again - either there is something fundamentally wrong with my being which provokes construction zones to spring up around me or...there is just always construction, and no way to avoid it. What do you think?

After waking up early at the hotel we went down stairs for the /worst/ continental breakfast I have ever had. The saussage was old, the eggs were questionable, and the biscuits were so hard I asked Krista in all seriousness if she needed a steak knife. We gave up and just left, snickering and figuring we'd find something edible later on.

What remains is a long day of, well driving. Despite a very slow morning what with traffic, constuction and accidents which kept us at 5 1/2 hours for 200 miles, we actually made it to Exeter, Canada, where Krista's Boyfriend Steve lives in a stunning house bordering a golf course.

Steve's family is a kick. Talking about their igloo and how it "Always snows on Canada Day" they made great fun of the steriotypes. They told me their polar bear was sleeping and that their sled dogs had gotten Canada Day off. After a swim I spent the next two days sleeping. Krista thinks it was the climate change, but for those two days I was exausted and had the worst headache I've ever had. Just slept it off for about 30 hours. Once I woke up though it was great. They have a Simpson's Pinball machine (arcade size!) in their basement, which I enjoyed playing very much. I can't get over how green it was there. I think Krista said they have 5 acres, and all of it was perfectly maintained grass and trees and bushes and flowers. Stunning. Exeter is a /tiny/ town. 4 stoplights, heh. Farm country. Everything moves so much slower there. It was a nice change from 95 on the Interstate. It was all very relaxed.

After we left Exeter it was a hop skip and a jump to Krista's town of Peterborough. We stoped off in Toronto at the CN tower, and I would show you pictures, but I left my camera in Krista's appartment. Stupid me, oiy. Peterborough is very cute. Our first stop was at a grill where I had the most amazing steak I've ever had. Now for the past few years I've been trying to figure out if I don't like steak, or if the steaks I've had haven't been all that good. This one was that good. It just melted in my mouth, and was /so/ flavorful...mmm.

I needed coffee so we went across the streat to the Chapters Books (Borders) with the Starbucks. While there I found a book I have been unable to find in the states for the past year. Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency. I have never found this book in print. At the Chapters I found a combined hard cover book of Douglas Adams' two Dirk Gently novels. Wheee! I was excited. Then it was on to Krista's appartment. Oooh, I want to live there so bad! She lives in the basement section of a quaint little brick house. 2 bedrooms, a bathroom, and a kitchen/living room. I was in heaven.

We hung out there for a day or two, and just cruized around Peterborough and relaxed. Bought milk in bags, that was exciting, and some Mike's Hard Lemonade because drinking age in Canada is 19. Woo! That stuff is good. Relaxing, ahh...

So then the morning of my flight home dawned clear and muggy. The alarm didn't go off so we were an hour late leaving the house. Here /was/ our schedule:

6 am - 9 am: Drive from Peterborough to Buffalo, New York.

1 hour - See Niagra Falls

Arrive 2 hours early for the flight.

Here's how it actually went:

6 am - Alarm doesn't go off.

7 am - Scramble to get out of the house, forget camera and cute Canada socks

8 am - Traffic in Toronto

9 am - Still Traffic in Toronto

9:30 - Decide to skip Falls to prevent a nervous break down on my part.

10:00 - Pay toll

10:10 - Realize we are on the wrong interstate, 190 as opposed to I-90 - turn around.

10:20 - Pay toll again because we turned around.

10:30 - See sign for an airport, wonder if it's the one we're looking for.

10:35 - Pull into a visitor's center, ask for directions. 190 /was/ the right interstate. Stupid Mapquest.

10:40 - Pay toll yet again

11:10 - Arrive at airport a scant hour before my flight leaves.

I love my life.

All went well after that. Flights were boring and my 3 hour lay over in Cincinati was spent with me trying to find an outlet to charge my laptop in. None of the ones I found actually had power. Grrr.

Once I arrived in Phoenix the dillema of how to get back to Prescott reared its ugly head. Easily solved because my cousin James is awesome. He picked me up at the airport and I spent the 4th of July with Aunt Liz, James, Griffen and Ana because they were there visiting grandma while Misti was on her honeymoon. Stephanie-Chair returns. :)

The next day I jumped on a shuttle. I called Amy and she informed me that my truck was curiously not at the house. Mom had borrowed it. The Jeep was gone too. Hmm. I had an appointment with the girls that I had to get to, and suddenly I had no vehicle. My shuttle driver was nice enough to drop me off at Schlotzkies, so I arrived at the Breakfast Club an hour late and with my bags. :) Woo! What a trip. It was a blast, from locking the keys in the truck to finally meeting an internet friend to flirting with guys driving yellow mustangs on the Interstate to milk in bags...I adored it. I want to go back! Road trip, anyone?



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