5+ hour layover – LGA Edition

Here we are, a new adventure taking off. I left Sydney (YQY) at 6 am, flew to Toronto (YYZ) and now here I am in LaGuardia, New York (LGA) — for 9 hours. Yes, that was not a typo. Cheap flights do come at a cost turns out. I am currently residing around Terminal C and D. There’s plenty of seating, so that’s not an issue. The windows are fairly large, so you can see the planes arriving and departing. If you would like to have a nice sit down meal (which I planned on doing — since, let’s be honest, time is not an issue for me), make sure you have a debit/credit card on hand. Unlike me, who only has cash resorted to the Cibo Express Gourmet Markets food. a.k.a. a packaged turkey sandwich that cost way too much — but it’s all part of the adventure right? and in all honesty, after being up for 8 hours, it tastes pretty dang good. So. Bring a debit/credit card (which most people have anyway — I’m just the minority). WIFI at LGA, they have kindly but slightly stingily only allow you to have 30 minutes of free wifi. So, I mean, my layover is 8 hours and 30 minutes longer than that time limit. Which, isn’t necessarily a bad thing – maybe they have our best interests at heart, not wanting us to fry our brains. Probably not. You can buy wifi, through a monthly plan, or by the day if you’re quite desperate. I. am quite desperate. Now, depending on your interests and boredom levels, this list may be even more boring than the layover itself — but here are some of my layover suggestions that will get me through the day!

  1. Laptop/Cell Phone + chargers
    • pretty self explanatory, we do live in this digital age and this is the perfect time to be anti-social in a large group without being judged hardcore.
  2. Books!!!
    • E-books, actual paper books — whatever you use to obtain these beautiful resources, download them! Stock up on them! I brought 3 paperback books (which does add to the weight of my load; but that’s my personal decision). If you don’t mind, or you like, or have an e-reader, that would probably be the most efficient and compact way of bringing multiple books that don’t weigh you down.
  3. Paper + Writing Utensils
    • This is definitely a big one for me, for someone who doodles, draws, writes constantly and endlessly, this is just a must-have.
  4. Camera
    • I love taking pictures — and what better place to play around with your camera and get some artsy shots?
  5. Music
    • An obvious must for anyone. I already mentioned some pretty sweet playlists – but these are few of the songs that I’ve been listening to while I’m 40 000 ft in the air
      • I lived – One Republic
      • Downside of Growing Up – Maddie & Tae
      • Leaving on a Jet Plane – John Denver
      • Always Home – Eric Angus Whyte
      • 30 000 Feet – Ben Rector
      • A Case of You – Joni Mitchell
      • The Idiot – Stan Rogers
  6. Netflix
    • I had to include this, yes, it has definitely helped pass some of the time here. There is for sure crap on Netflix but these are some of my fav (no judging)
      • Gilmore Girls
      • When Calls the Heart
      • Bones
      • The Musketeers (BBC)
      • Merlin
      • Switched at Birth
      • Abstract: The Art of Design
  7. Write
    • Documenting your trip is always a great way of remembering those long airport waits, or funny thing that happened years down the road.
  8. People Watching
    • Is that creepy? I mean, I’m pretty sure we all do it — we just … don’t admit it. Socially unacceptable right. Well, I’m here to stop that taboo because 1. There are already to many taboo subjects 2. um. I know it’s not just me that looks around and wonders about the people passing by. Seriously, what are they thinking, why are they here, where are they going … or maybe, maybe it is just me. aha

At this very moment in time, I still have 5 hours until my next, last and final flight. So, we’re getting there. If I wasn’t travelling alone, I would have definitely went into New York for the day. But as it is, here I sit, looking out at the blue skied, city skyline and bustling tarmac. Also, forgetting once … maybe twice, that I am in the U.S. of A and tried paying for things with good ol’ Queen Elizabeth, oops. So, farewell for now. Palmetto State here I come.

Heart of the New West and Beyond

Indian Head, Saskatchewan – Calgary, Alberta

— In and out of wifi — not strong enough to post —

Day 8: 827 Kilometres – 9 hours – Fuel: $33

Day 9 – 11: collectivity about 11 hours (Calgary to Vancouver) — around 1000 kilometres — Fuel: about $75

We hit the ground runnin’ once again — Except for a gas stop and a lunch break in Swift Current, Saskatchewan where we stumbled upon the most delectable dutch bakery. The food was amazing, the service was excellent and although it’s a little bit of a greasy spoon — everything about it was marvellous. Highly recommend their sticky buns!

We continued on the trans Canada until we reached our friends in Cochrane, Alberta which is about 40 mins from Calgary.  The drive was long. It was hot and was very thankful to be staying put for a couple days. We drove to Banff for an afternoon and the best part was having a Parks Canada Pass! The weather was prime tourist weather, so the town was pretty crowded, and the parking was insaneee. Literally, insane. All in all, 11/10.

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Rocky Mountain Soap Company has a beautiful shop up in Banff that sells natural, toxic free products. It’s fresh, it’s clean and personally, I love the aesthetic.

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We have done so much in the last few days that I’m going to post the photos, and then write a separate piece about some of the highlights, and the lowlights so far. So, since I’ve last posted: Calgary, Banff, Mara Lake, and Vancouver next!

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Land of Living Skies

Winnipeg, Manitoba – Indian Head, Saskatchewan

Day 7 (end of wk one): 5 hours (took us 6.5hrs) – 504 kilometres – $30

G’mornin’! So before we left Manitoba, we went to Fort Whyte Alive. Which is an incredible family friendly, perfect all year round place to experience and explore! Bison, Prairie dogs, trails, and so much more including day camps for kids and activities in the winter! fullsizeoutput_f11

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After a beautiful morning walking around and seeing what there was to see we headed west on the number one. We pulled off to a sweet little town called Austin. It was primitive, clean and quite ghost town like. This was one of the most delightful buildings there!

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We continued on until we reached Indian Head, Saskatchewan which was LONGG. V. Long. Extremely dull, it’s beautiful landscapes but the drive became quite monotonous compared to the treelined, hilly landscapes of the east. We reached Indian Head and stayed with the most beautiful people! The conversation was fruitful and their hospitality was ever so kind. They were long time friends of my mom’s and the most interesting and joyous couple I’ve met. So thank you Sandra and Bill for your love and insightful knowledge.

Off We Go: Cochrane, Alberta

Gateway to the West

English River Ontario – Winnipeg, Manitoba

Day 6: 515 kilometres – 5 hours 35 minutes – Fuel: $38 + $14

Here we are! We’ve driven about 40 H and have covered about 3 360 kilometres so far. 3 more provinces to go and we will have driven coast to coast!

Northern Ontario is v. beautiful. Lake Superior is absolutely lovely! It’s sparkling waters and abstract tree lines are incredible. The gas price however, is not something to rave about. From Sault-Ste. Marie until Manitoba, the price of gas is pretty pricey. It was 120.8 at one place, and 86.5 once we reached Manitoba. You may make fun of our Prius, but it is exciting at the gas station!

There are many, MANY picnic stops off of the highway, the trick is finding the right one! Most of them are right off the highway and not sheltered and not exactly picturesque. But there are the few gems that leave you breathless and wishing you could stay forever!

We stopped at the sweetest shop and farm on the way called Egli’s Sheep Farm. You must stop by if you’re in the area! Handmade and locally crafted, the products inside are beautiful and practical and worth every penny!

Once we arrived to our friends house, we hauled hundreds of fresh picked strawberries and afterwards we had a good conversation with new friends over a nice hot meal!

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Next stop: Indian Head, Saskatchewan

Northern Ontario -Part Two

Goulais River, Ontario – English River, Ontario

Day 5: Lots of hills, and stopping and starting – 13 hours – 903 kilometres – Fuel: $33

Good morning! A day of driving ahead — about 13 hours. We did however stop a few times. We stopped at a couple little lakes along the way, we saw a little black bear! Wawa, ON to see the giant goose, Terrace Bay, ON, and the Terry Fox Memorial and Visitor Centre. We also stopped in Thunder Bay to pick up some groceries. We’re on our way to Ignace, On. It’s quite a barren drive between Thunder Bay and Ignace (around 3 hours), but we wanted to get as many km in today so we could enjoy some of the day in Manitoba tomorrow!

We stopped at a motel off of the highway for the night between Thunder Bay and Ignace. It’s called English river, and really is a quaint little place. It isn’t modern, it isn’t fancy and it certainly isn’t the kind of place you’d want to spend more than one night in, but it was clean. It was clean, it was cheap, and it has a lovely pond in front. A little wharf for fishing, and lounging and canoes to rent. The owners are lovely and overall — a great place to stopover! We were fortunate enough that we got the last room available!

 

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Next: Winnipeg, Manitoba

(the wifi hasn’t been the kindest since we left Ottawa so not all of my photos have been uploading. but if you’d like to see sweet “Winnie” (the black bear) you can see her on @sarahkateanjia on Instagram!) — photos will hopefully be uploaded to future posts 🙂

luv, sk

Northern Ontario – Part One

Ottawa, Ontario – Goulais River, Ontario

Day 4:  816 kilometres – 9 hours – Fuel: $33

We left our sunny capital today and headed west once again on the trans-canada.  We drove until we came to Mettawa and stopped at Timmies (the real MVP on this trip.) and continued on until Sudbury. Oh Sudbury, home to the giant nickel! A very interesting stop. You pay six dollars to get up close to it, but if you’re out in forty-five minutes you get a full refund! So, we got the photo, made a bathroom stop and continued on our way. You could also go down into the nickel mine if you wanted to!

Somewhere between Sudbury and Sault-Ste. Marie we stopped at a picnic spot on the side of the road! It was a bit buggy, but not too bad as there was a lovely river flowing behind us. The canola fields are a beautiful golden yellow, brightening the landscape up. Fields of Gold by Sting got stuck in my head for way too long.

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We also stopped at an Amish farm along the way and bought the most delicious oatmeal cookies. I can’t even describe how amazing they were! We also bought a pint of strawberries – fresh, local strawberries! Ontario’s growing season is much farther ahead then in Cape Breton.

About 9 hours later we reached our Airbnb in Goulais River, Ontario. It is v. Secluded and extremely buggy, but also incredibly beautiful and peaceful! If you’re driving across Canada, it’s one of those places where you can’t avoid it. Literally. You have to pass through it unless you’re driving through the states. It’s a perfect place to break up the drive. I also highly recommend Airbnb! Generally speaking, all of the hosts are very welcoming and accommodating.  You just have to do your research! We were welcomed with open arms and a warm smile!

We settled in and then drove up the road to hike to a falls.  It was an easy-moderate hike. The sign says 2-3 hours, but we went left and took a 20 minutes hike. The black flies, deer flies and mosquitoes were incredible. They were so bad! Definitely reccomend this hike for the morning, or else be prepared! Hoods, jeans, mosquito nets, and bug spray (a lot of it!) The falls were beautiful though.

We drove back to our Airbnb  — I firmly have decided that I enjoy nature, to an extent, maybe even from afar and man made nature takes on an all new meaning. Jokes, but seriously, be prepared for little monsters (bugs) if/when hiking in N. Ontario!

Tomorrow’s destination: Somewhere even more north, Ontario. (We haven’t decided where we’ll stop yet.)

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Canada 150 – Part Two

Ottawa, Ontario

Day 3: Toured Our Nations Capital – Fuel: $32

Today was a beautiful day! Bright, sunny and everything Canada Day was not. (jokes.) But seriously, I’m so glad we were able to wander Ottawa in the sunlight and with some friends of ours! Unfortunately I ran out of space on my SD card, so my account of the day in words will have to do.

We went to All Nations Church in Central Ottawa. Unfortunately we mixed up the times and missed the music but was able to sit in on the sermon! Which was SO good! Like, so. good. If you’re thinking yawn, boring, dragged out, “old”… this is NOT that kind of message! It is fruitful and abounding in hope and love! Overall – amazinggg!

Afterwards, we had a lovely lunch at the Elgin Street Diner.  We had a wait of forty minutes, but it was worth the wait! Elgin street is the place to be if you’re craving some good eats! Local pubs and bars, student life is high and the energy is just so invigorating! The Elgin Street Diner had pretty good service and overall, a great place for some foodies if your looking to get involved and experience the local scene!

We also visited the museum of Nature. In my opinion, it was slightly overpriced and there was no family rate (yet!), but it was very interesting and educational nonetheless. They had many engaging exhibits which made it all the more fascinating. The architecture was beautiful and learning about Canada’s ecological history was v. cool!

It was all in all an eventful day. Our last stop before the night was the grocery store as we’re buying food and picnicking!

Next stop: Northern Ontario – Goulais River, Sault-Ste. Marie