A Road Trip Where You Can Hug An Alligator.

My friend Randey and I have been friends for a long time. We have always liked the same quirky movies and music. It made sense that we would also both love day trips and local exploration. We are very proud of the varied and gorgeous landscape Alberta has to offer and can’t imagine living anywhere else. Randey is a wealth of information about the landscapes we visit. He should work as a tour guide for foreign visitors that want to go off the beaten path or the tourist areas.

After our first road trip together I took an online quiz that asked if you wanted to find your senior citizen name. I thought it would be funny so I took it and it came up with “Maude”. Randey thought up the “old man” name Lloyd. Since then our trips have been for Maude and Lloyd, our new nicknames for each other. We think it’s funny.

Maude and Lloyd chose to go to Donalda, hometown of Tricia Helfer, or Cylon #6 from Battlestar Galactica. She still has property there, which makes sense to me, since that countryside is gorgeous.

Tricia Helfer as Cylon 6

Tricia Helfer as Cylon 6

So off we went. We stopped at a spot that is a part of the Badlands, but a little know part and not as busy. The Fall colours were definitely showing off that day. I can’t wait to go back and have a picnic with my family there. We stood on the hill and took photos while we chatted for a bit. I think it was the most relaxing thing I have done in quite awhile. The photos, although breathtaking, don’t really do it justice.





Next we drove on, stopping a couple of times. One stop was in Big Valley, when I saw an antiques and knick knack shop I just had to visit. The lady working was extremely kind and answered questions when I had them. She told me that their Fall festival was the night before and we had missed fireworks displays and the crowds. It sounds like a good time. I bought a couple of teacups because I plant cacti in them and I am addicted to pretty teacups. I also found a ring in the shape of a gold bow that actually fits my middle finger. At the last minute, I grabbed a box of dominoes for the kids. We watched a Reading Rainbow where a man set up a bunch of dominoes and the kids have been obsessed since. Thanks vintage Reading Rainbow! I’m overjoyed to hunt out a vintage toy in thrift stores. They want to have a bunch and then spray paint them different colours like the man in the episode did. I wonder if Levar Burton remembers that episode?

Onward to lunch and then to Donalda. I posed in front of the giant lamp and took in the beautiful countryside.




The giant lamp in Donalda, Tricia Helfer's hometown.

The giant lamp in Donalda, Tricia Helfer’s hometown.


It’s so big! It was locked up, or we would have gone inside. Lloyd and I did look inside and it was basically an empty room, and a little spooky. The spookiness made me wonder out loud if it’s haunted. Lloyd shuddered at the suggestion so, like any good friend would, I told him the story of when my house was haunted and a ghost harassed my daughter when she was three years old. I wonder if he had trouble sleeping that night?

We tried to go to the hiking path that is near Donalda, but it was closed, which was disappointing but probably for safety reasons.

On the way to the hiking trail that was closed.

On the way to the hiking trail that was closed.

Wonderful "Lloyd", leading the way.

Wonderful “Lloyd”, leading the way.


We ended up heading back to the old train station and I waited for the train that would never come, Anne Of Green Gables style.


On to Rochon Sands, a little beach where we watched crazy people windsurf in the cold winds.

That wet suit better be warm!

That wet suit better be warm!

Our last stop was Alix, Alberta. I was starting to feel a bit uncomfortable by then and for the life of me couldn’t figure out why. Turns out I stupidly ate some hidden gluten in the breakfast buffet we stopped at for lunch. But I was still okay at this point and fell in love with Alix the Alligator- sorry Husband. 😉




Then it was Lloyd’s turn to pose, before we drove through the town to look around before we went home.




And that was it. We had to do the tour of small town bathrooms all the way home because I ate gluten and the Imodium was refusing to help but I had a wonderful time, despite the self-inflicted pain. I can’t wait for our next road trip.


Make sure to visit these towns and bask in the beauty. I recommend Autumn or Summer for the best of what they have to offer. It was a lot of fun and a gorgeous trip.


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