Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Alberta Bound, this Piece of Heaven

“Clutch in”, coached Hillary.
“Which one is the clutch?” I reluctantly responded.
“Cassie we are leaving for Alberta tomorrow, we have a 36hr drive and I can’t drive the whole 36hrs”, stressed Hillary.
“I can’t do this; there are cars behind me, any time I take my foot off the break I roll backwards”.
“Just take your foot off the clutch as you press the break” Hillary exclaimed with a hint of panic in her voice.

The bologna sandwich that I had just devoured for lunch was slowly retracing my digestive track. “Toot, toot” blasted the black Mazda sport, that was stopped directly behind us. “Can we trade seats?” I begged. I couldn’t handle the pressure any more, I was sure I was going to roll backwards and hit the black car behind me. My heart was pounding so hard that I thought it was going to protrude through my chest. In silence, we traded places. I walked to the passenger side like a puppy with my tail between my legs. “Tomorrow will be different” I kept repeating in my head, trying to calm myself down. Hillary dropped me off at my house. We would reunite for our road trip in just 5 hrs.

“Beep, beep, beep”, the high pitch sound rang through my ear drums. I rolled over to smack the snooze button, as my body was begging me for just ten more minutes. Then I jolted up thinking Alberta here I come! I gathered up my” last minutes must haves”, and then waited impatiently. In the front room of my house peering out the window watching for the headlights of Hillary’s car, I felt like I was waiting for Santa Claus. She finally arrived; I said my good bye’s to my parents. Even though my mom was half asleep she was balling. “Mom I’m only going to be gone for 4 months, please stop crying, you’re going to make me cry”. My parents helped me squeeze my mounds of belongings into the small Honda Civic, making sure to leave a hole out the back for the driver to see.

“You should drive first”, Hillary stated as she tossed me the keys. We both agreed that it would be best for me to start off driving, seeing as it was 3 in the morning, and there was a less chance of me hitting other cars. I jumped into Hilary’s car, her baby, which was now controlled by my shaking body.

We were off; I was running the show for the next three hours until we reached the boarder. I pulled over in the duty free parking lot to switch spots with Hillary. The trip had gone over quite smoothly; it was all highway driving, no cars, no stops, and no problems. As we pulled up to the boarder window I started to feel nervous. I had nothing to be nervous about. The chance of adding any delays to our travel time made me nervous. Hillary pressed the automatic button, whoosh went the window. “Passports?, where are you headed? How long are you going to be gone for? Have you ever been charged by the police?” “Charged by the police? Is this guy for real? We are going to work at a camp!” I couldn’t help but think. We were finally cleared to travel on.

While sitting in the car gazing out the window, I entered a dazed state of mind. Memories of family road trips filled my head. I could remember sitting in the back seat of the car next to my little sister, playing eye-spy and seeing who would be the first to spot a wild animal. Now things were different, I was making this road trip without my family. It was now Hillary, myself and the wide open road.

Two provinces, 4 states, six car stalls and 36hrs later we came across a large sign “Welcome to Edmonton Alberta” “AAAAAAAAAAAh” we squealed with excitement. We had made it. I had made it. I was officially able to say “I can drive a standard”. Even though there were stressful times during the drive, I pushed through and made it. I knew I would not have to drive standard for another four months until it was time to head home. Then it would begin all over again.


  1. Cassie, I liked your introduction, it brought me right into the main conflict of your post and a scene of action as opposed to just explanation of what you are going to be writing about. I like how you were able to "show" how you were feeling, as opposed to just telling us, for example : In silence, we traded places. I walked to the passenger side like a puppy with my tail between my legs.

    The ending started to feel like you were wrapping it up "nicely" or with a "bow", but then you added that you would need to go through the whole process again in four months, so it left the reader on a more interesting note.

    Overall I thought it was a funny and real post, particularly the beginning with the great dialogue.

    Good Job :)

  2. Hey Cassie, this story was good. I liked how you described your feeling at the border, how it made you nervous for no reason. Werid how cops make you feel that way eh? Even if you havent done anything wrong. The dialgoue was good and effective. I really liked the line " I walked to the passenger side like a puppy with my tail between my legs." Very clever. Good job, great story :)

  3. I agree with Chelsea. I liked the line "like a puppy with my tail between my legs," because I totally know they way you must have felt - embarrassed and shamed, not wanting to talk about it.
    Sorry to point it out, but there were a few typos - 'boarder' should have been 'border', and 'hours' should probably be spelled out instead of shortened to 'hrs.'
    However, this was fun to read! And I liked that you wrote about it being your first road trip without your parents. Since I've come to university, I've done a lot of firsts without my parents, and it's a big deal - first time grocery shopping myself, doing laundry, and travelling alone come to mind.
    One line that stuck out for me was: "I rolled over to smack the snooze button." I liked the choice of the word 'smack' because that's how I hit my snooze button - in my sleepy state, I always lose control of my arm and it comes flying down much harder than I intended on the top of the clock.
    I also liked the opening because it was good to be placed in a scene, especially one that is packed with emotion.

  4. Hey Cassie,

    I really liked that you included the speech from the border guard. Through this you set up a common experience with your audience, that keeps them reading the story.

    "I jumped into Hilary’s car, her baby, which was now controlled by my shaking body."

    I really like what you are trying to say with this sentence, but I think it would be more effective broken up. "I jumped into Hilary's car. My shaking body now controlled her baby." I know thats DEFINITELY not perfect, but something along those lines. I also kinda wanted to know what kind of car.

    I was also a little distracted from the typos. It kept me from really getting into the story.

    What I liked most about the story was your honesty. I think that you are willing to be completely honest with your feelings draws your reader in. Great post!

  5. This post was a really excellent example of showing, rather than telling. You did a great job of letting your readers get a sense of how you were feeling and what was going through your head without blatantly spelling it out, which I loved. Starting with dialogue was excellent, and the little bits of other dialogue throughout, as well as the glimpses inside your head, were all really nice touches.

    There were, however, quite a few spelling and punctuation errors, which kind of jarred me out of the story. Other than that, I could definitely connect to the emotion behind the piece. Leaving home is hard, and scary, and exciting, and you really captured that well. Great story. :)

  6. Hello Cassie!

    Good post topic, road trips are always good fodder for stories. There are definitely some great moments in this post, such as when said that you felt like you were waiting for Santa Claus. Your use of onomatopoeia, with the beep of your alarm and the toot of the car, helps get the reader into the story.

    There were acouple of spelling and grammar mistakes, but I have seen a lot of improvement since your other posts, so I believe those problems will work themselves out with more time and practice. However, when you set up the beginning of the story with two paragraphs around your effort to learn how to drive standard, I felt that when you actually got to drive standard, there wasn’t a whole lot of extrapolation of the event. You built up driving standard as a big thing and when you finally do it, all that is really said about it is “the trip had gone over quite smoothly; it was all highway driving, no cars, no stops, and no problems”. Maybe including learning to drive standard as one of many things you had to do to get ready for Alberta would help. I hope what I said is constructive for you, keep up the good work, each post is better than the last!