Off Roading, Horseback Riding and Mountain Gawking

Taking up where I left off last Travel Tuesday!  Day Two of the #SierraDrive! (Day One)

Sleeping.  Sleeping is one thing I am not very good at.  I usually spend my evenings running around until the last possible moment, before crashing on my barely comfortable bed with my cell phone plugged in beside me and a “to do” list a mile long running through my head.  Sigh.  Not so fabulous…and so not what happened on this star lit night at the Sierra West Ranch outside of Calgary Alberta!  The days activities, the fresh air, the quiet, the lack of cell service?  All combined to create the most restful nights I’ve had in years.  

The breeze, the horses and the coyotes were all that could be heard, and not ever Dear Hubby’s (party induced) snoring could interrupt the perfection. 


Thanks to that glorious nights sleep, Day Two on the Sierra West Ranch was off to a beautiful start.  After making ourselves somewhat presentable,  Dear Hubby and I jumped in our pick up, back through the creek, and met up with the crew in time for coffee and breakfast.  On our agenda for the morning, horseback riding and exploring the ranch in the Sierra.   Woot!

Turn up the volume if you want to have a good laugh at me! 🙂


First up, it was time to get my Cowgirl on!  Dear Husband is an experienced horseback rider, I am not.  This was not going to stop me!  This was a dude ranch, there were real Cowboys there who wanted to take little old me on a horse!  Who was I to say no? I was going for the full Cowboy experience.  Yee Haw! I was properly introduced to Keystone, my gorgeous ride for the trail ride, and we were on our way!

I wasn’t scared at all.  I mean if “the Bachelor” could bring his date out here to Sierra West Ranch and  pull off this horseback riding thing,  so could I right?  

As you can see, I had it down by the end.  My girls would be so proud! (Should I mention that the awesome Cowboy stuck with me the entire time?  I am such a city girl!)



The second part of our morning adventure took us through some countryside I thought only existed in the movies.  Breathtaking.


We took the Sierra up a steep incline and were off on our excursion.  The mountains in front of us, and the ranch behind us, I felt a long way from the Suburbs of home.


The GM continued to amaze me with the quietness of its cab, and performance on the rough roads.  Not once did I feel like we, or the truck were out of our depth.  I’ve driven pick ups on gravel before and had the uncomfortable experience of fish tailing.  The back felt too light to me?  Not so with the 2014 Sierra.  We kicked up dust, made tight turns, experimented with sharp inclines and always felt safe, secure and in control.  We even got a little lost and “might” have had to speed things up a tad in order to make it back to the ranch by departure time. 

It was almost like the Sierra liked it! (or perhaps that was just my Hubby) 


After our little off road adventure we headed back to our camper and hastily packed up.  It was time to head back into the city and the Calgary Stampede!  Woo Hoo!  Truck loaded and another new discovery.  Those magical truck fairies had been at it again.  In our vehicle was some bottled water, and a map to our next destination.  Lunch!  (you would not believe how much food was on this trip! Awesome.)

Bye Sierra Ranch!


A short hour ( and only one wrong turn) later , we reached our next destination in our own version of the Amazing Race.  This is where we hit our own self imposed road block.  Before lunch could even be considered we HAD to stop and shop.  Why?  Apparently we were a stone’s throw away from the World’s Best Beef Jerky Store.  For reals.  Truthfully, not so much my thing, but the Hubby was all over it.  Admittedly, it was a very cool store. 


Purchases made, lunch consumed, err at the Little New York Bistro, in the middle of nowhere?  (it was great!) We headed out on the last driving leg of out tour.  At this point, after two days of driving, Dear Hubby’s back should have been developing a pretty good lower back ache.  You know what?  It wasn’t!  The seats in the 2014 Sierra were as comfortable as any luxury SUV I have ever driven or ridden in.  I was impressed.

We headed into the heart of Calgary and I will admit I was glad Hubby at the wheel.  Country driving, suburb driving, totally my speed.  City driving, not really a fan.  Before long we pulled into the Arts Hotel, and it was time to say goodbye to our fabulous ride. 


It was only mid-afternoon, we had done so much and still had so much to look forward to! 

Thanks again to GMC Canada.

Next Travel Tuesday; The Calgary Stampede!

Disclosure: I was provided a trip to Alberta to test the 2014 Sierra.  All opinions expressed in this post are my own.  Please follow GMCCanada on Twitter.


  1. beautiful pictures of your fabulous ride

  2. Alison Pentland (@FeeFiFoFunFaery) says:

    Glad your ride didn’t didn’t get tagged driving through Longview. The police are notorious for radar traps there, but then your hubby never speeds does he! I grew up in Calgary and my Uncle was a rancher, so I spent many a summer with horses and cattle. I must have missed the gene since I am still nervous around horses!

    • Stephanie says:

      LOL Thanks for the tip 🙂 Actually, although we were doing our own version of the Amazing Race Canada there was no speeding. Not in a media vehicle! Can you imagine how embarrassing that would be to get pulled over? Eek Besides that the scenery was so beautiful you had to slow down just to enjoy it:)

      I grew up close to Toronto and then moved away when I was 16 so spent zero time near horses until I met my Hubby. They are gorgeous creatures but still make me a little nervous, perhaps it’s the fact that they are just so darn huge!!

  3. Beautiful scenery! I’ve always wanted to drive cross-country in an RV. Hopefully it wouldn’t turn out like the Robin Williams movie.

    • Stephanie says:

      LOL I’ve had the same thought! It seems so romantic to load up the family and travel cross country. Err do you think you can get someone to empty to toilets for you? lol

  4. Heidi C. says:

    Such stunning photos! What an adventure you must have had. I’ve always wanted to horseback ride in the Prairies – I am so envious!

    • Stephanie says:

      You should add this trip to your travel bucket list! You can actually stay right at the Sierra West Ranch and spend your day riding the trails. Now of course you know I have to recommend you take a GMC Sierra to get out there! 🙂

  5. Love the pics, what a fabulous adventure for both of you! 🙂

    • Stephanie says:

      Thank you!!! We had a fabulous adventure checking out the Sierra and I can’t wait to tell you all about the Stampede!

  6. Great pictures! Sounds like an adventure that you won’t forget!

  7. As a young girl I used to do a lot of horseback riding
    and it was something I always loved to do. Back trails and open skies…wonderful. Thanks for bringing back such wonderful memories. I also loved your video driving the truck! It certainly looked it handled well.

    • Stephanie says:

      I’m so glad I could bring back some wonderful memories and thanks for the sweet words about my video, your right, the truck handled like a dream! “)

  8. Tenille says:

    Sigh…Alberta really is God’s country isn’t it? So beautiful! Great pics, especially loved the one of your face when you’re on the horse! So wish I could have been there. Next time!

  9. The view is amazing!

  10. Having never been to Calgary I have been reading your posts with great interest. It certainly looks like a great place to travel to. How great that you were able to drive around in that great looking truck. I too would love the challenge of crossing the little creek. It certainly appeared to handle well! Something to consider next time we are in ready to trade in our old truck!

    • Stephanie says:

      Not only was crossing the little creek a ton of fun, but it showed me how well that truck handled! I was truly impressed!! The Sierra is absolutely worth a test drive the next time you are in the market for a new vehicle.

  11. Chandra Christine O'Connor says:

    that’s the only way id camp is in an rv no tent for me I need flushables. |I’ve never been on a horse.

    • Stephanie says:

      LOL I was very happy to have my own “powder room” while camping. We really were spoiled!
      Oh and the horse riding, Sierra West Ranch was a great place to start.

  12. mrdisco says:

    That looks like one impressive camper trailer

    • Stephanie says:

      It was an incredible trailer!! We were feeling quite spoiled!

      • mrdisco says:

        i’m not sure i would be able to handle a big trailer like that. i would be worried i would run over a cat or a small child in the process

  13. Fantastic post Stephanie! I too love your face on the horse…and how you wrangled a cowboy! Looking forward to next week’s post about the Calgary Stampede!!!

    • Stephanie says:

      LOL The horse was REALLY tall? Is tall the right word? So beautiful and so far off the ground! It was a great experience and wrangling a cowboy? It was more like he was making sure that horse didn’t decide to take me for a very long trail ride against my will! HA

  14. Jessica j says:

    love horse back riding

  15. Valerie Godin says:

    What gorgeous pictures!

  16. sarah sar says:

    Wow look at those mountains! Just gorgeous! You make Calgary Alberta sound like heaven. I will have to put it on my bucketlist of places to see.

  17. beautiful pictures!

  18. Those views are SO magical!!! I’m so glad you were having fun and sleeping well too; that is awesome!

  19. Valerie Godin says:

    Never been to Alberta but after seeing this, I have to add this to my list of places to visit!

    • Stephanie says:

      Oh yes!! It really is a beautiful place to visit! I wish we had more time. Will have to go back with my girls!

  20. Victoria Ess says:

    Thank you for sharing Steph! Your trip sounds like such an adventure and it’s awesome that you had a blast, even if you’re a little out of your element (only a little, right? haha). I’m a suburbian girl myself, through and through, and I’m impressed by your adventures!

    • Stephanie says:

      LOL Yes, just a little out of my element! It was amazing to leave the Suburbs behind and do a little horseback riding and some true off roading! Now I also know if I ever get stuck (in the suburbs) in a snowy or muddy situation, I could handle it..all thanks to this experience!
      Thanks for your sweet comments!

  21. Darlene Schuller says:

    Wow!! I would soo love to do that. I think everyone needs that once in awhile. Though it may not be your ‘thing’ it really can be invigorating!

  22. Jennifer A. says:

    That is gorgeous I really need to get away and do a road trip you’ve inspired me!

  23. Jessica j says:

    awesome that even tho your not experienced in riding horseback you still did it 🙂

  24. Beautiful scenery and sounds like an adventure. Would not mind jumping on a horse myself for a nice trot.

  25. Megan Bailey Barnecutt says:

    Sounds like this was an absolutely amazing adventure!

  26. Debbie Bashford says:

    Gorgeous scenery, what a great trip.

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