‘Till the Next Time, Tilley
After yet another deep sleep, it was already time to pack up and get going towards my next destination.
While Alana had left, I met Joel, her husband, who’s just an awesome charismatic dude. I told him all about the trip so far, and he told me about Tilley, about what the roads ahead look like (how they’re endless straight lines, which was very accurate) and about his work as an electrician building solar panel farms among many other cool things.
Was also invited inside for a good shower, and to charge up all my stuff before taking off.
Pleasure to meet you guys!
Before getting back on the highway, I stopped at the Tilley General Store for a quick breakfast, minutes before its daily close at 12:00. Perrrfect.
Choosing My Stops
My next stop was yet another village; Irvine, Alberta. People have been asking me “Why Cluny?” or “Why Tilley?”. And the honest answer is that, while I was planning out this route, I just liked how their names sounded. That, and they’re roughly 100km apart.
Also, “Irvine” reminded me of “Steve Irwin”, and how could you not like him.
Pumping Out the KMs
After already having been roasted in the sun the day prior, today’s ride conditions were looking much better. Nearly optimal actually.
The overcast provided much needed shade for most of the way, while not being too cold, and the wind seemed to be working in my favour.
I even rode past that solar panel farm that Joel had helped build. It was gigantic, and can apparently power up to 80,000 homes at its peak. Crazy stuff!
The first 70km of the ride flew by. I felt energized and ready to crank out the remaining 50km. However, the final 20km of any day always seem to drag on.
For some reason, when I was thinking of the prairies, I was imagining extreme flats. While these hills were nothing compared to the mountains I had already seen in the trip, they can still be a bit of a challenge since they go on for KMs on end, and since the scenery doesn’t change, it can feel like you’re not moving.
I found myself ready to take a break, going up one of these long hills, but had my music’s beat drop, which left me no choice but to power through!! Ohhh yes, the burn!
As I arrived at my destination, I saw a big ol’ sign on the side of the highway advertising the Irvine Hotel.
Remembering what both my friends in Golden, as well as Joel were telling me about how these small town hotels being extremely affordable (comparable to paying for a campsite even), I decided to just do it and treat myself to a bed, and the comfort of having my own room.
It was $50 for the night, and honestly I had no regrets.
Even if it was a little steeper than what I’d usually budget out for the day, it always does make me happy to be able to support these local businesses. Something I’ve been trying to focus on more during this trip.
The Irvine Hotel
When I had first stepped into the hotel lobby, which was a bar, I could feel the the curious stares coming my way from all the locals sipping on their drinks. Truly felt like a scene from an old Western movie.
After all, I didn’t exactly blend in, with my helmet and clip on shoes. Right away, I was flooded with questions “What am I doing?”, “Where am I from?”, “Where am I going?”
They were all genuinely quite intrigued by the trip, and wishing me all the best. It was a really cool experience to chat with them.
After a good meal, some delicious homemade mini donuts, and a warm shower, I got an even better sleep as my body thanked me for the comfy bed.
- Route: Tilley, AB —> Irvine, AB
- Distance: 129km
- Elevation Gain: 362m