But First, Breakfast
After waking up from the best sleep in a long time, I made my way downstairs to the pub in search for my daily carbs.
I had actually scared the lady at the reception there; she told me that she didn’t know where I came from, and wasn’t used to people actually staying in the hotel…
“I thought I was being robbed.”
I don’t blame her. I had my Covid mask on, which definitely seems to be rarer around these parts.
We laughed it off, and she directed me to the place next door, which was owned by the same hotel owners, and did serve breakfast.
A delicious one too! Might I even say the best I’ve had this trip. Clearly put together with love. I know that because there was fruit, and a Ferrero Rocher.
I got to chat with both Louis and Margaret, the owners. For any Animal Crossing fans reading this, they definitely gave me “Tom Nook” entrepreneurial vibes, seeing them behind the restaurant counter… Wearing multiple hats and keeping everything in town running smoothly.
They moved to Tompkins from Nova Scotia 16 years ago, and bought the hotel. Together, they seem to be a real effective duo, between these two businesses of theirs. The other lady in the picture is Shirley, who’s in charge of the behind the scenes magic at the restaurant.
Louis told me a bit more the Irvine Hotel, and how it was built in 1907. I had this same chat with Joel the day prior; a lot of these hotels are spaced out about 100km apart, because that’s how far the locomotives could go at the time (and coincidentally happens to be how far I can go, would ya look at that!))
He also shared some stories with me about his time as the Deputy Chief, volunteering at the fire hall. What a life… He has all my respect for being able to find time to help the community no matter what, on top of what he’s already doing.
Overall, my stay was great. If you happen to be passing through Alberta on your way to Saskatchewan, do check it out!
And just like that, I had passed through the last of Alberta, into Saskatchewan. Holy, that really snuck up on me. Perhaps because the Rockies felt like their own thing, and everything past Calgary felt like another!
Either way, it once again felt incredibly great to have made it this far.
An Unusually Smooth Ride
The ride conditions were great; the wind behaved, the sun was tucked away, and the KMs came easy.
One thing I had started to pick up on is that, hey, I’m still seeing a lot of hills guys. While these are cute relative to the Rockies, I’m kind of getting the sense that my idea of how flat the prairies were was a bit off.
I also noticed that golden hour lasts an unusually long amount of time out in the prairies. Maybe 2-3 hours. Everything feels slightly magical and surreal in that time!
All together, a solid ride. Any day you hit that 100th kilometre is a highly satisfying feeling.
- Route: Irvine, AB —> Tompkins, SK
- Distance: 115km
- Elevation Gain: 483m