Sunday, July 15, 2012

Day Thirty: Ingomar, Montana

We rode 61 miles today, from Roundup, Montana, to Ingomar, Montana, population literally of about 10.

Originally, we were only going to ride to Melstone, Montana, along the same Route 12, which would have been about 35 miles. Basically (and for good reason), we didn't even know Ingomar existed, let alone had lodging. Finding some in Melstone (population of about 100) was hard enough. Nothing showed up on Google. I had to call the hardware store in Melstone first, which put me in touch with a lady running a boarding house for some of the oil workers. I made a "reservation," and that might have proved interesting.

But Joe (remember Joe of Joe and Charlene, from the Northern Hotel in Winnett?) had looked at our route, saw that it left us a longish, 70 mile day, to get from Melstone to our next destination (Forsyth, MT), and asked why we didn't try staying in Ingomar? Bob and I looked at each other and said Ingomar? But, sure enough, I called the Jersey Lilly Saloon there, the sole commercial establishment that seemed to exist, and talked with June, who assured me they had 3 single rooms in a bunkhouse for travelers. We quickly signed on the dotted line, so to speak. Actually, we're finding that most lodging establishments in Montana don't require a credit card to hold a room if you intend to arrive before 5 or 6 (which was helpful in cancelling our Melstone plans).

The switch enabled us to put the longish day, of the two days to Forsyth, first, when favorable tailwinds were predicted -- and actually materialized. So the 61 miles went by pretty easily, if such a thing can be said. We even stopped in Melstone to refuel, and met and chatted there with Rich and Sylvia, who run the Melstone Cafe, graciously let us refill our water bottles there, and who we saw again -- yes, in Ingomar -- having dinner at the Jersey Lilly. Rich even bought us each a beer there!

Ingomar is impossible to describe (I'll try to post a video later). There's nothing here. Except the Jersey Lilly Saloon, which is an eatery out of a time warp, with buffalo, moose and deer heads populating the walls, and very capably tended by a very efficient June and a laconic cowboy Boots. It turns out that the bunkhouse in which we are staying is an old, historic, school house, which was converted ages ago to this less lofty purpose. Boots showed us in, and it was a pretty remarkable sight. It still had a schoolhouse feel and flavor, but there were beds, a living room and shower all shoved in there. There were other, closed off rooms (high winds had broken the windows), with more than a dozen beds.  But Bob and I had it all to ourselves. Really an excellent find.

As for the riding (yes, this is a bike blog), it really was pretty great. Leaving Roundup, the town finally lived up to its name, with a fair amount of horse corrals and ranches along the route. And a lot of farmland, with humongous strings of irrigation wheels. Route 12, which we stayed on all day, is well-paved and very empty (except for the occasional gigantic water truck), the type of biking environment (sans the water trucks) that I love.With the tailwind and overcast skies, it was smooth sailing. It got hotter and drier in the afternoon, of course, but, even so, it was a very fine day of cycling.

And, for those keeping track (that's you, Chris), we've now completed exactly one month of biking, and covered 1450 miles. Not bad, if I say so myself (and certainly climbing on Greg's respect-o-meter).

Here are today's metrics (the Garmin froze for ten minutes and lost a mile and a half):



  1. Outstanding entry today, Rog. Since the Continental Divide, you've been reporting from an area that, to the uninitiated, seems like the most barren, uninhabited, uninteresting, "flyover" tracts in your journey. But your and Bob's wonderful posts have made it all come alive -- the awesomeness of Big Sky country, the amazing hospitality of many of the folks you've met along the way.

    Ingomar. In keeping with the utterly random boxing association of my last post (Lewistown is sorta like Lewiston, which is where Ali fought Liston, in case you forgot), "Ingomar" is sorta like Ingemar Johansson, a long-forgotten Swedish heavyweight champ. A huge underdog, he kayoed champ Floyd Patterson in 1959. Patterson then became the first man to regain a heavyweight title, knocking out Johansson in two rematches. Patterson and Johansson became good friends (see Joe Lewis and Max Schmeling), and they ran the Stockholm marathon together in the 1980s.

    1. Oh yeah, one more thing, Rog. You've long ago hit it out of the ballpark on the "respect-o-meter." 1,450 miles in a month -- including the Divide. As the crow flies, that's one-half the distance coast to coast. Very serious respect, dawg.

  2. love this 1st photo. "pefectly" stark, kind of bleak....beautiful