Monday, July 16, 2012

Day Thirty-One: Worst Day Ever?

Five words explain this post's title: No Coffee. Gravel. 12 miles.

OK, maybe I'm overreacting a bit and some more explanation is in order. Today had us leaving tiny Ingomar, Montana, and heading for the exponentially larger (population 2000!) Forsyth, Montana, a ride of about 41 miles. With absolutely nothing, and I mean nothing, in between.

So we were a bit concerned with making sure that we ate well and were well-provisioned in the morning. But this was a problem because the Jersey Lilly Saloon, the only eatery in town (or within 41 miles, for that matter) didn't open until 10:00, and the bunkhouse in which we were staying didn't have a kitchen or any appliances, such as a coffee maker or microwave. We discussed the issue with June, and she graciously said that she would send Boots down to the bunkhouse, later that evening, with a coffee maker and supplies. Our thinking was that we could run water through the coffee maker, without coffee grinds, to get hot water for our instant oatmeal and then use it again for its intended purpose to get our java fix. And, sure enough, come evening, after the Saloon had closed, Boots arrived with a large, and somewhat old-fashioned coffee maker, as well as paper cups, bowls and spoons. And, yes, the coffee maker looked like it had seen better days, and yes, the amount of coffee grinds June provided was a bit anemic, but what the hey. We were set.

Well, hold that thought. Come morning, we plugged the coffee machine in and turned it on. It proceeded to make all the right burbling and hissing noises, but, 5 minutes later, nothing. We tried again. We hit it. I even took it halfway apart. All a no go. We were in possession of one seriously defunct coffee machine. Aargh.

So our breakfast was Clif Bars and lukewarm water (which alone might justify this post's title), and set off for Forsyth, at about 8:00 a.m., with one question in mind: Would cycling accelerate, postpone, alleviate or exacerbate caffeine withdrawal headaches? The riding itself was pretty mellow. There was a pretty strong wind, but it was mostly a crosswind, and occasionally a tailwind, so that was OK. We continued along the very untrafficked Route 12, which also was nice, but the scenery and landscape was pretty stark. Very dry, arid, flat, brown and empty -- almost desert like. And very much the same, and unchanging, as we rode.

Until it wasn't. About 15 miles out of Forsyth, trees, hills and greenery began appearing. But, more significantly, so did road construction. 12 miles of it. The road was being resurfaced, but the only thing that had happened so far was that the old surface had been taken off. Leaving a bumpy, washboard surface that would have been bad enough, but along major stretches of the work a thick layer of gravel had also been applied. It was unexpected, and pretty bad. The dust raised by passing trucks wasn't much help either. All in all, an unexpected and unpleasant coda to our day's ride. And all done without any coffee. Now do you begrudge me a bit of melodramatic license with this post's title? (Yes, I know, there could be much worse days and occurrences, and here's hoping we don't get any of them!)

Here are today's route and metrics:







  1. mark becker11:23 PM

    sounds rough. hope there was some reward and comfort at the end, in forsyth :)

    1. Hi Mark. Thanks for following, the comments and the good wishes. Forsyth was comforting in that our hotel, The Howdy Hotel (love that name) has a 24 hour bar/cafe, a decent shower and air conditioning! What more do you need?

  2. Whoa, Rog. Those still photos today must reflect your caffeine-deprived gloom. They're so bleak they make Ingomar look like Paris. It's like you're channeling Walker Evans.

    It's nice to see Mark and Steve logging in, to give you some moral support during what may not be the most electrifying part of your journey.

    I was hoping I could keep my lame boxing motif going, hoping against hope that you'd be stopping in a place like "Tyson, Montana." I'm chagrined to report that I Googled "Tyson Montana." My heart leapt up when I saw multiple hits -- only to discover that the hits were all guys actually named "Tyson Montana."

    Remember Montana Wildhack, Billy Pilgrim's inamorata in Slaughterhouse Five, memorably portrayed by Valerie Perrine in the movie treatment? Just checking.

    1. P.S. Jose saw the picture of the abandoned school bus and said, "Hey, I could use that in my restaurant!" And, believe it or not, the incredibly deft 3D computer renderings of his retro 1950s American diner indeed shows a re-created, old-time yellow school bus seating area. So maybe you can orchestrate an international asset sale. I'd be willing to bet it would be among the very first Forsyth-Madrid deals.