12 days in Kansas!! Crossed the state line into Missouri first thing this morning! Just because you cross a line drawn in the dirt doesn't mean the terrain will change, does it?? Apparently so! Funny how quickly the road ahead rolled and climbed ahead of us! I think of a long thin strap of licorice layed under us as we roll along on black tar roads undulating endlessly in front of us! It was a lovely ride for the first 30 miles. If all of Missouri was like the first 30 miles, we would be sweet .. .but its not!
We had been forwarned that Cooky's Cafe in Golden City was the place to stop for the World Famous Cooky's Pie. I think they boast something like 43 different pies! What a temptation to dangle in front of us, give us a treat to look forward to today! The timing was perfect! We got there rather easily by 9:30am and that included a couple of chats with cyclists headed the opposite direction! We were taking out time! It just felt like time for a second breakfast when we arrived at Golden City! Something to help round out pie, make it feel like a real meal! It was so good!!! The eggs were so fresh and creamy, i think the chickens just sit in the kitchen and lay them on demand!! Riding bicycles on an epic journey across America gives you an excuse to eat good food . . .all the time!
Back on the road and things got interesting! If you call 90 degrees, 90% humidity and hills interesting, well then yes it was interesting. Or you could call it gruelling. Yes, lets do that! If the hills rolled and undulated ahead of us earlier in the day, now they looked like walls stacked on more walls ahead of us! And this is only day one! Ugh!
If you see the photo of the walls of road I just tried to describe, I can tell you about half way up the last hill in the photo, I fell off my bike (yes, again!!)
I had to rise out of my saddle and use my body weight to get up it and my chain jumped off! It lodged itself in between the last chain ring and the plastic guard and locked tight so my wheel wouldn't turn! Well, you can guess what happens when your wheel won't turn and your feet are clipped in and suddenly you are at a standstill going up a hill. You fall off! And I did, onto my back into the lane of traffic! I could hear a car but he was far enough back he could see the whole thing, my bike is on top of me with my foot still clipped in! I could see the approaching truck in the distance and knew he had to see me but I did not waste any time twisting my foot out and getting up! A little blood on my knee, a cut on my finger, snapped my mirror off but otherwise only shaken up! I hate falling! Especially in that brief flash of time in between knowing its going to happen and actually hitting the ground! It took us, rather it took Mike a long time to figure out how to get my chain out of the predicament! It took brute force to get it out! He fixed my mirror and cleaned up my knee! what would I do without him??? But it all took a lot of time and there were more of those awful hills ahead of us! It made me a little timid for awhile, but I guess I got over it and we got to the corner of "decision"!
We knew there was a hunting lodge near Everton, which is where we were standing, but we had been unsuccessful in contacting anyone all day long. It is 1 1/2 miles off our route and without being able to confirm availability, we were trying to decide what to do. The next town was 10 miles farther!
While we were standing there, a nice lady in a car stopped thinking she was going to help us with directions and we told her of the predicament and indecision. Long story short she said, well one of you jump in the car and we will go see! So we left Mike standing on the corner holding the bikes while we went off to check it out! It turned out it was up this long gravel road that just seemed like a lot of nasty work! She (never told me her name despite introducing myself!) was telling me we could camp behind the bar! There's a bar here????? Yes, Rick doesn't care, he may even turn on the showers for you!! That sounded like an idea. So as we approached Mike standing on the corner she opened her window and yelled out as we flew past him"we will be right back!" And took me over the hill for the grand tour of Everton, the city park and the grassy area behind the bar! And in fact we were back within 90 seconds as it was all about a block long! She was awesome!! As I was getting out of the car we were talking about dogs, her dogs, she mentioned where she lived and her dogs and I said oh yes, i think we met them! We blew our whistles when they came rushing out! She said, well we beat the s**t out of the last cyclist that sprayed my dogs with mace! Oh dear! Food for thought! She followed it up with well you guys are the intruders! Hmmmm . . . I guess we would be if we went into her yard but we were only on the road! End of subject! She was very sweet to do what she did and certainly gave me food for thought! And a warning!
So we went and checked out the city park, nice grass, a cover we could put the tent under because the rain clouds were pressing in and thunder rumbling. But no restrooms or electricity! The grassy area behind the bar would be the same and no rain cover. It seemed like the best idea to go to the bar and have a drink (we aren't in Kansas any more Dorothy!!!!!) and some food!
So many helpful people with so many helpful suggestions! The town we originally were headed for Ash Grove, was only about 7 miles ahead and had a hostel! New friends tried to help us set it all up and get more info. But we were going to have to ride another 7 or 8 miles of more of the same hills and that just wan't sounding too inviting! And now it was raining outside! Just across the street from the bar was a sign for the hunting lodge we had been trying to reach and it had a new phone number! So I called, spoke to Bill and he was so great that it made riding up that gravel road pretty easy! 1 mile and a half up a gravel road in the rain or 8 miles of more hills, easy choice! Bill is out of town,but gave me all the info I needed and explained it was all on the honor system and to just leave the money in the jar and the building as we found it!
It is great, just great, great great! A hot shower, full kitchen and comfy and cool! Funny how these things turn out! As much as I love camping, it is very challenging in this heat. It does cool off a little in the evening but challenging waiting out the heat until it does cool down! We will have to see how it goes!!
So that was our day! The Good, the bad and the ugly of it all!
We should only be in Missouri less than a week. We connect with our next route The Great South River Trail somewhere in Missouri, have to study the maps closer!
Ok that's all for now!