I'm currently writing this while laying on the most comfortable bed I've had in over a month with a view looking over the goat farm that we are staying at. We're at our second WarmShowers host in Walnut Grove, Missouri and I'm pretty sure that this is only the second home that we've been in since we left Yorktown, Virginia. I'm pretty mentally exhausted, so I'm going to break my thoughts out to ensure clarity:
- The couple that is hosting us raises show goats. They currently have about 75 goats on the property, though that number fluctuates. I haven't had any prior experiences with goats, so I wasn't sure what to expect. They are hysterical. It's easy to see their personalities and that they're pretty intelligent. They're also very affectionate and reminded me of dogs in some ways. Mary always wants somewhat obscure (or just different) types of animas for pets, so I think I'm going to try to sell her on getting a goat.
- Our host made us the best meal we've had in over a month: grilled chicken, kale salad, polenta, and capresse salad. We even had fruit for dessert. I hope that my body doesn't reject this food after being on a pre-packaged and processed diet for the past few weeks. It was so nice to have vegetables and fruit. Our host said that the diets in the Midwest are so bad that she will often have to tell the cashiers at the grocery store what kind of vegetables they're ringing up.
- I don't really understand people's rationale when they say things like, "Oh, you have some tough rides ahead of you." Thanks for the heads up? I swear, every single time we've been at a gas station, some old man will strike up a conversation with us. "Where ya from?" followed by "Well, you're a long way from home!" They will then ask us our route, to which they will always reply through a cocky smile saying, "You have some big hills coming up." At first, I thought that they were always just giving us a nice, albeit unnecessary, warning. After hearing it at least once a day, though, I think that they're actually bragging about their hills. It sounds ridiculous (because it is), but it's as though they take such pride in having these hills that challenge cyclists. The best part is, they're usually wrong. The bigger the local hype, the smaller the hills tend to be. Just today, at a gas station about 7 miles shy of our destination, I was sitting there drinking my Gatorade and eating my granola. An older guy walks up to us and does the usual routine of asking us where we're from. He went inside and I thought we avoided the typical warning sequence. A few minutes later, he walked out of the gas station, paused, turned to us, and said, "Ya'll have some steep hills ahead of you." He smiled, said nothing else, and got into his Chevy pickup. He may as well have called me champ or chief with the condescending tone he used. Also, I'm glad to say that the hills weren't so bad.
- Nor sure where we're riding to tomorrow, but we are about 15 miles from officially being out of the Ozark mountains. We'll be trading hills for flats and trees for nothing. Kansas sounds quite barren, but I'm excited to be able to see for miles and miles. We haven't heard too many good things about Kansas, but we're going into it looking to give it a fair shake. We have another day or two in MO, so we will make sure to enjoy those in case all our warnings about Kansas are warranted.