Well, we're out of the hills and spending our last night in a park pavilion in Golden City, MO. I had told our WarmShowers host this morning that the bed they provided me with was one of the most comfortable ones I've ever been in, but he raised a good point: it could just be that, in an effort to cut weight, I don't use a sleeping pad. I carry a DSLR camera, a Microsoft Surface, and some heavy clothing I haven't even touched, but I skimped on the sleeping pad that weighs like half a pound. Sleeping on the concrete floors in park pavilions just makes me appreciate beds that much more. We had a decent and mostly forgettable last full day in Missouri that led to this concrete floor.
We left Walnut Grove a bit late, but that was fine since we didn't have too many miles to worry about. Before we were even out of the town, we had passed by a dog, a deer, and an armadillo laying curbside. I've been asked a handful of times if we've seen any cool animals; I have actually seen many animals, but unfortunately it's usually while swerving to avoid their remains. Roadkill was one of those things that was lacking from my romanticized day dreams about this trip prior to departure, but it's been one of the reoccurring themes the whole way. You probably don't want to read more about road kill, so I'll leave it at that.
We didn't really see any people until about 12 miles outside of Golden City when we met a father-son eastbound duo at a single lane crossroads of sorts. They had just experienced their first climb pretty much since the Rockies, which meant we were about to have our last one. For them, the hill represented the emerging Ozarks and the end of flats. For us, the hill was the last thing between us and the flats of western Missouri and Kansas. When Chris and I got to the other side, we paused to check the maps. We looked around and laughed. Despite everyone's negative feedback about this section of the trip, it's a portion that we had been looking forward to for a long time. We had made it. They say be careful what you wish for, but even if Kansas is awful, I'll just lie to myself until I love it.
Our host this morning asked if we'd be going to Cooky's in Golden City. Although we hadn't heard of it, it's apparently part of the TransAmerica folklore. Their specialty is pie, which we were excited to learn; we've been craving pie since our South Korean friend named Yum spoke so dearly about it on Day 10 (if you haven't read about our encounter with Yum, I highly recommend you scroll down to Day 10 and check it out). There aren't many options for restaurants in Golden City, so we had both lunch and dinner there. The meals were pretty good, but the pies were great. After lunch, I had the Dutch cherry pie with chocolate ice cream. For desert after my desert, I had lemon meringue. As we were leaving, we heard the waitress mention a Reese's pie. Even though we were pretty sure we were going back for dinner, hearing that sealed our fate. If you're ever in Golden City, MO, try the Reese's and/or the Dutch cherry. Lemon meringue was meh.
We have a very short day to Pittsburgh, Kansas tomorrow. Chris needs a few problems with his bike fixed up, so we'll get to have a relaxing ride prior to dropping off his bike.