Toto, I Don’t Think We’re in California Anymore

Apart from the Ozark Mountains, my abiding memory of Missouri is Mrs Redneck cursing Mr Redneck in the most unsavory terms for leaving the gate open and letting the dogs out. I counted at least seven dogs run out. With that many dogs, two hands, and one can of pepper spray, I had switched to stealth mode, so to my delight, she hadn’t seen me approaching. “Bad day?”, I enquired politely, as I cycled past.

Approaching Kansas, the landscape started to level off. At the state sign, I asked the Swedish cyclist I had met the night before whether he had packed his ruby slippers, but since he asked me to repeat the question three times, I concluded the Wizard of Oz didn’t make it to Sweden.

One thing I’m hoping is that Kansas has brighter tortoises. They amble out onto the road from the grassy verges and sit sunning themselves on the Tarmac. Meanwhile, I’ve seen enough tortoises flattened to tortillas to last me a lifetime. I stop at each sunbather, lift it from the rear, gently set it down in a sunny patch on the grassy verge, and tell it that the waiter will be along shortly. “Why from the rear?”, you ask. Well, a particularly large individual clearly did not want to be moved along. It was flatter than the other tortoises I had encountered, and it had a tail. Thinking it was just crotchety, I tried to nudge it to the side of the road with my foot instead. To my dismay, it sank its teeth into my cycling shoe. Recovering my composure, I told it to suit itself (in terms similar to those used by Mrs Redneck) and minced off. Later that evening, I learned on the World Wide Web that it was a snapping turtle and not to be messed with. Special advisory to any gentlemen considering taking a refreshing dip in a lake or river in these parts: Be sure to wear your swimming shorts!


Author: CL Mackay

Aspiring gentleman of leisure in San Francisco, who fancies himself to be a trust fund kid swapped out at birth. Not dented by the male menopause and a pesky diagnosis of leukemia, this former strawberry blond cycled across America, coast to coast, in 2016 and is presently cycling from Vancouver, Canada, to the Mexico border.

8 thoughts on “Toto, I Don’t Think We’re in California Anymore”

  1. So amazing to think you’re in Kanzas already! You’re zooming along like you’re on a train! You must be exhausted…I hope you get to stop for a nice afternoon cuppa! 😉


  2. Halfway through Kansas already! You’re steaming along, unlike your tortoise friends. Go Leslie! Keep peddling with those ruby cycling shoes.


  3. Hallo Leslie,
    Christine erzählte mir von deiner wunderbaren Idee
    für den USA – Cross, den ihr auch zu Beginn gemeinsam gefahren seit.
    Ich wünsche dir weiterhin mehr downhills als uphills.

    Viele Grüße
    aus Freiburg / Germany


  4. Hi Leslie! I’m reading this a few days after your post, and I see you are in Scott City KS. You must feel right at home! It looks like you are almost 2/3 of the way across the US, wow! BTW, great picture with your day-glo panniers! How is the Brooks saddle working for you after so many miles?


    1. Thanks Frank. I’m actually in Pueblo, CO, so even further! I’ll update the Where Am I on the blog! The saddle is great. I moved it forward slightly. Definitely worth experimenting to find the optimum position.
      Thanks for your comments. I really appreciate them 🙂


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