The Russians Are Coming

Crossing the Great Plains, I had just one tornado alert. Ignoring the advice to go to the basement of the Methodist church, I sought shelter at a handy bar instead 🙂

Before starting out on my cycle ride across America, I had joined an organization called Warm Showers. Judging from my apprehension about the name, I’ve clearly lived in San Francisco for too long! The organization connects cyclists with hosts (usually other cyclists) offering a place to sleep in their homes. It’s a great way to meet local people. Especially memorable was the Mennonite family I stayed with in Kansas, and the home-baked pie with mulberries and rhubarb from their garden!

Although the flat terrain of Kansas was very welcome after the Appalachian and then the Ozark Mountains, I was relieved to cross from Central Time to Mountain Time and shortly afterwards into Colorado after days of cycling past endless fields of ripening wheat and, judging by the pong, ripe beef cattle. The monotony perhaps explains some of the more bizarre thinking that I encountered in Kansas, such as Pastor Joe’s firm belief that the Russians are about to sweep down into the state. Hopefully, Walmart accepts rubles.

Apart from the imminent Russian invasion, the biggest surprise of the Great Plains was that I was already at an altitude of approx. 4,400 ft. I always thought the Great Plains were near sea level. With the snow-capped summits of the Rocky Mountains visible on the horizon, it’s a relief to know I already have several thousand feet in hand. Tomorrow, I climb to over 9000 ft.


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.

18 thoughts on “The Russians Are Coming”

  1. Wow! You’ve covered a lot of distance already!! I am in awe that you’re about to climb to 9,000 feet. I’ve been balking at my mere 500 foot elevation gain at this Sunday’s Tour de Cure diabetes fundraising bike ride. Have a good climb up the Rockies!


  2. Wow, 9,000ft climb! Amazing achievement so far Leslie….keep smiling and think of the desert you might get at the next stop! 😁🚴🍰


  3. Hey Leslie – We’re with you every bit of the way…..just from sun loungers with sun downers! Deirdre


  4. Hey Leslie,
    I trust neither the weather nor the russians will be slowing you down. Keep up the great spirit and enjoy the ride through the rockies. You’ve come a long way!


  5. Well done “nearly home” – and time for dessert in the desert soon surely. How’s the appetite going? Is the tank ever full these days or is there always room for more? Keep up the great work and blogging too


  6. Well done, Leslie! Show those Rockies who’s boss. Pingers crossed for more home-baked pie to fuel the ride.


  7. Oh Leslie…
    Diese Überschrift hat mich so zum Lachen gebracht! Danke dafür!
    Liebe Grüße aus Hot Sulphur Springs. Wir vermissen dich hier. 😦


  8. Good going, Leslie! Had a nice chat on the corner with Paul today. Gorgeous weather here! Marius wandered by, too – he retired a month ago! Dan’s doing a big remodel and moving in to the Air B&B across the street. Word on the street!


  9. Hi Leslie, as I’m reading this your indicator shows you in Telluride, CO, near the Sheridan Opera House. Again, an interestingly named location. It looks from the map that you are going up in Colorado, then down again into Nevada. How are you handling all the elevation change?


    1. Not too much of a problem with the elevation changes so far 🙂
      I was careful to acclimatize before going up to 11,000+ ft, e.g. I’d spend a night at about 8,000 ft.


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