that's one Hell-raising town way down in Southeastern Kansas
And my cousin Roscoe is Uncle Slaton's oldest boy
from his second marriage up in Illinois
He was raised in East St. Louis by his moma's people
where they do things different; he thought he'd just come on down
He stopped at that big McDonalds, you know the one that's built up on that
great big old bridge across the Will Rogers Turnpike, he took the Big Cabin exit
stopped and bought a carton of cigarettes at that Indian Smokeshop with the big neon smoke rings
-James McMurtry's Choctaw Bingo,
One of my favorite funny songs; About going to a family reunion
Today we rode for a relaxing 68 miles into Vinita, Oklahoma. We thought that our route did not pass through Kansas, so a few people decided to take a scenic detour for 5 miles to cross the state line. I decided not to, but a few miles into the ride I saw a sign for Baxter Springs ahead. Baxter Springs - where did I know that town name from? All of a sudden the lyrics from Choctaw Bingo came into my head - "We are passing through Kansas!" I shouted. Everyone was a bit confused about how I knew about Baxter Springs.
The next day, we took a scenic detour to the world's largest McDonald's. The McDonald's is built over the highway, and as you order you can look out the large glass windows at the shining steel semi's rolling through. This was very exciting for me because, as a young boy Grandfather would joke with me that we were going to the world's largest McDonald's near their place in Houston. He always made sure to inform me that he didn't think it was REALLY the world's largest McDonald's. Well, Grandfather, I am happy to report that I have officially been to the World's Largest McDonald's, and it is located in Vinita, Oklahoma - a town that is just over 4 square miles large. Isn't that so American!? Anyway, I continued to ride, loosely following Route 66 until we saw a sign for the Will Rogers Turnpike. I had that same feeling - where did I know that highway from!? The next sign I saw was the town name - Big Cabin. No way, I thought to myself. I turned to Rachel and said "I know this is really weird, but I bet there is an Indian Smokeshop with big neon smoke rings up ahead..." Sure enough, there was.
It was also Springs' (my spirit animal's) first day to ride with me, and let me tell you he had an awesome time. He came along in my backpack, though I think he needs to get his bike legs under him because he got a little bike-sick a couple times. (Just as a disclaimer, Springs is a stuffed animal. Yet, I will continue to talk about him as if he is a real person, because that's kind of what I do).
Other highlights from the day include seeing the World's largest totem pole, built by a white man in the late 1900's. Nonetheless, Rachel, Springs, and I made a human totem pole next to it.
Later on I got chased by a dog. This is really not that uncommon - after all I have been chased by every thing from wolfs to cows to redtailed hawks. However, most dogs stop their pursuit when you assert dominance over them by yelling really loudly at them. This one did not, and I had to start kicking off the side of my bike. I kicked three or four times and finally connected straight to this mean dogs face. He did a full flip and ran away wimpering, which made feel a little bad but mostly awesome.