Nighttime on the train through the heartland
These travels occurred in late September/early October 2021. The posts are gathered under the ‘Travel’ category (top right of page) and numbered to indicate the order in which they should be read.
I awake and according to my FitBit it is 6 AM. But my phone says it is 5 AM. Apparently we passed into another time zone and my phone knows but my FitBit hasn’t figured it out yet. I understand that, since travel can be quite confusing for many of us. Glancing out the window I notice a sign for the Eagles Club #592. Investigating that bit of information on DuckDuckGo (I try to avoid using Google as a search engine to keep the annoying ads tailored just for me to a minimum) and learn that the Eagles Club #592 is in Hastings Nebraska. I would like to have seen Nebraska, but it is still very dark out there. Later I realized if I open Google Maps the little blue dot would show me just where I am and the progress we are making. It took Google about 45 seconds to send an ad my way about a filling station in Hastings NE should I need to pull the train in for a top off of diesel and a quick windshield wash.
Now I realize it is morning and the shower and bathrooms are down the hall. And I have that generous 11″ mentioned in the last post to navigate. The bathrooms are reminiscent of an airplane lavatory; functional, yet not wasting any space for creature comforts. The showers are large enough for the intended purpose with the added thrill of being launched against a wall occasionally by that aforementioned gentle swaying of the train. Apparently that is some of the romance of travel by train.
Looking outside, despite the dark I can see 3 red lights stacked horizontally in the distance. I assume it is a radio station tower. We continue to approach it for about 30 minutes at speed as we get closer yet never close. I am reminded we are still in Nebraska; it is very flat and I can see great distances. The sky is enormous and just full of stars. Nebraska has a lot more stars than we do back east! As morning light catches up to the westbound train, we finally pass the tower and I estimate it is still 5 miles away from us. I notice the train is slowing. Are we approaching a train station? Apparently not since we proceed slowly for about 15 minutes then return to speed again. It seems we were just sneaking through an area for some reason. Now the sound has changed. I hear a bit of an echo of the train’s horn that I’ve not heard before. Are we approaching a highway overpass or a hill or just some buildings? Then we pass a cluster of trackside silos. Apparently we are still in grain country and the echo was from the silos.
After a while we went to breakfast and noticed a city approaching. Oh, hey, we left Nebraska and are now in Colorado. We went through the Denver area without incident. Most cities look alike from the train. A unique skyline, lots of backyards and industrial sites and you are on your way. The landscape changed quickly. I find it hard to describe accurately, but we are in a very flat area surrounded by cliffs (buttes?) or hills or mountains so we feel like we are in a bowl. If successful, I have attached photos of the Nebraska dawn and the Colorado landscape.