Kansas City – Omaha
Unlike Otto in 1881, I was not able to go from Kansas City to Denver directly. I had to take a Greyhound bus from Kansas City to Omaha, Nebraska, where I would hit the California Zephyr on its route to Denver. During the 7 hour layover in Omaha, I wondered around the old city district, ate some wonderful lunch and sat down in a café (which was open until 10 pm) in order to get some work done.
My train left at 11:05 pm, and I walked to the train station. I passed the old train depot, which is a museum today. I then continued to the large, illuminated building only to discovere that the actual Amtrak station is an ugly little shed right next to it. The glory times of train travel are over in America, and this becomes very apparent at this station in Omaha.
I woke up very early, around 1 3/4 hours before our arrival in Denver. When I looked outside the window, the landscape had changed dramatically. I had been amazed by the hilly landscape with verdant lawns and trees of Missouri, but what I saw now, I saw for the first time in my life: the prairie. Far and wide I could see a flat landscape without any trees, here and there a bush or a plant. The sandy grounds with wild grass seemed to be quite dry, suddenly I see some horses grazing on the far landscape. The sun rises at our back, as we are riding towards the West. I look to the front, and suddenly there they appear subtle on the horizon: The Rocky Mountains with its white peaks, which seem to cut through the prairie. Now I do not know why I was so emotional again, but I shed a tear. Maybe the look at the Rocky Mountains is a sign that I am much closer to my destination Bozeman. I feel a little bit like a Pioneer. We come closer to Denver, and we start to see more cars and trucks and even som oil pumps in the landscape.
My friend Katie, whom I studied with in my Master, picks me up at the station. After not having seen each other for 3.5. years, we lie in each other’s arms and cry.