Waking up in Salt Lake City during the wee hours, I felt the train lurch. Curious I slipped outside to find that a private passenger car had been added to the back of the consist. With little time to take a closer look before the all-aboard signal I returned to my sleeper for a few more hours rest.
At breakfast while passing through Helper I noticed that the corned beef hash enjoyed by a fellow diner was quite an improvement from the disappointing goo I had eaten on the trip out. Traveling through familiar scenes I filled the time taking pictures of the passing landscape [see blog posts, Eastern Utah, Utah/Colorado, and Grand Junction to Glenwood Springs].
A break in Grand Junction afforded me time to view the addition to our train, the Caritas, an art-deco private railway car built in 1948. Another stop later at Glenwood Springs offered another glimpse.
It was standing room only in the sightseeing car as we passed through Glenwood Canyon while waiting for the call to lunch. For my meal I tried the meatloaf with mushroom gravy, potatoes, and a splash of Tabasco for some zest. Dessert was a sizable chocolate and peanut butter torte. Decadent and sweet, the torte needed a cup of coffee for balance.
Coming down from Moffat Tunnel I went to the last sleeper car in our consist to take pictures of the tunnels we passed through [see blog post]. After a final opportunity for fresh air and a leg stretch in Denver, the train moved out for the night ride through northeast Colorado and southern Nebraska. Disinterest in my tablemates for dinner compelled me to seek sustenance in the lounge car. I settled for some overpriced vegan burgers, but no amount of condiments made them palatable.
In the darkness of Nebraska I woke up from a seriously messed-up dream, even by my standards. Featuring action movie background music, blood smeared indigents, transsexual prostitutes, and Chinese aerobatic girls wielding throwing stars, both lethal and magic healing ones. And all because I intervened in a lop-sided street fight. My last memory was of stumbling down the street, blowing off the crimson goo covering my face and lips, thinking what number of blood-borne viruses I may have picked up.
Pulled into Omaha on time and well before sunrise. The long walk to breakfast was quite chilly; the coolest weather of the entire trip. A half-hour later I'm greeted with the familiar sight of the 11-Worth Cafe, appropriately located on Leavenworth off 24th [see blog post].
After breakfast it was a little under a mile's walk to the bus stop, where I caught an indirect Metro bus that afforded me a glimpse of North Omaha, a side of town I rarely visit. With time to kill at the Megabus stop, the nearby Target offered a clean toilet to take a whiz, and a handy Starbucks within to load up on unsweetened passion tea.
The ride back to Des Moines was calm, quiet and uneventful, as was the walk home down Walnut St. Settled in my recliner after eleven days of travel, a nap was in order.