Golden wheat fields and rolling hills of corn were what greeted us as our bleary eyes opened this morning, flying past the window as our train hurtles along the ever westward tracks. A quick check of the timetable and we soon figured out we were in Kansas, home of the KC Chiefs, the Wizard of Oz and birthplace of musician Melissa Etheridge, of course there’s other things it’s famous for, but those are our most familiar! A quick visit to the restroom/shower – not out of desire to be quick, but more from the physical necessity to keep moving for fear of being stuck in the shower forevermore. Now for those that don’t know the writer of this blog, I’m not little, never have been and at 6ft tall, ain’t ever likely to be! Oh, and as I’m built more for comfort than speed small spaces are not my friend either. So imagine if you will, a square-ish cylinder, about 5’10 tall and 2ft in diameter, then someone of my stature trying at 5.30am to as quietly as possibly imbed themselves into same said cylinder, wash, dry and then extract themselves to redress in the semi-light without waking any fellow travelers, before tip toeing back up the galley whilst not stumbling over the suitcases that now litter the baggage area. In my mind it would appear to be a very bad knock-off of the Bolshoi ballet, in which I pirouetted daintily in the bathroom, stag leaping over the left luggage before curtseying to an admiring audience to then exit stage left. In reality I KNOW it was much different. Yeah, funny huh.
At breakfast we managed to join one of our table-mates from dinner the night before, he told us more about growing up in Grand Rapids, about the political changes from Ford onwards and about the differences between Republican vs Democrat views and the effects of commercial and religious affiliations with various candidates. All in all we feel very privileged to have had such a knowledgable and conversant dining partner who could tell us so much whilst we devoured our scrambled eggs or French toast.
As the day progressed we saw the landscape give way from arable Kansas farmland to the more sparsely succulent covered eastern side of Colorado, the changes seemed almost magical, as the rolling green hills of crops dissolved into miles and miles of what we would know as scrubland and cattle. The Victorian area just east of ‘the Little Desert’ came to mind and I wondered if the soil was similar as well, it certainly felt the same for us. The rapidly changing landscape never stopped amazing us, as time after time we could see the changes in the geology (and thought of a good friend of ours) and topography. Eventually we finished traveling through New Mexico and entered Arizona – only one hour late too! – just as the sun was starting to set, watching it sink low in the sky over the beginings of gorges and jutting outcrops, it gives us some idea of what we have to look forward to tomorrow.
We reached Williams Junction late at night, and were met by the shuttle bus for the Grand Canyon Railway, the driver greeting us with a friendly smile and welcome, just what we needed after such a long day with the echos of a stable bed and bathroom ringing in our ears. A short trip later we arrived at the hotel itself and were cordially checked in, given our assigned room, fell into the elevator before stumbling along the maze of passageways and into our room, where we stopped in our tracks. Now, if you’re following this blog you may recall our veiled description of the hote/guest house called the Parthenon Guest House in Chicago, which we were incredibly grateful we were only spending one night in. This room however they’ll be lucky to pry us out of! Two luxurious double beds, a bathroom you could swing a cat in (though we won’t test that theory) and a huge panoramic window facing the street, train and the Grand Depot Cafe. Yep, we’re not moving, we like it here!
So now we’re off to bed, exhausted as per usual, and looking forward to tomorrow, to traveling out on the GCR to see one of natures finest moments, everyone’s told us how spectacular it is, how there are not words enough to describe both its majesty but also it’s effect on you. We can’t wait to see if the rumours are true! Goodnight all!