Council Bluffs, IA
One week ago I awoke in a snowy Salt Lake City, bound for Ogden and from there east through Weber and Echo Canyons to the plains of Wyoming, across the Green River and past Citadel Rock to Rawlins Springs.
Seven days and, let’s say, twelve hours later I am on the other side of the Missouri River from Omaha in Council Bluffs, IA.
For those who don’t know the importance of Council Bluffs, or Omaha or the preposterousness of last week’s mad dash; allow me to enlighten you.
Council Bluffs is where Abraham Lincoln set in his mind the origination point for the Transcontinental Railroad. Omaha is where that railroad actually began. Council Bluffs and Omaha are also where Lewis and Clark began their great expedition up the Missouri and where the Mormons began their great trek to the Salt Lake.
Right. So, in one week I’ve done what took the Mormons four months. I’ve done in one week what took the Union Pacific Railroad the better part of four years.
Eleven-hundred miles in seven days doesn’t seem like much to our modern ears. At a flat-out burn that’s a good solid day and a half of driving. But when considered on the scale of the pioneers it’s a fantastic achievement. Beyond imagination. And oh! the things I’ve seen and experienced along the way. Boggles the mind. Defies description.
The problem is that I’m moving so fast and covering so much ground that when I try to record my daily achievements I can’t even remember what I’ve done for the last ten hours. It all blurs together. I’ve seen pioneer wagon ruts from the 1850s. I’ve seen more locomotives than I thought possible. I’ve seen two trains heading in perpendicular cardinal directions pass one on top of the other. I’ve seen the home of Buffalo Bill and the birthplace of Andrews Jackson Higgins. I’ve seen the Green River, the North and South Platte, the Loup River and the Missouri River. I’ve seen the snow-capped Wasatch, the likewise snowy Rockies, Sherman Pass and the Great Plains.
I hope I’ll have time to sit and think for about a week some time soon. To begin to digest all that I’ve seen and done is well beyond my comprehension right now.
And I can’t wait to do it again.