Mobile Writing Retreat - Day 8 (Omaha)

The late departure time meant no dinner reservation (if I haven't mentioned, you either request or are assigned a time to eat in the dining car for dinner; breakfast and lunch are first-come, first-served). Fortunately, they were still serving. So, I and the other late additions to the sleeper car meandered down as soon as we were underway. 

I enjoyed Amtrak's "land & sea" dish (not sure why they didn't just go with surf and turf) as well as some great conversation with folks from Iowa. If you think my trip is crazy, one of my dinner companions celebrated his retirement by heading to France for a few months (his wife stayed behind to work), before embarking on cycling trips from Denver to Des Moines, as well as across Southern India (yes, the country. I did not leave a couple letters off the state name). The conversation covered kids, careers, philosophy, and other family tales, and was so fulfilling that we chatted until the servers needed to shut the car down for the evening. 

I returned to my quarters to discover an additional feature of my roomette - a "closet" where I could hang both of the shirts I brought with me. Hooray for minimalism! I decided writing was out of the question and proceeded to the cafe car for a nightcap. There, I witnessed a guy in line ahead of me apologize to the server. I'm not sure what for, but I am confident it was the reason he was no longer allowed to purchase alcohol. I avoided eye contact with him so as to ignore the inevitable request that I make the purchase for him (I'm not sure how he thought that would work, given that the server was literally directly in front of us), made my purchase, and retreated to my quarters to read and sleep.

However, sleep did not come easy tonight. Unlike the mountainous terrain that I'd been traveling, Eastern Colorado and Nebraska were largely covered at grade, which meant road crossings. A lot of them. And, what happens at road crossings? The train blows its horn several times. This might have been mitigated by earplugs (I have none), but the sleep might not have been much better, as these crossings and other track transitions rattled the train laterally quite a bit. As a result, I spent most of the night lightly napping between fog horn like blasts and jolts like those experienced in the back car of an old roller coaster. 

I arrived in Omaha and made it my mission to make up for both the lack of productivity and REM sleep. I talked the Hyatt into letting me check in early for a shower and a nap. AMAZING! They let me in so early that I still had time to enjoy breakfast before heading out to explore Omaha. My first stop was a laundromat. Despite having sink-washed the undies in Glenwood, nothing else had received a proper was. Thus, in efforts to avoid offending the olfactory systems of those I'd be encountering in the coming days, I trekked over a mile in the 95-degree heat to a less than stellar part of town to get a wash done. It was here that I discovered another benefit of minimalism. Doing your laundry consists of a single load. Even better was the location of an outlet above the folding table. So, I was able to work while everything that I wasn't wearing was getting ready for the second half of the journey. 

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From there, it was on to lunch at (you guessed it) a brewpub. The pic above was just in the lobby. The IPA was a given, but I asked the bartender for her recommendation. In fact, this is something I'd been doing everywhere I went, with excellent results. I highly recommend it. I typically go with "what do you like" or "what are you most known for;" both tend to get great results.

 I wish I had been keeping tasting notes on all the local beers I've had

I wish I had been keeping tasting notes on all the local beers I've had

After downing the beef tips power bowl (I mean, you have to have some form of steak in Omaha, right?), I continued my work from the laundry session until the laptop battery died. Then, it was time to walk uptown to visit the home of the College World Series. It's an impressive facility, but my options for actually getting inside were past my level of comfort. Still, it was fun to see the park, and especially the banners hanging for each team that had made it to Omaha this year (one set pictured below). 

 Auburn was soooo close to getting their banner up here. 

Auburn was soooo close to getting their banner up here. 

I wandered some more to Creighton's campus, where I crashed the library with the intent of working. Instead, I guzzled water and cooled off. Drained, I knew productivity was beyond reach and decided to return to the hotel for a nap. Refreshed, I continued editing the document I'd been working on and then headed out for dinner at a distillery next to the hotel. They also brew their own beer, but I stuck to sampling their whiskey collection (they also make other spirits) and decided to buy myself a bottle as a "souvenir" from the trip. 

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Following dinner, it was time to give the document one last read and ship it off. No new writing today, but a complete documented edited gave me a sense of accomplishment, as did the word count - another 4,071 edited.