We checked in to catch the train at around 4 in the afternoon and enjoyed relaxing in the first class lounge – comfy seats, magazines, juices, tea and coffee, TV if you’re so inclined, and good toilets. Then we rode overnight through Illinois and across the Nebraska state line.
On the first day the train winds up through the US Rockies or high sierra to Denver, Fraser Winter Park – near Aspen – and on through a great number of canyons. The US Rockies are a stunning series of mountain ranges that run all the way from Mexico to the Canadian Arctic, really quite overwhelming in their magnitude. They also proved a tough and formidable barrier for the early settlers and pioneers who strove to “go west, young man” (not to mention young woman, who toiled so hard and long each day to keep “young man” fit and able to continue).