The Nomad is a series of stories, fascinations, encounters, observations, experiences, joy of the moments by me, Ulrike Reinhard – all around my travels. Stay tuned!
Ulrike Reinhard is The Nomad 🙂
Recently I traveled overland from Toronto, Canada, to Santa Fe in New Mexico, US via bus and train. All in all I was for 3.5 days on the road, one day longer than expected. But never mind, it was a lovely journey and I enjoyed it. I was looking, reading, writing, doing nothing every now and then. Besides the journey itself there were a few little things which stood out for me – always related to the kindness and friendlyness of people. I feel they are worth mentioning 🙂
Here are three little episodes.
Chicago Bus Station, first evening
The bus from Detroit to Chicago was running a couple of hours late, we only arrived late in the evening. The driver opened the luggage trunk so that we could unload our suitcases. I was first in line and I took my first suitcase out, placed it 1.5 m away and turned around to get my second bag. A few seconds later I realized my first suit case was gone. Within a blink of an eye it had disappeared. I couldn’t believe that that had happened. I spoke to the driver and he asked me if I was sure that I had two pieces of luggage. Of course, I said. And I explained what had happened. Meanwhile the bus was completely emptied and no one else was around any more.
The driver doubted that I had two pieces of luggage, but I insisted. We went inside the bus station to the Greyhound desk where an old guy had just started his night shift. After hearing my story he said: “Sorry mam, tehre is nothing I can do; you have to talk to the Detroit office in th emorning where you loaded the bags!” I asked him for a receipt or some note for my complaint, but he kept repeating: “Call the Detroit office in the morning!” The bus driver was also trying to sneak out and said to me: “Please don’t tell the office that you’ve loaded two pieces, there is usually only one piece of luggage allowed!”
I left the station frustrated. I still couldn’t believe what just had happened. I called a cab and we were just about to close the trunk the door of the station opened and a young came out with my suitcase. “What is that?” I asked. He said: “I walked around the parking loft of the buses and I saw this suitcase. It must have rolled down there when you unloaded. The guy at Greyhound said it must be yours and he told me that you just left to get a taxi!”
I was speechless.
I gave him a nice tip and off I went to my hotel! What a sweet guy he was, I thought.
Next morning I went with ALL my luggage to the Amtrak Station to catch the train!
On my way from the hotel to Union Station, we drove along the Riverwalk
Kansas City, an unexpected break
The train from Chicago to Kansas City got stuck in a tornedo. We came to a complete standstill for 4 hours. No movement at all. By the time we reached Kansas at 3 am in the morning, the train was 6 hours late and my connecting service to Santa Fe had left. An unexpected stop over. Everything was well organized by Amtrak; an employeer was waiting for me at the gate. The hotel was arranged, so was the transport. He said that my new ticket will be issued for the following day and that I could stay inside my room until the next train was leaving at 11 pm. Amtrak even named a restaurant where I could eat (not drink) for free. It was a nice restaurant, as I found out the day after. I ate a yummy piece of grilled salmon with spinach salad.
I had a good night sleep when I got up in the next morning at 10 am. I had the entire day to explore Missouri/Kansas and to get some things done, mainly to buy an US SIM card. I walked around deserted Kansas wondering where all the people were. There was no one in the streets. Even the weekly market was empty. I walked down to the river and found a nice little coffee shop on the way back.
A young couple asked if they could sit at my table. Sure, I said. And we started talking. Both of them were born in Missouri/Kansas, studied out of town, came back because of an exciting job offer at a small tech company and were now making plans to leave for ever because nothing much is happening in town. As I saw earlier. They were laughing when I told them how I felt walking around.
I asked them where I could buy a SIM card, because I hadn’t found a shop on my way through town. Not only were the two of them very helpful in finding a shop, they also called if they were open and the girl offered me a ride to get there because it was 5 miles away. How sweet was this?
I accepted the offer and off we went and I got my SIM card.
Union Station Grand Hall, Kansas/Missouri | Downtown Kansas/Missouri with the railway station in front
Arrival at Lamy, New Mexico
I arrived at Lamy super punctually at 2pm. It was boiling hot! Lamy is the closest train station to Santa Fe. A typical mall hamlet (100 people) in the SouthWest of the US with no taxis as I found out. Neither Uber nor LYFT would offer me a ride out here. I kept trying but no chance.
Suddenly a car arrived at the station. A young man stepped out holding a bottle of water in his hands. He walked towards the building next to the station. I approached him asking if he knew if I could get a taxi here. He said: “No chance here, but I can take you. Where do you want to go?” I told him my destination, Synergs Ranch, and he smiled and told me, that his mother used to work there.
He helped me to get my bags into his car, we quickly stopped at his small houese to tell his mother that he would drop me at Synergia Ranch and once again, off we went. When we arrived he reluctantly took the money I offered him for the ride.
I had made it to my final destination!
Lamy, New Mexico, Railway Station