Ah yes, the state-running train. If your memory is as fuzzy as my own, I had to go back in my blog to recall the last state I’d written about (Illinois, here) before being able to know where to start when writing this post. After our quick stay in Chicago, we headed through Iowa with only the briefest of stops in Iowa City (shout out to Prairie Lights Books for their excellent chai and lattes!), so short that a run was no where on the agenda, and then drove straight on to Omaha, Nebraska.
There’s a lot of rhetoric out there telling us coastal people to forget middle-America. I heard it today on the train: a man from Alabama who had just been to New Orleans talking to a couple who love themselves some NOLA and another couple who hadn’t travelled much discussing what in America was worth seeing and what wasn’t: the consensus was to skip the mid-west. After running in these states, I have to beg to differ. Here’s why:
I assumed Omaha would be flat: I was wrong. There were gentle hills, the complete opposite of steep. In fact, so flat were the hills you’d have never noticed the shifts in elevation had you not been on foot or on bike.
I assumed Omaha would be monochromatic: Wrong again. I was running in the outer area of the city, and it was lush with fields of green, pumpkins of orange, stalks of wild colored corn, opaque cobalt skies and dark asphalt of the road that seemed enhanced by the spectrum surrounding it.
I assumed Omaha would be boring: Yeah, wrong about that one too. I saw low fields, a canal, farmland, residential communities, and commerce all on my five mile jog. While no one was offering me Ambrosia or waving a palm frond over me, it’s not like that happens in Bay Area, either. I found a town almost more diverse in landscape than I’m accustomed to.
What I remember (randomly) about this run was worrying I’d get mud on my shoes and track it into my homestay’s house. My host was grandparents of a friend, who adorably kept trying to feed us and clucked over our needs (I didn’t realize my skirt needed to be pressed, but Grandmother did) – and who I feared the wrath of should I get their pristinely lovely home dirty.