Okay, about last weekend... Two things came together that named the weekend "train weekend." The first thing is that I promised T that we'd ride a real steam train this summer. Real, as in real-size, not those small ones that they have at the zoo. T loves steam trains. To my chagrin, he is over Thomas the Tank Engine because he's not real. (There goes about $600 worth of toys and videos! Well, at least they lasted for two kids -- and T has been into them way longer than R ever was.) T loves steam trains so much that he actually got tears in his eyes when I broke it to him that they don't run any more and you can only see them in train museums. He's going to fix this when he grows up, though. He's going to run a steam train that is a store and he's going to sell his train drawings and train models. Anyway, last summer I read about a train museum about an hour and a half away, so I marked it on the calendar that last Saturday we'd go to see that steam train.
The second reason it was train weekend was that we rode the train into Chicago, where we met M's mom and she took the boys on another train out to her house. Yes, you counted right...three trains in one weekend! A steam train, an Amtrak, and a double-decker commuter train.
We had a great time at the museum. The train that we rode is beautiful, but very slow. Even T got bored on it a bit because we went so slow. He and R did enjoy the museum, especially the Pulman first class car from the 1940's that had stateroom in it. There was also a great model railroad with a bunch of trains running on it that used to take up a man's entire basement -- he worked on it for over 30 years until the day he died, so they say.
The very best highlight of that museum is that housed there is the actual train that is the Polar Express. It's the train that was the model for the movie. It's in the barn right now, getting all repaired for the Snow Train excursions that it does in the winter. Boy oh boy, were the boys excited to see that train, and boy oh boy is that engine HUGE! The coolest story of all about that train is that it's number 1225 and it has been that number all it's life, even before it was the model for the Polar Express. (12-25, get it? Christmas.)
The next day was the trip to Chicago. The boys had fun on that train too. They especially enjoyed the snack bar car :> T was a little sad about leaving me for three days, but he held up pretty well and only cried a bit when he saw gramma and realized that I was leaving. He also told me that he cried at her house for awhile, but then he "got a better attitude." I turned the kids over at the train station, waited two more hours for my return train, and then took the three-hour trip back home. That was a lot of train time for me! The boys went to Gram's house because I had a three-day business trip and M had a boat race. They all had a great time at Gram's house. R was really excited about it even before we left, and T had fun too.
Here they are waiting for the train. It was over a half an hour late. Notice T's newest train t-shirt? It's has a picture of the 1225 on it.
R was Mr. Cool on the train.
T enjoyed his yogurt and other snacks during the ride. He also enjoyed watching the freight trains whiz past us as we went along our way.
This weekend is the big race -- Chicago to Mackinac Island. M started the race today at about noon. The boys and I will drive up to the island tomorrow morning (it's about a 5 hour drive for us) and will take the ferry to the island. Hopefully, it will be a fast race and M will get there either late Sunday night or early Monday morning. I hope he comes in at a time when the boys and I can go out and watch him come in -- it's very exciting and fun. You can keep track of his fleet at this website http://trackinfo.fistracking.com/mac2006/. He's in the GL70 fleet (that stands for Great Lakes 70-feet.) His boat. Pororoca, doesn't have a tracking devise, but we can guess that he's somewhere near the fleet. You never know how they're going to do. Two races ago, they did great -- first in the fleet and third overall after handicaps were taken into consideration. Last week, they were last in their fleet. I just hope they get there safely and soon!
Here's the website that can give you all the details of the race. You can even find M's boat and see his name on it.
I got this photo from the website. It shows some of the boats starting the race. I think that these are about half the length of M's boat. Isn't it beautiful with the city in the background?
This picture has nothing to do with the subject of this blog, but I sure thought that it was a cute one of T and my zinias...