Monday, November 02, 2009

The Big Engine That Couldn't

Yesterday the whole family went on a steam engine train ride through Western MD. I have been so excited for this trip and I've been prepping Chase for about a week.

When the steam engine pulled in front of us... Chase's eyes were as big as saucers. I am pretty sure I saw true love. It was awesome trip... even through some comical hiccups... and because pictures say it better...

Let me introduce you to everyone... from the left... Joe, Adam, Nick, Chase, John, Aunt Vicky, Sandy and Uncle Jimmy!

Going through the dining cart heading to the first class car... there is something about this picture that I just love... the busyness I guess.

Chase's go to toys are his Thomas magnetic trains so of course they came with us. Something so cute about a boy riding a giant cha-choo while playing with his smaller cha-choos ;~)

Once the train set off, we explored some of the other cars. At the very end they had this observation car where you could stick your head (carefully) out the window. Chase enjoyed it up until he got pelted with coal.

Who knew that a coal burning steam engine would put off flecks of coal... chalk one up for mother of the year ;~) He was fine... no long lasting dents or anything. Hey, at least I got the picture.

Much more enjoyable way to use the observation car.

My hope was that Chase would nap (even just a little bit) on the way to Cumberland (a good hour and a half car ride). My hopes were dashed.

As it turns out, didn't really matter. Between the excitement, family and trains... he was a very well behaved little boy.

Around 2:30 he started to get a little uncooperative so I set up a little mommy napping station on my chest. He was out within a few minutes.

So for the most part we are just chugging along... you know, like trains do. Chase is peacefully sleeping to the rhythmic motion of the train... until it starts to come to a halt... a jerky, sliding kind of halt.

As soon as the train stops, Chase's eyes pop open. I'd estimate 10 - 15 minutes of sleeping... *sigh*

The next few (re: 20) minutes the train does it's best to get the wheels working... all the while not really getting anywhere. It turns out we were on an incline and a curve with wet leaves on the track... not a good situation for a steam engine train.

We roll backwards until the train is straightened out to see if we can build up some good pressure and get her going to clear the curve.

Massive fail... not only do we not go around the curve, we don't make it past the point we rolled back to...

Poor engine just couldn't do it.

So the conductor announces that we will be waiting for a diesel engine to come along and push us the rest of the way to Frostburg (our turn around stop)... only a mere 40 minutes (re: hour ;~)

So like the good sports that we are, we bought a deck of cards and started enjoying the slow pace... I mean stopped pace.

Adam and I played Uncle Jimmy and Aunt Vicky in a game of Rummy 500. I got a crash course on the rules and definitely didn't do well the first go round...

but on the second... not too shabby!

Sandy, Joe, Nick and John played cards as well... I think they played Hearts.

I learned that I don't know a lot of card games.

I think we were up and moving when Adam took this picture...

And if you look to the very end of the train you will see our diesel savior ;~)

Chase watching the steam engine turn about.

I wanted one good family photo! YAY!

Funny story... Adam was standing this close to the engine... I was a few feet to the side of him with Chase... Sandy was behind us. We were all admiring the fire (just out of the shot) where the coal was burning and I was pointing out the wheels to Chase. Adam turned to see this little puff of steam and thought it would make a nice picture. No sooner did he snap the picture when a loud crack sounded and the biggest flood of steam was let loose. Adam was instantly engulfed... I mean you couldn't see his head, totally absorbed. I jumped back and let out a yelp while pulling Chase closer to me. I turned and got out of the path of the steam as quick as I could. As soon as it cleared, we all dissolved into laughter. Except Chase... poor thing was screaming. It scared the daylights out of him (and me for that matter) and he wasn't not happy with the cha-choo. He kept crying out "smokestack". After a moment he calmed down and we talked about the train not wanting to hurt him and how funny it was now that it was over. He seemed to buy it and I don't think he will have any long lasting resentments against trains.

So this was the schedule board when we left...

and this was the schedule board when we got back... only 120 minutes late ;~)

It really was a great experience and I would encourage anyone to do it... just be sure to get the first class car ;~)


everyday musings of a stay-at-home mom said...

sounds parents and I took that ride when I was about 13...I had planned on taking the kids in a few are such a cool mom!

Anonymous said...

You always have such a good ideas for your kid and your family. What a great day! As I was reading this post, I wonder once again why Minhae is so scared of anything making a big noise. Seriously, she is scared of fire engine, scared of big trucks, etc. Finally she now likes big commuter buses that her aunt gets on. Isn't that funny? Chase seems he loves everything with wheels!

kathi said...

Loved the pictures, and I'm so jealous! I've always wanted to ride a train, never been on one.

chocolate hug said...

You know, I've never actually been on a train before! One summer, while visiting my parents, my brother's and I were going to take the train from Zambia, through Tanzania to Zanzibar. My mother was too freaked out to let us go. :) It can be a tricky trip. I still regret not going on that train. I love that you're doing all those things with Chase.



Stimey said...

That sounds so fun! And with the rescue by a diesel, it's like you were living on the Isle of Sodor.

Funny about the chunks of coal. That would totally happen to me too.

I have a friend who used to live about one minute (walking) from the Frostburg station. We'd go visit her and walk on the tracks. It was cool. But we've never taken the train.