Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Mt. Hood Railroad

On Friday, the entire family took a trip to Hood River to climb aboard the Mt. Hood Railroad.  I wanted to find a fun activity for everyone that my Dad had never experienced before.

Jack is obsessed with trains.  He calls them too too teens.  We live near a railroad track so often times one will go by our house and blow the whistle.  Jack will stop dead in his tracks and yell "TOO TOO TEEN!"

Before we boarded the train, Jack had no idea where we were going and what we were doing.  He just new we had a surprise for him and we needed to get in the car to drive to the surprise.  It was about an hour trip to Hood River and he happily sat in the car the whole time checking out the scenery.

We arrived at the station, parked and walked into the building and I think he finally realized what was up.  Shortly after we arrived, the conductor came inside and yelled "All aboard!".  Jack got the biggest smile on his face and started saying "go go go" and pulling Jason's hand so we could board the train.

The boy was in awe.  It was so adorable watching him running up and down the train car and pointing out different things.

When the train started moving, Jack's eyes got huge.  I don't think he realized that the train would actually move!  He continued pulling everyone by the hand and having them escort him all around the train.  You could go outside the door and sit on the back or front of the train to watch the scenery.  Jack pulled Nana out there for a long period of time and just sat mesmerized.

If Jack was inside and the horn whistle blew, he would yell "choo choo!".  If he was outside, the horn was so loud and it startled him and he would cover his ears up.

We trucked along for about 45 minutes until our first stop.  The train makes scheduled stops at two small towns.  The first town's name escapes me but it was a cute little fruit company.  Jack had a good time picking out fruit and putting it in Nana's basket to buy.  He also enjoyed eating some of the goodies that were purchased.  I can't believe how big he looks in this picture.

The second stop was in Parkdale and there we ate some lunch at a barbeque restaurant.  Jack was such a good boy just sitting and eating.  I had packed a lunch for him beforehand since I wasn't sure what food selections there would be.  The weather was so beautiful so we all enjoyed being outside and admiring the train.

One of the cutest moments was when Jack to one of our tickets to the conductor (he socialized with the passengers the whole time) and the conductor punched the ticket.  He punched the ticket just like the conductor from Polar Express.  Jack proudly held up his punched ticket.  He then brought all the other tickets to be punched.  The conductor happily obliged.

On the way back to the station, Jack went with Nana to the back of the train to some of the more comfortable seats.  I walked back there at one point and Jack was sound asleep in Nana's arms.  He had such a good time and was so exhausted that he passed out.  He slept the entire way back to the station.

I would highly recommend this trip for anyone that has a little boy who loves trains.  The tickets were very reasonable (we paid $15 per adult ticket for the coach section) and the trip isn't too long to become boring. The train left the station at 10:00 and returned at 2:45.  In the winter, they offer a Polar Express train which we will definitely be taking the boy to.  He absolutely LOVES the movie so I know he will love the train ride to.  They cater it to small children and encourage the kids to wear their pajamas.  They serve hot cocoa and cookies to the passengers and the train stops and Santa boards and spends time with the kids.

By far, this was probably the most memorable outing we have taken Jack to. He still talks about "too too teen" and says "all board!".  It's so special seeing how a simple train ride can bring a child so much joy.

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