Three years ago I was telling my grandson Evan stories from my childhood. Since my step-father was an engineer on the railroad, we often took train trips. Some of my stories revolved around these trips, and Evan was fascinated, hoping that one day we too could take a train somewhere.
Thus started our planning, thinking, and dreaming. We didn't need to start on a long trip, but where to go? Chicago? Toronto? I needed to find somewhere that had a special attraction for a young boy. Finally we decided on Kalamazoo. It was not a great distance, had a really interesting museum, and a castle where we could spend the night! Between Evan's busy schedule and mine, we had to keep changing the date- but finally came up with a viable plan!
The following is Evan's trip, from his point of view. As always, a child's view is interesting, amusing, and sometimes has some surprising insight!
Our train was leaving from Ann Arbor early in the morning- a bit before 8 a.m.! I was really too excited to get to sleep the night before. So Nonna Marcy (grandma) had to call me several times to wake me up! (Two billion times, it seemed!) Good thing I'm a quick dresser! I was completely ready in a half an hour! We left the house at 6:30 in the morning! I remember trees blurring by the car as we got on the expressway, then fell back to sleep! (Good thing Nonna didn't need my help to drive!)
|Me- with Don, the nice ticket agent that helped us!|
I was really excited, and wanted to stand outside and watch for when the train came! I saw it before Nonna Marcy did! We've been waiting a long time to take this trip! (Three years is a LONG time when you"re a kid!) I have been trying to imagine what it would be like to ride on a train. Even though Nonna had told me stories, I was excited to see for myself!
Nonna said that because this was a special- long awaited trip, we were going "Business Class"! The seats are really nice and large. And (most important to a boy my age), Business Class is right next to the snack car!
For a little while, I just stared out the window! This was so cool! It's a whole different way to see the country side! Nonna said it was hard to get a clear picture outside, it always came out a bit blurry- but you get the idea.
It wasn't very long before I wanted to try out the snack car! We actually had huge windows and a booth to sit at while we ate! I think this was my favorite seat on the train! Sitting in a booth- eating- while on a train! Such fun!
The man behind the kitchen counter is Adron Kmighton- Lead Service Attendant. He took care of us on our way to Kalamazoo- and answered any questions we had. Thank you, Adron!
On the left is Dallas, head conductor. The man on the right is Terry, assistant conductor. They have two way radios - and also use hand signals to communicate with the engineer. We couldn't speak to the engineer, nor see up in the engine. Since 9/11- security won't let anyone up there. Oh well.
|Nonna did the best she could, but this picture came out a bit blurry too. Oh well, she tried!|