A Day out with Thomas the Tank Engine

By reeset / On / In Family

It’s been a busy 4th of July weekend and we still have one more day of fireworks left.  Whew!  Today, we took the long drive from Independence to Hood River, Or. to spend a day with Thomas the Tank Engine.  This was something that we had done when Kenny was 2 1/2, before Nathan was born.  At the time, we made the trip to Hood River because Kenny was the one that loved Thomas, and his little imaginary world.  This time around, the trip was for Nathan.  It’s been something that we’ve been looking forward to for months, and today was the big day.

Funny thing about the trip…I forget how much stuff Kenny has gotten to do simply because he’s older and lived in Eugene.  When we lived in Eugene, Kenny use to ride the city buses all the time.  He’s flown in a plane (when I went to DC last year) and has ridden in trains and subways.  So, traveling is exciting, but has become a little old hat.  Nathan on the other hand has never ridden in a bus (that I can remember), or a plane or a train — so he was really excited to get to ride on Thomas.  But before we could get to see Thomas, we had to ride on a bus from the parking lot to the train station.  Oh, my goodness.  You would have thought that we had driven all that way just to ride the bus.  He was bouncing up and down, ooohhhing and aahhh’in throughout the bus trip.  And then, we we got to the railroad station and there was Thomas.

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The whole idea of the Day out with Thomas is a chance for kids to get to ride on a train pulled by Thomas.  There’s a lot of activities that go a long with that — like meeting Sir Topham Hatt, the owner of the imaginary railway

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or feeding animals in the petting zoo, riding the miniature stream engine

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or getting to bounce in the fun zone,

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A day out with Thomas was a chance for the boys to get to run around and just have some fun.  Of course, the main reason for coming to this was to ride on Thomas.

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It’s funny, my wife and I were looking at pictures from our last trip here and I think that we sat in almost the exact same seat on the train as before.  🙂  Anyway, the boys had a good time hamming it up for the camera:

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But when Nathan didn’t know anyone was watching him — that’s when I wish I could have gotten a picture.  Thomas had just pulled out of the station and he has such a smile of pure joy.  He was really enjoying his ride on Thomas.  The ride takes about a 1/2 hour, and runs you next to a river and over a bridge.  The scenery is nice but the kids aren’t really looking at that.  Thomas the Tank Engine music is playing over the speakers and the kids are running around, reveling in their train ride.  In the open air car (which we were in), there is an opportunity to go up front and stand right behind Thomas.  Last time we did this, Kenny was so young, he didn’t want to leave his seat.  This time, Kenny and I spent most of the trip in the open air car.  Nathan joined us for a little while before going back to his seat and watching the river go by in his window. 

After the train ride, we did a handful of other things (including stopping at the gift shop), and then headed back.  Nathan and Kenny busied themselves with their various souvenirs (Nathan sounding like a train, choo-chooing down the tracks) until we got about 5 miles from Multnomah Falls.  That’s when it got very quiet, and Nathan finally gave in to sleep.

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It had been a full day for him, and about to get fuller.  Neither Alyce or the boys had been to Multnomah Falls, and since we were in the area, we decided to stop by.  Multnomah Falls is the second highest, year-round waterfall in the United States.  At 620 ft, the Falls is an impressive site.  You can actually see the falls from I-84, but there is a nice trail (about a mile), that will let you hike from the bottom of the Falls to the top.  Since I’m the only one to have ever been to the Falls, we decided to stop and take the hike. 

First, before the pictures, let me say two things.  First, Kenny and Alyce were amazing.  Neither of them have gotten to do a lot of recent hiking, but they climbed the trail like champs.  In fact, Kenny did so well, I’d take him just about on any moderate hiking trail I do — given a distance of 3-4 miles.  He was great.  Nathan — he was trying to do his best impression of a lead weight while I carried him on my shoulders up the trail.  One of my many fatherly duties I suppose.  *grin*.  But we all made it to the top.  The hike itself was a blast and a great stretch of the legs.  The view from the top was terrific and the walk back down (which Nathan decided to do for himself), was fun as well.  Everyone did a terrific job.  And the pictures — well, I’m not a great picture taker, but I think that they came out well.  Here are a few of the highlights from the bottom and top of the falls.

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After our Day with Thomas, our trip to the Falls (and subsequent trip to McDonalds for the boy’s favorite meal of cheeseburgers and fries), we made it home and spent the rest of the afternoon lighting off fireworks and playing with sparklers.  It’s been a long hard day for everyone — and while it’s late now (2 am) — everyone (but myself) has been upstairs in bed since about 10:30 (at least, that’s when I stopped hearing little feet running around in the room).  But it’s been a good day.  One of many this weekend.