Riding the Rails

On Saturday, I fulfilled a long-ago promised train ride to my 2-year-old daughter. We didn’t tell her what we’d be doing, but last Friday night, we started talking about her “surprise” on Saturday.

We went to Jefferson City‘s Amtrak depot mid-morning to watch the trains roll by for a while. After the eastbound train left for the station, my daughter told my wife she’d like to ride the “choo-choo.” That’s when we told her that’s what her surprise was. She was very excited.

At 10:50 a.m., we jumped about the Missouri River Runner westbound; our goal was to make it Sedalia without any crying or screaming. We only bought tickets for the one-hour, 10 minute ride, just in case the 2-year-old part of her kicked in. Luckily, that didn’t happen.

She and I climbed aboard; waved good-bye to Mommy and baby sister and left the station. At the urging of a family friend, I booked the business class seats. That was a great move, as we had the entire section of the car to ourselves. Plus, the dining area was right there and, with our tickets, we got a complimentary drink (juice for her, water for me).

As we rode along, we talked, called grandma on my cell phone and read several books I’d packed. She also snacked on animal crackers while we talked with one of the Amtrak staffers who was heading home after being on the rails for a day. All the folks working on the train called us by name; especially my daughter, whom they made a big fuss over.

It was a great experience and one we’ll replicate soon; except next time, we’ll make the journey to Kansas City or ride east to St. Louis.

We got to Sedalia, where my wife arrived just as the train did; it couldn’t have been any more on schedule. We decided to continue the train theme and had lunch at Kehde’s Barbecue in Sedalia. Good food, generous portions and the chance to dine in a converted rail car. It was a great experience, and one that made me so full, all I could eat for supper was a bowl of cereal. (For those of you who know MoTravelGuy, you probably can imagine how massive my lunch must have been.)

After lunch, we decided to head home (the kids needed naps), so we didn’t get to tour Sedalia all we’d hoped. So, we’ve got more to do on our next trip west. Saturday was a great day, but one of the best parts of the day happened later that night; as my wife was kissing our daughter goodnight, she looked up and said, “Mommy, I had fun with daddy today.”

That’s really all that matters.

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