Sunday, October 7, 2012

Texas State Railroad

Today we continued our fun on the rails at the Texas State Railroad in Rusk!

During the month of October the railroad is having a themed train ride - "Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpking Patch".  Brazos has the movie, so we thought he would really enjoy this special event.
The morning started out early.  We left the house at 7:00 am, although we were shooting for 6:30 am.  We drove for three hours to Rusk with only two short stops for potty breaks, breakfast, and buying Sandy a new outfit because she poohed on herself.  Our goal was to make it to Rusk by 10:30 so we could drive through the Cherokee Trace Drive Thru Safari before our train rideWe made it to Rusk by 11:00 and started searching for the animal adventure.  Our GPS wouldn't recognize the address and we couldn't get internet signal for Mapquest directions.  We stopped at a local hotel to ask for directions, but unfortunately the girl told us that she had lived in the town her whole life and had never been to the drive thru safari.  So after driving around for two hours searching, we just decided to get a bite to eat and find something else to do.
We found this great little restaurant called Legends Old Time Burgers.  The food was delicious and they made homemade french fries just like our local restaurant Santa Fe. Yum!!  After ordering our food the girl told us, "The beans are over there."  We looked at her in a confused manner wondering which of us ordered beans with our salads and hamburgers and she told us, "Oh, it's all the beans you can eat."  A restaurant with an unlimited buffet of beans! 
Rusk claims to have the longest footbridge in the nation, being over 500 feet in length.  The bridge was built in 1816 for country folk to get to town when the creek flooded. Of course the bridge has been rebuilt and maintained since then. We found the bridge thinking it would be a great release of energy for Brazos to run all over the bridge.  I was imagining something a bit larger, but the quiant bridge did just the purpose of letting Brazos run with freedom after sitting in the car for five hours.  
Our train departed at 2:30 so it was time to head to the Rusk Depot!  When we arrived we saw the beautiful red train parked on the tracks awaiting it's cheerful passengers.  I went inside to retrieve our boarding passes while Brazos found the toy trains to play with.  It wasn't easy pulling him away from his beloved Percy.
We finally convinced Brazos to head outside to see the big steam engine.  Matt was a bit disappointed when all he saw was a diesel engine, but it was still big and upclose, so it would do.  A worker told us that the steam engine had just left to head to the Palestine Depot.  Oh well.  It didn't matter to Brazos, he was in awe of the train parked in front of him.
The conductor yelled, "All aboard the Peanuts Express!"  Brazos was such a big boy and handed the conductor his boarding pass.  We loaded the train and we were off!

Our ride lasted about twenty minutes, and then we pulled into the Pumpkin Patch.  A handful of Halloween characters welcomed us as we unloaded the train.  They really were a friendly group of people, and they made you feel like they were so happy YOU came to visit them.
We had an hour to roam the pasture filled with fall activities for the kids.  There were hay rides, a petting zoo, small carnival games, a train bounce house, a roller slide, funnel cakes, and of course the pumpkin patch. 
Brazos first hopped in the bounce house, but as soon as a kid dressed as Spiderman hopped in, Brazos froze and was done jumping.  He had never seen Spiderman before and the kid was covered from head to toe, so Brazos wasn't sure about how this kid's face looked.  Jumping time was over and it was off to the next activity.

I love those facial expressions!
There was also a sandbox filled with deer corn.  The kids jumped inside to dig for small prizes.  Brazos dove right in while Sandy wasn't quite sure what to do.

You want me to do what?

There was also a local man playing his guitar and singing kid songs for everyone's entertainment.  He did a great job and he thanked us all for coming and said, "When the weather turned cold I thought I would be cold and lonely today, but it turns out I'm just cold.  Thank you all for coming!"  One of the workers tried to get Brazos to do the Hokey Pokey with him, but Brazos wasn't in the dancing mood.
The final excitement for the stop was to let the kids knock on each door of "Trick or Treat Street" for some trick or treating.  Brazos was very excited to get candy and small toys, especially from Scooby Doo.  Sandy even got to meet Snoopy!

Our hour of fun had ended and it was time to board the Peanuts Express to head back to the Rusk Depot.  Brazos enjoyed his twenty minutes of staring out the train window watching all the forest trees go by.  {The train runs through the Texas Pineywoods Forest.} 
When the train stopped Matt and I decided it would be best to go straight to the car to begin heading home, but our little man remembered what was inside the depot...TOY TRAINS!  He threw a short fit, but we finally got him strapped into his car seat and we headed home from another fun day on the rails.  ChooChoo!!

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