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July 02, 2010



Kim, I'll help you fulfill one of those dreams. Just give me your zip code and I'll tell you where the nearest tourist train is that you can ride. These range from fairly ordinary, just a tired old engine and a few cars trundling down a spur line for a few miles, then coming back, to the highly advanced, such as the Denver & Rio Grande in southern Colorado, or the Mt. Hood Railroad near me, just east of Portland, which starts near sea level and winds it way up a VERY scenic valley of fruit orchards to the very flank of the majestic Mt. Hood. In summer you can ride it during the day or have a very nice dinner on the evening train. The train runs into the fall and early winter, when snow falls, and even has a Christmas Tree Special in the first half of December where you ride the train up to a tree farm, pick and cut your tree, and load it back on the train for the trip down to Hood River. Along the way will be hot cocoa and cider, carols and Santa Claus for the kids. Hyper traditional!

In fact, some folks plan summer vacations just to go from place to place and ride tourist trains. There are dozens running around the country.

Amtrak is another matter. It's quite relaxing to take the train for day-long trips, the seats are very roomy and you can walk around, but it's still all about getting from Point A to Point B, and the experience is not designed to uplift your spirits.


You make it sound like so much fun. I would have liked to have worked on the railroad if I was a guy. I would also, like to take a ride on a real train. I would like to go up the mountains and across the open fields. We went on a short trip last summer and saw trains rolling across the open fields. They went one way during the morning and the other way in the afternoon. I would have liked to have been on it instead of the car. By the way, you look great on the train. Have some fun for me, too.

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