July 21, 2007

Farewell Montana.

I was looking through a book about the area surrounding the cabin and saw an ad for a miniature railroad in the nearby town. The girls absolutely love trains so I thought it would be a fun place to go.

The map on the ad was so small that I couldn't read it so, once we were in town, we stopped at a little store. The girl behind the counter knew exactly where the train was and even whipped out some paper and drew me a map. (You've got to love a small town!) Following her directions, we drove through the woods until we came to what appeared to be someone's home; that is if you looked past the "Ticket Office" smack in the middle of the front yard. And this wasn't just a ticket booth. It was a small building that included a ticket booth, a gift shop, a soda machine and the boarding platform. Very fancy.

There was another group already on the train when we got there so the Ticket Office was closed. (The engineer and the ticket salesperson are one in the same.) We waited on the platform and then joined the on-the-train group for a tour of a second building that had an enormous village with multiple model trains running through it. Then it was off to ride the train.

Kenna and Eric sat in one car and Michal and I sat in another. Our engineer-proprietor-builder-of-the-train sat on the engine facing us. He had a wireless microphone on his head and had a prepared script that included all kinds of little facts about trains and about how he built the train we were riding. In between telling us about trains he'd flip the microphone up and talk directly to us. Now remember it's just the four of us on this train. We're the exact same people he's talking to on the microphone. But that didn't matter one bit. He had a script and was sticking to it even if it meant stopping mid-sentence during a non-microphone conversation. It was so funny.

The girls loved the train and would have happily ridden it all day. I loved that this man had followed his passion for trains and had created something he wanted to share with others.

The picture of Kenna from the back was taken on the train platform when she spontaneously started doing the "I'm-so-happy-we're-going-to-ride-a-train dance." And the last two photos were taken in the Missoula Airport. Where else would there be a bear in the airport?

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