Reid’s Kindermusik teacher and some other Kindermusik teachers arranged a group trip on the Hull-Chelsea-Wakefield Steam Train for today. Melissa, Peter and the kids joined Reid and me for the adventure. They picked us up at 8:45 and we started what should have been a 20-minute drive. With the two closest bridges closed – one under construction, the other the location of an accident – we ended up driving for about 45 minutes and the kids were starting to worry about missing the train by the time we finally got to the train station. Fortunately, we had been told to arrive half-an-hour early.
Our tickets assigned us to the Aylmer car and, as we learned when we boarded the train, to four-seat groupings across the aisle from one another. Reid sat with Sarah and Stephen and Ben sat with Melissa, Peter and me. The trip to Wakefield (and back, not surprisingly ;+) took 90 minutes. Kim, the staff member assigned to our train car told a few stories and passed out activity books and crayons to each of the children. Sarah and Stephen barely opened theirs but Ben and Reid put quite a bit of time into theirs. A couple of the train’s musicians stopped by to sign to us – a country and western song and a traditional French Canadian one – as well. All the kids were pretty well behaved until Kim announced we were less than 10 minutes from Wakefield. It was like she had released silly gas into the train car. Not just our kids, but most of all the kids, were instantly fidgeting and eager to get off.
We made it off the train quickly and went directly to the turntable to watch the musicians turn the steam engine around. Next, we started walking to the covered bridge. The kids were only dawdling a bit since they were hungry and we told them we’d have a picnic once we got to the covered bridge. Halfway there, the sky got dark and it was obvious we were lucky that we brought our rain coats. We made it to the covered bridge just as the first raindrops began to fall. We unpacked our lunches and started eating, enjoying the sound of rain on the metal roof and the fact that we were dry. We had to move midway through lunch when the rain started to blow in the windows. The longer it rained, the surer we got that we were going to have to walk back in the rain. The kids and Peter were lucky enough to have rain proof coats that mostly lived up to their billing. Mine was water-resistant and it couldn’t resist so much rain falling so fast. Melissa’s looked like it should have kept the water off but it most definitely did not. We were all soaked from above the knee to the tips of our toes by the time we got back to the train. Melissa and I were extra-lucky to have wet shirts as well, thanks to our coats. It was more funny than troublesome, though, as the day stayed warm and we were able to laugh at how wet we were getting. Reid, especially, liked the puddles and being out in the rain. Our only disappointment was missing the musicians performing. I suspect that they didn’t, due to the rain, but we’ll never know.
The ride back to Gatineau seemed longer than the ride to Wakefield. We took a walk to the snack shop / souvenir car and managed to resist all requests for purchases but other than that, there weren’t new diversions for us. Sarah and Stephen read, Ben played solitaire and Reid hopped around the aisle, making friends and talking lots. I was envious of the dads I saw having a nap on the return trip.
But here I am, at 10:15, still awake. I’m silly sometimes.