Great Weekend in Portland!

November 15, 2009

Grandpa Ron and I had a great weekend in Portland with Austin, Bella, Madison and family! It had lots of surprises, twists and turns, yet it was a whole lot of fun and very insightful for us.

Austin is so much taller and so much more vocal! Bella is so much more a young lady as well – she’s four. I had fun one-on-one time with Austin on Friday while Grandpa Ron was serving jury duty. Then Austin, Bella and I went back to the Portland airport and picked up Grandpa Ron – practicing counting to a hundred and twenty five along the way.

Then on Saturday Bella and I went with Mommy to her Baby Shower while Grandpa and Austin went to the Vancouver, WA train station and watched trains move around.

Back in the hotel room Austin used the portable luggage holder as his own train. He climbed in, sat on the middle straps and showed us how he was moving his train – with air brake releases, clunking and sssssssssshhhhhhhhhhhhhh-ing and all. Sometimes he was the conductor and sometimes he was the engineer. It was a lot of fun watching his imagination at work. I do have pictures so I’ll get them posted – maybe tomorrow night. Now it is time to unpack and get to bed for bright eyes for work in the morning!!

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California State Railroad Museum Lincoln Exhibit

November 8, 2009

Grandpa Ron and I had a great time at the California State Railroad Museum yesterday in Sacramento, CA. We wandered through the Lincoln Exhibit and learned many new tidbits of information. For example, neither of us knew that Abe Lincoln floated down the Mississippi River on a flat boat to take items to market in New Orleans. It gave him a small impression of how large the United States is and helped ground his firm belief that railroads were a way to unite the country. The name of the exhibit is “The Rail Splitter and the Railroads: Lincoln, the Union and the Golden State.” It will be showcased in the Museum’s Theater Mezzanine Gallery through February 15, 2010.

We also got to tour the inside of the beautiful Gold Coast Observation car which was a special treat not normally offered during regular visits to the museum. From the museum website: “Georgia Northern No. 100 Gold Coast Central of Georgia 1905 Private Car Ex Central of Georgia No. 97; Georgia Northern No. 100; Lucius Beebe & Charles Clegg’s private car. Gift 8/1969 of R&LHS, Pacific Coast Chapter. Restored by CSRM to 1948-50 appearance.”

Here’s the special Kid’s Corner.

We were there for a special Trainmaster Reception event for museum donors. We had a really wonderful time meeting other patrons of the museum and tapping our toes to the music of the Black Irish Band as they sang lots of railroad songs along with their Irish and Italian numbers.

The museum is a great place to take the grandkids and family – the kids get to see up front and close just how big the train cars are! Train rides are also possible. Here is visitor information. Here is the 2009 Calendar of Events.

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Sierra Club Winter Tracks

October 21, 2009

Just read through my Sierra Club magazine tonight. I really enjoyed the article written by Peter Frick-Wright called Winter Tracks: Seeking a guilt-free winter break, with snowboard and train ticket. I linked it to share with you, too. He went from Portland, Oregon to Glacier National Park and Whitefish, Montana. It’s quite an exhilarating story!


Grandpa Ron’s Review

July 28, 2009

At first, it was a series of pictures of Grandpa and Grandson enjoying themselves. Once the book Grandpa, Do It! I Do It, Too! was together with the words, it became how do you influence another individual – and it’s multigenerational when you look at it that way. Of course, then that path has a deeper meaning in terms of philosophy in terms of understanding relationships. Parents and grandparents have to be careful because here are examples of the child emulating adult behavior.

The book started out a simple story from Grandma Sue’s hand. It grew deeper and broader through her artistic endeavors. For anyone who considers themselves a teacher or a rabbi, this book truly captures that student/teacher or parent/child relationship. It certainly has given me an awareness of the influence I have had on the people around me that I never realized I had before. The book brings that all into focus: my relationship with parents, grandparents, brothers and sister. All these memories were dormant but right there all the same. It has done that for several other people who have shared their reactions, feelings and experiences with us.

So from a simple picture story of a magical week, it became a reflection of all those things that derive from earning and sharing love and respect. This book captured it all.

Not everybody gets it. Some see just the pictures and don’t put themselves into the picture – so they miss out on the meaning and opportunity to relive their own special moments. Every one of those pictures reminds me of antics with my brothers and sister in younger days with family members. My brothers and I built roads in the dirt, sometimes using rocks as the trucks, using knockouts as manhole covers and using electrical conduit as sewer lines. The morning cereal one reminds me of my daughter and me making breakfast together. The swimming picture reminds me again of my daughter. All brought back. All brought back into focus by Grandpa, Do It! I Do It, Too! – I didn’t even realize all those memories were there. I look at my relationships with other people and I see similar characteristics that I just didn’t realize were there.

From a family values perspective I don’t know of a better example. Age doesn’t matter. It’s two people having fun in a very classic sense. It’s learning from one another – a two-way communication – like the cereal picture, I thought about picking him up and holding him while I prepared the cereal but I knew he’d get too heavy to hold long. So I got the stool. That facilitated him doing his own cereal preparation.

It’s more than “just pictures” of a grandpa and grandson that were captured. It’s a trip down memory lane for most of us – young or old.


Vancouver Washington Railway Station

May 23, 2009

The illustration of Grandpa Ron and Austin watching big trains in my book Grandpa, Do It! I Do It, Too! is from a photo I took at the Vancouver Washington Railway Station while we watched trains ( called rail fanning ) after Austin woke up from his nap on his 3rd Birthday Party Day. The Vancouver station is special because it is on a “wye” so it has two front doors – one on the northwest side for North-South traffic and one on the southeast for traffic turning East. There are two major Amtrak trains that stop daily each way here: The Empire Builder and The Coast Starlight, and then there are also eight Amtrak Cascades. Here is an interesting article from 2002 about the renovation plans for the station. It is fun to see how it compares to what is happening now (2 more Cascades are going through it!)

There is also a lot of BNSF, Union Pacific and Portland & Western Railroad freight traffic coming and going – and local sorting in the yard, so Grandpa Ron and Austin had lots of trains to watch!


Snoqualmie Falls and Salish Lodge

May 17, 2009

A friend wanted suggestions for a romantic getaway to celebrate a 1 year milestone and I thought but a minute before coming up with Snoqualmie Falls and Salish Lodge, located about 30 miles from Seattle, Washington. Grandpa Ron and I enjoyed a weekend there many years ago and we still talk about it! It is where we adopted Bear, our first of now very many bears. He was sitting in the middle of the pillows on our bed when we arrived. We paid his adoption fee in the Gift Shop and he has gone on almost every trip we’ve taken anywhere ever since!

Salish Lodge has many scheduled activities that you can participate in. Even if the lodge is too high end for yur budget, Snoqualmie has other hotels and there are other nearby cities to stay. There is hiking, biking, horseback riding, kayaking, whitewater rapids, fishing and golfing galore – and a Railroad Museum!! We loved the train ride and the informative interpretive tour.


Disney Decorated Train Makes National Tour

May 14, 2009

It’s free and really something to see! In a huge non-traditional, attention-getting publicity tour, a decorated train will make a national tour starting May 22 in Los Angeles for Disney’s A Christmas Carol movie due out Nov 6. Anthony Breznican wrote about it in Disney stokes publicity engine in the May 8, 2009, USA Today. The article has the whole cross country schedule.


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