by Elizabeth Terpstra
My son and daughter are crazy about trains, so my husband and I decided to go to Arkansas on a vacation, then continue up the line and visit St. Louis, Missouri. Cate was three-and-a-half and Andy was five at the time.
We boarded the train here in Deland and were given the Accessible Bedroom. We met another couple with two kids of their own who were staying downstairs from us — they were going home to Texas. My two played well with the other kids and we all enjoyed the ride.
In Jacksonville another woman got on with her two grandchildren — now we were rolling. The kids played games and ate snacks. The bathrooms were convenient too — how great. We took the kids around to explore the train cars and asked the conductor about the different stops along the way.
My son could not have been more happy to sit down to dinner and just stare out the windows. The next morning when we arrived in New Orleans, he was so excited to see the big depot.
The trip through Mississippi was especially fun. We met some other kids who were on a charity mission and some older adults who just didn't want to drive. We played lollipop bingo with about 15 kids (I bring my own papers, cards and lollipops). The kids had fun and we even did a two-car treasure hunt just to pass the time. Having a portable DVD player helped a lot too since the movies that were shown were just a little to old for my kids.
The train was clean and so were the stations — I would ride again. I would love to see Washington DC's Union Station and maybe go out west from Chicago to Los Angeles.
Thanks for keeping it going.