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Sunday, June 17, 2012

WIld Wild West

Dorian's reaction to the train "robbery"
One of my favorite things about being a mother is the way children look at the world. They have a way of seeing right to the heart of things, without sugar coating. It can be both refreshing and frustrating. My four year old, Dorian is especially insightful and he has a reputation in our family of being the "rainmaker". Dorian gets things done! All the other boys lobby him to convince James and I of something or other and his logic is usually so impeccable....I can't resist!

So it happened that one day out of the blue, Dorian said to me, "I've never been on a train". So I googled and found a historic train in Sumpter, Oregon, about two hours away from us and set a date to go. A word about Sumpter Valley Railroad, the train crew are all volunteers, many of whom come from far away for the weekend to donate their expertise. Both train depots were a delight, the McEwan yard was more rustic, a little depot with a working woodstove (which was working while we were there on an unseasonably cold day in June). Displayed were railroad implements and tools.

The McEwan train depot

Dorian picking out the "snacks" he lobbied hard for
We boarded the train in McEwan and settled into the restored 1874 train car. What struck me immediately was...how small it was! Are humans really so much bigger? I guess so, since the seats meant for two were rather...confining.

Dorian and Andrew

Bentley and Callan with their train tickets

One of the highlights of the train ride was the "train robbery" they stage once the train approaches the Sumpter station. I specifically booked our visit on a train robbery day, but was worried about Dorian's reaction. I tried to prepare him for it, by explaining that there would be "fake bad guys". He asked, "are they made of paper?". Right before the train robbery was set to begin, I reminded him again, but when the "robbers" on horseback started shooting caps from REAL guns..Dorian started crying. Through his tears he managed to say, "what if they take my candy?!". After the train arrived in historic Sumpter, OR, he managed to make up with the robbers when they allowed him to visit and ride their horses

Bentley Jeffrey



After the return ride, riding in the open car and enjoying the beautiful scenery (including people waving at the train from their vacation cabins), we started in on the long-ish drive home. While in Sumpter, I picked up a few souvenirs and was heartened to see people donating money to the railroad, it's so important to keep history alive in the this way!  Of course, my way of donating was to shop prolifically in the gift shop! About 30 miles from Sumpter is another one of our favorite places, Baker City, OR and since we were tired and dirty from the train we decided to have lunch at "our" truckstop, which has FABULOUS food!


We had so much fun as a family and hopefully this summer will be full of family fun! And maybe a return trip to Sumpter! (stay tuned!).

1 comment:

  1. This is probably a story you'll tease him with when he gets older.