Saturday, April 15th was a rainy day all around Portland. The drive to Hood River was especially wet and I worried that the train ride would be a dismal one. But, as we reached our destination, the rain stopped. We found the train station, just off the freeway, and parked in the paid lot for the convenience. William hadn’t slept on the hour and a half drive, in spite of being exhausted from the morning’s egg hunt. Anna had slept, but she almost always sleeps in the car. We met Tom and Carolyn and hopped onto our train after breezing through the gift shop fast enough that William didn’t notice the Thomas the Train items on sale off to the side.
Our car’s name was Katherine. She was an old car. Her seats were bucket style and we realized on the return trip that you could flip the back around to face either direction. The train was not full, so when it started from the station, people shifted around to sit in groups facing the ways they wanted to face. (I don’t think any of the other passengers knew right away about the flipping seats either.) The overcast skies actually made for a perfect ride, making it easy to enjoy the scenery without needing sunglasses or getting too much of a glare. We were there for the blossom festival, but it was unfortunately not very far underway. The fruit trees were only starting to bloom. The train passes through fields and orchards, small towns and quiet neighborhoods. I couldn’t imagine living in such a remote way, knowing everyone else in town, considering it a major effort to get all the way into the big city of Portland. The places we passed looked as though they hadn’t changed in years and wouldn’t change in years. Things seemed very peaceful there.
The train ride was very calming. The cars rocked over the tracks, making it difficult to walk around and soothing to sit. Anna fell asleep again fairly quickly. William and I went back to the caboose to check things out. It was fun to climb up in the cupola and see over the top of the train, although my fear of heights actually made the climb up the ladder on the rocking train a little unnerving.
Our destination on this trip was a little town called Parkdale. When we got there, we sought out one of the two possible meal options. There was a buffet and a café. We chose the café. There were basically two menu options: the burger or the quesadilla. William had fries. Kip and I, indecisive as ever, split the other two options. They weren’t bad. While we ate, the rain picked up again, pouring down on anyone unlucky enough to be outside. We saw several of the other passengers with drenched hair and clothing. During the ride home, the sun peeked through the clouds for a while, making a rainbow over the fields beside the train.
On the drive back home from Hood River, William talked excitedly. He had gone past the stage of being tired to that of being hyper. Then, suddenly, he stopped talking. One moment he was carrying on a detailed discussion of some train-related topic (which we didn’t quite understand), the next he was sound asleep draped over the arm of his chair leaning against the window. He chose this position even after we reclined his seat so he wouldn’t have to slouch!