Sunday, June 10, 2012


Since Hopper's been obsessed with trrraaaaainnns for going on about six months now, we decided that with Gram in town, it would be fun to take a family outing on the Hill Country Flyer which is an antique steam train that runs out of Cedar Park. If you don't know where Cedar Park is, it's somewhere north of Austin, about 45 minutes past where I care to drive. (ok fine, it's North).

You can buy tickets for regular coach or first class, though I can tell you, I got a peek at first class and it was sort of like sitting in an RV table with supercold airconditioning, so you're probably fine with just coach.

See, Rowan thinks the seats are fine. Except that one spring that poked his butt. Ouch.

All kidding aside, the seats are fine, they're facing both forwards and backwards so you choose to see scenery from either direction, depending on whether you get really nauseous riding backwards.

The seats are wide enough to fit two wriggly children

They have a concession stand where you can buy snacks or drinks, but you can also just bring a little cooler on board which is what we did.

The train goes from Cedar Park to Burnet on the longer trips and just to Bertram on the "shorter" trip. I use the term "shorter" loosely. It was 3 hours round trip.

You see a lot of, um. Shrubbery. And cows! sometimes even a goat or two.

There is a real conductor guy who comes through and takes your ticket.

Oh look, turtles!

ah yes, more shrubbery.

But it's shrubbery from a train!

Shrubbery from a train is cool.

 Basically, you ride the train to Bertram which takes about an hour or so. You get off the train and tour this little depot and then walk to the front and realize that you are not, in fact, riding a steam train. It's a Diesel. Whaaaaaatt? What kind of fraud is this??

Apparently, the REAL steam train engine is under repair currently, so they're making due with an antique diesel engine.  Diesels, by the way, don't have that cute little toot toot whistle of the steam train.. They're deafening.  Especially when you're about 5 feet from that engine.
 I mean, really.
It's almost enough to keep a person awake.


Verdict: it was cool.  Maybe a tad longish. We were all pretty much D.O.N.E. by the time the train rolled back into the station. But it was a fun day. Also, try not to drink 12 hours before you get on board because the bathrooms on that thing were terrifying.

aw, you were waiting for a picture of that, weren't you. That's cute. 

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