The weather forecast went from predicting a 40% chance of rain on Saturday to a 50% then a 60% chance of rain. A few hours before we were set to leave, the heavens opened and rain came lashing down in torrents. Thunder boomed. Lightning crackled and flashed. Niko was excited.
“Go outside? Inna rain! I put on rain coat. Rain comin down! It rain on cars. Cars all wet! Tata’s car all wet! I go outside in rain coat and splash.”
We did, in fact, bundle him up in a rain coat but then we prevented him from splashing because we are total killjoys. We took our knapsack loaded up with snacks and water and changes of clothing and piled into the car and somehow — SOMEHOW– managed to get out of the house on time. We drove through the rain and I told Niko, who was yawning and also chatting happily away at us, that we were going to do a lot of boring driving so it was ok if he fell asleep. He told me to stop fooling (actual words: STOP FOOLIN MAMA) and made fun of me a little bit, but five minutes later he was suspiciously quiet. A quick peek back revealed that he was dead to the world. Score! He slept the entire drive down, including when we pulled off at an Oasis for lunch and ate in the parking lot waiting for a bit of the rain to let up.
It had stopped raining by the time we got to Union, IL, home of the Illinois Railroad Museum, and we were mere feet from the parking lot when we had to stop at a small railway crossing. Niko woke up and stretched and looked around.
“What dat? Oh. It’s a train! OH! IT’S THOMAS!” Sure enough, the train came along the track, and there was a bright blue cheerful Thomas puffing away! Niko’s tiny mind was blown.
We got there around 2-ish, picked up our tickets, hit the first tent where Niko played with megablocks and wooden trains a bit, and then walked around some. We found an area with picnic tables and Nesko told Niko that he had to eat lunch first then we would go ride on Thomas. There were a million portolets (including some baby changing portolets), and also flush toilets inside buildings. Sadly, we had no cash because we live in a bright and shining futureworld where everyone takes debit cards, and the ILRR museum grounds hasn’t reached that future yet, so we did not have Lemon Shakeups or ice cream cones or corndogs or any other fair food. Niko finished eating and we walked over to the giant snaking lines waiting to board the coaches. We got there just in time, as people began boarding, and trooped on.
Niko was a little wary of the trip. This train was very different from the ones he’s ridden before. But he still had fun and looked around a lot.
We also saw a LOT of train exhibits, walked past but did not wait 20 minutes in line for a photo with Sir Tophamm Hatt, rode a red cable car, walked some more, and Niko jumped in a bounce house for the first time.
He was super wired all the way home. I thought he’d fall asleep again, but no, he demanded and ate a bunch of snacks in the car, and then sang every single song he knew in a desperate attempt to stay awake. We stopped at IHOP for dinner (a huge mistake, the food was bland and the service was… not very good. PROTIP: when you’re serving adults and children, bring the child’s food FIRST and not LAST.) and he was a real handful the whole time, very loud, very antsy. We got him home and topped him off with some more food, then into bed.
We woke up on Sunday and asked him what he’d done on Saturday. “Snakes bite [me],” he answered. Then he claimed he’d gone to the beach. When we challenged that claim, he gave us A Look and spoke very slowly and clearly. “I tooka brown train to the BEEEEEEEESH.” We asked him again, and he said “I ate food an then I went on THOMAS,” and then he talked excitedly about how he rode on “a red Toby.” Toby’s a tram car and we did not ride on a tram car, we rode on a street car. Gah, small child! How could you make that sort of mistake? Anyway, it’s interesting that he lumps eating lunch with the Excitement that was ACTUALLY RIDING ON THOMAS’ ACTUAL COACHES.
It seems that he’s needed to take awhile to process what happened, because he was chattering excitedly today about seeing Thomas, and when Nesko dropped him off at Baba’s, Niko was telling her alllll about it, with great gusto.
He was pretty sold on this beach thing, though. If we’d done that instead we’d have saved about $100 or so. Something to consider.
I took about 150 photos and I’ll post them later. I’m at the point where I’m considering just installing a photo album on my webspace because I have more photos than the free version of Picasa will support. If I do that, I’ll have an album just for Thomas.
Mirrored from Now Showing!.