Saturday, August 20, 2011

Austin Steam Train

Today marks 37 weeks, full-term baby, and the end of bed rest. What a glorious day! 

 We celebrated by taking Avery on a train ride. She's been really into trains lately, thanks to the one Dora episode that we have to watch over and over, plus a train book, plus the train ride that Caillou (another cartoon) takes. So, we had the idea to check out the Austin Steam Train, but then decided that maybe the ride to Burnet was too far for me in case I went into labor, so our next option was the Metrorail. Ha, silly, I know, but Avery wouldn't have known the difference. However, the Metrorail, seeing as it's a commuter line for Austin Metro, only runs on weekdays. After doing a little research, we learned that today's steam train ride was the short one, out to Bertram (about an hour and 15 minutes by train), rather than the longer full day trip to Burnet. We also learned that during your birthday month, you get a free ticket. Since next weekend happens to be Luke's birthday, he got the free ticket, and Avery was considered a lap child, so she got to ride for free. I was told over the phone that they only had the lower class seats available, but still with A/C - we were totally fine with that since you can bring food on the train and wouldn't really need the snacks provided in the "luxury" car. With an hour to spare, we threw food in a bag, got dressed, and raced out to Cedar Park to purchase tickets, hoping they still had some by the time we got there.

Fortunate turn of events - they had a private compartment available in the luxury car, and they decided to go ahead and honor the free birthday ticket for the upgraded seats, meaning we snagged this train ride for a song. It's not something we'd be able to afford to do with a bunch of people or even on a non-birthday month very regularly. We raced to the train, probably the last ones to board, and settled into our quiet little room. Two seats with enough floor space for Avery to walk was perfect!

 Luke and Avery found the snacks, and I treated myself with a complimentary diet coke. Avery came back with a mouthful of brownie, or "chocolate cake" as she described it, while Luke had a whole pile of sweets and a cup of coffee. Nice.

When the train stops in Bertram, you have 15 minutes to explore the restored train depot, though Luke decided to run across the street for a pulled pork sandwich. Unfortunately, they sounded the all-aboard whistle before he could order, so back he raced to meet us, no sandwich in hand.

our car

They lock the restroom apparently when the train is in the station and they wait about 10 minutes after pulling out before opening it back up; not sure why. But the attendant took pity on this 8.5 month pregnant woman and let me in a little early. Thank you thank you!

I think Avery was a little confused about the train, because she kept asking when we would see it, not realizing that we were actually ON it. During our stop in Bertram, we checked out the engine, only to have them blow the whistle at that exact second, which sent her into hysterical tears and begging to be picked up.

Other than that, she was so calm and happy the whole trip, enjoying the sights out the window and all of the vintage quirks in our car.
a sink for shaving, and a place to put your used razor blades

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