Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Road Trip - Day #3

Total Mileage: 186 miles
Total days Saffron has been incarcerated: 4
Total times we've had to pack and unpack the car: 6
Number of Diet Cokes consumed: 26

Another cool adventure for all of us. However, it began a little too stressful. It all started this morning when for some reason I thought the drive from Santa Fe to Chama would only be 60 miles. We left close to 8:00 in the morning and had to be there at 10:00. Plenty of time, right? Well not exactly since it really was 109 miles. I think my brain is turning to mush due to a lack of sleep. I drove like a speed demon and luckily we made it up there 10 minutes before the train was to depart. James was praying that we'd make it there safely and he was being a total backseat driver. Pushing on breaks that didn't exist. He's definitely a Texas guy - not used to the mountains.

We rode on the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad, departing out of Chama, NM. Our one stop was supposed to be in Osier, CO for lunch. Everybody did great on the way up. It was really beautiful. This was Abby the entire trip up. She stayed in that spot for 3 hours looking out the window. Not really a peep out of her. She was in the zone - checking out all of the scenery. It was really special to hold her hand most of the time - knowing that she was adding so many memories. Its not something she can do every day - and I have to think that she'll remember this. Oh and yes, the shiner is still on her cheek from 16 days ago.

The scenery was breathtaking. Check out the herd of elk. If you look hard, you can see some of their kiddos. What a treat! (not a treat like eating them, but a treat just to get to see them - just to be clear).

We went to over 10,000 feet elevation. Still a lot of snow to be found! Keep in mind, we were in 100 degree heat just yesterday. Now where did we put that Chapstick?

We were able to travel from car-to-car, and one of them was an open air car. Here's Austin getting the full experience. Lots of smoke and soot in the air (and a few embers) - but it was a really cool part of the ride. At various points throughout the trip, we took each kid out there (one at a time). At the beginning of the trip, the conductor really stressed that we needed to hang on tight to the little ones (and that he's seen some really bad stuff, or close calls, in the last 35 years).

The happy travelers. Not sure what was up with Austin here. There's always a little drama on an adventure this long. :)

We were back on track and on to the next bend. There were a lot of interesting points in the journey. A lot of history. This is one of the oldest lines in the U.S.

A long way down.

Austin had a short snooze on the way up. We had to wake him up to see some elk.

We stopped for lunch. I had a salad bar which was ok. James had some turkey dinner and didn't feel too great afterwards. He swears it was left over from last November. It was about at this point the kiddos were getting really tired. We got on the train and headed back down.

Austin snapped this photo of his sister. Not bad for a 6-year old!

This was a really long journey. We even got a few "bonus" stops when the train broke down twice. Luckily it wasn't at one of the scary points. Something about the engine losing wind. Our faith kept us going... However, it was a very long afternoon. It was close to 5:00 when we got off the train. The girls were going stir crazy and it really didn't help that nobody felt that great. Abby's had a bad cough the last few days and today she's starting to lose her voice. Emily is not acting herself. And James and Austin aren't feeling great. I feel ok, just really tired. After the train we drove 1.5 hours to our next pitstop - Alamosa, CO. We're looking forward to a day tomorrow where we won't be rushed!

All and all, we're having a blast!