A Day Out With the Checkbook

The doodle is quite a fan of Thomas the Tank Engine. I have one particular friend to thank for this, as I'm reasonably certain I wouldn't have sought out Thomas, given my druthers. There's nothing wrong with him - I just, frankly, can't keep them all straight, and it gives me a headache. Also? They keep adding new trains that aren't in any of the books or shows, but they needed pink and purple trains for the little girls, so hey, now we have Weezie and Loretta, too.  (Ok, I don't actually think there is either a Weezy or a Loretta. And I don't even have a problem with girls being train obsessed...I just don't see why a girl can't love Thomas. Why does she need a pink train? Are we really using tank engines to teach gender identity? Do the girl trains not have smokestacks? And honestly, half the time, the doodle would just as soon have the pink one. At the Lego store yesterday, the set that he really wanted was in a pink container. And I don't really have a problem with that - my boy likes pink. He's 2. Big deal.)

The Strasburg Railroad is reasonably close to us. And Tim's need for a brief vacation after school starts (and a large number of the morons on the roads are no longer able to be on the roads zipping about during the week) is coinciding quite happily with the next scheduled Day Out with Thomas. A brief conversation ensued (Me: There's a Day out with Thomas that weekend. Tim: He'd love that. Me: He would. It's only about 2.5 hours. Tim: Get tickets) and I found myself on the website making yet another user account for a single purchase. (Side note: Really. Why can I not check out as a guest? I don't want your promotional emails. I don't want to save my credit card info. I don't want to have to think up yet another password that I'm not going to remember anyway. I'm not coming back to your train ticket purchasing website simply because I happen to have a user account there.) The tickets for the ride on Thomas are $18. For an extra $7 each, you can also ride on the regular Strasburg train. Happily, on the regular train, kids under 3 are free. (Though you have to be under 2 to be free on Thomas, and even then, without a ticket, you don't get a seat.) So we went ahead and got 2 combo tickets (for me and Tim) and one Thomas ticket and we'll ride both, as two train rides is clearly better than just one. Even if the second one doesn't have big googly eyes and a British accent.

Of course, as you're checking out, they give you the opportunity to add an engineer's hat and a Thomas-shaped train whistle. I won't regret the hat. I'm guessing the whistle may end up "lost" before we've made it out of the parking lot. (As I added it to the cart with a bit of a sigh, Tim asked what was up. I said that it was $20 more than I thought it would be. He asked why. I explained. He just laughed at me. But honestly, if he got there and other kids had a hat and whistle, do you not think that he'd be beside himself for the lack? Exactly. Why yes, he's an only child. Why do you ask?)

And this is how an $18 train ride turns into a couple hundred bucks worth of vacation: since we're heading up that way anyway, we've decided to take a few extra days before hand and go see Gettysburg and Hershey. I think there's enough at both places to entertain and amuse both the adults and the little one. And even if the first two days are a miserable bore as far as he's concerned, I'm guessing that a ride on a cheery blue engine and a picture with Sir Topham Hatt will make up for it in spades.

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