Saturday, December 17, 2005

Christmas Train

Thursday morning, the Seniors went by San Pablo Rec Dept bus to Woodland, to take a ride on the “Christmas Train” - Sacramento River Train. The day started out very cold, but it was sunny and beautiful by the time we got to Woodland. I thought this would be an ideal activity to get some Christmas spirit in my life.

The train has several old cars, with Christmas lights strung along the outside and waves painted on the sides. Our car, the first one entered on the way into the train, was quite nice. It had been gutted, and was furnished with large round tables and plastic outdoor chairs. There were interesting fans suspended from the red, curved ceiling; a Christmas tree in the corner, and decorations scattered around.

We headed to the Sacramento River, very slowly. It took quite a bit of time to reach the river from Woodland, at that speed. We then rolled slowly along the river, with a nice scenic view out the windows. A strolling fiddler – banjo player went from car to car entertaining us. He was quite amazing. He could play many types of music, but Bluegrass or Appalachian style fiddlin’ is his favorite. He won First Place in the biggest competition for that type of music. He can also play classical music, and played a few pieces for me. He CAN NOT read music. I was totally impressed. He is very friendly, and sat at tables where there were empty chairs, just visiting with people, and strumming his banjo. He also had a great singing voice, and was wearing overalls with a sunflower printed long sleeve shirt, just like a blouse I have that I love.

A very cute woman dressed as an elf entertained us kids with “The Night Before Christmas”, and helped with serving desserts and drinks. She was always prancing around with her bells on her toes and outfit jingling merrily. The other crew members on the train, the Conductor plus another young guy, and waitresses, were all very cheerful and friendly.

Christmas Dinner was served – turkey, ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, salad, roll, cranberry sauce – a very nice large plate full of food. It was delicious, and was topped off with hot chocolate and chocolate chip cookies.

When we were just on the outskirts of Sacramento, with the skyline in the distance, the engine was switched to the other end of the train, and we headed back to Woodland. What a delightful way to spend three hours on a sunny day the week before Christmas.


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