Blog Archive

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Train Trip to Reno

This last weekend we took a family trip to Reno--via train. My dad's cousin, Celeste, lives in Reno and her Army MP son, Justin, was going to be in town visiting with his son and his wife. Celeste planned a nice big BBQ so everyone could meet each other and hang out. The last time I saw Justin he was about 5 years old and he was directing traffic for us while we crossed the street in San Francisco on our way to the Palace of Fine Arts to feed the ducks. That was my only memory of him. Obviously now he's a strapping soldier (unfortunately I didn't get a single picture of him).

Anyway, since the BBQ was on a Sunday afternoon we decided to swap our work days around so we could return home on Monday instead of Sunday night to keep Eddie on a good bedtime schedule.

So Saturday morning my mom, dad, Dave, Eddie, and I had breakfast in downtown Davis at Black Bear Diner (used to be Bakers Square). We all took turns eating, feeding Eddie in his high chair, and letting our weird child entertain himself by madly pressing all the buttons on the juke box.Our train was about 30 minutes late arriving at the Davis station, which turned out perfect because Dave and I had time to run home to pick up a small fan before we left. (We always have a fan on in our bedrooms--Eddie's, too--to block out noise. And blocking out noise is always a concern when you're staying in a casino hotel in Reno, no matter what floor your room is on!) The Davis train station is so nice--there are all sorts of places to sit and play.Once on the train we got to our assigned seats, which are SO MUCH BETTER than airline seats because you have tons of room. Plus since you're allowed to be up and moving the whole time Eddie was happy because he could roam.

By noon our big breakfasts had worn off so everyone but my dad went to get some lunch in the lounge car. Once we were done eating Eddie sat on top of the table and played with our empty drink containers for a good 40 minutes. I love how even the simplest things can entertain someone who doesn't know any better--kids generally don't need expensive, new play things that are marketed specifically as "toys." In fact, we only brought a tractor, a sparkly pink ball, and one texture board book along for him to play with. We know from experience that plastic cups, bottles of hotel shampoo, washcloths, and hotel ice buckets are far more interesting to Eddie than boring every day toys from home. (I do make a point of rotating his toys at home every couple of weeks to keep them fresh and fun--for both me and him.)

We arrived in Reno late afternoon on Saturday and walked to our hotel (even my mom walked!). It was so amusing to me to see my parents trotting along the Reno streets, amongst casinos and cigarette smoke. They totally don't belong in a place like that (neither do us Bowers, actually).Our college friend, Kaitlyn, works at the Silver Legacy and got us a discount on our hotel. It was only a 4 minute walk from the train station so it was perfect! The hotel provided a crib for Eddie...and I was less than impressed. It was an icky metal one that look like it came from a 1950's hospital. Luckily it was small enough to fit in the bathroom area of our room so Eddie could be separated from us, just like at home. We plugged the small fan in and he slept wonderfully.Saturday night Kaitlyn and Brady and their two kiddos (Jack and Maddie) met us for dinner at one of the restaurants in the casino. We hadn't yet met baby girl Maddie--she's soooooooooo dang cute. My dad held her most of the time, fed her, and she fell right to sleep in his arms. I swear, Maddie and Eddie were the only reasons he put up with being down in the casino at all.
The next day Eddie took a nice long nap after we swam in the freezing cold hotel pool before Celeste picked us up for the BBQ. Since her grandson is almost the exact same age/size as Eddie we didn't even need to bring a car seat with us since we just stuck Eddie in his cousin's seat.

Seeing everyone was great, and we met so many new people I had trouble keeping them all straight. It was so much fun for Eddie and Justin's baby, Gavin, to play together--in the baby pool, in the dog crate, and crawling up/down/up/down/up/down the stairs in the house. Monday morning Eddie played on the rent-a-computers in the hotel lobby while us adults slurped down to go coffees and pastries. We got to the train station about 30 minutes before our train was supposed to arrive, only to discover that it was 7+ hours late. HA! We got a refund on our return tickets, walked over to the Hertz desk at Harrah's next door to the station and rented a car. My mom and I drove to Walmart to buy a car seat for Eddie (dang it, shoulda brought ours after all!), then fetched the boys, and we drove back to Davis. Including gas, the rental car option was almost exactly the same price as our 4 adult tickets on the train. So it all worked out just fine.Eddie didn't mind his new seat at all. I couldn't find seats in my price range that could be used both directions so I opted for a big boy seat since that'll end up being the most useful in the future. We haven't turned his current car seat forward facing yet (we're waiting until his birthday since technically he's supposed to be 20 pounds AND one year old) so this was fun for him. On the way over the summit we made a pit stop at a little park--Eddie nursed and had some crackers, we played in the river, and the adults used the nasty pit toilets. Over all it was an awesome trip. Since the Davis-->Reno train is near the beginning of the California Zephyr line I think it will always be pretty much on time. Going back the other direction, however, it will probably always be late--all the late starts and mechanical problems stemming from it's origin in Chicago really add up by the time it gets to Reno. For more than 2 people, it makes the most sense to drive our own car...but the train sure was fun and relaxing...for most of us!


Kelly said...

Very cool trip! That picture of Eddie in the giant chair is great, he looks so tiny!!

Team Roy said...

Loved the pictures and details from the trip. Charlie once played with empty half and half cups (about 10 of the) for 30+ minutes at an IHOP. I actually kept them because he was so intrigued. Who needs toys?!?