Thanksgiving Day with the Little A’s

Thanksgiving Day with the Little A’s

Blogpost Yosemite Random thoughts from Thanksgiving Day, 2014.

White knuckles–on me I think I’d better close my eyes. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it was not sheer drop offs and wiggly roads climbing up the mountains. Whew! It is pretty, even breathtaking on our climb up to Yosemite, but I’m afraid I feel like I’m on some kind of nature’s revenge roller coaster ride. Did I mention that I’m scared of heights and windy roads? We are still excited, and almost there. It’s a good thing, because I need to start breathing again soon. 😳

On the way: Eucalyptus trees by road Nut groves–walnuts?? Olive groves, Tons of grape vineyards.

In the park: Oh, so tempted by those Sugar Pines with huge, long pinecones dangling in abundance. Can’t take them from the park, but we can take pictures and enjoy them! Would LOVE to take some home to TN! But, we will choose to be law-abiding citizens and leave them.

Saw Half Dome and many beautiful vistas. So much rock, so many drop-offs! 😉

Now for the adventure we knew we would find. Aka: our trip blunders.
Those “some day we will laugh about this” moments.

We arrived at the NorthWest side of the park, drove through the closest campground, which had plenty of space. Since we had just arrived, we weren’t sure what to expect, so we opted to continue on down to an area Banana Man had heard about to check out the campsite. That was probably mistake #1. We just didn’t grasp how stretched out this park is, and the drive took us a good two hours, what with the side stops to snap pictures and traffic. But we were not too worried until 1) we saw frost on the ground (temp had dropped), and 2) the campground we sought was fairly full. The longer we drove, the less excited we felt about crashing in a tent, so we checked out some other lodging options with no success. Back to the second camp we went, where at that point it was dark. We scoured the campground and discovered no room at all. So, there were no hotels close at all, and the thought of making that trip back up to the first campsite, which by this time, may or may not have vacancy, was downright discouraging.

Keep in mind that we had been waiting for the perfect spot to get settled and unpacked so that we could eat the Thanksgiving meal that we had prepared. So, everyone was ravenous! We ate–in the truck, in the campground where there was no room for us. We kind of felt like Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem. And as I dished up that meal that was supposed to be so special, and saw that cold, jiggly gravy and cold mashed potatoes, I cried. 😦 What kind of memories were we going to take back from this trip?

Then something amazing happened. My boys, who struggle just like us to be thankful and get along, one by one, said that this is the kind of food they like, and they were thankful for it, and thanked me for making it! Cold food! I was amazed, and I personally was still struggling with that cold gravy. But if they were happy, I was too, and that decision to be thankful really made all the difference. Those boys really were troopers, not complaining, even though it has been such a long wait!

We still had to find somewhere to stay for the night. The first camp seemed like too big a gamble with so far to go back, so we tried the opposite direction. Either “no vacancy” signs greeted us, prices of rooms scared us away (try $350 a night for one room), or a family of five disqualified us for the only open rooms. We drove and drove, trying every lodge, hotel, and possibility. We were even open to sleeping in the truck, but only if we could find a safe place, and as a last resort. I really had to marvel at Banana Man, because he literally drove down tiny little roads and obscure looking places to check out any sign that indicated they might have lodging.

Finally, it began to dawn on me that we had been leaving no stone unturned to find lodging, but we had not prayed specifically for help. I had begun silently praying, then we all decided to ask God for guidance. I believed He had something good to bring out of the long waiting.

As we opened our eyes, just across the road from the lodge we had come from to check out, was a sign that read, Ople’s Guest House, Vacancy. One eyebrow raised as we considered the little sign.

We could see nothing about the establishment, but felt like we had nothing to lose. I looked up the number, called, and handed the phone to Banana Man. He spoke with the man, apparently finding some room, even for five, and we agreed to go take a look.

Long story shorter, we decided to take the room, which was literally a room in his house, an old bed and breakfast that his mother had run previous to her death. Pete, the owner, we found friendly and open. We enjoyed talking with him around his warm and toasty wood stove.

Our room was just like a guest room in anyone’s house, clean, neat, but not fancy. We felt comfortable and cared for. The soft bed came complete with satin sheets, which made for a slippery night as I constantly slid toward the middle, where Banana Man’s weight pushed the bed down. It was pretty funny. He would ask me so scoot over a little, which I did, only to find myself right back in the middle before long! 😃 But that’s not a complaint! We all were SO GLAD for the warm soft place to stay!

Oh, and after we’d been visiting with Pete for awhile, getting ready to send the boys to their sleeping bags on the floor, he came and told Big A and Middle A to put their sleeping bags on the twin beds in the next room! Basically, he threw in a free room for us. That was so nice and so appreciated by the boys!

From henceforth, until I change my mind again, Banana Man will be called Friendly Man. He has an ability to connect with people he’s just met and engage then in meaningful conversation. This he did with our new friend, Pete, until late in the night. I have to say I’m proud of this trait, although sometimes I don’t rejoice in it when I want to “go”.

A good night’s sleep and a hot shower later, we moved on up the road. More about those adventures in the next post, but I will say that this adventure includes boys searching for Sugar Pine cones OUTSIDE the park and the hopes of seeing BIG TREES!

I’m glad they get excited about little things like that! 🌲










Amidst our Thanksgiving Day preparations , we had to decide…go to Yosemite or not?  Back and forth the questions flew–go/stay?  Camp/stay put?  What would we do?

You may laugh, but the main drawback to going (well, besides not really having our camping gear here) was the law.  The federal law which states that to enter certain areas in Yosemite you must have chains for your wheels. We don’t have chains, and weren’t exactly wanting to get some right now, hence the  indecision.

To go meant a chance to see something potentially beautiful, get to camp out, and have some family memories from another adventure.

To stay meant we could join our friends at the RV park in a somewhat  more traditional Thanksgiving meal, and enjoy the fellowship and good times together.  What to do?

At long last, we made the choice.  We’d go for it and head for Yosemite.  The weather is perfect, the time is ours, and we will do it!   So, the baking flurry continued, as we planned to make a Thanksgiving feast to go, and we’d enjoy it out with the squirrels, birds, and the Giant Sequoias.

Amticipation is high.  Bags are packed, for the camping trip, then a weekend trip afterwards to see a dear family member. Tomorrow will begin another adventure.  And we’re ready.

Yosemite, look out–here we come!!


On the top of my blessing list for today, I will have to say without shame, that it was a LONG, HOT shower! For more than a month I’ve been grabbing quick soap-up-quick-rinse-with-just-enough-water-to-get-the-job-done showers, where the hot runs out before the conditioner rinses out.

It’s not that there have not been shower houses. This is our third RV park, and the first two did have showers. The first shower house was off-limits to us since we were staying more than a week, and the second was just way too c-c-c-cold!!

This morning (thanks to the simple but wonderful shower house here), we got luxury! I have to admit that I just let water run and run because the Hot felt so good!

I felt very sheepish when I came out of the two-sided shower house, where on the other side, Middle Little A was exiting after taking his shower. He looked less bouncy than I felt. I asked him his he liked his shower, and he replied that he only got two minutes of lukewarm before it all turned cold! Oops! Apparently, my stretched out paradise of a shower sucked all his hot water right up! We live and learn, and so now we know that we will still have to do one shower at a time, or perhaps exercise a bit more moderation in the use of hot water! Maybe not–I’d rather get a good one while we can and space them out! 💦

We have many other blessings that we listed and hung on our tree, but you can’t imagine what a great shower will do for your spirit of thankfulness!


The floor got mopped twice…

“Mama said there’d be days like this, there’d be days like this, my mama said…”

Ever get a migraine? Where you just zone out on life because it’s all a blur anyway? That’s me today. When my head is pounding and the vein in my temple is bulging, I just can’t really focus on anything beyond the mundane duties of life, and even those get only a cursory effort, I’m afraid.

That said, I think we did ok.

Blessing tree

We made our traditional blessings tree. A good day to count our blessings. Due to our lack of brown construction paper (and why don’t they put brown in the multi-color packs anymore?!?!?), we decided to use one of our saved brown paper sacks. Alas, the one we saved disappeared! We looked around the RV for anything brown.
Lots of pine needles were available, but we settled on a brown plastic potato sack, and did it torn paper style. I actually like how it turned out. We will decorate it with leaves on which we write our blessings. 🙂

Some of our misadventures today include:

Noticing that the “odor” in the bathroom could possibly be because the black tank was full and not draining. Guess someone forgot to pull the lever when we moved! 🚽

When I laid down to take a rare rest, leaving the boys with an assignment, why did I suddenly hear swishing water and scurrying feet as they tried to mop up puddles on the floor? We’ll leave that to your imagination. But the floor had already been mopped today. Guess it needed an extra cleaning!

What about this eyebrow-raising statement, from my firstborn:

I hope this doesn’t cause you more stress, but…the cat pooped in the tub. Why would that stress me? At least now we know the origin of the offensive bathroom odor.

Some days, you just can’t muster up enough energy to care about stuff like that. So, you clean up the messes, and just wait for the day to pass. I think my slow mood rubbed off on everyone else, because school was dragged out long into the evening. In fact, when Daddy came home from work, we were still into schoolwork. He looked around, saw the cloths used for cleaning up the water, he saw the entire drawer of kitchen utensils which had been dumped, draining, and the “house” in a state of half topsy-turvyism. He didn’t even ask, just picked up a broom. And I didn’t even feel guilty about not jumping up to help him.

It may look to him like I’d just been sitting there all day crocheting, but I knew better. I was, in fact, sitting there crocheting, but it was while I helped two boys with their math and writing that I put my hands to use. Even though the day felt pretty unproductive, even like sometimes we went backwards, the slow time gave me a chance to complete a hat for a new little nephew that is due to make his appearance anytime. 🙂

“Days like that” happen to everyone. You may not hear about them, but you know that other people have them, just the same. Remember that tomorrow is a new day, learn to laugh at your blunders, and be thankful if you have a husband who is not afraid to pick up a broom. 🙂

Note: at the end of this draggy day, my husband got a call from next door, inviting any of the Little A’s who were interested to come over and help him with a building project. Those draggy feet and hands suddenly found new energy, and they flew into action!
So, they got to run the sander and help with other building skills with Mr. M. And I got a little breather. 🙂

Simple pleasures matter the most.



The cat and the hat

The cat and the hat

Lake Tahoe and Donner Lake



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These shots represent two separate Sabbath outings, and a trip to the Donner Memorial Museum. Last Sabbath we went back to the Donner Memorial State Park and enjoyed a nice walk through the trails and along the lake, until the weather turned freezing. :-/ Brrr!

Our second Sabbath here, we drove down the East side of Lake Tahoe, found a nice little church, then drove back up the West side, stopping to take in some scenes along the way. Emerald Bay, a part of Lake Tahoe, is very beautiful, and these pictures overlook that area.

Donner Lake and the museum highlights the story of the Donner Party, who tried to make it over the Sierra Nevadas into the other side of California, where they hoped to begin a new life. Many of the party never made it, having gotten stopped by the mountains, then the terrible winter, during which many died. The monument outside shows how deep the snow was that winter–our guide told us that it came to 32 feet. For some reason the story, although tragic, is interesting. Some showed remarkable courage, some, less than heroic characteristics. All were changed forever.

Nature walk in our “home for a week”

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We used to take a Nature Day every Tuesday. This was a weekly highlight for everyone. Different curriculums and schedules have not always permitted a day in nature, but, like I mentioned in my post about moving day, we want to get the most out of the opportunity that we have in this park, so taking a good part of the day in the out of doors is the best way to do that!

For our Nature portion of today, we chose to take a hike to see what lay beyond what we’d already discovered yesterday. The only formal assignment was that each of us had to find at least three interesting rocks, three types of pinecones, and something alive that was new to us.

Right away, we found some awesome pinecones–well, we can’t really take the credit, because Daddy and his coworkers gave us three WOW-inspiring cones from a Sugar Pine tree! We’ve all been hoping to find some, and while working on the railroad yesterday, they found these loooonnnng pinecones! Daddy found the really long one that is all closed up. It’s older, so we wonder if when it dries out, it will open up? We researched how to open pinecones, and all you have to do is bake them in the oven at 200 degrees for 20 minutes, but make sure to put tin foil on the pan to catch the sap. We plan to try that as soon as we get some foil. In the meantime, we put the big cone in front of the little space heater to try to dry it out. Hasn’t worked just yet, though. :-/

Some other cones we found at our first RV park were from the Jeffrey Pine tree. They are big and round and we picked up quite a few of them. But, last week, when we actually got rain, they closed up! That’s just what they do! We spread them out in the sun to get them to open up again. Nature is so interesting!

We hadn’t walked very far at all before A2 (Nature Boy) handed me another interesting-looking pinecone. It was all layered and A1 said it looked like a hornet’s nest. Indeed it did. Our field guide did not have this type of cone, and although most of the time a quick internet search will yield quick results, this time it didn’t. After a little more digging around the internet, we think we narrowed down the type of tree it came from. For anyone who cares about this type of info, we think it’s the Deodar Cedar tree. That’s the only one with those cones that look like roses. If Banana Man had been here, I’ve no doubt that he could have found which tree was actually dropping the cones. He can look at a tree and know what kind it is, where I’m left scratching my head, wondering how he knew! Guess that’s why he’s the tree guy and I’m happy with my feet firmly planted on the ground! Enough about pinecones, but I’m sure you’ll be impressed by the size of those big ones.

Our walk occurred in two stages. First part before lunch, then we resumed after eating. We climbed rocks, meandered through stream beds, and followed trails until we thought we found the end of the park. Then, we found more park beyond that! Repeatedly, my boys scampered right up rocky hills that were moderately steep, leaving me to wonder who taught them to climb like that, and how I would be able to climb up to keep up! I was reminded of my aging body and how it’s not as lithe as it used to be, when my youngest kept calling, “Come on Mommy! Come up here where we are!” I kept thinking, “I’m trying, but I’m not going to tell you that I’m just trying to figure out how to get up there!”

We really did find some beautiful views from the top (once I finally got up there), and, oh, joy–we could see the train track! It’s so funny how much the boys have begun to identify with that train track! They count trains heard each day, then give a report to Daddy when he comes home.

At day’s end, we felt great but tired! A1 and I decided to gather firewood and surprise the workers with a fire when they got back. So nice to have the privilege of enjoying a campfire here. We won’t have it at the next park, so we will probably build one every night that we can! A fire is so cozy, and feels like home after a long day!

Speaking of the end of long day, that’s where I am right now, it’s time to end! But not before mentioning another highlight of our day that preceded the Nature day. Included in the picture slideshow are shots from this morning when all of the A’s got a chance to work a big machine. A1 got to raise the scoop on the skid steer (with much supervision), and A2 and A3 got to help operate the grappling claw on the railroad truck (at the campsite). If that’s not enough to pop off a few buttons on their shirts, I don’t know what will! Good day for the Little A’s and their family! Tomorrow we will organize the items we collected and classify and write about them! It’s supposed to rain! So glad we took the sunny day out!

The day the big machines rolled in

Once again, our school plans for the day have been interrupted by an exciting “distraction”. I prefer to call them learning opportunities. Whatever I call them, these episodes of life in action provide rich opportunities to see real people doing real jobs, not to mention a chance to see some BIG MACHINES in action–something all boys absolutely love!!

There’s a whole lot of ground shaking going on as the roller/smasher gets going to compact the “base”, as the workmen described to the boys. Next comes the cement truck with the asphalt.

I’m glad that the workers seem interested in describing the steps to the boys as they ask.

This type of distraction I don’t mind too much, even if it didn’t fit in with my plans for the day. The distractions that drive me crazy are the ones where the cat waltzes in and everyone’s brain waltzes out. Or where one boy can’t focus and his silly antics lead the other brothers down the road to day-wasting ruin. They don’t care at first, because distraction is fun in the moment, but, oh, what wailing and weeping comes to our house when the afternoon sunshine beckons, and someone can’t answer that call, because he hasn’t finished his schoolwork! Nobody’s really happy then!

While the boys absorb all of the leveling, grading, scooping and dumping, I decided to sit down on a big rock and peck out a few sentences. I guess it’s good for moms too to sometimes have an impromptu activity (And I know that if we were stuck inside trying to make traditional school happen with all of the machinery noises calling, we wouldn’t get much done, and my day would prove very frustrating).

Well, while the machines took a little break to allow for leveling, I heard a drumming sound and saw a flash of wings high in a nearby pine tree. I searched and found a woodpecker–a black one. I couldn’t get a picture, but I’m pretty sure that it was a black-backed woodpecker, which I’ve never seen before. We don’t have that kind in Tennessee. So, we are all having a learning day, and I love spotting a new bird! 😊

It’s funny–when the guys first started their work, they kind of looked at us with apprehension or indifference as we hung around to watch. But, as the time went on, the workers began conversing with the boys a little (like when the boys had a question), and finally, smiling at them and initiating some questions themselves. I think sometimes people don’t quite know what to do with homeschoolers, but if we’re polite and stay out of their way, many times , they warm up to us, which is great, because what so many people do for work is so interesting; we really appreciate the chance to see it!


The above incident happened thirteen days ago now. We got to see two mini driveways paved that day, and still retain the good memories of the “wasted” morning of school. 🙂

I took some great shots of the action, but unfortunately, they are all locked up in the “cloud”, wherever that is, and I can’t take the data to download them so that I can post them. Maybe at our next stop, where we reportedly will have free wifi. 🙂

So…picture in your mind, a shot of the excavator digging out the foundation, the workmen smoothing with shovels and bulldozer, three boys watching in the foreground of these shots, gravel getting dumped, the smasher truck rolling over it, hot asphalt (375 degrees) being poured and smoothed by hand then roller, and one Little A testing the temperature to see if the asphalt really was hot! (No burns, just a quick feel)

Just over the mountain…

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Moving day!  All set for a trip over the mountain and down the road. That was yesterday.

We had no idea there would be so much preparation to pack up and resettle two RVs!  But, as far as I can tell, everything went smoothly, and we said a fond farewell to Truckee, the coldest town in California.

Our new park is a mere twenty miles from the first one, but the differences are striking between the two parks. Our first “home” was rather like a trailer park, or a busy RV park.  Lots of rules, reach out and touch your neighbor’s camper from your own,  lots of residents.  We enjoyed our stay in this neighborhood-style RV park. It was nice to pop over to our friends’ campers for Friday night vespers, a Sabbath get-together, or just to borrow an iron, which we didn’t bring.  Everything in this first park was well-organized, and convenient (well, except for the odd rule that long-term campers can’t use the restroom facilities and such).  We loved the walking trails and made good use of them.

Probably what we missed the most, though, being country folk, was the sense of privacy and elbow room that we enjoy in a rural setting. The boys can’t run free when there are so many neighbors.  When we moved into this current setting, we could tell right away that for however long we stay here, we will feel more at home.  This park is, well, like a big park.   Or like camping in the forest!  We actually made a fire last night and roasted veggie dogs and marshmallows in it!

Another nice thing about this park is the very few number of campers.  Including our two RVs, there are a total of three.  🙂  So, it’s really like going camping instead of living in an RV town.   But this place is huge!  It is the kind of place we’d try to find on a weekend to take a walk or camp.  All wooded and natural with plenty of room to get out and explore!   And we have it all to ourselves!  We found a dry lake and creek bed that was fun to traipse around in, and spotted a White-headed Woodpecker (new bird) high in a pine tree.   He wouldn’t sit still for a photo, though.  :-/

Even though we left “cold” Truckee behind, we did wake up here to frozen pipes and no water for a little while.   10 degrees predicted tonight in Truckee, so we will probably be quite cold here again too.  But, when I looked on the home forecast, way back in TN, they are as cold or colder than here!  Brrr!  Looks like the home high for tomorrow will be only 28, and with snow!

The boys are really hoping to see lots of snow here, but so far, it’s just not happened!   This park has a snow hill, complete with a snowblower, to make snow, but we’d have to be quite a bit cooler in the daytime for that to work!  Locals are saying that it’s the draught.  Should have stayed in Tennessee if we wanted a white winter, huh?

We may not be here at this park site for very long, so we will enjoy the beautiful surroundings while we can. Seems like we are always trying to get the balance right between how much of our surroundings to soak in versus how much schoolwork to be done inside.  And more outside allurements certainly slow down the inside motivation (you’d think it would be the opposite), which ends up with frustration at being cooped up inside more!   Quite a cycle!  But I am determined that we will get outside more while we have the opportunity to. Because, who knows?  By the week’s end we may have snow and end up cooped up inside anyway, so might as well make hay while the sun shines!

Pictures to follow

Little A’s Detective Co., At Your Service

Little A’s Detective Co., At Your Service

It all started on a sunny Sunday morning.  The Little A’s and their mom headed down to the Laundromat to wash a couple of loads.  Upon arrival they found quite a crowd gathered, and every washer was in use.

“We’ll come back later,” declared Mom.

As she turned to leave, Mom noticed a repairman removing some broken glass from the front of the vending machine.   The Little A’s stayed to watch what they hoped would be a glass installation, but which turned out to be the boarding up of the machine.   As the repairman worked he told the story of how some vandals had come in and smashed the front of the machine with a big rock, then helped themselves to the goodies inside.  He sighed as be taped up the plywood, saying that he knew that this temporary fix would only deter the honest thieves, but would hopefully at least keep the machine from more damage.

The A Team decided on a walk.  They wove their way through the RVs in the park, chattering as they walked and skipped along.  Suddenly A1 stopped short.

“What’s this?” he exclaimed as he picked up a baggie of M&Ms with the candy still inside.

“A clue,” Mom declared, remembering her childhood which included a steady diet of Encyclopedia Brown and Nancy Drew mystery stories.   “I think someone dropped this as he ran through the empty RV lots.  Don’t you think that he was in a hurry and didn’t come back to pick up what he dropped?”

“Oh, yes!”  All the Little A’s agreed that this could have been what happened.  (No one stopped to consider that perhaps their imaginations were working overtime)  Mom tossed the package onto a nearby picnic table, and they continued their walk through the park and out into the woods leading to the walking trails.   They talked about how much damage that probably caused for the owner of the machine and how much time and money would be required to fix one dishonest person’s (or likely several people’s) choice.

All chattering stopped when, down the trail just a little ways, A2 discovered an unopened package of Starburst candy, and the Little A’s launched into serious detective mode.  A1 found another Starburst just down the path, and now every pine needle must be kicked and every log overturned in the search of clues.  Mom pointed out that only the new candy wrappers would be true clues, as the bleached ones had been there for a while.  J And, they needn’t actually search under stuff, because it was pretty clear that these thieves were in a hurry.

No more clues appeared on that walk, except for some ripped up candy wrappers, although bridges and creeks were thoroughly searched and all eyes kept a keen lookout for more stolen candy.

An excited crew gave a full report to the RV park staff member, and all clues were presented for evidence on their return to the park.   She seemed somewhat impressed by the Little A’s detective work, thanked them, and offered them the candy clues to keep.  :-/   They declined, and she told them that at least she felt relieved to know that the thief was not likely someone who lived in the RV park, but someone who lived nearby and came in.

You can be sure that when the Little A’s saw Daddy and his workmates later on, they gave a full report to them as well.  The adults just smiled at the enthusiasm of the boys.  That is, until, later, when Mr. M, Daddy’s boss, was doing some truck work, and he discovered an unopened candy bar right beside his truck.  Then, it seemed, everyone got on board with clue finding.  Some more spilled candies were spotted not far from where the candy bar was found, and the path seemed obvious as to which route the thieves had taken on their get-away.   While the mystery was never fully solved, the whole episode did provide some much-needed diversion for what otherwise may have been a somewhat boring Sunday.


Waiting for the train

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“I’ve been working for the railroad, all the live long day! I’ve been working for the railroad, just the pass the time away. Can’t you hear the whistle blowing “rise up so early in the morn'”. Can’t you hear the captain shouting, “Dinah, blow your horn!”

Okay, so I’ve not heard anyone singing this song yet, but it’s sure chugged along through my brain a time or two as I see the crew start out “so early in the morn'” and when we hear the train whistle blow down at the station.

That brings to mind another song my dad used to sing…”Down by the station, early in the morning, see the little popper bellies, off they go.” I don’t even know what a popper belly is. Maybe Dad could explain. 😉

In any case, the train and railroad seems to hold a fascination with many people, and especially a family of boys. Temporarily living in this railroad town has provided an obvious subject for field trip and day outings. We’ve already heard some oral history of the railroad, plus this past Sunday we went as a family to the Truckee railroad museum. That was a tiny little museum, but still interesting, as we could see what the inside of a passenger car looks like, as well as watch a video detailing the making of the railroad trough the Sierras. Daddy recognized many of the passages and tunnels from his work along the rails, so that was neat. 🙂

Since we may be moving out of this area soon, the boys and I have determined to go down to the station and just wait to see some trains come through.

Later on…

We finally, after two failed attempts, found the path that led to downtown and the train depot. Out other attempts had resulted in some good leg exercise, and ways brought us back full circle, a little frustrated but not deterred. Today’s beautiful walk led us to the correct path that wound through the conifers and aspen.

Once in town, we made a beeline for the train depot. What joy to hear that the Amtrak had not yet arrived! But more excitement awaited us as two big red firetrucks, a whole squad of police cars, and several other emergency vehicles rolled in! It was a Veterans Day celebration!

We watched the setup with interest–especially the part where the firemen climbed the aerial ladder to mount a huge American flag. A California Highway patrol officer presented badged and ski straps to the boys, 🙂

The classic moment of the day occurred just as the man in charge of the ceremony stood up to speak. Suddenly, down the tracks flew Mr. M–Daddy’s boss, blaring the horn–causing the Little A’s to all jump up simultaneously and dash to the tracks shouting, “It’s Daddy or Mr. M!!!!!!!!” So much for the ceremony and the solemn moment. Thankfully there was enough background noise to cover up the excited exclamations! 😀

Besides the emergency vehicles we ended up seeing the Amtrak roll in plus three freight trains. So we had a good train day. It turned out well.