Snow & Santa
Trip Start Nov 29, 2007
43Trip End Jan 30, 2008
We had an appointment in Durango at dusk and needed to get going. The forecast was not pleasant - lots of snow - and we had a way to go. But an early start would give us the best chance.
We made it about 30 miles before the snow started. And boy did it snow. For about 30 minutes it came down in waves - stand still and you were covered - move, but at your peril. It was quite exciting for all of us. And we played it safe (but we did have a bit of fun).
Fortunately, that was the last we really saw of the snow. It was fun for a short while, but we were happy not to see much more of it, given the drive and the fact that much of it was supposed to be through the mountains.
The drive seemed to be well timed. We are having a fair bit of luck with the planning side of things and (touch wood) seem to have it down to a fine art.
We arrive at Durango at 3.50pm and despite continuous protestations from Zac we managed to keep our appointment a secret. When we picked up tickets at a railway station, he did not twig, when we told him he had to get dressed in his pyjamas, he did not figure it out.
But when we walked from our motel down to the train station and there was a big black steam train with "Polar Express" written on the side of it and a few large posters of Tom Hanks' character in the movie, he finally figured it out. And when he figured it out, boy was he excited. He could hardly wait- but then again, neither could the other 300 kids and their parents. The train had ten carriages with at least 45-50 seats per carriage.
And they really played up the events in the book (and the movie). The train rolled out of the station bound for the North Pole, the conductor wandered through and punched the tickets (just like the movie), they served hot chocolate (just like the movie) and had a reading of the story. All of the kids were spell-bound.
But the arrival at the North Pole was the most special. Santa and half a dozen of his elves were on our side of the train and the North Pole was well alight with Christmas lights. Now, the kids went crazy, Zac included. He was out the window, waving and cheering (the couple of times we have shown him the movie seem to have worked a treat). Hopefully, we have capture his expression and wonder.
The return trip was full of even more excitment. Santa boarded the train and each child received a bell (just like in the movie) which they all treasured, making sure to hold on to it tight, lest they lose it (just like in the movie). After a few Chistmas carols, we were back in the real world. The train station was full of another huge crowd eager for their trip to the North Pole.
With Zac in his PJ's (just like all the other kids and quite a few parents - no not us) we headed off in search of dinner. Turns out Polar Express night is a busy night for Durango, so we decided to grab a New York-style pizza - slices about 13 inches long and bigger than Zac's head - not the pan-pizza rubbish we get at home. It was actually very tasty and with only a moderate use of cheese, not too fatty, which was a blessing. But you only have one slice. (Zac polished off his own).
And then to bed.
Drive - 240 miles