From the Blog

Visiting The Holiday Choo Choo

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It’s 8ish on Sunday morning, the day we’re supposed to move. I was supposed to be in a U-Haul by now. But as I turn my head to look outdoors, I see the first snow of the season falling and accumulating on the street. We had looked at the forecast yesterday and decided to postpone moving until next weekend, when it’s going to be in the TEENS, but not snowing! Want to help?

While we were under the impression that this was to be a jam-packed weekend, we still didn’t want to miss visiting the SP&S 700. Living in Portland, or at least living where I do, blocks away from Union Station, I hear train whistles all the live long day. Portland is not a big town. I hear train whistles everywhere. I think it’s kind of charming and romantic.

In the past week, however, among the usual chorus of train whistles, I have been hearing an old school steam whistle. For some reason, it reminded me of childhood. We used to visit mountain towns in New England, and it seemed like it was common to hear far-off steam whistles from local sightseeing trains.

While I was at work, I heard this far-off steam whistle. I was able to squint across the river and see a giant plume of steam coming from the tracks. I wasn’t hearing things! I’m not crazy! Really! Dave’s good friend Brent works for BNSF and he told us that it was the SP 4449 locomotive doing an outing for the holidays. And the SP&P 700 was visiting the BNSF yard in Vancouver. He invited us to the friends and family visit yesterday.


It was built in 1938. The wheels are 6 foot 5. It’s heavier than a 747 jumbo jet. It’s hard to understand how enormous it is. I don’t know a thing about trains and it’s goddamned impressive. Big wheels! Loud noises! Lots of steam! I have a feeling if I did know anything about trains, it would be even more impressive!


Look at how big the wheels are! There were hundreds of people out in the cold to get some train lovin. I thought about how fun it was for the kids that were visiting. Some of the noises were scary and unexpected, and I heard an occasional kid screaming or crying. But what a marvel to be etched into little minds.

There’s an undeniable mystique surrounding these giant engines. I’m a girl, and I’m all dainty, and I work in an office doing unspeakable, soulless tasks, but I think I was as excited as some of the old salts and some of the young kids to visit the trains. Trains are cool.

It was really cold and blustery. I vowed to get a warm hat and some mittens or gloves for the next time I go see 70 year old steam engines. By the end of our train visit, we realized it was not looking good to move this weekend.

We stocked up on provisions: wine, hot chocolate, breakfast food, preparing to be snowed in for the rest of the weekend. I’ll have more time to pack, which is good because I haven’t started yet. And I will have to resort to doing goddamned laundry in the Laundry Dungeon of my current place. Bah.

We will move next weekend. It will be 18 degrees. But hopefully, we won’t have to worry about negotiating a U-Haul on city streets in the snow.


The End.

(photos are crappier than usual in this post because I’m not smart and I forgot my camera when we visited the trains and had to use the camera in my phone.)


  1. Photos are good! Trains are cool! Reminds me of Grand Canyon and the Bear thing up in North Conway, NH. They had trains, that was fun.

  2. I’m glad you enjoyed yourself Heather. Are you and David going to ever be able to move?

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