My brother & his family came down to visit, and we all went for a ride on a 1/4 scale train!
27.04.2013 - 27.04.2013 76 °F
My brother and his family life just east of Lake Oroville, east of Chico. This is about a 3+ hour drive from the Napa Valley, but they were very nice about coming down to visit us while we were there. My brother has a boat in the Napa Valley Marina, so Saturday morning we drove the RV down to spend time with them (they stayed on the boat and we stayed in the RV, but otherwise had plenty of time to visit). I should say he had a boat, he may have sold it over the past week!
Anyway, we met them for lunch first - which includes my brother, his wife, my neice and great nephew (his dad, my nephew, couldn't make it this trip). I'm not sure why, but for some reason we rarely all have our eye's open or are otherwise smiling nicely for group photo's in my family!
After lunch, we headed off to Sonoma to visit a place I'd learned about from a tourist brochure. I'd never heard of this place before, but it really was quite fantastic, and once I'd mentioned it to my brother we were all pretty excited to go pay it a visit. This is currently a small, amusement park based on a 1/4 scale working railroad. However it was built as a hobby (labor of love?), it's just that the builders family now operates it so the general public can also enjoy it. The place is "Train Town" and it is very close to downtown Sonoma, CA. It covers 10 acres and includes 4 miles of 15" track, that's pretty surprising in itself, but maybe when it was built Sonoma was much smaller?
The first thing we did of course was ride the train! Even my (almost) 86 year old mother got in the act.
Besides just having fun riding on a 1/4 scale model train, the terrain they built is fantastic. The track runs past waterfalls, over railroad bridges, ponds, creeks, through tunnels and there are scale model features located throughout the ride. Sometimes the only thing that gives it away as a scale model is that the tree's are real and look overly large next to the 1/4 scale features.
In addition, near the front of the park are a model tower and an outstanding (& working) roundhouse! (Since they have multiple working engines they can pull the RR cars with...)
Also, while we were riding through the forest, past ponds and such, we saw the back side of a very realistic looking town.
The detail in this place was absolutely amazing. But the best was yet to come. The train came back through the town and stopped! (I suppose this is actually the place named "Train Town"?). It is all built to 1/4 scale.
Each building in the town has things in it appropriate for that building. Here are just a couple of examples.
And Even a Jail! (Perhaps my neice & great nephew really belong there also? - Just Kidding, of course there was a bit of a line for these photo ops)
I must not fail to mention the petting zoo, since if you are ever so fortunate to visit this place you'll want to be sure to bring plenty of quarters for the food dispensor (which I failed to do, but fortunately my great nephew found food somewhere - or someone else found a quarter or two for him.)
It's probably safe to say everyone had a good time,
It was hard to leave the town, but we wanted to ride the train some more (and the ride is supposed to last only 20 minutes), so we all reboarded the train and headed back to the rest of the park.
We skipped most of the other rides (there are only a few), but my nephew wanted to ride the Carousel and my neice graciously offered to go with him. He is almost 3 and was a little scared to ride by himself, so she tried to ride with him. That wasn't allowed however, so for the actual ride she stood next to his horse - but this picture came out better then those, so...
This was the first time my great nephew had seen a train - how exciting is that! But we weren't done yet, he had never seen a boat before either. Since my brother and his family were going to stay on their boat for the night, after train town we headed back to the Napa Valley Marina. Of couse, my brother was very proud of his boat - although he admited he is a little behind on the brightwork... (aren't all boat owners, always?)
It was still relatively early (there was still daylight afterall), so my brother suggested we should take a short spin around the harbor. Mom stayed in the RV, which was fine, but the rest of us enjoyed the jaunt - my great nephew seemed to really take to the water.
That finally just about killed it for us old folks, so we all went to bed designing model train layouts with sailboat crossings?