Our 25th wedding anniversary just sort of came and went as we were still on the road and having to make some decisions about returning or going on. Last night, Mike decided it was time to celebrate our first 25 years together and planned a sweet outing. It started with my favorite hamburger place, Red Robin, in Independence. Lexi was our server and she worked very hard to make sure everything was just right (and it was!). Not much pleases me more than a great tasting hamburger served with a sweet smile.
The next part was a tightly held secret and I was not allowed to look at the maps, documentation or any other items Mike had brought with him. He likes to surprise me, so I have learned to just go with the flow. His surprises are always very cool. This surprise took us to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. I have ALWAYS wanted to ride the train, but never got around to doing it. The night was lovely and clear. It was a little overcast but not too much so. It was perfect weather for a train ride.
We got to the depot around 6:30 and were able to board for our 7 PM departure. As I walked into the 1950s train car, I was taken back to a simpler time when travel was a big deal and it was about the journey not just the destination. Things I am trying to learn on my own Epic Journey, so really it was the perfect thing to do on a warm Friday night.
I noticed that there were not many other people in our car, as most of the nights travelers were enjoying dinner in the dining car. But everyone traveling in our car was smiling and excited about the night’s journey. The mood was very upbeat and positive.
Our Trainman was Roy and he was great! As the train started to move, Roy told us about the history of the train, the park and quite a bit of history about Ohio itself. He kept asking if we were bored, but everyone seemed to love hearing all the information that Roy had to share. He made the trip very fun and informative. He volunteers to do this, as well as watch the bike paths, we were very impressed with his dedication to the entire park system.
As we traveled at about 30 miles per hour (the diesel-powered engine could go much faster, but this was a leisurely trip), we experienced beautiful scenery. Lush wetlands and meadows, flowing rivers, beautiful flowers, green trees, a few deer and an Eagle couple, just to name a few things we witnessed. The trip went one hour out Peninsula and an hour back to our starting point at the Rockside Station.
The railroad runs scenic tours almost everyday as well as specialty tours throughout the year. If you search for “CVSR”, their website comes right up and details all their upcoming events.
Things have been fairly hectic lately and seem like it will only get worse, so this respite to celebrate our anniversary was much-needed. It was relaxing knowing we did not have anywhere to be or have anything to do but watch the amazing scenery pass by slowly. Peaceful time with the one you love is the best gift available. As we rocked gently to the rhythm of the train’s movement, I realized that I have had enough drama in my life. It has become time to start enjoying a simpler life. That was part of what I was looking for on the road, but I actually had to be on the rails to reach that conclusion. Travel, even short travel, does change you.
I certainly enjoyed our belated anniversary celebration. It was so much fun and relaxing at the same time. Now I want to start planning other train trips in other locations. It is truly a breathtaking way to see the country. Hopefully, there will be more train stories in this blog. I cannot wait to see how that unfolds. Thank you for listening!