Texas State Railroad
1988: The First Trip
In the year that John McClane blew up Nakatomi Tower, Roger Rabbit got framed, Eddie Murphy came to America, and Emilio Estevez, Kiefer Sutherland, and Lou Diamond Phillips hit the trails in New Mexico, my family also hit the trail for our first long-distance family vacation. Our destination: the Texas State Railroad. Seems like it took FOREVER to get there. Four kids packed into a station wagon in the summer heat was ... less than pleasant. The promises of steam locomotives meant little compared with that situation. But in the end, the trials were WELL worth the efforts.
Recently (February 2014), my mother located and scanned a few photos from that trip. I couldn't remember which engine pulled our train, but now I know it was T&P #316 in TSR #201 paint. The four kids had a good time. The younger ones, of course, didn't really appreciate it as much as I did, but we all enjoyed the day.
Unfortunately this was a one-time event. I have to wonder if my life would have taken a different course if we had returned when I was a teenager. It's highly likely that the idea of working for the railroad would have seriously entered my mind.