Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Aw, Man, Do I Have To?

I don't want to go. I really, really, really don't want to go.

Tomorrow morning, before the sun is up, we depart for mountains of West Virginia to visit the Cass Scenic Railroad. It's a special tour organized by a gentleman known for his "photo specials," where "foamers" (railfans) from all over the country and beyond come to take pictures of locomotives.

Cass is okay, I guess, but I'd like it a lot better if it were a day trip, which is impossible considering time and distance and traveling with two young kids.

The Oracle has been anticipating this for months. He has practically counted the days. He loves it there so much that this year we're arriving a day earlier than we did last year.

Now if you're a railfan, this is one excellent trip. The problem here, of course, is that I am not a railfan -- well, at least not to the extent that The Oracle is or that Mighty B is becoming. I like long-distance travel on Amtrak (gotta have a sleeper of some sort, though), and I enjoy the tourist railroads we visit from time to time. The one at which The Oracle volunteers is a lot of fun. That does not make me a railfan, though. For the railfan, the love of this stuff is almost an unquenchable passion.

When the wind blows the right way through my neighborhood, you can often hear freight trains on going by on the track that's a mile or so away. Sometimes Mighty B will pop out of a dead sleep to exclaim, "a train!" before collapsing back onto the pillow and picking up his dream where he left off.

Why am I so miserable and unwilling? Because during this time of year, there is no tourist season. We're in the no-man's land between the ski season which ended in April and the summer season which won't start until Memorial Day. As a result, there is nothing else for us to do. The other tourist attractions are closed until Memorial Day. There are a couple of little kitchenette sort of restaurants that sell hot dogs and frozen pizza; there's the large souvenir shop for the railroad; and there's another large gift shop place across the street from the Inn at Snowshoe, which is the recommended lodging for the photo special guests.

Worst of all, I won't have a cell phone or an internet connection. Considering how I live my life on this thing, having it taken away from me for several days is excruciating.

The Inn at Snowshoe is nice, sure, but it's the off season. There are no hotel services to speak of other than the hotel pool. The hotel restaurant isn't even open. Last year, the lady at the front desk let my kids use the pool while The Oracle was on the ride with everyone else staying at the hotel. The place was creepy and deserted, and I couldn't help thinking of The Overlook Motel. (Name that story!)

Since we're going for several days and need to feed our offspring something other than lousy frozen pizza and hot dogs, we're renting a cabin on the Cass Scenic Railroad property. The cabins are lovely and well supplied with cookware and gadgetry and such, but you still have to bring your own food. Packing several days' worth of food for four people is a pain in the butt, and I don't like cooking in a strange kitchen and cleaning up the strange kitchen when we're done. But, hey, at least I'll have something to do.

I am whiny and cranky and I don't want to go!! !! !! !!


--V said...

Oh dear. I feel your pain. You know what, though? When your kids look back on this, they'll probably think camping out in a cabin for a week was pretty cool. Especially Mighty B, since trains will be involved.

I'm in a "silver lining" kind of mood today.

Anonymous said...

"The Shining"

I'll be thinking of you. Maybe they have a typewriter you could use "hahaha"