Lynn's Comments: I thought I had booked two bedrooms, but in error I'd booked "roomettes". These tiny spaces had a bench seat, which converted to a single bed for sleeping, under which - inconveniently stored - was...the loo. I had planned for the "boys" to share one compartment; Katie and I would share the other. The roomettes were so confining, however, that in order for us all to fit, the kids were exchanged. Kate stayed with her dad and Aaron stayed with me.
Lynn's Comments: Despite watering both kids before bedtime, they both had to use the facilities during the night. This meant we had to leave the privacy of the compartment, lift the bed up, expose the lavatory, close the door and "go." The process was reversed when everyone got back into bed. I was not the most popular "travel agent" and heard a lot about what I "should have done" before booking something so irritatingly small!
Lynn's Comments: Aaron was extremely social and enjoyed walking up and down the cars, talking to the other passengers. He was well behaved and didn't get into trouble until the novelty wore off. His favourite place was the dining room where, if he was lucky, he'd score an extra dessert before the second seating.
Lynn's Comments: The bar car was also the observation car and even though kids weren't supposed to be in an area where liquor was served, there seemed to be a double standard on the train. Kids sat with their parents and when it got too dark to enjoy the scenery, youngsters watched the grown ups lose their cool and happily act like children!
Lynn's Comments: Sharing a tiny compartment with my son was a challenge. The only time he really fell asleep was when the train was in motion. The rocking and the click of the rails nicely put him under - but as soon as we stopped on a siding, he was ready for action, wanting to know where we were. I remember lying pressed against the wall of the compartment with Aaron crouched at the window talking a mile a minute as I tried to doze. I thought "Some day, he'll grow out of this and have regular sleep patterns like other people!" At the age, now, of 39... my son is still a night owl!
Lynn's Comments: We were on the train for several nights. Even though the kids were the best they could be, they tossed and turned. And their constant up and down to the toilet made each night a real challenge. We also met others in the hallway as they reorganized themselves into these confined spaces - and more than once we heard "why didn't you a book a compartment instead of a roomette?"
Lynn's Comments: The dining car was, by far the highlight of the trip. At the time, CN Rail was still into "elegance". We had tables with cloths, nice dishes, good cutlery - and even the children behaved better in this classic and refined dining room. This is one of the rare strips in which I showed them being more of a hand full than they really were!
Lynn's Comments: For a number of years, the passenger train was scheduled to go through the Rocky Mountains late at night. This astounded us as the most breathtaking view in Canada is here and we didn't want to sleep through it! Eventually they realized they were making a mistake and changed the schedule. Over time, we eventually forgot the discomfort of the small sleeping quarters - but we'll never forget the view!
Lynn's Comments: Aaron did not put a marble in a man's mouth - but he thought about it. He was standing on a seat, looking into this snoring aperture. It was an open invitation to neatly drop something in. I caught Aaron's eye just before he let go of the marble he was holding. We both smiled. It was almost too tempting to resist, but resist he must...and we both laughed out loud just thinking about it.
Lynn's Comments: Aaron wasn't really all that interested in going to visit the engineer, but his father was. Rod had loved trains since his childhood in Lynn Lake. Sometimes when you really want to do something but are too shy to ask, it's nice to have a child to hide behind!
Lynn's Comments: All told, the trip by train was a great adventure. We had spent quality time together in an environment of constant change and we saw our country from a different perspective. It's something I hope we can do again one day, but next time... I'll know the difference between roomettes and cabins!