The unexpected benefit of my car dying is that I would otherwise never have visited the Western Pacific Railroad Museum. After visiting Sand Pond and Frazier Falls, we rolled into Portola not knowing exactly what to expect but optimistic that it would hold my sons’ interests for the hour or so before I planned to retrieve my car from the mechanic.
Ok, we kind of expected something “loving hands” rather than a museum with contextual histories for the artifacts on display. And this is definitely that—the most history on display is a paragraph about when things were made and when they were decommissioned. But where the context is missing this museum just keeps things wonderfully simple.
Here’s over 30 acres of rolling stock. Go explore. Go climb on things. The only rules are don’t walk on the tracks and don’t climb on the roofs. Everything else is fair game.
Is awesome. We all climbed on engines and into cabooses. Looking into the engine cabs is great. Climbing up into the caboose cupolas is a thrill. Seeing all the different box cars and hearing the sounds of the still-working rail yard is a thrill.
There was not only plenty for the boys to do, they want to go back again.
As do I.
Since this was primarily a trip to retrieve my car from the mechanic I did not bring all my camera gear with me on this excursion. In particular, I left my Yashicamat in the cabin at Packer. This is probably just as well since I was on kid-watching duty (and there’s a lot to watch out for). But when I come back I need to make sure I have my Yashicamat with Portra loaded so I can go to town.