Thursday, August 9, 2007

Dallas on the DART Rail

During our summer break, the Bible study group I'm a part of gets together every week or so to do something together with the kids. Two weeks ago, we were supposed to do this day trip, but no one was able to go for various reasons. My friend Kim asked if we'd like to try to do it later on when everyone was back in town and had semi-regular schedules again. I told her to definitely count us in. I knew this was something the boys would enjoy. So today, we caught the DART Rail at the head of the Garland line, rode in to Dallas, and toured part of the downtown area.

Five families went: Kim and her two boys; Stefanie and her 3 girls; Christy and her son; Jen and her two boys; and me, Caleb, and Jacob. We met at the Downtown Garland Station right around the same time, bought our tickets, and boarded the train. It was our first time to ride, but I think all the others had ridden before. After several stops, and a short jaunt through a tunnel, we arrived in downtown Dallas. We got off and started toward Thanksgiving Square, but realized we were headed the wrong direction. After turning around and getting our bearings, we found it. We passed a delicious-smelling Italian diner right next to the train station on our wrong way out and again as we were going the right way. I wanted to toss our lunch bag in the nearest garbage can and eat some pizza or pasta and garlic bread!

Our first stop in Thanksgiving Square was at a prayer chapel. It's a stark white spiraling building that looks like it belongs in Greece instead of downtown Dallas. We entered the dark coolness and were awed to see the ceiling spiraling upward in a rainbow of stained glass. After we had cooled down, we went back out to see the water gardens. The kids were excited to see two men in wading boots standing in the pool, vacuuming the bottom. The large fountain had been turned down, but the water was still spilling over the edge and running down a beautiful rocky slope. Across the center where several sidewalks came together, there was a beautiful waterfall spilling down a large rock backdrop. I took some really cute pictures of each of Stefanie's 3 daughters there. Along another sidewalk was a narrow stream of water running down a slope toward a small, deep triangular pool at one end. All the kids loved sticking their hands in the water and watching it flow to its various pools.

Oh! And guess what happened to me while we were there. Under some trees. With birds flying around directly overhead. I got pooped on again! This time was in my hair. Ugh! I felt something fall into my hair, and my first thought was a bug. I started to run my hand through it and stopped abruptly as another thought crossed my mind. I asked Stefanie, "Did a bird just poop in my hair?!" She laughed and said that one had. She cleaned up as much as she could with a baby wipe, then she commented on how good my hair smelled. I said, "Yeah, now that the poop's out!" I'm glad I can laugh about things like this! Otherwise it could have ruined my whole day.

We finally managed to get the kids away from the water and inside some walkways that run under the buildings. The kids lined up along one wall for their lunches and ate heartily. We were all starving! The boys and I ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Bugles, a banana, string cheese, and water. They also ate some Snoopy gummies, and I ate a delicious Nature Valley Almond Crunch bar. (It reminds me a lot of the Planters Peanut Bars I used to eat as a child...)

The resounding ring of a large bell met us as we walked back outside. It was noon and the bell in the square kept ringing. Caleb asked me how long they rang it, but I wasn't sure. When I checked my watch, it was 12:08 and still going strong. We watched it for a little while, then made our way back to the train station so we could continue on to Union Station. Caleb and Jacob were excited to get off the train there because they remembered we had picked Melissa up there a few months ago when she rode Amtrak in for a short visit.

We made our way down a set of stairs and into an underground walkway toward a hotel (Hyatt, maybe?) and Reunion Tower, the big ball-looking restaurant and tower that overlooks Dallas. I held Stefanie's 2-year-old daughter's hand while she helped Jen get her stroller and 2-year-old son down the stairs. Once inside, she wanted to keep holding my hand. As we walked down the hallway, we played a variation of peek-a-boo with the mirrors interspersed on the walls. She had the biggest grin on her face!

We paid our tower admission, then rode up the elevator to the top. The kids were thrilled when they realized one wall of the elevator was glass and they could see out over the city as we went up. They loved seeing different sights in Dallas from the top of the tower. Caleb was impressed that he could the site of the gas plant explosion from a few weeks ago (July 25). He also commented on how all the cars looked like Hot Wheels from that high up.

After we had been all around the outside, we rode the elevator back down and made our way back to the train station for our ride back to Garland. The kids were all getting tired and ready to go home, and all the grown-ups were talking about how nice it would be to take naps when we got back home. (I wonder if anyone actually did.) The ride back was pretty relaxing, but some of the kids started getting wound up. We made it back to the Downtown Garland Station shortly after 2:00 p.m. and walked out to the parking lot together, chatting up the last few minutes before heading home again. Stefanie hugged me good-bye and commented again on how good my hair smelled. "What do you use?" she asked. Jen piped in, "I think she said it's bird poop." :o)

The van was so hot when we climbed in. I offered to stop at Sonic and get us all cold drinks, but Caleb wanted to come straight home. I remembered that I had some lemonade concentrate in the freezer and offered that up as a compromise because Jacob wanted to stop for a drink. He was appeased by that, so we came straight home. After I made the lemonade, we all drank a few tall cold ones. I think I need another one right now.

Today was a really fun day! I hope we can all do it again soon. It's not something I'd want to do on my own. Friends make things so much more fun!

1 comment:

Mama said...

Sounds like a lot of fun!! I've never ridden a train before. Maybe one day in the fall when we are over, we can do that.