‘A Day Out With Thomas’

Number One engine returns to Hood River

By ERIK HIDLE

News intern

Thomas the Tank Engine has rolled back into town.

Children and adults alike have traveled down to the Mt. Hood Railroad station to take a ride with the popular PBS television star and recieve a photo op with the friendly tank engine himself.

“A Day Out With Thomas” features a 30-minute train ride up and back the scenic Mt. Hood Railroad line with Thomas, as well as an interactive “Imagination Station,” a “Thomas and Friends” video tent, a hay maze, a chance to meet Sir Topham Hatt, the rotund railway baron, and much more.

The event began June 20 and will continue through Sunday.

“A Day Out With Thomas” has already drawn in visitors from throughout Oregon, including Gabriel and Shae Watkinds of Hermiston. “We drove all the way just to see Thomas,” said Tammie Watkinds, “We just love him.”

“It was cool,” agreed Gabriel.

The Watkinds were just a few of many who took a trip on the number one engine through the valley’s many meadows and forests up to the rare rail switchback, where the train changes direction and returns back to the station.

While the Hood River Valley may not be as interesting as Thomas’ home, the magical island of Sodor, the trip is sure to be memorable for all.

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Tickets for the 30-minute excursion on Thomas are available for $14. Rides depart every hour between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. every day. Tickets are date and time specific and it is recommended they be purchased in advance. Call the Mt. Hood Railroad at 866-468-7630. or 800-872-4661.Online visit:

www.mthoodrr.com

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Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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