Welcome to Nashville, Thomas the Tank Engine.
Jacob heard Thomas and his friends were chugging their way into the Tennessee Central Railway over the Labor Day weekend and insisted we drive into the city to see the little blue engine.
"Dada, ride choo choo," he said. "Chugga chugga, choo choo!"
Every year a full-size Thomas the Tank Engine rolls into Nashville as part of a nationwide tour called "Day out with Thomas." Included in the all-day attraction is a 25-minute ride in a real train car for the young train enthusiasts, along with other fun activities like wooden train sets, mini golf, bounce houses and a petting zoo.
Trains are one of Jacob's latest obsessions. He loves watching Thomas and Friends; he knows several of the characters. His favorite character is Percy, the little green engine whose main job is to pull the mail. Other than the $18 per person, it was a no-brainer to take Jacob to see Thomas while he was in Music City.
Erin and I thought the train ride was rather lame because it moved too slowly and we were stuck on the side that faced nothing but rocks, trees and rusted train cars.
Jacob, however, was too busy moving up and down on his seat, blowing his wooden train whistle, to care about such annoyances. He loved staring out the window as we moved past those rusted train cars standing motionless on a parallel track, he was amazed to see a car drive under us as we crossed over a bridge and he enjoyed passing by a flashing signal.
I think the real train experience helped solidify a longtime fascination with the iron horse.