Wednesday, June 20, 2012

To the Village and Back.

Ever since Faith and I first visited Crossroads village 4 years ago, we had the wish to go as a family.  This was accomplished last fall and, since then, Josiah, Faith and I have been dreaming of getting a year pass, and going as often as we want this summer.  
So, that is exactly what we did and we decided that Mr. Reiche could use a pass too!!  So a couple of Fridays ago, the four musketeers (Mr. Reiche, Faith, Josiah and I) headed out on an adventure.  Well, actually taking Mr. Reiche was part of a surprise for his birthday so he didn't know our destination until right before we arrived!
One of Mr. Reiche's "guesses" as to where we were headed was to the airport to take a ride in a B-17 Bomber.  We all though it was just a funny guess of course so imagine our surprise and absolute delight, when we arrived at the village, and the rumble of a plane made us look at up the sky and discover a B-17 flying over!!!!!!!!!  God is so amazing when it comes to details. We still can't quite get over how incredible it was.
After picking ourselves off the ground from the shock of seeing the "flying fortress" (alright, well not literally ;)  we attempted to make our way into the village.  But, low and behold, the innocent looking day that we had picked for our travels just happened to also be the day that 100's (truly) of little children and their families decided to come!  Part of a preschool program, I think.  Thankfully, it did not really hurt our enjoyment of the village, but rather made for some pretty adorable photo options.  :P
We quickly walked through downtown looking at the day's schedule and trying to decide how much we could fit in before our train departed.
Our first stop was the bank where we examined all the interesting coins and tried (mostly in vain) to decipher
 the postcards that were hung on the wall.
Upon leaving the bank, we stood at the bottom of the stairs to the Dentist trying to call up the courage to go up and get our teeth pulled ;)
Thankfully, the door to the practicing room was shut so we just peered in at the formidable instruments and decided to leave the tooth extraction for another day.
A quick step into the printing shop showed that the printer was not in, so we strolled across the street and slipped into the barber shop.
The barber was a very chatty and amusing fellow and informed us that back in the day ladies would NEVER have entered the barber shop!!
Partly due to the led-lined, wood-trimmed bath tub located in the back.
We now only had a short amount of time before the departure of our train, so we went out the back door of the barber shop, cut across the lawns, and made our way to the Atlas Mill to watch our flour being ground.
The sound was deafening, but it was intriguing to watch, especially the separation process.  The mill operator would take the crushed wheat and put it through a processor which emptied into 3 different metal buckets.  After much shaking and agitating, it would come out into one bucket the flour the next coarse flour/wheat germ, the third cracked wheat.  After watching this, we quickly made an exit down the back steps to the basement where the racket was quite as loud, but different in its tone.  This noise was caused by the water wheel and all the different gears and mechanisms which turned the grind stone upstairs.
After surveying the wooden channel which transported the water to the wheel, we made a quick stop at the fence where the rail tracks went by...
To take some photos ;)
The train was due in 20 minutes so we darted towards the station only allowing ourselves a peek in the houses we passed by. 
We managed to pack down a delicious lunch of Scotch eggs, cheese, rice crackers, garden picked green onions and radishes, topped off by fresh strawberries and substantial sized cookies before the train, bells whistle and all, pulled into the station.
The above picture goes to prove that all the children milling around might not have been an entirely bad thing, especially when you have a camera ;)
We quickly filed onto the train this time opting for the back open coach, instead of the antique closed cars, and were we rewarded with finding enough seats for each of us to be near the "window".
"All Aboard!!!"  bellowed the conductor, then with a puff or two and clanging of bells we were off.
The day had turned out to be a warm one, but in the train as we went at a goodly speed through the shady woods it was very pleasant.
We learned many interesting facts while on the train, for example:  Have you ever wondered what the phrase "on the ball" means?  Well, it actually has railroad origins. You see back in the late 1800's there was a horrible fatal accident between two passenger trains and after some investigation it was discovered that the reason for the crash was that the conductors watches were not in sync.  So, the train company ordered all their conductors to get their watches from the Ball Company in Chicago which was known for its accurate time; from then on all the conductors were told to be "on the ball"!! 
'Ridin on the Train'
Driving through town.
All the little children waved and waved at all the cars and their occupants.
Before long we were crossing back through town,
and then we made the large loop before making a halt at the station and disembarking.
As soon as we could, we collected our belongings and headed off to see how much of the village we could peruse before having to leave for home.
We traipsed through Dr. J. E. Barbour's garden and admired all his herbs, including the lavender.
Then examined an old tombstone that was randomly leaning against a fence.
We had to visit the animal section of the village, but unfortunately because it was so early in the year, the only livestock currently residing there were the chickens, and a few bunnies.
Faith and I were nearly matching for the day.
Can you tell who's who? :)
We were very pleased that the resident musician, Neil Woodward, was in town.  We stopped to listen to a delightful tune, which he played on his penny whistle, before hurrying on towards the back of the village where the rides where located.
We opted out of the Carousel for that day and headed straight towards our favorite structure in the area.
The Superior Wheel.
Now, it might just look like any other small sized Ferris Wheel, but that is far from the case.  For one thing this is a Superior Wheel, not a Ferris Wheel, and though it might be small, it is fast!!! 
Whirly Swirly, almost dizzying fast!!  So much fun, especially when you go over the top and nearly lose your stomach as you drop over the lake.

It was a wonderful day and God provided us with weather that was just about right.
So, our first adventure this summer as "the four musketeers" was a great success and we cannot wait to visit the village again.


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