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Silver Rails Country
New in Autumn 2009!
by Stephen Grande, web author of TrainWeb.com
TrainWeb.com/depotinn/autumn2009.html

This page has a sneak preview of what you can see if you come to visit Silver Rails Country in La Plata, Missouri, in September or October 2009!

My sister, Shelli, had her 50th birthday on September 1, 2009. Much of our family came to La Plata to celebrate her birthday at the Silver Rails Event Center. That included five of our siblings (with Shelli and me that makes seven on my mother's side!), our Aunt and our cousin, plus a couple of our spouses and significant others. My wife, Barbara, was there along with her parents. Tom & Kelly Marshall were there from the Depot Inn & Suites, Ray Burns from TrainWeb.com, Box & Amy Cox from Railfan's Friend and the Silver Rails Gallery and dozens of other friends that Shelli has made in La Plata since she moved there a bit more than a year ago!

If you come to visit La Plata, you will probably meet Shelli as she is usually the one that picks visitors up from both the Amtrak station and the Kirksville airport!

My wife and I from Southern California, my wife's parents from Northern California, and my relatives from Florida all flew on Continental Airlines to Houston, Texas, where we all met and got on a Continental Express Jet to Kansas City. We didn't arrive until after 11 PM. Not wanting to drive everyone to La Plata for 3 hours in the middle of the night, we stayed right at the Airport Marriott Hotel. The rates are usually quite reasonable there, often less than $70 per night and they provide free shuttle service from the airport every 20 minutes.

My three siblings and one of their spouses from New England all flew to Chicago and then took the westbound Amtrak Southwest Chief from Chicago to La Plata. They arrived on Monday morning, August 31, 2009.

In the morning, I picked up an 11 passenger van from Budget (open from 8am to 11pm) at the airport and did the 3 hour drive to La Plata, Missouri. Arriving into La Plata is a lot more fun by Amtrak as the train takes you right to La Plata and just a block from the Depot Inn & Suites. The property of the Depot Inn & Suites starts right across from the Amtrak Station, but it is still a pretty big "block" and you will want to take advantage of the free shuttle service provided by the hotel. That is especially true if you have luggage!

Though the Jackson Country Connection Steam Engine Corn Maze doesn't officially open until next week, September 6, 2009, which is after my family departs, Bob and Andy (Bob's wife) Jackson, were kind enough to give us a preview tour of the grounds and the maze. The corn maze had been all cut, but the "stations" had not yet been set up. Without the "stations" in the corn maze, it is very easy to get totally lost in the maze. Even Bob Jackson said he almost got lost in the maze! Thus, they didn't let us into that maze, but they did give us a taste of the maze by letting us into the smaller kid's maze. We had a hard enough time finding our way in and out of that and that was just in the shape of a simple "X" railroad crossing signal!

We also did the kid's "bale maze" which looks simple, but is complicated by the rule that you are only allowed to make right turns. It took a while, but some of us eventually found our way through that without breaking the rules! We also played with the "corn cannon" where you can shoot corn cobs using a compressed air powered cannon. If you come during September and October you will find much more to do including a bounce house, a pumkin patch, tractor ride, and much more.

The Jackson Country Connection is only open during September and October each year so be sure to call ???-???-???? to make your reservations. The Steam Engine Corn Maze is normally open Friday through Sunday. But if you can only come during the week (or if you have a difficult time finding open hotel reservations on weekends), ask about seeing the Steam Engine Corn Maze during the week. Often arrangements can be made to allow you to come visit the maze outside of normal hours.


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