All A-Gourd the Skunk Train's Pumpkin Express

How are you getting to the patch this year? By "historic railway" is one fun answer.

Skunk Train/AP

PICKING YOUR PUMPKIN? Unless you've got a really giganto vine in the yard, one that's bursting with globular fruits, you're probably going to need to go somewhere to select your seasonal squash. That might be the local grocery store, or a garden center, or you could be lucky enough to have a corner lot selling pumpkins in your neighborhood. Wherever you head, you'll likely need to take a vehicle there, the four-wheel'd kind, unless your bike basket can hold a 15-pounder (which is a pretty big pumpkin, all told, and perfect for carving). But what if you could board a different sort of conveyance on your way to the pumpkin patch? One that "toot toots" rather than "vroom vrooms"? Then you'd likely be riding on the historic railway found in marvelous Mendocino County. For the...

SKUNK TRAIN, the historic locomotive that's long been associated with the redwoods, conveys a number of pumpkin-loving people to a "magical pumpkin patch wonderland" each autumn. The name of that train? Well, yes, it is the Skunky, but this special happening is all about the Pumpkin Express. And, for sure, you do call upon a pretty place brimming with pumpkins during your ride, and you are invited to leave with a pumpkin, which means that, yes, your pumpkin will also get to take a trip on a train. Isn't that a fact that swirls with enchantment, in the way that Halloween-style traditions probably should? You'll need to decide if you want to leave from...

FORT BRAGG OR WILLITS, then line up your tickets for this truly fall-fabulous adventure. Of course, if you want to take the ol' station wagon to the store for your carve-ready jack, you should. But if you want to make a full-on day in the redwoods out of it, there is one singular name to keep in mind: Skunky, of course.

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