Get on the right track for an unique bed and breakfast experience
Apr 04, 2010 (The Sedalia Democrat - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- On a rural, wooded piece of land between Calhoun and Windsor sits two train cabooses. The track is laid and the cabooses look like they could take off at any minute, but those who stay at Cruces' Cabooses are not there for a train ride.
Damon and Patti Cruce are the owners of Cruces' Cabooses Bed and Breakfast. They offer visitors something that many other bed and breakfast places do not, a good night's sleep inside a train caboose.
"We were just talking one day and said hey, 'let's do a bed and breakfast,' " Patti said.
The Cruces owned a piece of land close to the Katy Trail and thought they would bring in a couple of unwanted train cars, clean them up and offer people a place to stay, but it was not that easy.
"It's a quest. You ask everybody to look," Damon said.
First, they had to find out how to purchase a caboose so they contacted a rail car broker, a person they did not even know existed.
They found two cabooses they wanted to purchase, a red Santa Fe caboose and a green Burlington Northern caboose. The couple used a crane and three large trucks to move the cabooses from Kansas City to their rural property.
Damon said after the move was finished there were still unknowns such as how far apart railroad tracks are and how to drive the spikes.
"We laid our own track," Patti said.
Damon and Patti then spent multiple weekends scrubbing paint, cleaning the wood floors and installing a bathroom shower and beds.
"It was the hardest job I've ever done in my life," Patti said.
The cars were built in 1980 and Damon said they may have been used to transport coal.
In about a year, the project was complete and Cruces' Cabooses was ready to open.
"We winged it the whole way," Damon said.
Today, the bed and breakfast is in its ninth year of business.
"We get busier and busier every year," Damon said.
For Damon, the idea of owning two train cabooses was unbelievable.
"He's a model railroader, so this is a model railroader's dream," Patti said.
Damon's father's family worked in the railroad industry and while Damon attended college, he worked on a railroad in Detroit.
The bed and breakfast attracts visitors from throughout the U.S. and bicycle riders on the Katy Trail from England, Australia and New Zealand.
"They come out here and have a good time," Patti said.
The land features a fire pit area called Hobo Holler, complete with a picnic table and hammock.
Inside, the cabooses have Swedish-style cots that form bunk beds to sleep five or six people. Each unit also has a bathroom with a small shower, a kitchenette area, desks, a table and a continental breakfast.
Each caboose also features a cupola with railroad chairs to take in the surrounding view.
"We think it's a pretty good little stay-cation," Patti said.
Cruces' Cabooses is open from April to Thanksgiving weekend and costs $75 for two people for a single night or $100 for three or more people.
In the fall, the couple offers free hay rides for visitors.
Reservations are preferred for Cruces' Cabooses and can be made online at crucescabooses.com or by calling Damon or Patti at 816-229-8389.
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