Courtesy of Cruce's Cabooses
By Jiaxi Lu
An adventure off of the Katy Trail awaits you at Cruces’ Cabooses in Windsor, where you can stay in a renovated train caboose. About ten years ago, Damon and Patti Cruce wondered where everyone would stay when the trail opened between Clinton and Sedalia. When his neighbor suggested he put a railcar on his land, the idea stuck. Damon grew up in a railroad family. His dad’s parents worked on the railroad, and Damon worked on the rails in Detroit during college. “It must be in my blood,” Damon says.
He began searching for cabooses to restore. Damon and Patti cleared land, ran utilities, and laid roadbed and track before two cabooses were delivered.
Open from April to November, a one-night stay for two costs $106, and a continental breakfast is included. The green Burlington Northern caboose sleeps six people, and the red Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe caboose sleeps five. Both have air conditioning and fully equipped bathrooms.
“I love to watch kids’ faces as they try to figure out if it’s a shower or a bathroom,” Damon says. “Some guests say I’m preserving history for these kids. They have never seen a real caboose.”
Besides riding the Katy Trail, tourists may also enjoy activities at Truman Lake, which is about seven miles away, and in Clinton during weekends. Cruces’ Cabooses also provides accommodations for horses because they are allowed on the Katy Trail between Clinton and Sedalia.
Although it has been an adventure for the Cruces, it’s something more for other Missourians, Damon says. “Three guests in two years have told me this is the best kept secret in Missouri.”