So! Last weekend we went with some friends (Michael & Liz) and their son Ryan (who is just three months younger than our guys) to watch airplanes land and take-off at Oakland International Airport (OAK). Dan had scouted out (via the interwebz) a good-looking park near to the airport, Oyster Shoreline Regional Park, so we arranged to meet up there Sunday morning with a breakfast picnic of pastries from Feel Good Bakery and peaches from Happy Child CSA (aka Frog Hollow Farm). Even though we were coming from different directions (Alameda & Oakland), we managed to both arrive within minutes of each other at the wrong entrance to the park that Google Maps had merrily directed us to (it was actually the entrance to the Davis Street Recycling Station.) But that made it easy for us to flip around and follow each other to the real entrance of the park, as found on the park’s website.
Liz, is eight months pregnant with their second, but the whole family gamely walked the half mile to some picnic tables, where we dug into the booty. While we adults stuffed our faces our two little blonde guys (their boy, Ryan, and Ansel) dabbled in the pastries but soon decided they had had enough and went off to explore. Our good eater, Cormac, kept at it for awhile longer before he too wanted to adventure. All the while airplanes were coming in low and slow from a Southeast direction to land at OAK (though funnily, the majority of the planes were of the Southwest Airlines variety.) The boys did not pay them much mind except when we pointed them out.
We were sheltered from a view of the airport proper by a small knoll to the West (I now know that the small knoll is actually a retired garbage heap, covered by a layer of clay) so Dan took Coco & Ansel up to the top of the knoll to see if they could get a better view. While on their scramble through the brush they disturbed a snake, which we are pretty sure was not poisonous. It did not pay them much heed and Dan hastily backtracked. Meanwhile, Ryan was having a great time playing with some giant pinecones that were littered about the picnic table. Despite his younger age, he talks much more than our guys and it was wild for me to hear him count “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 9, 9, 9…” :)
Soon enough we decided to continue on the official trail which wound around the knoll and that we assumed would give us a better view of the airport and planes. We were right. Though the trail had no shade and the scenery was pretty mundane, the views of the planes were great. We watched many a plane approach from the Southeast. It seems wrong to see airplanes going so slow– they almost seem to hang in the sky. Ansel, in particular, really seemed to enjoy seeing the planes and after one would come he would make the ASL sign for more. It was adorable that he thought we could just order up more planes to land for him. As we continued on the trail, which was heading in a Northwest direction, toward the airport (and toward the bay.) we were able to see planes taking off too, though not as well.
We found a good place to stop. Ansel started throwing rocks (with a little help from us on how to throw rocks away from people) and Cormac was intent on treating the stroller as a mountain to be climbed. Ryan seemed content just to be there with mom and dad, though he and Ansel did collaborate on filling my empty coffee cup with rocks. Many excellent pictures were taken, primarily by our friend M, but also by Dan and I. They are sprinkled through this post.
A good time was had by all and I foresee more years of airplane watching, maybe with our friends, in our future!