As the frenzy of finals comes to a close, it ushers in a completely different experience: summer in Berkeley. For me, spending the summer in Berkeley is accompanied with mixed emotions. On one hand, I’m excited to work extensively as a campus ambassador and only have one class on my schedule allowing me hours of unstructured time to do things that I put on the back burner during the semester. On the other hand, it meant that my time with my family and friends back home in Irvine, CA would be significantly truncated before I started the fall semester. This conflict was conspicuously apparent on Father’s Day.
My father is a big airplane enthusiast. If you took a trip to an air museum with him, you’d think he was a tour guide there. Over the years I’ve developed the same love for planes with a fraction of the knowledge of course. But on my first Father’s Day away from home, it was only fitting that I’d made plans to visit the Oakland Air Museum.
My trip began Sunday mid morning at the 51B stop just a couple blocks from my fraternity house. With my free student bus pass, a short ride south brought me to Rockridge BART station. Since a traditional Father’s Day starts with brunch so I walked a couple blocks down the street to a place called Crepevine, one of the myriad of interesting food places in the area: I even have an entire list of places to try. I ordered a Luna crepe which had chicken chorizo, scrambled eggs, mozzarella cheese, avocado and bell pepper, topped with sour cream served with home potatoes and organic mixed greens tossed with balsamic vinaigrette. It was delicious, and I called my dad and chatted with him, revealing my “Father’s Day plans,” while I ate and waited at the BART towards the Air museum.
A quick 20 minute BART ride took me to Oakland Coliseum station where I boarded the 73 bus (also free with my bus pass) in the direction of Oakland airport toward the museum. A 15 minute walk, and there I was.
Today was a special day at the museum; it was a Cockpit Day which meant that all the planes’ cockpits were open and visitors could climb inside and experience what it would be like to fly them! They have a variety of different displays. For example, there is an entire room dedicated to the variety of airplane engines, tracking their evolution. As for the planes themselves, there was a mix of planes, civilian and military. They ranged from World War II era aircraft through the Vietnam War and beyond. Although it was one of the oldest planes on display, my favorite has to be the North American Aviation P 51 Mustang. Unveiled by the US Army Air Forces in the latter half of the Second World War, its’ more than 2 hours of loiter time allowed it to provide sustained cover for bombing mission as well as conduct sorties deeper into enemy territory, and significantly tipped the balance of the conflict significantly in the Allies’ favor. in the movie Saving Private Ryan, Matt Damon’s character and his fellow U.S. soldiers are saved by a P-51 Mustang.
After visiting all the displays and taking pictures for my dad and I to share, I retraced my steps home. Although a Father’s Day without my dad wasn’t ideal, I’m grateful that with the help of my iPhone and Snapchat, I was able to share my East Bay experience with him.