Wednesday, July 2, 2014

From the Hoover dam to Bakersfield to San Francisco

We drove over the Hoover Dam as I mentioned before, and then west across desert to Bakersfield California. In Bakersfield we met my husband who was on site for a client in California. The next day, Thursday in case it matters, we headed over to the Kern County Sheriff Department. I had contacted a member of their air support, I believe his job there is as a paramedic. In addition to their duties chasing bad guys, rescuing hikers, a victims of motor accidents, and whatever else they do, the air support unit has taken on the duty of keeping watch over my dad's crash site. My husband and I visited the site in  2006. After my father's crash (it was fatal) some people and I don't actually know who, piled up some rocks and created a a little monument with a flag pole. In 2006, Tim and I brought out a new flag, the flags don't last long out in the wind. These guys (the air support unit at the Kern County Sheriff's office) took on the job of replacing the flag since my visit, and for several years we didn't know about it. Then this March a detective from the Sheriff's dept. went along with them for a ride to the site. He took a video of the guys changing out the flag and at some point looked up my dad and that led him to me. He found me on FB to let me know what they were doing.
It means a great deal to myself and the rest of the family to know that dad is being remembered and looked after in this way. tried to embed the video, don't know if it worked. video here

And so because of Josh, I was put in touch with a man named Brad Allen who is a paramedic on the Air Support Team. And so when I mapped out this trip across the country I contacted him to see if I could stop in and say "hello" in person. He was very gracious about it and when we got there we met quite a few people in the Sheriff's department, all of them were very gracious. Then Brad answered some questions for  the kids about what Air Support does, and they got to check out the Helicopters. It was a great visit.

checking out the Huey

I think this is everybody's first time getting inside a Helicopter

Thalia was not okay with the idea that her kids were up in a Helicopter, so she jumped in there to keep an eye on them. Brad wasn't the least bit phased, apparently when they work with the SWAT teams sometimes dogs are involved. 

It was a really neat experience and I am grateful that they let us stop by. I kept it pretty light, my kids have all grown up hearing lots of stories about my dad but their reality is that he's dead. He has always been dead as far as they are concerned. Brad and the others followed that lead and kept it light as well, but they all seemed to understand that it really does mean a great deal that they remember my father in this way. The anniversary of Dad's crash is July 11th. The team will try to get out there close to that date and raise a new flag. When they do, they offered to send me the one that they take down. Very thoughtful.

From Kern County we drove to San Fransisco, we have friends there. Kevin and Nancy had kids at the same preschool as our kids, we only have one pair that over lapped, K & Joe were in class together. They too have quite a few kids, and Kevin is also a bit of computer nerd. We all drove up to Maine together one summer when we had only 3 kids (?) and they had 4. And then we all went to South Carolina for a week a different summer when they had 5 and we had 5. And some years ago they moved to California and we haven't seen them in several years... So we called and crashed their house for dinner. Nancy was working so we missed seeing her, but Tim, and Kevin and I talked and drank close to 3 bottles of really nice red wine and caught up on all kinds of things. The kids all acted like it had only been yesterday since they'd seen each other and disappeared. For hours. I think we left close to midnight. Awesome visit.
From San Fransisco we headed north to see the redwoods...

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