Sunday, July 18, 2010

McChord Air Show

We decided to take the kids to the McChord Air Show yesterday.  We ran into a few snags in our plans but it worked out ok, and most of us had a good time.

We left home at 10:30am and stopped at a Subway to grab sandwiches to take with us for lunch.  We didn't want to spend a gazillion dollars buying barely palatable vendor food.  We left Subway at 11am and headed for base via surface streets.  We expected the freeway and main exit for the base to be backed up (**directions below post)  THAT was an understatement.  Despite our attempts to bypass much of the traffic, it took us 2 hours to get to the base 15 minutes away.  We heard later that, at one point, the traffic backup was 13 miles long!

We parked and walked quite a long ways to the entrance of the field where they were holding the airshow.  After standing in a security checkpoint line for a bit, we happened upon a sign that said no food or beverages except infant supplies.  Uh oh!  We had quite a bit of food with us.

We headed straight for the grass to set up a spot for viewing and eating, since the show had already begun and we were hungry.  We ended up sitting in the shade of a truck trailer. 

We all enjoyed the coffee cake I had made earlier.  It was excellent.

The F-18 show was also excellent, but shockingly loud.  I remembered the previous airshow as being loud, but not THAT loud.  Perhaps, the F-18 wasn't part of that show.  Anyhow, we expected everyone to be fine.  Mika survived that show just fine, and she was only 1 1/2.

Look Mom, there's a jet!

Can we leave now?

The F-18 had Mika lying on the ground, hiding her face, covering her ears, and crying.  The above picture was during the F-16.  She did NOT like the airshow much.  It was too loud.  I found out later that she was also imagining a crash happening while we were there.  I explained that all of the pilots were extremely skilled at flying and that they planned the riskier maneuvers over the runway field to keep the spectators safe.  She was a little better after that, but still didn't like the noise.  She asked to stay home (or go to someone's house) when we go to future air shows.

Mika did manage to find a little bit of happiness at the air show.  The field was full of grasshoppers.  We had at least 2-3 of them on our blanket at one time.  Mika kept catching them.  This one that she is holding demonstrated their ability to drop a leg to get away.

After awhile, Scott took Maddie and Sam to look at some of the planes on the ground.  Specifically, Sammy wanted to see the predator drone.  He got his wish and Maddie got a sunburn.  Oops!  While they were gone, Mika played with grasshoppers and I took Josh to a nearby tent for some camo face painting.  When they got back, I took Mika and Josh out to see the planes.

Knowing Josh liked the BIG planes, we headed straight for the C-17 on the ground.  I chose this one because it was big, but also because I could see that the had the back end open and allowing people inside.  Josh has been talking about wanting to go on a plane.  

He really liked being inside the C-17.  He loved the seats along the walls and sat in probably 8-9 of them.  

He also wanted to wait in line to see the cockpit.  He loved it.  I think this may have been his favorite part of the day...being in a big plane.  However, that line was a long one and I was worried about Maddie, so that's all we got to do before heading back to see how she was doing.   It turned out that Maddie was sleeping on Scott, and we missed the B-2 Stealth Bomber show.  Darn!  I had wanted to see it, though I wasn't too disappointed...see Josh happy with getting to go on a plane was worth it.

Sam, hearing that we got to go in a plane, wanted to see it too.  So, Mika, Sam, Josh, and I headed back to the C-17.  

They got to sit in those seats again.  Mika got to be theatrical.  Then we heard some strange sounded booms.  I thought they were little sonic booms at first.  But then I decided we should be heading back (no standing in line for the cockpit for Sam), and saw this...

They were doing their simulated bombings.  That was exciting and really cool.  Apparently, we had a better view from the C-17 than Scott did on the ground closer to the bombings.

After we got back to our blanket, we decided it was time to head out so that we could beat the traffic.  It was near the end of the actual air show and we did not want to get stuck sitting in an unmoving car for two hours again.  The first time was bad enough.  

On the way out, we wanted the next show which included a few different jets.  Getting off base was much easier than getting on, though we ended up leaving via a different gate and didn't know where we were at first.  It ended up being a perfect route home.

Today, the boys are at the air show again.  This time, they left earlier and decided to try one of the shuttle buses there.  They are there now, and having a ball, I'm sure.

**directions to McChord: Take I-5 until you reach exit 125 for McChord AFB and Bridgeport Way.Turn left at the end of the exit onto Bridgeport Way SW and proceed approximately 1/4 mile to the Main Gate.  Or you can go to the Lakewood Town Center and take a shuttle to base. 

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