I tend to save up my vacation time to use in summer for family activities, and today was one of those days.
Yesterday, Jacob and Oliver enjoyed planning what they were going to do with me. They ruled out all sorts of things nearby, but they decided they would like to fly to Ponca City, explore the oil museum there, then eat at Enrique’s before flying home.
Of course, it is not particularly hard to convince me to fly somewhere. So off we went today for some great father-son time.
The weather on the way was just gorgeous. We cruised along at about a mile above ground, which gave us pleasantly cool air through the vents and a smooth ride. Out in the distance, a few clouds were trying to form.
Whether I’m flying or driving, a pilot is always happy to pass a small airport. Here was the Winfield, KS airport (KWLD):
This is a beautiful time of year in Kansas. The freshly-cut wheat fields are still a vibrant yellow. Other crops make a bright green, and colors just pop from the sky. A camera can’t do it justice.
They enjoyed the museum, and then Oliver wanted to find something else to do before we returned to the airport for dinner. A little exploring yielded the beautiful and shady Garfield Park, complete with numerous old stone bridges.
Of course, the hit of any visit to Enrique’s is their “ice cream tacos” (sopapillas with ice cream). Here is Oliver polishing off his.
They had both requested sightseeing from the sky on our way back, but both fell asleep so we opted to pass on that this time. Oliver slept through the landing, and I had to wake him up when it was time to go. I always take it as a compliment when a 6-year-old sleeps through a landing!
Most small airports have a bowl of candy setting out somewhere. Jacob and Oliver have become adept at finding them, and I will usually let them “talk me into” a piece of candy at one of them. Today, after we got back, they were intent at exploring the small gift shop back home, and each bought a little toy helicopter for $1.25. They may have been too tired to enjoy it though.
They’ve been in bed for awhile now, and I’m still smiling about the day. Time goes fast when you’re having fun, and all three of us were. It is fun to see them inheriting my sense of excitement at adventure, and enjoying the world around them as they go.
The lady at the museum asked how we had heard about them, and noticed I drove up in an airport car (most small airports have an old car you can borrow for a couple hours for free if you’re a pilot). I told the story briefly, and she said, “So you flew out to this small town just to spend some time here?” “Yep.” “Wow, that’s really neat. I don’t think we’ve ever had a visitor like you before.” Then she turned to the boys and said, “You boys are some of the luckiest kids in the world.”
And I can’t help but feel like the luckiest dad in the world.