Friday, July 8, 2011

Belated post for July 4

In 2000 we moved through the tunnel to the Oakland Hills. It is a tight knit neighborhood because most of them had lived through the Oakland Hills Fire.  The survivors welcome newcomers, and they teach us the horror of fire storms and how to survive the next one.  A few houses survived that fire and one house has become a gathering point on the Fourth of July.

Our hosts invite friends and neighbors, and most importantly the firefighters from the Hills' station.  This is a massive pot luck cook out. There is the pledge to the flag, singing of patriotic songs, prayers, a  little history, the introduction of the firefighters, and the group picture.  Then we eat.

We watch the Golden Gate ( for non Bay Area folks, the Golden Gate is the entrance to the San Francisco Bay, the bridge is named after it)  to see how the fog is, high or low.  Is the fog creeping in slowly, or is it rushing in?  This is important.  The fog determines if we will see the fireworks in all the cities around the Bay.  Also the fog determines if we are comfortable or freezing.  The last few years we have worn parkas and gloves.  This year was wonderful.  Shirt sleeve weather and clear, just a little low fog.

Below are some pictures from our neighborhood gathering.

When we arrived a little after 5:00 this was the view looking across the Bay at San Francisco.  The white is low fog coming through the Golden Gate.

Friends Lew and Nancy were asked to cook burgers and hot dogs this years.  We helped them.  This was not an easy task.  We had 100 guests to feed.

Marty and Lew worked hard to not have a back up in the line.  Also they wanted everything cooked to a moist point and not to a hockey puck point.  Fine line when trying to have some precooked so the line can move on to the salads and veggie tables.  They cooked everything to perfection.  I was a gofer.  Nancy helping get the meat on the grill.

 Click on this picture to enlarge it.  This is the driveway of our hosts. Down at the bottom of the hill you will see our guest of honors' fire truck.  They park headed out.  Many years they don't get to eat because they get a call and go charging out.  This year they got to eat and visit.  Then they left to patrol the hills.  The fire danger was at High.  To make it worse the roads were full of people and cars who were there to watch the fireworks.  The "visiting people" always have idiots who bring fireworks and are smokers.  The Hills are a no smoking zone.  Fireworks are pretty much illegal everywhere in the Bay Area.  So our firefighters are out there making sure no fires are started.

It is starting to get dark and the fog is still nice and low.  Will we really get to see the fireworks and not just hear them as we usually do?

Sunset over the Bay Area.  It just doesn't get much better than this.  The illegal fireworks have begun.  Hell, they began 2 days ago.  Some of the illegals down in the flats are better than some of the little cities' shows.

Full dark and the fireworks are going off all over the Bay.  Of course I don't really have great pictures of the displays. I would see them and start clicking, and I was pretty much too late.  Right in the middle across the Bay is where the fireworks are at Pier 39 in San Francisco.  To the right on this side of the Bay you can sort of see Berkeley's display.

It was a lovely fun evening. 

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