Friday, May 29, 2009

Touring the Continent

Many destinations filled my logbook during this week's adventures in the sky. We left Tuesday evening with...BOTH BOSSES! I have never had Joe and Ron on the airplane at the same time. As expected, the week was even more fun. Those two together are a hoot. They run the company, being #1 and #2 in the seniority lineup, respectively. With them as my passengers, we explored places all over the continent.

We departed Phoenix for a three-hour flight to Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada. They are preparing for the 2010 Olympics, to be held next February. Canada is always much more fun to visit in the warmer months! The next afternoon, after yet another battle with Customs to enter our own country, we arrived in Renton, Washington near Seattle. I love Seattle but have never been able to explore it fully, since we are rarely there for more than a few hours each time we visit. That same evening, Wednesday, ended in a new place for me...Yakima. It is as exciting as it sounds! Unfortunately, it was well past closing time for the place we parked our airplane, and we had to roll a barbecue grill over the medal detector in the pavement to get the gate to open and let us out! We were trapped inside the airport on the ramp! That's when you know they are taking this security thing a bit too far! Thursday was a busy day, beginning early after a late night. We went to Pasco (first time there) in the wine country of western Washington, then on to Greybull, Wyoming to take a gander at some beautiful World War II airplanes being restored. We then continued on to the ever windy Rapid City (no kidding, the airport identifier is KRAP). After several exciting hours waiting for Joe and Ron to return, we headed back west to arrive in Ogden, Utah at 10:30 PM. I had a hard time turning off my brain, yet again, and tossed and turned for the third night in a row!

Friday morning was an early flight south to Provo, Utah, where I flew my very first airplane at the age of 14. My mom purchased an aviation day camp for my birthday, and I attended a full day of "ground school" before returning a week later for a half-hour flight in a Diamond Katana. It was pure bliss, and it just confirmed in my mind that I definitely wanted to be a pilot (that all started when I was six years old...). Being in Provo was fun for another mom and two brothers were in town for an orthodontist appointment. Coincidence?! I think not! I got to show them what I do for a living (can you believe they pay me for this?!), then visited them for a few hours before they had to head home to Nephi. I like my mommy...she is one neat lady! Though I just got to see them a few weeks ago for ASU graduation, I wasn't about to turn down another opportunity!

As we left Utah Valley, we got to overfly Kennecott Copper Mine, one of the largest man-made holes on the entire planet. Yes, Utah has lots of claims to fame! Then we turned south again and headed home towards Phoenix, dodging several storms along the way. We ran into a little virga, which is rain that never reaches the ground to wreak its havoc. It found us at 16,000 feet during our climb! It was fun to visit places that are so familiar to me, especially since I got my Private Pilot License at Salt Lake International Airport. We arrived home at an awesome time, with me arriving just in time to pick up John as he was walking home from work. It was a wonderful week, and I am so blessed to be in love with my job.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Hike: Wind Cave

Well, it wasn't much of a cave. It was more like a bee-infested overhang. At least it motivated us to start down the mountain sooner! I almost vetoed the hike immediately when I heard the name "Wind Cave." I don't hide the fact that I am not a fan of caves!

John and I went hiking today to celebrate his day off from work. We arrived at the trail head in Usery Park in the eastern part of the valley. The views were gorgeous, and it wasn't even too hot! The only annoying thing was the small nest of gnat flies who found us at the bottom before we started, and they even had the nerve to stay with us the entire climb! You would think they would eventually get the hint with us swatting at them constantly and killing their cousins. John made me a yummy breakfast of blueberry pancakes and scrambled eggs, and I think all the sugar slowed me down for the hike. Such a wimp! But we finally made it up, pretty certain that we interrupted a make-out session by a couple of high schoolers. It WAS pretty romantic up there! For about half an hour, we were the only ones enjoying the "cave." Then we started back down, which I always enjoy more than going up.

On the drive home, we accidentally passed a Quik Trip and decided to treat ourselves with a refreshing slushie drink. It certainly hit the spot to mix watermelon, white cherry, sour green apple, and strawberry banana into one tall cup! Am I spoiled or what?!

We are so blessed to live in a free country where our people today are fighting all over the world to retain our rights as American citizens. It is wonderful to have a day to honor our military folk and all they accomplish for our benefit, but I wish it was celebrated more often. Goodness knows they deserve it! Thanks to all those who play a part in keeping this country great.

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