Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Rest Of The Week

Hypothetically speaking, let's say you arrive late evening in Baltimore after a long day of fun flying that began a few cities ago in Boston. Let's say you are forced to pay $124 for a La Quinta because everything else is sold out. That's right...a La Quinta in Baltimore costs that much! Just for kicks and giggles, let's say Boss wants to leave early tomorrow morning but changes his mind at the last minute and decides to stay until about 5:00 PM. Consequently, you now have three whole hours near our nation's capital. What do you do?

You hop on a train and head south to Washington D.C. If that isn't what you answered, shame on you.

It was an absolute blast. I certainly didn't have enough time to see all I wanted. No doubt, I could easily spend weeks there and still not be bored. Prior to today, I have been to D.C. so many times without any chance to visit the sites. That all changed today. We caught the MARC train from the Baltimore Airport, barely catching the 11:05 AM departure. After about forty minutes and beautiful city views along the way, we pulled into Union Station just a few blocks from all the action. It was incredible! Is it wrong to get butterflies over visiting a city? We first walked past the Capital Building and the House and Senate Office Buildings. It's so fun to think about all the history that stems from inside these walls. Then we turned our walk south and visited the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. Believe me when I say the museum deserves its own post. It literally took my breath away. After seeing a bunch of neat airplanes, I grabbed a nasty lunch at the food court. I still hate McDonald's but thought it would be my only chance for a quick bite. We then walked to the Archives Building to see the original documents that started this great country over two centuries ago. The Revolutionary War time period is certainly one of my favorites, and I felt as if I stood on hallowed ground to see those documents in person. Unfortunately, I had to battle half the middle school kids from Minnesota to see it. This required a great deal of patience, and not just because of their awesome accents. I didn't want to be so close and not see the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. So I waited, while a bunch of kids kept butting in line to be close to their friends. What an awkward age that I don't miss one bit! I finally got to see the documents up close. For some unknown reason, they are carefully protecting them and wouldn't let me take pictures. You'll just have to believe me that I got to see the pieces of paper that began everything. I love those Founding Fathers! Do you think I could get away with naming a kid George Washington?

After the Archives, we hoofed it back to Union Station in time to catch the train departing at 3:25 PM. We pulled into Baltimore Airport Station a little after 4:00 and ran to the Signature Flight Support where our airplane was ready. While waiting for my passengers to arrive, I got to watch an airplane carrying Bill Clinton pull up. Unfortunately, I never saw him de-board because we left towards Knoxville, Tennessee. That's right...we are faster than a former president.

I feel so blessed to be able to witness such an incredible city for $12.00 (round-trip train tickets). Hopefully I will have more time than just a few hours during my next visit. But it was such a treat to see such historical entities to our country! God bless America!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pittsburgh to Boston and Teterboro

We left for Boston on Tuesday afternoon and arrived after just an hour-long flight. We land on the northwest corner of Boston at a busy corporate airport in Bedford. It's only about half an hour drive to downtown, but the landing fees and fuel are much cheaper than if we landed at Boston Logan Airport. After I loaded up the Suburban with their luggage and made sure the passengers were on their way, we were off for lunch. Bedford is one of my favorite stops, and I swear it has absolutely nothing at all to do with the fact that The Cheesecake Factory is always on the list of where to eat while in town. I have been trying to eat healthy, so I got a yummy grilled chicken salad. Something about Craisins in a salad just makes me very happy. It was so delicious!

The hotel situation turned slightly scary. Since we had been surprised about coming here a day later than originally planned, we struggled to find a hotel that could handle our four-room request. We finally got reservations at a Courtyard Marriott and drove over. When we arrived, however, they only had one room reserved and no additional rooms available! Thus the search began. Rather than driving to another location, we spent an hour on the phone before finally finding a different Courtyard that could handle us. It was my first time at a Courtyard, and believe me when I say it was certainly worth the wait! What a gorgeous hotel! It's been a while since I felt safe walking barefoot in my room! In addition to a lovely hotel stay, Boston is home to one of my favorite co-workers. I always love when we visit his area.

Wednesday morning meant a short flight to Teterboro in New Jersey. It would only be about fifteen minutes if we could go direct, but the east coast is just one big mess of busy airspace. We had to follow a specific route that took us safely around all the New York airspace before landing at Teterboro. Once again, this is a reliever airport for the busy three main airports used by New York City (La Gaurdia, JFK, and Newark). No private airplanes fly into those airports because almost every slot is used up by the airlines. As you can see from the packed ramp, the place to be for corporate airplanes is Teterboro! It's just a half-hour drive to Manhattan. Boss rented a car for the afternoon and said he would be back at 7:00 PM. In his absence, I grabbed a lunch at Panera Bread...certainly one of my favorite fast food chains. Since I had been up since 1:30 AM my time, I was able to sneak in a successful but short nap after lunch. I'm rather old-fashioned in that I prefer to be coherent when I fly! The nap helped, but I was excited to make it to the hotel room later that evening to get some real sleep. I am not a good napper and struggle to sleep any time the sun is up.

Boss called early to warn us that he was on his way, and we were wheels-up by 4:30 PM. It's always a waiting game to takeoff from KTEB since there is so much traffic. Luckily, the weather cooperated today and allowed us to be on our way to Baltimore, Maryland.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

From West To East

We started out last Monday morning leaving with an empty airplane from Mesa. We had dropped off Big Boss #2 in Denver the previous Saturday and were already back at work early Monday morning! After we hurriedly got fuel, we were on our way to Denver to pick him up. Boss wanted to leave by 10:00 AM Mountain, and we were there and ready for him in plenty of time!

Next, we were off to Pittsburgh to Allegheny County Airport. We made it in one hop, despite the forecasted tailwinds never appearing to help push us along. Since the main Pittsburgh airport is so busy, we prefer this reliever airport used by most corporate airplanes. The original plan was to continue on to Boston after picking up another head honcho, but Boss decided to stay the night in Pittsburgh instead. Terry and I borrowed a crew car for some dinner (Lonestar Steakhouse isn't nearly as good as Texas Roadhouse or Outback Steakhouse, in case you need to know), then went to the hotel to check in. I love Hampton beds. The weather was incredibly gorgeous, and just for the record, I didn't even wear a jacket most of the week! It miraculously crept up into the 70s and was so beautiful with changing leaves! We don't visit Pittsburgh often, so this was a treat.

Unfortunately, we were on our way the next morning before having a chance to explore the town. Next stop: Bedford, Massachusetts near Boston.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Two Years Later And I Still Like Him

My husband and I have been celebrating our anniversary all weekend. I got home from work late afternoon on Friday, and he already had plans for that evening! After getting an awesome dinner at Five Guys Burgers, we continued south to the Higley Center of Performing Arts to watch a rendition of "The Sound Of Music," my favorite musical by far. I don't intend to drag John along to things that make him queasy, but he insisted we "start our weekend out right." It was a great show with wonderful talent, and the evening couldn't have been better. I am proud that I didn't fall asleep halfway through considering I had been up since 1:30 AM for work.

Saturday morning meant sleeping in. I have quite a bit of sleep debt that needs paying, but we were unintentionally up and at 'em by 8:00 AM. Today meant heading to Tucson to enjoy the weekend together. I didn't realize how important it would be to get away from the house. If I am home, I want to be busy on projects. By leaving Mesa far behind for a few days, it meant we could enjoy our time together without any distractions! Our first stop was the zoo, which was so fun. We got there shortly after noon and wandered the whole park in time for closing at 4:00. Then we stopped at Wal-Mart on our way to the hotel for check-in. Groceries were purchased for a picnic on Sunday so we wouldn't have to eat out and ruin Sunday intentions. After dropping our things off inside the hotel room, we hopped back in the car for a twenty-minute drive to our first time at The Melting Pot. It was a neat experience, but we both agree it was a lot of money for just boiled meat. We probably won't go again unless it's with other couples and we just get dessert. I thoroughly enjoyed dessert. We were supposed to visit Dust Town and watch a gun show that evening, but we were both so exhausted that we just decided to live up to our age and go back to the hotel for some sleep.

Sunday morning was lazy. We slept in and then watched a movie on television. We grabbed a yummy breakfast at the hotel, and I was even able to make a Belgium waffle (my favorite!). We then got ready for church and visited a ward that started at 1:00. We stuffed our picnic items inside the fridge at church and then enjoyed the next three hours of spiritual encouragement! People were friendly and the lessons were great. We hit the road yet again after church, this time to the west side of Tucson towards Gates Pass. My romantic husband had discovered through hours of research that this location is famous for its sunsets, and neither of us was disappointed at the beauty! We took a few pictures before my camera battery finally died (I had taken a million pictures last week at work and had forgotten to charge my battery before leaving for the weekend). After the sunset, we drove home and arrived just before 8:00. It was such a nice weekend! And I learned it's quite a challenge to find songs on my iPod that I think John will like, too!

I am glad John took today off work. After not seeing him much these past few months, I wasn't ready for our weekend to be over already. True to form, however, we are busy working on the house. He's adding a few more coats of polyurethane to the cabinets while I am getting several loads of laundry caught up. I am making him chicken enchiladas and peach cobbler for our anniversary dinner tonight. Something tells me he won't complain!
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