I went to work this week! What a treat indeed. I've been so antsy to get on the road again that I didn't even mind that the call came to leave Sunday afternoon. At least I got to attend all of church before heading to Willy-Gateway to get the airplane from maintenance. We flew it to Sky Harbor and were all fueled and ready by the time the passengers showed up just before seven o'clock.
It felt so good to fly again!
We flew late into the night to arrive in Minneapolis-Anoka airport. Since we landed at midnight, nothing was open. But we had called ahead to ask the line guys to wait for us so we could have a ride to the hotel. I'm glad they were there. Parking can always be a challenge when I'm unfamiliar with the airport. Within an hour I was curled up in bed trying to sleep. We had an early show the next morning to take three passengers to Madison, then Milwaukee, Wisconsin. As he left the airplane, Big Boss said he would be gone for two hours and wanted to go to Toronto. I scrambled to submit our online departure information to Customs, which requires an hours notice to allow us to leave. We got inside the FBO and their internet was down! So we drove to McDonald's to use the Wi-Fi while Terry ordered lunch. I got the form submitted just in time, and Big Boss didn't even know there was a problem. We try really hard to make his travel as seamless as possible. He has it pretty good with us!
We ended the night by landing around 8:00 PM in Toronto-Buttonville airport. I always carry my passport just in case Big Boss wants to "pop up" to Canada. I walked to Jack Astors from the hotel and ate a delicious Greek chicken salad before calling it a day. Because we didn't know his plans enough in advance, we had to spend the night in Toronto before flying to Scranton, Pennsylvania early the next morning to clear Customs. There wasn't much we could do about it since Customs will NOT help at all if you're in a tight time crunch. We spent a few hours in Scranton on Tuesday morning before hopping further down the east coast to Baltimore. This is always a fun stop, simply because of the incredible people-watching that can take place in the FBO. It's always packed with something exciting going on! After a few hours in Baltimore, we tried to get into Raleigh-Durham but failed. We battled thunderstorms during every single flight this week, but this one was so big that the airport closed! We were put in holding with about twenty other airliners and flew in circles for half an hour before I found us a place to land to avoid the storm. We landed at Rocky Mount-Wilson, North Carolina for some fuel. Since Raleigh wasn't going to be opening any time soon, we flew to Atlanta instead. After flying far around some more storms, we landed at about 7:30 PM. I was very excited to be in bed soon, but Big Boss decided to fly to Florida that evening to avoid weather in the morning.
Soooooo, after a quick dinner in Atlanta and getting the airplane fueled, we were on our way to Ft. Myers, Florida at about 10:30 PM. I had been awake since 5:00 AM that morning and didn't function very well on the radio. I kept waiting for someone to ask if we had been drinking! I slur when I get tired. What can I say? We had to pay a late fee for the FBO line guys to wait for us, and soon we were all in the van to the hotel. I slept like a baby, though not long enough. Big Boss showed up an hour early the next morning for our flight to Tampa. We were there long enough to make a grocery store run for some more bottled water, then a stop at my favorite restaurant, The Cheesecake Factory, for lunch. I stayed under 500 calories and still enjoyed one of my favorite dishes...the Factory Chopped Salad! I was really careful with my meals all week on the road. Thankfully, I still managed to lose weight!
After Tampa, we flew over some building thunderstorms and over the Gulf of Mexico to arrive in southeast Texas called Harlingen. It's about an hour south of Houston and is presently on the edge of a huge tropical storm. Of course! We had rain and wind to battle from that storm but managed to land safely. After about four hours on the ground in Harlingen, we flew to Addison, Texas near Dallas. Again, one of my favorite stops. We grabbed dinner at Pei Wei before heading back to the airport. Big Boss surprised us all at 10:30 PM by saying we were heading home! Approaching was a big working holiday weekend, and I think he wanted to be home to prep for it. I don't mind! After more thunderstorms and slurring on the radio, we landed around 11:00 PM local. My car was still at Willy-Gateway, so we took a taxi (after waiting forty minutes for it to show up...am I the only cursed person when it comes to calling a taxi?) to Terry's house, then to Hawker Beechcraft in Mesa for my car. I turned the oldies up and sang too loudly so I wouldn't fall asleep on my drive home. I pulled into the driveway at 12:30 AM...one very tired kid.
It was a typical Big Boss week which results in lots of airports, early mornings, and late nights. I am still working on getting rid of my sleep debt so I don't get sick. But it was sure fun to be working again! Other than the lack of sleep and the awful storms on every flight, I would say the week was pretty darn perfect.
Sixteen cities in four days. Not too shabby, eh?
Mesa - Phoenix - Minneapolis/Anoka - Madison - Milwaukee - Toronto/Buttonville - Scranton - Baltimore - Raleigh/Durham (couldn't land) - Rocky Mount - Atlanta/Cobb County - Ft. Myers - Tampa - Harlingen - Dallas/Addison - Phoenix