Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Record-Tying Week, Day Three

Day Three began early, though it could have been avoided. Big Boss said we would be wheels-up by 9:00 AM, so I dragged myself out of bed in Edmonton to be ready for the day (I had finally gotten into bed at 1:00 AM, and that alarm went off way too soon for my taste). He showed up around noon. You can check my Micah Math, but that sounds like three more hours that I could have been asleep! Or could have gotten something to eat! Both sleeping and eating are things overrated on the road!

When they finally did arrive, we left Edmonton Downtown Airport and headed further east to a place I hadn't visited before. Regina is in Saskatchewan and is simply gorgeous with lots of farmland (they grow wheat and canola oil!), and beautiful blue skies above to compliment the green fields below. The people were friendly and quick to fill the airplane, which let us walk next door to the airline terminal to grab lunch in the cafeteria. I was so hungry that I didn't care where we ate! I managed a spinach salad and some unripened honeydew. As we were walking back to the ready-to-go airplane, the passengers showed up for our next flight. Perfect timing! And my stomach wasn't growling any more!

From Regina we flew even further east to Winnipeg. I highly prefer Winnipeg visits in the summer rather than the winter. It's so close to where I went to school, so being in Winnipeg has lots of great memories for me. We waited for about three hours for the passengers to return. I utilized my time by arranging Customs in the good ol' US of A for later that evening.

Our last leg of the day was to Grand Forks, North Dakota. Which is where I finished my Bachelor's Degree. Which deserves a post all its own. Without going into too much detail, I felt like a kid on Christmas morning when I heard we were finishing our day in Grand Forks.

Don't ask about my killer social life resulting in such information making my day!

Edmonton - Regina - Winnipeg - Grand Forks

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Record-Tying Week, Day Two

Having so much fun really makes the time fly by. It was already Wednesday, Day Two of our week, and already I was anticipating lots of stops and good times. We left Portland around 9:00 AM towards Seattle-Tacoma Airport, better known as SEATAC. Although I've been to Seattle countless times and love it more every visit, I had never landed at this airport. We usually go to Renton or Boeing Field, which I flew over on our approach to SEATAC. We also flew right over downtown Seattle, which I passionately love. SEATAC is insane. What an awesome airport! It's where all the big traffic flies, and we were right there for all the action! I could watch airplanes all day and not get bored.

Nerd Alert!

After just a few short hours in Seattle, and a delicious and healthy lunch at Roasters, we were on our way north to Canada. Clearing Customs in Canada is a completely different story than trying to come back into the States. These folks don't even come to the airplane to see our passports. We simply call them on the phone, verify there were no changes to what was filed with them, and then write down an entry number for our logbook. Pretty simple, right? Soon, we were unloading passengers at the Esso Avitat FBO. I pulled up the rental car for them and sent them on their way. Then I tried to take a nap and failed when we started making plans for our next trip. The decision was made to visit an island. And why not?

Big Boss wanted to go a little further west to Victoria Island. He wanted to land at an airport called Nanaimo, which prohibits flights at night unless one is familiar to the airport thanks to some astounding mountains all around the runway. The FBO would be closed by the time we got there, so we had to take enough fuel from Vancouver to make our later flight into Edmonton. Since we certainly didn't qualify as familiar with the area, we gave Big Boss a time limit of when he had to be back so we could take off before dark. While they were gone for a few hours, we waited inside the passenger terminal and watched some interesting Canadians. Later, though Big Boss showed up half an hour late, we still had enough light to get out of that mountainous terrain! Thank goodness it gets dark so late in the great north!

We were soon on our way to Edmonton for the night. We use the downtown airport to avoid a thirty-minute ride into town. The nice thing is that after landing around midnight, the hotel was just a few blocks away! I crashed, knowing an early morning was coming all too soon. After getting up that morning at 6:30 AM, bed sure felt good nineteen hours later!

Portland - Seattle/Tacoma - Vancouver - Nanaimo - Edmonton

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Record-Tying Week, Day One

With great optimism, I always take with me the tools I need to blog on the road. However, during a week with Big Boss where even sleep is a luxury, blogging doesn't always happen. When I get to my hotel room at 1:00 AM and have to be awake in just five hours, the last thing on my mind is firing up the tiny work laptop to update with a post. Sorry, but my sanity must come first in some situations.

Sooooooo, today I shall catch you up on some of what happened last week at work!

It was a doozy, that's for dang sure.

We left Monday evening for Oakland, California. Though this is one of my favorite stops in the Beechjet, I knew there would be no time to explore town during this visit. We followed a gorgeous sunset all the way to Oakland, where we landed around 9:30 PM. El Capitan and I borrowed a crew car for a quick bite at Applebee's, and I managed to eat dinner for less than 400 calories while getting a few servings of vegetables in me! It felt good to crawl into bed, but I knew it was short-lived since Big Boss wanted to be gone by nine the next morning. That meant waking up around 6:30 to be at the airplane in time to prepare everything for the next wine country!

Santa Rosa was next, and it was gorgeous. If it wasn't in California, I would put it on my list of places to live! I finagled the crew car for my passengers so they wouldn't have to rent something for just a few hours. Then I walked around some wonderful, old airplanes on the ramp and took pictures. They actually do Albatross restoration at this airport, and the one on the ramp was immaculate! Sitting next to it was a B-26 from WWII, but it wasn't in as pristine condition and apparently hadn't flown in years. They were both fun to see.

Next came a trip to Redding. We've been here before, but this time we had a chance to walk next door to the airline terminal and get a bite to eat. Apparently, people fly in from all over to eat at Peter Shu's Mandarin Chinese Restaurant. After eating some broccoli with beef, I totally understand why! We finished lunch just in time to head on to our next airport...McKinleyville near Eureka.

The runway was right on the coast. I'm glad we have good brakes and thrust reversers! Since there wasn't an FBO at this tiny airport, we walked a few minutes to wait in the passenger terminal. Places like this never disappoint in people-watching potential. Soon, our passengers were back and ready for our next hop north to Medford, Oregon.

This was my first visit to Medford, which is where my college roommate grew up. We were only here for an hour, so I didn't have time to call her up. By the time we got fuel, coffee, ice, and newspapers, we were on our way to the last stop of the day...Portland, Oregon.

Day One was our busiest of the week. Seven cities in one day. Three of these stops were to new airports for me (Santa Rosa, McKinleyville, and Medford).

Phoenix - Oakland - Santa Rosa - Redding - Mckinleyville/Eureka - Medford - Portland

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