Friday, July 29, 2011

Fishing and Other Important Matters

We just sent off some family members who have been staying at our house for a week. And what a fun week it was! I have the sunburn to prove it.

Steve is Hubby's older brother, and he lives in Bentonville, Arkansas with his lovely wife, Amy, and their two boys, Ben and Mike. We visited them last December and had so much fun that we decided they had to return the favor by coming to see us. The boys spent about twenty-one hours of each day in the pool while we adults enjoyed the air-conditioned house.

Thursday meant a trip down the Salt River in tubes. Though I used sunscreen, it apparently wasn't enough. I'm ready for it to stop hurting any day now. We took a picnic and ate under the trees after our three-hour trek down the river. It was so much fun! And we were able to avoid most of the profane-shouting youngsters who were drunker than skunks. We picked up another brother, Brian and his wife, Julie, from the airport after their trip to Mexico before all convening at The Cheesecake Factory for dinner. It's still my favorite place in the world to eat.

On Friday, we dropped Amy off at the airport so she could spend the weekend in Utah for a family reunion. The rest of us headed north just past Payson for some fishing. Grandpa Mick even met us there so he could fish with his boys! After several microscopic minnows were caught (and most of them released), we headed further up the road to Snowflake for the weekend. The town triples in size during this annual Pioneer Day weekend of festivities.

On Saturday, we watched a parade, visited the Arts and Crafts Fair, ate BBQ in the city park, saw lots of neat old automobiles at the car show, and cheered on the boys basketball alumni in a game against each other. Hubby and I then attended his 10-year Reunion, and it was a real treat to meet some of his high school friends, fellow nerds, and basketball buddies. Later that evening, while Hubby played ball with his high school team, we roasted marshmallows in the backyard and watched the city fireworks. What a great day!

Pioneer Day celebrates the arrival of the Mormon Pioneers into the Salt Lake Valley on July 24th, 1847. After several hundred lives were lost and countless stories of faith and perseverance came into being, many towns in Utah, Idaho, and Arizona still celebrate this annual holiday. We trek to Snowflake every year just for such a celebration.

We returned home to The Valley on Sunday and Monday (I went home a day early in case I got called for work). After picking up Amy at the airport, we enjoyed lunch at Dilly's Deli before spending a lazy day around the pool.

Tuesday resulted in a flight from Mesa to Phoenix in my airplane, and I was able to take some very excited people with me! It was so much fun! Thanks goes to Hubby for playing taxi so we didn't waste three hours getting back to my car. That evening, we went to the Visitors' Center at the Mesa Temple before grabbing our last dinner at Pei Wei.

At 4:30 AM on Wednesday, I drove the family to Mesa-Gateway airport for their flight home to Bentonville. Then, I unashamedly admit, I came back home to sleep for a few more hours!

We had such a nice visit with Steve, Amy, Ben, and Mike. And it was great to spend time with more family in Snowflake for such a fun weekend. We are lucky to be related to an incredible group of people.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Record-Tying Week, Day Four

We began our last day of the record-breaking week in Grand Forks, my former college town. Seven cities later, I found myself home at last and in bed with a handsome man! His name is Hubby, for those concerned about his identity.

From Grand Forks airport, we flew about twenty minutes south to Fargo. As a sugar-seeking student years ago, several trips were made to Fargo because it was the only Krispy Kreme location in the entire state.  It took over an hour in the car...I love flying in a jet! After just a few hours in Fargo and bumping into a UND flying buddy (we were UND Aerospace Tour Guides together for years), it was off to Omaha.

We were unaware of the city's plight, but Omaha had experienced some major flooding the past few months. According to the disgruntled fuel guy, the Corp of Engineers broke a dam and accidentally flooded the entire valley! The city proper was spared but most of the surrounding area was soaking under several feet of water. We couldn't believe the sites as we flew over them. Is that a freeway?! We found the runway just past a huge portion of the overrun river. After landing and getting our passengers on their way by borrowing a free crew car, Terry and I headed to downtown Omaha to one of our favorite stops for lunch. The Old Spaghetti Works is just fun, and the food isn't too shabby, either. After just enough time to eat and run, we were back at the airport and headed west to our next stop of the day.

We often fly to Denver, usually to this very airport on the southeast side of town. Centennial Airport is very popular as a reliever airport for the larger Denver International. It's so close to town and has taken over as the place to land since Stapleton Airport closed about a decade ago. I love this stop...they know us when we pull up and always take such great care of us at the Denver Jet Center. Since we were out of bottled water on the airplane (people drink much more water in the summer!), we borrowed a car and drove to Walmart for some supplies. After a wrong turn into a parking lot, we spent ten minutes in a self-serve storage center before finally being allowed out of the code-guarded fence. It was pretty funny after the fact, but I was imagining how that conversation would go with Big Boss. "Yeah, we're aren't at the airport. In fact, we're trapped inside a fence and can't get out! We don't dare ram the gate with this borrowed car!" Luckily, we found a way out and turned down the correct road to Walmart for water. Passengers arrived shortly after we got back to the airplane, and we were off towards the south to Colorado Springs.

Once again, because of such a short stay, the gal let me borrow the crew car for my passengers. I love preventing them them spending $60 for just a few hours of a rental car. And the passengers like free cars just as much as me! We got the airplane ready and didn't have a chance to grab a bite to eat before they were back just a few short hours later. The good news? We were on our way home.

After we arrived back in Phoenix to drop off some passengers, Terry and I loaded up an empty airplane and flew it to Mesa-Gateway Airport for some maintenance. Even though we just got it out of a big inspection that took a few weeks, we were having pressurization problems all week long. It hurt the ears of and invited complaints from passengers! After Big Boss confirmed he didn't have flying plans that coming week, we took it in for the problem to be fixed.

We landed at Mesa-Gateway Airport at 10:00 PM. I had to take a taxi back to Sky Harbor for my car, then drove home from there. I pulled into my garage at almost midnight, after being awake since 4:00 AM and after visiting seven cities. Believe me, the Oldies kept me awake and insane for that drive home!

Day Four: Grand Forks - Fargo - Omaha - Denver/Centennial - Colorado Springs - Phoenix - Mesa/Gateway


Phoenix - Oakland - Santa Rosa - Redding - McKinleyville/Arcata - Medford - Portland - Seattle/Tacoma - Vancouver - Nanaimo - Edmonton - Regina - Winnipeg - Grand Forks - Fargo - Omaha - Denver/Centennial - Colorado Springs - Phoenix - Mesa/Gateway

Monday, July 25, 2011

Home Sweet Home in Grand Forks

Not many people can write "Home Sweet Home" about North Dakota since less than 650,000 people reside in the entire state. However, because I lived there for four happy winters (everything is measured in winters in North Dakota), I practically consider myself a resident. North Dakota is one of the few states in the nation whose population actually declines every year. I left over five years ago and haven't been back. Amazingly, that changed last week when we stopped in Grand Forks for work.

I must say, flying in a gorgeous Beechjet to the same airport I trained as a young whippersnapper was an incredible experience.

Grand Forks is home to the University of North Dakota, where I finished my Bachelor's of Science in Commercial Aviation. I moved practically to Canada in January 2002 and graduated with my four-year degree in December 2004. Moving there in the dead of winter might not have been the best decision I've ever made, but attending UND's John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences was. I have nothing but great memories of my education and loved every moment I was there, whether is was as a flight student or a flight instructor for the school.

You can imagine my excitement when I learned that we were headed to Grand Forks, North Dakota for the night to clear Customs. Talk about butterflies!

Unfortunately, we weren't in town long enough for me to visit people or places. We landed around 9:00 PM and were harassed by Customs for about half an hour. By the time we got to the hotel, it was almost ten. Big Boss wasn't hungry, so the rest of us piled into a car and drove five miles to the other side of town. Actually, The Blue Moose restaurant in located in another state, since it is in East Grand Forks, Minnesota just across the Red River. I was pretty giddy driving past so many landmarks that hadn't changed since I left.

We had an incredible dinner of tapas before heading back to the hotel. The builders announced the plans for this CanadInns just a few months before I moved away, and the whole town was excited because of its indoor water park. Year-round swimming despite temperatures fifty-below-zero? Yes, please!

We left bright and early the next morning, being at the airport at 8:00 AM. I was pretty disappointed that I couldn't go visit all my teachers in the flight department. It just gave me more motivation to head up for a weekend on my own!

Though I was only in town for a few hours, I had a wonderful time reliving so many great memories. I'm not biased in the least when I confess that I attended the greatest flight school in the nation! In the world! Where else can you get a world-class education while paying $1,300 a semester for tuition?!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...