Thursday, March 29, 2012

Beautiful Bremerton


Last week was so much fun. I love flying into new airports, and I love even more when I have a chance to explore those new parts of the country.


I got to spend a whole four days in Bremerton, Washington, which is a short hour-long ferry ride away from Seattle. Bremerton is located on a peninsula to the west of one of my favorite cities in the world.


Since the cabinet was removed, we had room for seven passengers to fly the 3.2-hour flight to Bremerton. The airport is cute and small and uncontrolled, meaning there is no tower frequency to get a clearance to land.


We were cleared for the ILS Approach to Runway 19 by Seattle Approach. Once we were established and just a few miles out from the final approach fix, we were allowed to switch frequencies to talk to Bremerton Traffic.


I had been listening on that frequency on the Number Two radio so I could have a heads-up of the local traffic.


Because it was cold, windy, and low ceilings, we didn’t have anyone else vying for traffic pattern attention. It was definitely stay-inside-and-read-a-good-book type of weather, so I can’t say I blame anyone else for not flying today.


We taxied to the ramp and were marshaled in by the line guy from Avian Aviation. A wonderful FBO with super-friendly people!


I unloaded lots of bags from the airplane and put them into a large van that was waiting for them. Terry left to show them a hangar that we are considering, while I stayed behind to prep the airplane for four days on the ramp.


There are three smart probe covers (a combined pitot tube and static system…so nice!) that need to go on to prevent bugs and debris from going inside. Since these probes compute all of our airspeed and altitude data, it’s always nice to have them properly working and debris-free.

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I also placed the three pins into the landing gear. One on each main, and one in the nose wheel. Since the gear can’t retract with these installed, it’s always the first thing I remove when I arrive at the airplane for a flight!


I lugged our bags into the FBO lobby and commenced some sweet-talking, which enabled us to keep the crew car for our entire trip. It’s really helpful to have transportation, and even better when that transportation is free!


We drove about eight miles to our hotel near the harbor of Bremerton. I was a block away from the water and couldn’t wait to explore it all!


Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate with those goals. I spent most of Tuesday inside, catching up on computer projects and gazing out the hotel window as the winds and sleet and hail and cats and dogs raged outside.


Wednesday was much nicer, though a little chilly. I hit the road on foot and was soon warmed up with my wanderings.


First, I visited the boat harbor. Bremerton was founded in the late 1800s when it became a ship building yard for the US Navy. In fact, for decades it housed the largest dry boat dock in the world, built in 1903.


Because of the nautical influence, lots of my exploration today included ship stuff. I even got free admission into the Naval Museum near the still-active ship yard. I really love museums and old articles, even if it is dealing with sea things I know nothing about.


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Bremerton is home to five retired aircraft carriers, to which I’ve never been close in person. Unfortunately, they were buried inside the naval yard, and I couldn’t get close enough for a picture. I know some cities have carriers on display as museums, and I need to see one as part of my bucket list!


I then wandered north to Evergreen Park. I was enjoying the view from a park bench when an old lady with a loud and slobbery dog walked past. He darted towards me while she held him back. I smiled at her, and she mistakenly took that as a sign that I wanted him all over me. Why is it that dog people think everyone is a dog people? I stood up and said, “No thanks” as I walked away. I think she had no idea why I didn’t want that fur all up in my face. Baffling, really.


Did you know I’m not that into dogs? Well, now it’s out there for everyone to know.


Since I was ousted from the park and probably now had fleas, I headed back towards the shore and walked across the newly-made bridge to Manette. This little town has two bridges linking it to Bremerton, so I walked across and back to get some pretty pictures.


Can you believe those huge mountains in the distance? Now I know where all those vampires hunt when they’re hungry.


I looked on the map. Bremerton is just south of Port Angeles. In case you’re wondering. If this doesn’t mean anything to you, might I recommend a four-book series that is rather enjoyable? Even for non-teenagers like myself?


After I returned to the Bremerton-side of the bridge, my stomach let me know that it was time for lunch. I had walked past so many cute shops, art galleries, and hippy stores during my morning exploration, and I knew exactly where I wanted to try a meal.

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I decided upon Two Blocks Up Café and was not disappointed. In fact, it may very well be the best sandwich I’ve had in years. A turkey BLT with avocado on toasted sourdough bread. Goodness, I’m drooling just thinking about it.


My side dish was their homemade potato salad, which was delicious. Why I haven’t considered putting black olives (one of my favorite foods) in potato salad before, I don’t know.

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I washed everything down with their “small” hot chocolate. With whipped cream. Judge away. It took two hands to hold because it was so heavy.


With my tummy full and warm, it was time to head back to my hotel, the Fairfield Inn by Marriott. I loved the location, and the price. I would definitely stay here again.


Later that evening, I went out walking again and found a delicious Mexican restaurant. I don’t think I have ever been sick of Mexican food in my life, and I could eat chips and salsa with no reservations. My carnitas burrito was yummy. So good, in fact, that I forgot to take pictures.


Thursday morning, I walked back to Two Blocks Up Café, hoping to get an early lunch of that same sandwich before I headed back to Arizona. They were still serving breakfast, so I had to settle for a homemade cinnamon roll. Don’t worry, T’liese. Yours are still way better! But I choked this one down for the team, and once again forgot to take pictures.


After checking out, we drove back to the airport. I removed all the pins and pitot covers and installed the nose wheel landing gear link pin. We can’t steer without it attached, and I certainly wouldn’t want to miss that.


I conducted a preflight and discovered that we needed to add more oil to each engine when we got home.


And I also discovered that a hand vacuum was the best tool of the day, since some catering on the flight up had obviously been heartily enjoyed by all.


Our passengers were about fifty minutes late arriving to the airport, so we were ready when they came. Just after takeoff, we got a phone call on the iridium telephone from the home base, verifying the delay and ensuring we were safe. Yes, we can receive phone calls on this airplane. It’s so stinkin’ cool! And if it didn’t cost a billiondy dollars, I would give you all the number so you could text me in flight.


With a slight tailwind on the way home, we landed 2.7 hours later to much warmer temperatures and sunny skies. It felt great to be home. This would be my first Saturday home in a month.


I’ve been gone all month for work and have certainly enjoyed it. However, I admit it was nice to catch up on some errands at home that I simply haven’t been home to do these past four weeks. I was due for an oil change in my car and a tire rotation.


I also got to meet my new niece on Friday. She is a doll, and I think we’ll keep her. We took them dinner on Sunday and enjoyed even more tiny-baby-holding while eating lasagna and Rolo Brownies. Can’t complain too much about that!

Phoenix – Bremerton – Phoenix


  1. Sounds like a lot of fun. Keep up the good work. And tell Gladys hi from Aunt Elan!! xoxo

  2. Can I come on your next trip. That looks georgeous. I'm a little jealous right now while I'm sitting at work at 3 AM.


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