Friday, June 8, 2012

Gargeous Bremerton


Despite the pouring rain, I was pretty excited to be in Bremerton on Monday. I think this will be a frequent destination for us with this new job, and I am completely fine with that. I’ve been here before and really enjoyed it.


Amazingly, the awesome people at Avian Flight Center let us use their crew car for the entire week. It didn’t apply to me, since I was going to leave town for three of my days during this trip. But it was nice to be able to drive into town without worrying about how to return the car.


Being that Washington is by-far my favorite president, it was fun to keep seeing his profile on all of the highway signs. Look at that hair! He really had it going on in every way.


On the drive to downtown Bremerton about seven miles away, we passed the beginnings of the naval shipyard. That is why Bremerton exists, actually. They built ships here for decades during the early 1900s.

In fact, for about thirty years, Bremerton was home to the largest dry-dock ship building yard in the world!


Last time I was here, I stayed at the Fairfield Inn for a week. It is just across the street from this Hampton Inn, which was our choice this time. Just like every Hampton, it is a beautiful hotel. The best part is its location right on the water! Since I had some travel plans for the week, I was grateful for its proximity to the ferry dock.


Hampton beds are some of the best in the hotel world. Goodness knows I’ve tried them all! Hampton is one of my favorite places to stay.

Later, when I came back to my room from exploring and grabbing some dinner, there was a bottle of water and a pack of M&Ms on my pillow. Do they know me or what?! I felt like I had turn-down service, and that is a rare event in the price range of hotels in which I am usually found!

It was just an unexpected bonus. I don’t know that I have ever said “no” to an M&M. Obviously…


With a view like this, how could I go wrong? I would only be in this room for one night, however, since I was going to trek north for a fun few days.


As soon as I was settled into my room, I left again. I had eaten at Two Blocks Up Café last time I was here and knew it was where I needed to eat a late lunch. Since it is more of a sandwich shop, I was afraid it would be closed when I got there at 3:00 PM. Luckily, it was still open!


It’s a very low-key and comfy café, and it felt good to get out of the 54-degree weather. Which, considering that is half of what it is at home, isn’t as cold as I was expecting!

IMG_5008  IMG_5009

While waiting for my lunch, I got to enjoy a lovely view. Also, they had my favorite magazine to read on their magazine rack. Perfect!


If I ordered a hot chocolate in Phoenix in June, I would probably get some raised eyebrows. Thankfully, I wasn’t the only one ordering a hot drink. This hot chocolate was yummy, but I am sure it was mostly due to that pile of homemade whipped cream.

Why haven’t I ever thought of a straw when drinking hot chocolate? Chug chug chug!


Lunch came. I conquered. I got the Turkey Bacon Lettuce Tomato and Avocado sandwich with pasta salad. It was delicious but not as good as I remember from my last visit.


I took a different route back to the hotel, which was only about three blocks away. On my walk, I passed this groovy old-school drawing on the side of a building. They were doing lots of road construction last time I was here in March. It seems like they have painted this in honor of finally being done with the work!


This is just one of the many huge buildings associated with the boat-building shipyard. It is still active and is certainly a busy section of town!

Look at that cool old ship part in front! I know nothing about ships, so that is the official name for this…”ship part.”


There is parking underneath the dock area. This is where people drive to get onto the ferries or just to park underneath while awaiting arriving passengers. Being on foot for my week, I wasn’t too concerned with this area. It always amazes me how cities charge for every square inch of parking space!


I had plans to leave really early the next morning, so I went to the ferry dock to check things out. I didn’t want to be scrambling at 4:00 AM the next day wondering where I was supposed to be, so this visit allowed me to see where I should board the Seattle-Bremerton Ferry just twelve hours later.


This is the ferry dock. Almost every hour for most of the day, these ferries transport tons of people for an hour-long trip over to Seattle. They are really big boats, and lots of cars, motorcycles, and bicycles also board for the ride over to one of my favorite cities.


The Bremerton harbor is so pretty. This is about half a block away from my hotel room, so I can come enjoy this gorgeous view any time I want!

Even without a jacket.


Goodbye, Ferry! I’ll see you dark and early tomorrow morning!


With the lovely overcast layer, you may be deceived that I am eating right after I ate lunch. Actually, this is at 8:30 PM at night! It gets dark so much later here.


I walked across the courtyard in between my hotel and several shops to eat some dinner.


Have I mentioned that I have become addicted to tacos since I truly discovered them a few months ago? If I’m somewhere associate with Mexican food, I usually try the tacos now.

It’s my way of being spontaneous! Am I a daredevil or what?!


I know this comment will lose me some faithful readers, but I am not a fish fan. So I got the pork carnitas tacos. And I was one happy individual.

While the taste of corn tortillas is definitely my favorite with pork, they fall apart easily. I ended up eating most of these two tacos with a fork. But you know what? It didn’t hurt the taste at all!


And I love supporting restaurants with personality. Their subtle advertisements throughout the shop cracked me up. It just made my dinner that much more delicious.

After a rough morning of “work,” it was fun to spend the afternoon exploring Bremerton. I am so excited to be in this neck of the woods through Saturday!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Where to Go to Ruin a Perfectly-Good Tan


I am at work this week, but not somewhere tropical and lush. After my past two trips to the Caribbean for work, it was quite a different locale to be in Bremerton, Washington near Seattle on Monday morning.


Escaping the triple-digit heat in Phoenix actually sounded like a pretty good deal to me. I didn’t even care that our week-long destination was somewhere that never sees sunshine.


The highest temperature this week is going to be 63 degrees. Most days stayed in the 50s and brought with them lots of drizzle.

Guess where my jacket is? On my bed at home so I don’t forget to bring it. Neat, huh?


Goodbye, Scottsdale! See you in six days!


In the great distance is a beautiful view of Sedona. Doesn’t this look like a nice place? In just two months, I will be here for a week with my family for our family reunion. Family Olympics, anyone?


Well, hello, Grand Canyon. Visiting you last fall in-person with Hubby was quite a treat. I don’t know how it took four hours to reach you by car when I am here in just fifteen minutes by air in my beautiful Gladys.


It was hard to take pictures of our descent into the Seattle area since it was overcast. In between cloud layers, you can see some mountains in the distance. And Gladys’ pretty winglet. Lookin’ good, Gladys!

Then we were back in the clouds again until about four miles from Runway 01 on the RNAV approach.


The first thing that I noticed from the sky is all of the beautiful yellow flowers covering the entire airport. I guess this flower wreaks havoc on allergies in the spring, but we were lucky enough to arrive during a week of rain. So no smelly allergy stuff.

I’m pretty lucky that I don’t have any allergy problems. That would simply be awful.


It was 52 degrees when we landed. There was a broken layer at 1,200 feet, and another at 2,000 feet underneath an overcast layer at 3,800 feet. Needless to say, we were the only thing landing at Bremerton Airport in the last hour.


Gladys will be here for a few days until we head back to Scottsdale with two passengers on Saturday morning. Then we turn around back to Bremerton with two different passengers.

It sounds like I lost the thumb wrestling match, so we will then be flying home again that night for a few weeks of maintenance in Mesa. I was hoping that six hours of flying and about ten hours of work would be it for the day, but it sounds like Saturday will be a long one. I would prefer to spend the night so we can fly home as rested individuals on Sunday morning.

Instead, we will fly back home on Saturday night to Mesa-Gateway for maintenance. I will then have to drive an hour to Scottsdale to get my car, and then drive another half-hour home from there. I will be a long night.

I hate losing thumb wrestling matches. At least I get to enjoy a week here.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Florida to Texas to Home


It’s always a much longer flight home when leaving a week-long vacation in the Caribbean. We had so much baggage and people on board that we needed another stop after flying over the Gulf Coast to Texas.


Goodbye, Fort Lauderdale! You are pretty, but only to visit for a short fuel stop.


There is always lots of air traffic coming in and out of the Miami area. It is in the top-five for busiest airspaces in the United States. It was nice to leave the hectic Florida skies to fly over the eerily-quiet Gulf of Mexico.


Here is a typical Texas thunderstorm. We were going to land at Midland for fuel (right underneath this little storm) but decided to stay a little further south to avoid such a lovely little buildup.

Thunderstorms always win. Always.


Our quick turn for fuel in Texas was so quick that I didn’t even have time to take pictures! As always, the folks at Ranger Aviation were super speedy. We had a GPU and fuel in our single-point port within fifteen minutes. With the wide-open airspace at San Angelo, we were soon departing towards the west yet again.


Goodbye, San Angelo! You have such nice air traffic controllers and such wonderfully-quick fuel service. We will be back!


I am so blessed to see the most incredible views from my office. I love the clouds and can even make shapes out of some of them. That usually happens on the longer flights…

This particular cloud looks like a giant cotton ball. Am I good or what?!


We are definitely getting closer to home, since the landscaping is drastically changing underneath. This doesn’t look tropical at all!


We are getting warmer! This is a view of Chandler Airport on the south side of the Valley of the Sun.


Hello, Phoenix! I missed you, believe it or not. You don’t have any humidity, and that helps my love for you remain strong.


This is a view of Arizona Mills Outlet Mall from the air. I only get this wonderful view of one of my favorite places to shop because they fly us directly over Sky Harbor Airport on our approach to Scottsdale. That keeps us out of the way of arriving and departing traffic while we head just north to land.

It’s a pretty big mall, huh? If they only had a LOFT and Banana Republic…I would never leave. Maybe it’s best that they don’t?


This is a view of Tempe Marketplace right by Arizona State University. I show you this because this was our “five-mile final” when landing at Sky Harbor. We usually had to maintain a speed of at least 170 knots until this landmark. It is really lit up at night and easy to spot, and, since there is no water here in the desert, it is also easy to find during the daytime because it’s a huge man-made lake!


Wow, you didn’t know that you were going to get a shopping tour from the air today, did you? This is the Scottsdale Fashion Square Mall, which is my favorite mall in town. Even if I buy nothing, you can’t beat the people-watching at this place. And it’s next door to Sprinkles. Though I try really hard to not get one every time I visit this general area of town.

This mall is home to my favorite store, Crate and Barrel. It’s a fun place to be.


Now that we are past the main Phoenix airport, we can begin our descent to Runway 21 at Scottsdale. The airport is at the base of these mountains in the distance.


Hello, Scottsdale! You are so pretty. And dry. Pretty dry.


Let’s turn base-to-final for landing on Runway 21. We get close to these mountains, so I am always glad when we land in the daytime.

Mountains, just like thunderstorms, always win.

Well, hello, Scottsdale Tower! After five months of being based here, you finally didn’t have to ask where we were parking! I finally feel included in your elite club.

What’s the secret handshake again?


This is Gladys’ cousin, the Phenom 100. Isn’t it cute? Isn’t Gladys way cooler?! This six-seat airplane parked right behind us on the ramp.

We love our line guys, by the way. They can’t be beat!


After a month of having this lovely little 61-pound addition on board, we can finally put Life Raft back into our storage locker. Since we won’t be flying over large bodies of water any time soon, we can save the space and weight by putting him away.

It gave me warm fuzzies knowing he was on board, but Life Raft deserves a break in the closet.


Doesn’t it feel great to be home, Gladys? And you’re not even dripping with condensation here, like you were in the past three stops. It always feels good to come home.

Especially with a killer tan.

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