Friday, August 3, 2012

California in the Dust


After a wonderful five days in sunny (and sometimes rainy) California, it was time to fly back home to Bremerton. Our passengers live here for the summer, so all of our flights are from this airport until late August.

There were lots of pretty airplanes on the ramp in Van Nuys, but Gladys was the prettiest girl at the ball.


I loved the giant American flag on this airplane based in Ideeho. The paint was pretty cool, too. Obviously a custom job.


We have to taxi in between all of these parked airplanes to get to Runway 16R for takeoff! Tight quarters on this busy ramp, and there are six other FBOs at Van Nuys that are just as busy!

This place is a hoppin’!


As always in such busy airspace, we had to hold for an IFR release at the beginning of the runway. As long as it isn’t more than a few minutes, I always enjoy this wait because I get to see some pretty airplanes land at Van Nuys.


And we’re off! It’s just over two hours back to Bremerton from Van Nuys. The cooler temperatures are going to be wonderful. But it has been a great and busy week in California.


We flew past Van Nuys Airport again as we continued our climb to FL400 for the flight home. We were just down there at that little strip of an airport in the middle of a busy city!


Some beautiful lakes could be seen as we crossed the saddle of mountains towards the Seattle area. These are just north of the Los Angeles valley, and I cross them every time we come to LA.


Now we are flying near Palmdale just past the Angeles National Forest. The best views are always from the sky.


After we leveled off, I had a good feel for what the fuel burn would be for the remainder of the flight. That let me compute the landing weight and thus enter the landing speeds from the checklist into the information boxes in Gladys’ flight computer.

Micah Math at work. Scary, I know.


This was about as exciting as it got for weather during the flight back to Bremerton, and we were way above it. I love when we have great weather for our flights. We weren’t lucky enough to have a tailwind, but that just meant more time in the sky.


As we got closer to Seattle, I had a great view of Mount Saint Helens. Doesn’t this thing still look like it’s about to blow?! See how the clouds just hang around the opening like it’s volcano steam?

I was glad that we were still at 24,000 feet right about now.


And here we are flying over the south end of one of my favorite cities in the world…Hi, Seattle!


It was a gorgeous day to land at Bremerton. It was busy in the traffic pattern, of course. And the Seattle Approach Controller told us to keep an eye out as we flew past Tacoma Airport since they were having an airshow and a B-1 Bomber was there. How cool!

We didn’t see that giant guy, but I could see a formation of what looked like F-16s flying over the field for the show. Pretty awesome!


It’s so green and lush here in the Puget Sound. I love landing here at 65 degrees. It was a beautiful day to fly.


Can you see Bremerton Airport? They shut down one runway years ago and presently use it in drag racing. It’s funny to hear those loud cars going when on the ramp in Bremerton.

They have their priorities mixed up, though. Cars over airplanes?! That’s just crazy talk.


It was late Saturday afternoon when we landed at Bremerton. Since we had a very early-morning flight on Monday, we decided to get our fuel for the trip now. This would prevent anyone having to show up early for us on Monday morning.

This fuel truck is always about to die. Rumor has it that they are getting a new one, but I will believe it when I see it.


Gladys was buttoned up for a few days on the ramp in Bremerton.


And we were allowed to use the crew car for the entire weekend! We drove the eight miles into town and pulled into the Fairfield Inn near the harbor. This is my favorite place to stay while in Bremerton, which we’ve done a lot this summer!

It’s just two blocks from the ocean, and about the same distance to several restaurants in the area. I feel like I’ve tried them all lately!


I walked up to one of my favorite eateries, but it was closed. In fact, almost everything in downtown Bremerton was shut down on a late Saturday evening.


So I walked to another place that I knew would be open. I took some pictures of the fun downtown area of Bremerton as I went.


And over by the Naval shipyard was this neat old building. I love old stuff.

But I was hungry!


Luckily, just liked I hoped it was, the Bremerton Bar and Grill was open.


And I timed it perfectly to get their Happy Hour Food Menu.


And a Caesar salad and sweet potato fries were just the perfect ending to a great day in the sky. Unfortunately, I don’t think the salad canceled out the fries.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

A Magic Day at Magic Mountain


I’ve been to this theme park before. But it was a record-setting day of heat and humidity. And all of a sudden the misters throughout the park were sorely underbuilt. It was so stinkin’ hot that it was hard to enjoy such a fun place.


I just feel obligated to state that I get to go to Magic Mountain today. For work.

Happiness was pretty apparent. Maybe mostly because it wasn’t 105 degrees?


The gates didn’t open until 10:00 AM, but I was there for the countdown. Along with everyone else in the entire county, apparently. Luckily, the park didn’t feel very busy. The longest wait I had in line was about twenty minutes. Not too shabby!

Especially for someone too cheap to buy a Fast Pass.


Last time that I visited Six Flags Magic Mountain (and that was my first time ever), it was packed. And the line for the newest ride, The X, was a three-hour wait. So I didn’t do it.

Thus, I knew that to beat the crowds today, my first ride would be the newly-designed X2. So here we are!


It was a fun ride, but certainly not my favorite of the day. I’ve never been on a ride where you lay down like that. It was interesting.

Maybe I’m just getting old…but I can’t do ride-after-ride any more. Walking around in between helped. Not that I got sick, but my head would have hurt if I hadn’t taken my time before getting on the next ride.

Is this what old age feels like? Roller coasters hurt?


Again with the old age…since I can’t even remember what this ride was named. It was fun, though. This could have been the Viper. I’m sure the locals are shaking their heads at me this very moment.


This ride was fun, too. I remember it being one of my favorites during my last visit because it cooled me down. That wasn’t necessary today, but the getting-wet stayed with me for the rest of the day. It was so humid for Los Angeles!

Lunch time came around, and my attempt to eat a healthy salad was thwarted when it came in a fried tortilla shell. Don’t worry…I didn’t eat that shell! But the pork carnitas salad was good. For some reason, there was hardly any salad to it!


It was nice having a map with me all day. I had no order in which I rode things. I just walked wherever my little heart desired at the moment. Here is the park map that helped to make my day so much fun.


During my innocent walking to my next ride, I stumbled across this. You know that I made a glaring mental note to return here later! I love fudge!

You might not believe this, but I did eat lunch first.


And then I came right back to the fudge shop. I had to choke some of this stuff down before it got too hot to handle later in the day, after all!

They probably had twenty flavors from which to choose.


But there was only one for me. Chocolate Fudge with Walnuts. Oh boy.


This was the Ninja, which was the top ride in the west when it was introduced in 1988. They have recently repainted it and added a new control system, but the top-speed of 55 MPH is certainly dated.

I enjoyed it. It felt like an old-person ride to me. My teeth didn’t try to fall out on this one.


This is what my lines looked like all day. They moved pretty quickly, and my longest wait was about half an hour. On several of the older roller coasters, I walked right on.


This is the new crown jewel of Six Flags…The Superman Ride. If you click on the link, you’ll know immediately why I made the executive decision to not ride this ride.

Sorry if your respect level for me just dropped. But I know my personal limits, and falling backwards is not on the approved list.


Be honest now. Does that look like fun to you? 205 feet straight up, then falling backwards the same distance. I would be OK going up, but getting down had to take place somehow!

So I just watched. And I’m OK with that.


So I chickened out from Superman and decided to do the old Gold Rusher instead. I walked right onto this ride and soon realized why. There wasn’t much to it.


But I’m sure that back in its heyday, the Gold Rusher was a crowd favorite. It’s amazing what roller coaster snobs we’ve become, huh? It has to be higher, faster, and better every year or it falls by the wayside!

Something tells me that this ride could be replaced in the near future. Call it a crystal ball.

This was one of my favorite rides of the day, The Riddler’s Revenge. Not very many roller coasters strap you in while standing up! It gave a completely different sensation to flying through the sky at crazy speeds! I rather enjoyed it.


Lots of crowds again, but this line moved quickly. I remember this being a fairly-new ride last time I was here (in 2004?). The line was much better today!


You really can’t go wrong with a 146-foot drop, can you? As long as I waited the required amount of old-person-recovery-time afterwards, this ride was a blast!


This is the Green Lantern ride, which is new to the park since my last visit. It reminded me of The Wild Mouse, of which I was never a fan. I dreaded this one from a distance today.


But Batman The Ride was awesome, just like I remembered it.


It was fast, had lots of turns and drops, and moved quickly through the lines. They have designed the waiting to go through “Gotham City,” which is dirty and graffiti-ridden. Of course, in California, you never know if it’s real graffiti or just added for the ride decoration!

I like the rides that let my feet swing. It just adds to the dropping sensation, which is my favorite part of these rides. Which is ironic, because I hate rides that just drop people straight down. Man, I sound so bipolar with my ride preferences!

The new Batman movie is good, too, if you are wondering whether you should see it.


Doesn’t this make you think of flying bats?!


Ah, the Colossus.

It was old and rickety and had unexpected turns and dips. The Colossus was awesome.


It’s not an illusion! Their Colossus looks like our White Roller Coaster at Lagoon! This machine cost $7 million to build back in 1978. I can’t imagine how expensive they are these days!

Welcome to Scream. This was probably my favorite ride of the day! It had all of the ride ingredients without anything too harsh to make me not like it. And I walked right on. This ride is tucked away in a corner away from lots of the busy rides, so I think people forget about it. Fine with me!


It was wonderfully fast and had great drops! Once again, my feet were dangling. Maybe that it my favorite kind of ride now? Feet-dangling?


While resting people-watching, I noticed that their trash cans have instructions for the park guests. It must work, because the park was really clean.

And, surprisingly, the teenagers that overran this place were nice and polite and friendly! It was a shocking day in many arenas.


This was my other favorite ride. When Goliath opened in 2000, it had the highest drop of any roller coast. I enjoyed it today for sure!


It’s amazing how much life reflection can take place on a roller coaster beginning its first long climb to the rest of the ride. It makes me wonder if I’ve lived a good life, and treated others fairly, and said goodbye to those I love.

And if I’ve managed to eat all of the hidden candy in the house.

And then you do the first drop and die. And when it’s all over, you want to come back for more. It’s so incredible.


Being a single rider all day helped, too. I got to cut in front of others who were trying to stay on the same train with twelve other friends. It made my waits even shorter, and I was happy.


At about 8:00 PM, we headed back to Woodland Hills to our hotel. But this was my parting view of Magic Mountain. It was certainly a wonderful day, and certainly one that I had anticipated for a few weeks.

I feel so lucky to get to do these fun things while “working.”

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