Friday, August 10, 2012

I Still Don’t Know How to Spell Coeur d’Alene

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So after just a few short hours in Provo, where I got to eat lunch with my Mama and little brother, we were on our way to the skies once again.

As we left the ramp, I enjoyed some beautiful eye candy.

The “little” guy in front is the Socata TBM 850, a jet-propelled propeller airplane that goes high and fast. I wouldn’t mind one in my stocking, if one insisted.

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And this beautiful beast is the Hawker 4000, also known as the Horizon. I have only seen about five of these giants in my travels over the past few years, so it was neat to see it in person on the ramp in Provo.

I wouldn’t mind one of these, either, if people were handing out stuff.

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There were also some funky-shaped cargo planes and even a homebuilt on the ramp.

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This is my favorite picture of the day…as we’re just departing Provo Municipal Airport. Isn’t that green water beautiful? I don’t know why the lake is green, but it made for a good shot. So I won’t complain too loudly!

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Here we are over Utah Lake on our way northward. For the first time with this new job, we are headed to Ideeho today!

Coeur d’Alene, to be exact.

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Considering that there were about eight jet arrivals and departures in just the twenty minutes that we watched, I am shocked that Coeur d’Alene doesn’t have a control tower. This place was busy!

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It was a nice flight. Once we were safely above the SLC traffic, we were cleared direct to Couer d’Alene. I love shortcuts and try to get them on every flight.

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We went pretty high, which meant it was nippy outside. And, since my window was facing away from the warm sun, I got to enjoy some neat ice crystals forming on the window as we flew farther north.

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Less than an hour later, we were nearing the beautiful green valleys of northwestern Idaho. My Mama lived near here for a few years as a teenager, so I hope that these pictures bring back good memories.

Coming from the desert, it is always shocking to see green in the middle of the summer.

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And a pretty lake! Ours almost dry up thanks to the 119-degree weather outside. (Yes, it’s been that hot for the past few days. Can I move away now?)

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We are lining up for a base-to-final entry for Runway 5. No wind, and it’s a gorgeous day in Ideeho!

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We made it! I unloaded the airplane and helped to load the passengers’ car with their luggage. After getting them on their way, we got Gladys ready for a few nights on the ramp. And we loaded up our rental car with crew luggage.

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And, while doing all of the luggage, lots of pretty airplanes rolled by. You already know how much I love the Citation Sovereign!

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And then a pretty Falcon joined the party. I can’t believe that this place has so many big boys but no control tower to help get them in and out safely!

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What? You want a closer view of the Falcon 2000? Well, alrighty then. It is a beauty, isn’t it? This guy is huge and can go fast and far. Yes, please.

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I can never get enough of airplane-viewing, but I guess it’s time to leave the airport and head to the hotel to get settled in. It’s Monday afternoon, and we will be in Coeur d’Alene until Wednesday afternoon. Fun! I’ve never been here before!

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We stayed in the Holiday Inn Express, which was connected to a water park and miniature golf facility. Because the guy picking up my passengers also happened to own this hotel, I got a free pass to the bowling, go-karts, and mini golf.

Am I spoiled or what?

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Also, through being nice to the front desk people, I was upgraded to a suite. I think it just means that I now got a fireplace with a floral arrangement. Thanks to the 96-degree weather over the two days, the fireplace stayed off. For some reason.

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I borrowed our rental car to run some errands, including grabbing dinner.

I didn’t realize it until I was texting my Dad, but I had pizza a few different occasions while on the road for this two-week trip! Pizza for dinner tonight!

And, like I always try to do, a chain restaurant was avoided to try a local place instead. Tonight, it happened to be the Mackenzie River Pizza Company. And it was gooooood!

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The d├ęcor was so cute, as was the menu. They had a giant canoe suspended from the ceiling. I wasn’t sitting directly underneath it, thank goodness, but got to enjoy it from afar.

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And the menu selection was wonderful, too. Even with all of these exciting flavors, I still decided on my usual pepperoni-and-black-olives routine. Is that boring? I just know what I like and am glad that I got it. It was delicious!

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And, while getting some shopping done, I discovered this t-shirt. Doesn’t this crack you up? I loved it! Too funny for words. Can you believe that this was on clearance?!

We shall end for the day with a patriotic cat!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

From Washington to Utah – A Weather Story

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After a few days of rest in a hotel over the weekend, and doing some laundry on the second floor with quarters and a tiny box of Tide, I was ready for an early-morning flight to Provo from Bremerton on Monday.

This started our second week straight of being on the road. By this Saturday, I would finally be able to see Hubby and rest in my own bed.

But we have lots of fun things to cover before that, so let’s get started!

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I didn’t have a harbor view this time from the Fairfield Inn in Bremerton, but I could see the Naval shipyard in the distance. This place is so busy and keeps the town afloat.

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As you can see from the overcast layer, the weather was so cool. I love low clouds. It occasionally sprinkled little drops of rain on us, too, and I love that. I just don’t get weather like this at home.

Especially in July…

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Good morning, Gladys! Let’s go flying! We are scheduled to be wheels-up at 7:00 AM, but our passengers got stuck waiting at a drawbridge about ten miles from the airport. They arrived just twenty minutes late.

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Which gave me time to take pictures of Gladys next to her Citation boyfriend underneath the beautiful cloudy skies. This is read-in-bed-with-hot-chocolate weather, but I’m glad that flying is my second choice today.

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After our passengers arrived, we loaded bags and were on our way! Hello, Rain!

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And soon we were above the clouds and the rain and flying towards a beautiful sunrise.

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Just to prove what a rocket this girl is, we were doing 250 knots in our climb out of Bremerton and still climbing at over 5,000 Feet Per Minute! Isn’t that incredible?!

Man, I love this airplane.

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We flew over lots of cloudy areas on our way to sunny Provo. No tailwind to speak of, again, but we were on the ground just a few short hours later.

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We flew right past Boise and Twin Falls on our way to the Ogden VOR before our turn south to Provo.

This track keeps us out of the way of arriving and departing traffic out of Salt Lake International.

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For some reason, parts of the Great Salt Lake look purple this time of year. I don’t know what is happening chemically to give such a color, and I also don’t know why my camera couldn’t pick up on how bright the purple was. You’re just going to have to believe me that this giant salty lake was purple this morning.

I was surprised at how low the lake was. I know it’s been hot, and that they had a very dry winter. I think everywhere in the country had a mild winter!

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It’s not always possible to see the salt deposits this prominently, but the lake was very low as we flew over at 13,000 feet. Salt Lake’s elevation is around 4,500 feet.

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Another picture of the Great Salt Lake. Did you know that I got my Private Pilot License in Salt Lake? Ummmmm, a long time ago.

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This is a picture of the Garfield Smoke Stack, which was a checkpoint that we flew over when coming back into SLC airspace after flying in the Tooele practice area.

Can you see that tiny white stack in the distance?

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We flew right over Salt Lake Number Two Airport. I think it even has a new, official name now, but I always knew it as #2. Amazingly, I’ve never landed here.

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This is the famous Kennecott Copper Mine. It is located on the southwest side of the Salt Lake Valley. We went here for a field trip in school, and it was fascinating! They have dump trucks with wheels the size of three tall men! Just incredible!

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Now we are coming to the Point of the Mountain in between the Salt Lake Valley and Utah Valley where Provo, Orem, and the Utah Lake reside. Just to the left of us were hang gliders on the mountain. I’m always worried that they will crash on the freeway and be killed.

There are many reasons why I don’t hang glide…and being killed on a freeway is just one of them.

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Flying over Utah Lake was beautiful. Since it was so early, the bumps from the heat were still in bed. The entire flight was nice and smooth. Just how we like it!

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I love the clouds in this picture! My home town is about twenty miles south of here.

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Cleared to land on Runway One-Three. I watched for traffic in the pattern, since this is a very busy training airport for the Utah Valley University's flight program. I’m just glad that Provo has a control tower.

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Here are some of UVU’s Katanas now, in fact!

For my fourteenth birthday, sixteen years ago today, my Mom got me an aviation day camp at what was then Utah Valley State College. I spent a day in ground school and then got to come back for a half-hour flight in a Katana. It was one of the coolest experiences of my life and just confirmed in my brain that I wanted to be a pilot!

Thanks, Mom!

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It was a long taxi to the ramp. Or maybe it just seemed long since I had family waiting for me at the FBO?

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This is my Mom and little brother Kip, who came all the way from Nephi to visit me for my short stop in Provo. Don’t they look good next to Gladys?

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Actually, everything looks good next to Gladys.

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Kippy and me, posing like the ganstas that we are.

Mama and Kippy before we head to lunch.

Speaking of lunch, I discovered that neither my Mama or Kip had ever eaten at P.F. Changs, one of my favorite lunch destinations. So that is where we headed during the short stay in Provo!

Kip got the honey-seared chicken. I approved. Isn’t he a cute kid? He will turn fourteen this fall.

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And my Mama enjoyed some spicy chicken stuff. It was spicy, so I ignored the real name. It was a treat to grab lunch with some of my favorite people in the world.

And it was also nice to get out of the rain to enjoy perfect weather in Provo.

The day has just begun, though. We still have another flight to come!

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