Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Cheesecake and Sunsets…Good Things Indeed


When you think about California, it’s not very likely that the first thing popping into your head is fog and drizzle.

Well, unless you live in San Francisco. But then you’re just cheating.

When thinking about Southern California, you rarely think of fog. Right?


While spending a few nights in Van Nuys last month, that is exactly what I awoke to on our morning of departure! Isn’t it so cool?

I love weather like this. But today, relaxing with a good book and some hot chocolate while wearing pjs just wasn’t in the stars.

There are airplanes to fly home, people!


I packed up my things and headed outside to wait for El Capitan. Then we headed for some lunch before arriving at the airport to go home this evening.


As you can see, the fog was short-lived. Soon the sun came out and thus did shown forth on my favorite restaurant in the world…The Cheesecake Factory.

We decided to eat here for lunch. And I was OK with that.


I love this place for many reasons…and about a dozen reasons can be seen through this heavenly glass window just after entering the premises.


This is my all-time favorite flavor. I heart Red Velvet anything, but you’ve probably picked up on that tidbit by now. And I like cheesecake, but it’s often too rich to enjoy alone.

Enter this wonderful concoction of cake and cheesecake combined. The red velvet tones down the cheesecake, and the cheesecake makes the cake even better.

It’s really a match made in heaven. And don’t even get me started on those white chocolate shaving around the edge. Holy smokes.


Anyway, after admiring the cheesecake storage facility by the hostess, I sat down at my table and knew that I would be looking at nothing but their new Skinnylicious menu.

I’ve already tried several things from it and am always happy and impressed. If you think it tastes like health food, think again!

It is The Cheesecake Factory, after all!

I decided to get the Chicken Salad Sandwich this lovely afternoon.


And I had a little slice of bread while waiting for the main event to arrive. If you haven’t had warm bread with butter at this fine establishment, may I highly recommend that you do ASAP?


And you know what? This has been the best thing that I’ve ever tried from their healthier options.

The sandwich was crispy on the outside because they lightly toasted the brioche in olive oil. The chicken salad itself was incredible as well, with a nice crunch and perfect creaminess. They added almonds, too, for even more awesome texture.

If you’re there to try the bread, you might as well give this sandwich a go, too. And you won’t even feel bad when you leave, since it is under six-hundred calories!


On our way back to the airport for our flight home, we stopped for some gas at the closest station.

I don’t know who thought this mural was a good idea, but I need to complain immediately about a black widow the size of all the spiders in my dreams. I don’t need those to really exist, thankyouverymuch.

Not cool, California. Not cool.


The FBO lobby also had murals, but significantly less spiders were involved this time around. Thank goodness. I wouldn’t stay at all long if there were spiders on these walls!


I have to admit, though. I’m still getting used to the red carpet. It’s just such a weird selection. But then I have to remember where we are! We aren’t too far from where all the big-shot stars live. I bet lots of them fly out of this very FBO.

So maybe the carpet selection feels normal to them?


This random wooden “C” carving outside stands for Castle and Cooke Aviation, but I can’t help but think of Splash Mountain every time that I see it.

And I don’t mind being reminded of Splash Mountain one bit.


The ramp here is small, so the place is busy with airplanes moving in and out all day long. This pretty little Lancair is even prettier when you consider that it was probably built in someone’s garage. You can also buy a factory-built one, but it’s certainly more cost-effective to build your own.

If you are more patient than me, of course. If I built one, it would fail on day one.


Hi, Van Nuys Tower! You’re busy, but not very tall. wop wop.


Because there are really only two parking spots on the ramp, we waited until just an hour before our scheduled departure to have Gladys pulled up. She sat patiently in the background and watched all of the other airplanes have their fun.

You’re time is coming, pretty Gladys.


I emptied the melted ice and put some fresh stuff in to make the water and soda cool for the passengers. It’s not crazy hot yet, but a refreshing beverage can be just the ticket on a 45-minute flight home!


As you can see, this place was hopping! It was fun to just stand back and watch lots of big, beautiful airplanes do their thang.

I love how they stage the airplanes facing outwards. It makes getting to the taxiway that much easier!


Soon it was our turn to be pulled into place for departure. The nose wheel is just propped up onto this tug, which then moves the entire airplane to and fro. It’s pretty fancy, and I think those tug things are pretty darn expensive.


Two passengers arrived in the early evening, and we were soon headed to Runway 16R for takeoff.

Isn’t the green grass pretty? Green grass is a foreign object to me in the desert.


Castle and Cooke Aviation is about a mile from either runway entrance, so we had a ways to go before we were at the starting line tonight.

But I was digging the pretty sunset already.

This flight home is going to be good!


As we climbed, we looked towards the south. The city of Los Angeles is located under that creepy, foggy cloud layer down there!

That is definitely more than just the usual smog!


It’s hard to pick a favorite picture from today, but I really love this sunburst action with the misty mountains in the background.


We flew right over Burbank Airport, which often causes delays for us corporate guys trying to depart from Van Nuys, since they fly right over our airport to get to theirs.

Sweet revenge here, huh?


We turned and climbed and climbed some more. We headed up to 33,000 feet today for our quick flight home.


Uh oh. This is another contender for favorite shot of the day! Look at those colors!

And what’s that white stuff on top of that mountain?


Ooooo, but I love these pretty colored layers in this picture, too. And adding a wing doesn’t hurt us any.

Who am I kidding? We all know that my favorite picture from today is the display of cheesecake!


Thanks to a nice tailwind, the lights of Phoenix soon came into view. You can tell that we had a nice sunset for most of our flight home tonight.


This is how all cities should be laid out, by the way. Nice, straight streets that are easy to navigate.

I’m sure it helps to have so much open space out here in the west, but have you ever driven in New York City?! Yuck!


Because we had picked the airplane up from maintenance for this flight, my car was still on the other side of town after we landed. We grabbed a taxi and headed down to Willy Gateway to retrieve our vehicles.

Pearl was happy to see me, and the feeling was mutual.

What a great few days at work! More to come, so stick around!

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