It’s Labor Day weekend! This time last year I was travelling to the other side of the country to the US Air Force Museum to spend the weekend mileage running and checking out awesome planes. Getting to spend the weekend with two aircraft that I have always wanted to see (the XB-70 and the YF-12) was pretty awesome. Well this year is a little bit different, because my friend Yena decided to come visit. Originally planned to come in around the start of the month right around my birthday, but plans changed and so Yena was coming for a couple of nights (just two sadly) and it would be like old times. Earlier in the month I had already played tour guide for Fiona, but this time was a little bit different. This was like the old days when Yena and I got to hit up France or like back at home when we explored TNQ thanks to 5 Star Mal ūüėÄ This time it would be me hosting, but I would be having some time off to enjoy myself while I played tour guide.

I picked Yena up late Thursday night (after traffic from hell) and we enjoyed a quiet evening of that Seattle staple of Teriyaki, a few stories before hitting the sack, both of us were dead to the world pretty quickly. Friday morning was a little bit the usual for me, work outs, breakfast and fixing air bookings (thanks Tripit for being not so great). With that all done and the sun coming out we decided to head downtown for a bit of random wandering while we explored the city and hit up some time with the big gaming festival PAX on.

From Labor Day 2013
From Labor Day 2013

After plenty of random wanderings and taking Yena up to the top of the Columbia Center we jumped in the truck (after a failed attempt at trying to have lunch at the Batali Families Salumi) and headed up to Kerry Park for some beautiful Skyline Shots:

From Labor Day 2013
From Labor Day 2013

After that it was some power shopping at the Mall so Yena could pick up some things before her last flights home and some lunch at a new Vietnamese Pho place (barely opened and the broth was gooooooood). Then it was off to the Boeing Factory and the Future of Flight to show Yena exactly where I really live ūüėČ I did earn myself $20 in the process though (thanks Blaine!)

From Labor Day 2013

Friday night I took Yena out on the town (her request) and after some advice from a some friends we had a good plan set (though since we were running behind It didn’t quite go to plan). We had dinner near Pikes Place Market at Steelhead Diner:

From Labor Day 2013

Then after not being able to get a park on Capitol Hill, we headed for a nightcap (or two) at Suite 410:

From Labor Day 2013
From Labor Day 2013

Today was a little bit of the usual adventures of a big loop from Pikes Place, along the waterfront up to the Olympic Sculpture Park, to Seattle Center and the Space Needle, then the Monorail down to Westlake and back to Pikes Place. I wasn’t feeling so crash hot, so no usual Lunch for me, but we still had a final coffee together at the “First” Starbucks. One last drink before I drove her (slowly) back to the airport so she could begin her journey home.

From Labor Day 2013
From Labor Day 2013

One thing I will say about having one of my closer friends coming to visit is that it is totally different compared to just other friends or family. I got to really relax, and have fun being a tour guide/tourist in my own town. I got to explore and although I have been to these places before, I still enjoyed it. I still had the best time. As I drove away from the airport on my own I was a little bit sad, but I thought back over how awesome the weekend was and knew that it was all about one thing. This:

From Labor Day 2013

When my parents decided to finally try and venture further out of Australia than New Zealand, I hoped and prayed that they would come my way. Sadly the closest they would come would be Vancouver (I got told it was due to the tour company, but who knows). Thankfully I was able to coordinate a weekend up in Vancouver when they were going to be there, prior to them flying home to Australia. What it meant for me was time to spend with my family.

My parents were scheduled to step off their Alaska Cruise saturday morning, so it meant if I drove up Friday night, I could have an night to myself, a morning to hit the Grind and then spend the rest of the day with my folks and possibly catch up with someone else on Sunday morning before hitting the road back to Seattle. Plans settled!

I drove up last Friday night and unfortunately got my first windscreen chip in the truck ūüôĀ Thankfully (if you can be thankful) it is on the passengers side of the truck right down low. But the border crossing wasn’t to bad and after dropping off some donuts at a mates place on the way north, I was safely in bed in Vancouver without a hassle. Back at my old haunt the Fairmont! Saturday morning I got up super early and headed straight to Grouse Mountain to get on that trail before it got way to crowded. I was aiming for less than an hour. My prize for getting under an hour. Ice Cream! I made it in 57 mins, with no issues at all. Hell I was suprised I didn’t have to run the last bit. Though I was disappointed that you now have to pay to come down the mountain when previously it was free. After breakfast I ran into my parents in the lobby of the hotel and as expected. My mum burst into tears right in the middle of the lobby.

I got to spend a good afternoon with my family, we went over to Granville Island to the markets (they had some lunch) and then Dad came with me while I ran some errands (I was not letting him near the drivers seat of the truck) and then I took dad to try his first Japadog! He actually liked it! (my mum and aunt would not even get close to even remotely wanting to try).

From Family Visit to Vancouver

After a quiet afternoon it was time to celebrate my Mums Birthday. So we went out for a special dinner and it was me this time wanting to show them an amazing restaurant in Vancouver (probably the only one I really know). Tojo’s was introduced to me a few years back by a fellow contiki traveller and friend. It was a great experience and I had to go again. This time I did order the Omakase and it was worth every cent! My parents had a great time and of course, Tojo’s did not disappoint with singing my mum Happy Birthday

Of course, I was going to take my parents out for a special ice cream (and for my reward) but the place I wanted to go had about a 45 minute wait, and I wasn’t going to put them through that, so we went back to the hotel and I went for a walk to get ice cream myself, which was overpriced and crappy… No reward at all. More like pity in a cup.

Sunday morning I hit up a ride thanks to the hotels free bikes and then after breakfast with my aussie friend Roylene, I headed home to Seattle. thanks to a 90 minute border crossing and being totally behind plan for the day, I threw caution to the wind and indulged in that ice cream reward by going to Snow Goose but that is for another day.

My time with my family may have been limited, but it was better than the three hours I had with them back in April. I miss them already and wish I could of stayed longer but work rules my life at the moment. So I take what I can get, and cherish the moments I do get. Who knows.. maybe they will come back and spend some time with ME this time. Who cares though. I have photos like this to keep me happy for a while

From Family Visit to Vancouver

My god the triathlon is less than 2 weeks away and now I need to get serious.

It is tough to fit all the training I need to do around everything else with friends and family visiting, it is not an ideal situation. But I have already paid the entry fee and invested almost 3 months of my life to this tri, it is to late to turn back now.

I am improving and the individual legs don’t worry me it is just mixing it all together! The transitions etc worry me the most and if that’s the worst on my mind then that’s not to bad right?

Time will tell how it all goes but I think its time to get more focused on my training, everything else comes second right?

Since it’s National Aviation Day today, heres some of my favourite photos from the last 12 months, really lets just call a spade a spade… its Avgeek Porn ūüėÄ

From Qatar Artistic & Spotting

Qatar Airways 787 at Boeing Field on its delivery night.

From ANA Ambassador Spotting & Artistic

ANA 787 at San Jose Airport

From Aviation Nation Spotting

F-22 Lightning II at Nellis Air Force Base

From Seattle Spotting 2013

Uzbekistan 767-300ER at Paine Field

From Seattle Spotting 2013

American Airlines 737 at Paine Field at Sunset

From LAX Spotting 2013

British Airways 747-400 Climbing out of LAX at Sunset

This morning was a big step in my triathlon training. For the first time this morning I did all 3 of my legs in the same period. Unlike last week where I was practicing transition, today was about making sure that I could do all three legs. Even though they were out of order (Ride, Run, Swim when it should be Swim, Ride Run) damn it was not easy!

My ride was down on the Burke Gilman Trail again, because it’s flat and because it gives me something different to look at rather than the local streets. But that wasn’t a smart idea this morning because when I first got moving, a big string of cyclists almost pushed me off the path. Figured it was just a bunch of idiots out for their morning ride. Then another string passed me, and another, it was like a continuous procession of cyclists. I am usually out for these rides around 6ish so that it is quiet and I still have plenty of time in the morning to do things. Well it turns out I ran into the waves of riders heading on the RSVP Seattle to Vancouver ride. Ahhhh crap! All morning on my first leg all I heard was “rider ahead”, then when I turned around all I heard was “Passing on your left” every few seconds. When I had about 5ks left to go, all I heard after that was “Passing on your left” then seconds later “your back tyre is flat”. It was great for them to all be so nice, but it got old, REALLY fast. I was going to get the bike serviced after the Tri, but if I had a flat tyre, might as well get it done now and get the tyre fixed at the same time.

As soon as I got back to the truck, I tried to transition as quick as possible, and managed about 3-4 minutes before I was back on the trail, this time going the opposite direction to the way I had just ridden. I had found that trail continues under a tunnel and then splits in two. Hoping that I could get a bit of quiet without the bikes running me over. It was a good quick run and I felt like I was back on pace. I was under 6min kms which is my usual timing so I was certainly happy with that. Knocking out a 2.5km run in less than 15 minutes. Gotta be happy with that. It was also the second run in the tri suit, which I REALLY need to get used to, so tomorrow I am going to do just that, a 5k run in the morning in the Tri Suit to try and get used to it (running Punishment Hill for the first time in months!).

By the time I got back to the apartment though, I was drained & I still had laps to do. Considering I only need to do around 350-400m of swimming that equates to roughly 30 laps of the complex pool. I usually swim about 40 (got that down to about 18 mins) so decided that since I was distance training today, I will stick to 30 laps. Kind of glad I did because when I got out of the pool, I was just shattered. My calves were burning and it felt like I was going round for round with a bear or something. I was looking forward to a shower!

I think my training is improving and I know I can do this tri, but part of me thinks that I am an utter moron for doing this along with the fact that I kind of wish I had not entered the tri now. But that would be copping out now wouldn’t it. I am not a quitter and I have invested way to much time (been swimming for almost 3 months now) and money ($100 just in entry fee) to give up now. So I keep pushing, I keep trying and who knows how it is going to go on the day… as long as I get it done!

This may be the final Breakfast Chronicle before the big day when my friend Yena comes to visit. ¬†With my Birthday last week and add on Fiona’s visit, how can I not want to go somewhere special for a Sunday Brunch before the baseball. ¬†A while back I had asked for recommendations on twitter where to go. ¬†The first thing that my usual source came back with was Barrio and purely based on one dish. ¬†Pork Belly Benedict. ¬†So I figured that with a chance to impress and a special occasion, it fitted perfectly. ¬†The wierdest thing to start with though was that I made the reservations (as it was recommended I do so for a Sunday morning in case) via Twitter. ¬†Pretty easy and the process was painless, if not a little bit weird. ¬†In the end we really didn’t need one as the place was pretty quiet when we got there, but hey, doesn’t really matter.

Barrio is in Capitol Hill and just around the corner from Skillet, but a few one way streets through me off and were almost late after having to try and find a park.  The place was quiet and I already knew what I wanted to ordering for me was no issue.   The menu was pretty good, albeit wierd to be in a modern Mexican restaurant for breakfast.  The coffee is Caffe Vita so that is always a good thing. But this should give you an idea of the decor:

From Fiona's Visit

But I know you all want to see the one thing that everyone else does…. the goodies

From Fiona's Visit

That is the Pork Belly Benedict and it was AMAZING. ¬†I wanted to lick the plate it was that good. ¬†I could of inhaled it if it wasn’t trying to savour every bite. ¬†My friend Dan’s Burrito looked good as well:

From Fiona's Visit

3 of the 5 people though had the benedict and all loved it!  The French toast that my friend Fiona had looked pretty good as well.  All in all a great meal!  I was so tempted to steal the coffee cups they were nice and big.

From Fiona's Visit

They even gave me some churros as a birthday gift

From Fiona's Visit

But the best thing of the morning… getting to spend time with my Friend’s, although they are more like my Yankee Family..

From Fiona's Visit

I know I have been slack over the last week in updating, but in my defence I have been SUPER busy.  I spent all of last week working on OshKosh stuff and making sure that the AA stuff was good to go (which it now all is) and then spent Friday, Saturday & Sunday getting to play tour guide to an old work friend from back home in Australia.

Fiona used to work with me at Sunlover, back in the day, and came to visit me up here for the weekend. ¬†So we did the usual touristy things and I got to spend some time showing off just what I love about this city. ¬†It was a JAM packed weekend but when you don’t have much time, that’s how it goes right? ¬†We did the usual downtown stuff with Pikes, Starbucks, Seattle Center and a few others, but we also did some other stuff.

We hit up the Columbia Center yesterday and it has been refurbished and looks amazing now and has the full 360 degree views that you couldn’t get before (though you only walk 320 degrees as the windows are set in a certain way so that you can see the full time). ¬†The new layout and fit out was a total surprise, but my charm worked again and I got us a student discount. ¬†If you want a cheaper alternative to the Space Needle, Columbia is it, but in my opinion, its WAY better than the space needle.

We also hit up the baseball yesterday afternoon and holy crap was it hot! ¬†We were sitting in the direct sunlight and even with copious amounts of sunscreen, pretty sure I managed to get myself a little burnt. ¬†Sitting in the “Kings Court” was pretty cool and it was kind of like the big fan area for the Mariners and was a little bit rowdy, compared to a very normal crowd that just sit there and do nothing. ¬†The game was good and the Mariners did win.. so that was a bonus.

On Saturday we hit up the Boeing Factory and Fiona was lucky enough to see a Qatar 787 deliver just as we finished, which was awesome and then that night I took her down to Kirkland for a Sunset over the lake the the view was just stunning.

Filling the weekend was good, it was busy, hopefully I can catch up on some sleep this week (doubtful though).

Today is my Birthday, I am 31 and growing older by the minute but that’s not the reason I am posting. is 10 years old today! Given to me on my 21st birthday as a gift from an old friend (thanks Liam). I really haven’t looked back since then. Though the site had been running before then, it didn’t really come into its own until that day.

The site looks very different now to what it did back then and to be honest I am not totally happy with the look at the moment (just to busy right now to get a chance to find what I like), but the site has always been about one thing… Me. That won’t change in the future. The site has always been about my life and the adventures etc that happen, and that will continue. The site is a great outlet for me at times, though I haven’t had many rant posts lately.

So here’s a Happy Birthday to some 1’s and 0’s out in the intarwebz, 10 down, more to go!

Saturday 3rd August 2013

I finished off my morning at OshKosh and started my journey north to Green Bay. ¬†First stop was the Post Office in OshKosh so that I could post all of the swag and press kits I had accumulated over the week. ¬†When it all was weighed up there was almost 12 pounds of stuff to send home. That’s a LOT of swag! ¬†But it was either that or get charged mass amounts of excess baggage, so I sucked up the cost ($35). ¬†Next stop was just a small cafe in the middle of OshKosh itself as I had been told earlier in the week they had the best cookies around. ¬†So I stopped off and picked up a snack and a couple for the road. ¬†Back on the road, heading north towards Green Bay it was a good hour or so of just endless Interstate up to Green Bay. ¬†My destination was to hit up Lambeau Field and maybe see the packers hall of fame (and maybe pick up a shot glass at the Pro Shop). ¬†As I arrived at the stadium I saw heaps of traffic. ¬†Part of me started to panic. ¬†I knew pre season games were starting soon but their shouldn’t be a game on a Saturday. ¬†It wasn’t a game though, it was Training camp! ¬†DOH!

The area around the stadium was packed solid and there was no where to park without costing $20 or more.  So stuff that, did a couple of drive bys, took a photo from the Car window and headed out.  I had seen one of the supermarkets I knew that had a good place to grab some food, and then headed toward the airport for a bit of a picnic.  There was 1 aircraft arrival while I was there (literally as I drove in) so entertained myself listening to the LiveATC feed from the OshKosh Airshow.  A fitting end to my trip.  I gave into a desire for some soft serve ice cream and drove to the nearest A&W to have some.  After looking at it all week at the Air Show, I gave in.  Sad Sad Mal, but it was tasty!  Time to fill the car and get to the airport for check in.

Dropped the car off at Green Bay Airport and check in was empty. ¬†Funnily enough I was on the final flight of the day to leave the airport so that was why it was so deserted. ¬†The Airport was eerily quiet and small and there wasn’t much to it either before or after security. ¬†I checked out the one shop that was open before security and it was filled with Green Bay packers gear. ¬†I resisted the urge to bring home some cheese curds (which were EVERYWHERE) and headed up to the TSA checkpoint. ¬†It was nice and empty as you would expect in such a small airport. ¬†But sadly I got there right behind two older ladies, one of them in a wheelchair. ¬†The TSA agent then promptly shut down the checkpoint and made me wait behind them. ¬†I was literally the only person in line at this point and couldn’t go anywhere. ¬†It would of been smarter to put the able bodied person through, then shut down an empty check point to let the older ladies through, but hey it’s rural Wisconsin, they don’t use them fancy things called Thinking out here! ¬†After 10 minutes of waiting to get my boarding pass checked I was finally allowed up to the scanner, where they then kept asking if I knew what I was doing and if I needed the procedures explained to me (even though I had priority all over my boarding pass and have done this like 40 times this year alone). ¬†Way to go Green Bay, made me want to deal with the TSA in JFK or LAX. ¬†I never thought I would want that. ¬†Then by the time I got through to the other side of the scanners my laptop had not come through. ¬†Nope, TSA had held me up again while they fought with a lady who had a bag in the scanner, and rather than pull it out and manually inspect it (which they would do at any other airport), they held the bag inside the scanner and kept asking her questions about it while it was still in there. ¬†So I was dressed, ready and waiting to go, but couldn’t leave cause they had my stuff still, just as one of the other TSA members was heading up to me to try and get me to move on, my laptop finally came through and I walked away. ¬†15 minutes start to finish for what should of taken 2-3 at most. ¬†Utter fail.

On the other side of the checkpoint was a sole cafe where I grabbed a bottle of water and again resisted buying cheese curds (I mean seriously they are everywhere!). ¬†I found the gate, our aircraft had just arrived with plenty of time to offload people so I settled in and logged into the free wifi to do a bit of work. ¬†I will give Green Bay Airport the props for one thing, their wifi was free, fast and had no agreements to accept. ¬†You just connected and it worked! ¬†It helped pass the time. ¬†I figured I would see if it was a free flight and if I could scam a seat closer to the front, so I approached the gate agent and got a very rough “What do you want?” and then after I asked my question “No”. ¬†Wow.. blatant. ¬†He at least followed up after a few seconds with “It’s a full flight”. ¬†Wow, just wow, very proffessional there. I brushed it off and waited.

Delta Air Lines – DL4594 (Operated by SkyWest)
Green Bay to Minneapolis St-Paul
Canadair CRJ-900 (N161PQ)
Economy Class – Seat 8D

Boarding: 1657 (Gate B5)
Push Back: 1719
Take off Roll: 1727 (Runway 36)
Top of Descent: 1753
Touch Down: 1811 (Runway 30L)
Shut Down: 1816 (Gate C4)

The professionalism of the gate agent ¬†really stood out when he called boarding. ¬†He was not at all what you would expect from any gate agent from any airline. ¬†One of his little jokes was “By the time your all wheels up, I will be liquored up” ¬†Absolutely not the best thing to say at all. ¬†When he announced Sky Priority boarding I fled the gate area as quickly as possible so I didn’t have to hear anything ¬†more he said. ¬†Stepping onto the CRJ-900 is always a reminder of one thing that I hate about it. ¬†Offset windows! ¬†I always go for a window seat and I always forget with this aircraft. ¬†DAMMIT! ¬†You’re either bending way forward or contorting your way backwards. ¬†Ah well. ¬†I settled into the seat and the aircraft filled up around me. ¬†Flight time was announced as 40 minutes so barely up, barely down. The flight attendant’s also announced that they wouldn’t be doing a beverage service, though if we needed anything to ask. ¬†So does that mean we can have a drink or not? ¬†Confusing! ¬†Right before pushing back, Mr Gate Attendant showed up again to give us one final farewell… *sigh*

We pushed back while I wasn’t really paying any attention. ¬†and started heading for the runway. ¬†One small, fully packed CRJ taxiing all the way across a very quiet Green Bay Airport to the cross runway. ¬†We climbed out like a rocket (that weird sensation you get when the engines are at the back and they seem to be able to use it to their advantage). ¬†We were up in the air and climbing out into the sky as the pilots gave another briefing to give us advice to say. ¬†Since there was no service and it was only a quick flight, I just had some of my water and read some of the book on my tablet. ¬†Pretty boring flight really, up, cruise, down, though a boring, uneventful flight is a good flight right?

We descended into MSP pretty easily and we had a slightly different approach to the one I was on before when I landed into MSP from Seattle. I had no idea where we were at one point, so it was like I was confused, but at the last minute I noticed a familiar landmark and realised it was just to the right of the approach we had earlier. ¬†We touched down a little bit hard onto the runway on the opposite side of the airport to where we needed to be. ¬†Meant to be heading toward the C gates and we landed all the way over by the G gates. Long taxi time, lucky we were early. ¬†MSP pulled out the stops and again I got a special livery (always seem to get a retro or something in MSP) with an American Eagle CRJ in new colours. ¬†Can’t hate that! ¬†Pulling up at the C gates the aircraft emptied out fairly quickly and I was able to get out into the terminal pretty quickly. ¬†since we were at C4 and I was heading for F12 I had time to grab some dinner before if there is time, making a stop at the usual Sky Club. ¬†I found a fairly reasonably priced Chicken Mandarin Salad that looked pretty good (good ratio of veg to protein) and headed to the lounge.

It was the same lounge that I always seem to visit, so I know it well.  I had about 10-15 minutes this time, so time for a quick snack, relax, a snack raid and then time to hit the road again.  Wanting some biscoffs for home (since I am a cheap ass) there was plenty on offer, so that meant I had plenty of opportunity to snack raid the biscoffs (both Red & White wrappers for anyone who cares).  I timed my departure right, as by the time I had walked out of the lounge and the entire length of the F concourse (with a few stops for photos), Special Pre Boarding was being called.

Delta Air Lines – DL996
Minneapolis St Paul to Seattle-Tacoma
Boeing 767-300 (N121DE)
Economy Class – Seat 27A

Boarding: 1855 (Gate F12)
Push Back: 1953
Take Off Roll: 2005 (Runway 30L)
Top of Descent: 2056
Touch Down: 2126 (Runway 34R)
Shut Down: 2130 (Gate S8)

First class was called and as usual, a giant Bum Rush by everyone who isn’t in first class or even remotely close to Zone 1 or 2. ¬†I even heard a wife say to her husband “I don’t care if you want to board now, she said First Class, that isn’t us.” ¬†Nice work lady! ¬†Sky Priority was shortly called and I dodged around an elderly couple with Zone 5 on their boarding pass who were blocking the boarding lane. ¬†I stepped onto my first ever Delta 767 and would soon find out that this wasn’t an ER (extended range) bird, so this would be my first EVER flight on a non ER 767-300. The aircraft was fitted with Delta on Demand (aka a Seat Back TV) so I plugged in immediately and just zoned out. ¬†Before I knew it, the announcements began by the crew… one of about 30 that would happen during the flight. ¬† They seemed to repeat themselves about 3 or 4 times after everything they said. ¬†So they would tell everyone to store their bags etc, then 2 seconds later a different flight attendant would do the same thing as though we never heard in the first place. *sigh*

We were told the doors were closing and to switch off all electronic equipment, but then we sat, and sat without another announcement for a solid 20 minutes! ¬†I gave up after 10 minutes and just switched my phone back on and tweeted away a little bit. ¬†Just as the doors were shutting they made an announcement that the doors were not shut after we had to load some extra cargo. ¬†Would of been nice to say this earlier. ¬†One thing that was funny to me was I had been so engrossed in watching the TV that I turned my head outside and there was an A330 sitting at the gate next to us. ¬†All I could think was “That Airbus sure did grow” as the last time I had looked, it was an A319! ¬†We pushed back as the Sun was setting in MSP, but it would be a race across the Sky as the sun was setting as we were heading west.

Climb out was just as powerful as any other 767 flight I have had but it was a bit of a bumpy climb out and the crew came on early to let us know that it would be a little bit bumpy later on.  Once we got to cruise they flicked off the fasten seat belt sign and I did what just about everyone else in the aircraft was doing.  Getting up and moving about.  I grabbed my laptop out as I wanted to get some work done during the flight and got myself sorted.  First off the bat tonight though was to get myself sorted dinner wise then I could get working, rather than the other way round as this was a short 3 hour flight.  About half way through the service, it was suspended as the seat belt sign goes on, and we hit some turbulence for about 20 minutes.  Nothing entirely bad but a little bit more than I have had most of this year.  I ate my dinner and enjoyed my salad.  By the time the service restarted I had finished my dinner and was working away on my laptop.  Pass on the snacks, just a diet coke for me!

I worked away (though I couldn’t access GoGo as it wasn’t working for some reason) and just settled in to focus. ¬†The flight just kind of sped by and before I knew it, we were an hour out of Seattle and it was time for me to get myself sorted out, so I stashed my laptop, grabbed a drink from the back (interrupting the cabin crew chowing down on first class meals) and then headed back to my seat to settle in to finish watching Dark Knight (yes, I did see the Peninsula Helicopter scene, and it wasn’t Christian Bale on it, it was Morgan Freeman). ¬†I chowed down on my two cookies I had stashed and since one of them was a “Birthday Cake” cookie I wished myself a slight happy birthday. ¬†As we stared descent it was almost solid cloud below us but just barely visible in the distance was Mt Rainier, so I at least knew where I kind of was. ¬†We descended way to the south and then turned back around to the North for a 34 series landing. ¬†It was then we hit the real sunset and it was just amazing. ¬†I even snuck in a mobile phone photo so I could tweet it out later (no hate please!).

We landed on 34R and had a quick taxi to the south gates as they had really stood on the brakes to pull us up quickly. ¬†Good thing was, this was the end of my line and considering the bags would have to make their way over from the South Satellite, I wasn’t in a rush. ¬†I let them all shove their way out and when there was a good sized gap, I jumped up and grabbed my gear. ¬†This trip was at an end! ¬†The timing was spot on, as soon as I got to the station the train was there so within seconds I was heading towards baggage claim. ¬†When I got to the other end there was a slight problem, our flight was not on the board at all. ¬†So I just roamed until I saw my flight number. ¬†It wasn’t on any of the baggage claims, So I just wandered till I saw some bags pop out on a fresh belt and checked the tags. ¬†They had our flight number… YAY!

Eventually, after a broken belt was fixed, my bag came out. ¬†Not that Priority baggage did any good as all that came out first was gate checked baggage ūüôĀ ¬†I made it to the car park just as a shuttle was heading over so within 15 minutes of actually getting my bag, I was in the truck and headed home. ¬†Getting home around 11pm after having been up since like 4am EST sleep came easily (I may have had trouble keeping my eyes open on the road).

My god what a day.  You will read more about the full day when I write up my Airline Reporter article but it was the most moving, surreal and amazing experience that I have had over here in the USA.  Yesterday I was honored to be able to accompany the Northeast Wisconsin Old Glory & Yellow Ribbon Honor flights to Washington DC.  We were able to fly directly out of OshKosh on American Airlines and they got special treatment all the way!

I saw and experienced, touching moments (especially on the flight) home and arriving back at OshKosh in the middle of the Airshow and the aircraft being towed right up to Phillips Plaza was overwhelming. ¬†To see the crowds there to support everyone really hit home that as an Australian, we do not have that level of passion for our veterans they do here in the USA (I know that is going to cop some flack, but I don’t care). ¬†While the vets disembarked the airshow continued around them. ¬†The andreline was running high!

To cap off the night I got to go to the new Disney movie premiere for “Planes”. ¬†From the guys who created cars this is most definately a kids movie and I did enjoy it. ¬†But you can’t judge it to harshly, it is a kids movie. ¬†It was fun though and I still have to admit, even in Animation form, I love the Gull Wing look of the Corsair. ¬†I finished the night back home at 11pm after leaving the hotel at 5am! ¬†A Long ass day!

Today I am heading home after a brief stop back at OshKosh on the way home.  I am going to check out the Amphib base and have lunch in OshKosh itself.  I need to make a stop at the Post Office to post home all the swag, but other than that.  I am in Birthday weekend relax mode!

This amazing adventure is almost over!


Current Location: Country Inn & Suites Fond Du Lac