I've mentioned this before in Civ-Av, and Non-Av, but last year, due to life smacking me upside the head a couple of times, I decided that, after 9 years of being my own boss and building my own little empire, I would sell the business and realize some of my other life-long dreams. As of January 1st, I relinquished control of the company, but I will be working as a consultant for the new owners (who incidentally were my two department execs; management buyout) for the next 12 months while I see out a non-compete contract.
I expect to play a lot of golf in that time.
Over the years, I've built up some good business relationships with various private and corporate aviators all over the country; a few of whom have become good friends. I decided that I would spend the first couple of months of the year making some final 'thanks for the business' visits, and so it was on one such trip yesterday that I found myself in Portland, Oregon, home of Drop Top Ale and Marie Miller, an incredibly hot but otherwise quite boring chick who served me a pint of Drop Top at the bar in the airport a couple of months ago.
The outbound flight was great, but I was running a bit late and forgot to take any picture. I arrived just as the gate was closing for my flight, but when I got on the plane, I was delighted to see that I was the only passenger in First Class. It was like having my own private jet, and Christine took care of me for the 2 hour jaunt up to Portland. She served me a hot and very fresh Quiche Lorraine for breakfast, with a fresh fruit salad, a mug of strong, hot coffee, and a seemingly endless supply of orange juice. It was a good start to the day, and I arrived on time in PDX at 8:50am.
After a great day with one of my oldest customers, I got a cab back to PDX. I had already checked in online and selected seat 2F; my favourite seat.
I had a couple of hours to kill in the airport; fortunately PDX is a pleasant airport to fly out from. There is a good selection of shops, restaurants, and bars both landside and airside. I cleared security and headed for Sandoval's Bar & Grill for a couple of pints of Drop Top, in the hope that Marie Miller was still working there.
No such luck. It was some other chick named Krista who, while was attractive in her own right, wasn't a Marie Miller. Such a travesty.
After sinking a couple of beers and munching on some chips and salsa, it was time to head back to the gate...
A quiet terminal...
The gate was just as quiet, 5 minutes before boarding:
Boarding was soon called for MVP and First Class, so I headed down the bridge and found my seat. The usual complimentary water was there:
The weather outside was crap:
N649AS towed in just before we pushed back:
And it was a light load again. I was the only one in my row:
The door closed and we pushed back. The safety demonstration took place while we were taxing and as soon as it was done, we turned on to the runway and had a rolling start. The light load was obvious; not only were airborne quickly, we climbed like I've never climbed before. It seemed like no time at all until the 'ding ding' that signifies we've passed 10,000ft was heard.
Shortly after, Heidi, our flight attendant, came around and took drink orders. Heidi has been a regular on my flights and so we're on first name terms. She greeted me and we chatted for a minute or two (since there were only two other passengers in first class), then she brought me my drink:
A first class beer for a first class fare:
After a couple of those, I was sleepy, so tried to get some shut-eye. Turbulence dictated otherwise, and I resigned myself to just enjoying the bumps.
We flew out over Malibu as we approached Los Angeles, and came inland just north of Santa Monica. LAX is so easy to spot from the air at night, as the two dark strips where the runways lie are the only unlit bits of land for miles around. I looked down and saw the tiny lights lifting of from the south side of the airport and watched them fly out over the ocean and arc back inland. We turned on to final somewhere around where the 605 freeway hits the 60 freeway, and lined up on 24R. In-n-Out looked quite busy was we flew by, and then we were on the ground at 10:22pm. We taxied to terminal 3, passing heavies from Qantas and Korean that were getting ready for their long journeys that night, and in to Gate 31B.
A drive along the 405 and my long day came to an abrupt end as I hit the hay as soon as I got in the door.
Until next time...