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By Skyhawk to the Pacific - Day 3 - Oshkosh to Havre, Montana

July 16, 2017 10:04 PM | Michael Brown (Administrator)

Sorry about not posting here for a few days. I'll catch up today, and will try to post as each leg is completed from here on.

Day 3 of the trip was a long one - ten hours flying time, with two fuel stops, for a total of 922 miles.

We left Oshkosh, Wisconsin, with nice weather predicted for most of the day - but for a low deck of clouds extending from Wisconsin to the North Dakota border.

As we went along, we could still see the ground through the deck, and it wasn't very thick - 1,500-2,000 feet.

We decided to get on top of the clouds, where it was clear and sunny. The tops climbed to about 4,800 feet, so we had to climb, as well, up to 6,500.

When it came time to descend, after about 400 miles, the deck was solid, so John got an IFR clearance to get back under. It only took a few minutes, and we broke out at 1,800 AGL. A few minutes later, we were on the ground for lunch and fuel at KBWF - Wahpeton, ND.

Wahpeton is just over the border, with Breckenridge, WI, next door. It's just a short walk into town, and the Wahpeton Deli has great burgers. You can tell Wahpeton's a Midwestern town, because it has the requisite railway line and grain silos downtown.

After we (and 493) were refueled, we took off again. From there we flew under the clouds, over the North Dakota countryside, which is flat, with huge farms surrounding the towns.

Within ten minutes or so the sun broke through.

Winding rivers and streams are everywhere in the Plains

Minnesota claims to have ten thousand lakes - and it sure looked like it from the air. It's always interesting to play a sort of Rorschach Test with the ponds - what do they look like to you?

We crossed the Missouri and Yellowstone Rivers as we flew through Minnesota and into Montana.

Circular irrigators began to appear as we flew west, and, once again, I found Pac Man eating a farm.

We stopped again for fuel at PO1 - Poplar, MT.

Poplar has self-service fuel carried to an extreme. When we landed, there wasn't anyone anywhere around. But, the fuel pump was unlocked and so was the FBO, manned only by two friendly dogs. We pumped our fuel, then went inside the FBO and called the number we found on an invoice on the counter. The person who answered talked John through running his credit card on the terminal, and we were done. Pet the dogs, and back in the air.

Two hours later we'd arrived at KHVR - Havre, MT.

So, by flying forever, or so it seemed, we were back on schedule.  "Thanks" to Tony, the airport manager at Havre, who gave us a car to use for the evening.

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