After breaking ranks from the inbound queue at the railroad tracks, it was a quick hop over Rush Lake direct to Waupaca
(PCZ) where, crossing midfield, I made right traffic for runway 28. The place was packed. Taxiing in, I found the last available parking spot on the asphalt. There were a few planes landing right behind me, and they had to park in the grass by the taxiway. I chocked the Dove
and went into the FBO.
I filled up on some coffee and checked the weather up ahead. There was a local pilot who came into the lounge and told me about what he had witnessed the day before at Oshkosh. He told me that he had been ferrying aircraft to OSH for the better part of 30 years, but yesterday, he had never seen anything like it. He said the scene on Sunday was complete insanity. He told me there were so many airplanes in the area---many flying unbridled by controllers to escape bad weather---that it was a miracle nobody was killed. I told him about my being inbound for Fisk and getting turned away that morning because I did not have a reservation, that the airport was officially saturated
, as the controllers called it. The pilot told me he believed it. He said it was probably a blessing not going in. He asked me where I was from, if I was going to try to get in later, perhaps the next morning? I told him I was from California, that I was flying a mission around America and that I was instead pushing forward. He wished me the best, and I thanked him for his conversation.
Heading back out to the plane, I saw a group of about 15 pilots in the briefing room. It sounded as if they were briefing for a mass arrival at OSH that morning.
I taxied back out to runway 28 and launched outbound through a scattered layer and climbed up to 8,500’. The weather to the northwest looked great, so I cut across Wisconsin toward my final destination that day. I landed at Solon Springs, WI
(OLG), about 30 miles south of Superior:
The fuel pump had a combination lock on it that required the CTAF frequency to open it. There wasn’t any card swipe system available, so I walked into the terminal building to find out about payment after topping off. Using the punch code system to get in, I discovered that pilots were asked to leave either a credit card number or a check for payment. I wrote a check. Then I settled in for an overnight stay:
I started cooking up some pasta with my backpacking stove since the microwave was broken. While the water was heating up, I assessed my quarters for the night. The couch was a pull-out bed, so I planned on using it in conjunction with my pillow and sheet. Showers were available for both men and women. The airport was clearly unattended and there wasn’t a soul in sight, at least until after I finished cooking dinner. I took my bowl of chili-mac outside and sat down at a picnic table. That’s when John drove up. He was employed with the highway department and wanted to know about the RV-8 and about my mission around America. He was excited to text a photo of the Dove
to a friend of his who recently earned a private pilot’s license:
I asked John about what I might expect to find in Solon Springs. He told me they had a Dairy Queen. I figured that was good enough for me to walk the two miles into town that evening. I thanked John as he went back to his truck and drove away.
Back inside the pilot’s lounge where all my bags were, I found some guy sitting at the computer station doing some work on it. He must have driven up and entered through the rear door while John and I were talking. I greeted him, but he seemed too engaged with what he was doing to carry on a conversation. So I left him there and began walking into town.
Crossing the freeway, I used the old highway to walk into Solon Springs, plus a little hobo tracking. At one point, I felt thunder coming around the corner about a quarter of a mile back, so I had to jump off the tracks suddenly to feel the rush of American commerce racing by. Then I continued walking toward town on the main highway:
I made it into Solon Springs in about an hour. I wasn’t in any hurry. The Dairy Queen that John had told me about wasn’t really a Dairy Queen
at all, but it was still painted like one. It didn’t matter. The banana split I ordered really hit the spot, and I enjoyed it under the pines on a set of picnic benches by the road: