Maybe around 950 miles to Oshkosh.
Day 41. 01/Aug/2014 Maybe around 950 miles to Oshkosh. Day score 10.
Le Grande Riviere to Kapuskasing 328 miles 3:31 hrs
Time was getting short, I could land at Kapuskasing any time of night, but still I didn’t want to leave it too long. I knew if I could escape out through the remaining rain showers I could probably fly around and storm once I was in the air. I asked to line up on runway 31 and was cleared to take off. In the rain at least the engine temperature would be kept low. I skirted around a while heading northwest when I needed to head southwest. Eventually I turned the last of the rain and headed on track. It looked quite good actually.
The landscape steadily turned from rock and lakes to trees and lakes and then just trees and then trees with big rivers and back to trees and lakes as I rounded Hudsen Bay and crossed the river estuary at the south of the bay. There were now a few power line avenues and may be a road or two, but still wilderness. The only real sign of life was a highway ahead that my destination of Kapuskasing lay on and I descended calling my intentions but no one replied so I landed on runway 35 because there was no wind and the terminal building was at the end of it and I wouldn’t need to turn around or back track.
I climbed out after stopping by the Kapuskasing Aero Club. Walking in to the terminal there was a young lady behind the desk. I asked if there was chance of fuel. There was but there would be a call out fee? But if I could refuel tonight then I could leave whenever I wanted to in the morning, so Norman or Norm would come out right now. I moved Itzy to the pumps and removed the engine cowls. The oil collector pot was almost full again, so I poured it back in to the engine, less the dregs of water at the bottom and added another half litre of oil I had bought from Rene.
Norm turned up, I apologised for the late call out, he was not busy so it was no problem. I put 100 litres on board. Combined with what I had onboard, that would get me to Oshkosh and I wouldn’t need the hassle of refuelling at Sault Se Marie. There would no doubt be enough problems with Customs anyway.
Norm offered me a lift to a Motel, I told him the 100 day rule and he said, oh in that case just sleep in the terminal or in the little room under the control tower, his friends Rick would be there all night anyway on radio guard, but don’t make too much noise as it upsets his dog.
We went up to meet Rick and I said I would be staying downstairs. This was not a problem and Rick came out with Norm to see my plane and then Norm gave me a lift in to town. Leaving the airfield on the main state highway, the first thing encountered was a massive grave yard on the left. Then the massive papermil which took its electricity from a hydroelectric dam in town. He showed me where all the fast food stores were and I thanked him and jumped out. Subway tonight.
I then walked the big and little circles of town. Is this typically Canadian? No fences, big wooden houses with large churches everywhere in the suburbs? All very well equipped and tidy with a lovely park down by the river. Doing the full circle I came back to the industrial part of town and there was a massive old steam train parked up outside the rail way station. A huge thing from the Cowboy and First Generation Canadian films I’d seen as a boy. Reading a sign about the history of Kapuskasing, it meant in Inuit, ‘Bend in the river’… In 1911 the National Transcontinental train line arrived here as the bend in the river made it easier to build a bridge. But after a few years progress was stopped during the first world war. The creation of a ‘paper pulp’ factory expanded the town as this was the nearest place to trees and transport and water necessary for pulp and paper making.
The walk back past the seedy bars, motels and graveyards was long and treacherous as I wasn’t dressed to walk down a highway in my black Charlatans hoody. There were faint lights ahead of all colours, little lights some flickering. Oh no way! You know you can get the solar powered lights for outdoor paths or to illuminate your garden or pool, well the mourners of the people buried here had place solar lights all around their graves. At first I thought it rather sad, but soon I could understand a reasoning…
Anyway, back at the airport I took refuge in the room below the tower. It had internet WIFI and I stayed up way past midnight trying to depict a route to Oshkosh. I didn’t have any maps of America, just software on my laptop. So the route would be to head southwest till I picked upLake Michigan, then follow the coast off shore by a few miles and that would keep me out of all airspace and away from airfields. I would do this until I came to Sheboygan and then if I headed due west it would take me to Rippon and the start of the VFR route to Oshkosh, Sorted!
Well I needed to sleep sometime. And that would do for the night.
Thought for the day: Kapuskasing is the type of pioneering town I wanted to see in Canada. I got to see it just, even if by night. Oshkosh tomorrow, am I thinking about it? No… I dare not… Close but still lots to go wrong… But surely enough had. I mean if I couldn’t make it now, for the last weekend of the show and the main day as well being Saturday… Stop thinking and sleep…