Weather today SUCKED. The whole mid-west from Cleveland to Chicago was MVFR at best. Lots of heavy rain cells and low ceilings. I hung out at the Lorain County (KLPR) for a few hours keenly watching the weather. It looked like I could *almost* make it, except there was a massive line of storms just south of Lake Michigan - and there only seemed to be a very small hole in them. 5pm was my deadline for taking off out of Cleveland. With 3 hours to Oshkosh and a time difference, it meant I had a small chance of making it there sometime between 7-8pm (tower closes at 8).
My plan of action was to see how far I could make it. I knew I could make it across most of OH and IN, but I was very unsure about making it to IL. Worst case I would turn around and come back to LPR and try again tomorrow.
Crossing into MI the weather to the south of me was nothing but soup. The ground in OH/MI was absolutely waterlogged, but helping the situation.
My high school drama teacher would be proud of my performance here. It definitely looked awful to the south.
However to the north, it looked fantastic. You can even see a little blue sky poking through.
And this was the gauntlet. Around the lake was IFR. There was only one clear hole to try to poke through.
After pushing MVFR to it's limit's, I was able to snake myself through this line of weather.
It wasn't pretty - steady rain, low ceilings, but I was able to push through.
The weather improved significantly and I was able to fly between layers.
However, on the other side of the storm a stiff 20kts headwind appeared.
Just southwest of Chicago the sky cleared out....I might ACTUALLY MAKE IT TO OSHKOSH TODAY!!!! I texted my friends who were there to get a cold beer ready for my arrival in an hour!
Northwest of Chicago the sky was very inviting. I was psyched to of made it through the terrible weather and to Oshkosh today.
Wait...WHAT THE DEUCE??? IFR conditions ahead? NOOOO! There was a decent sized rain cell heading south. I needed to divert westward to almost Madison, WI.
I was able to clear the weather to the east of Madison and off to Oshkosh I trucked. Just when I could start picking up Fisk Approach, it became clear my aspirations and high hopes for making it to Oshkosh would not come to fruition tonight. The mass arrivals of Bonanza's for the second year in a row had f*cked me. Oshkosh tower was shut down for the night and all traffic was to divert to an alternative.
This is something I did not plan on. I had no idea where to head. I heard on approach some cute-sounding girl saying "I'm heading over to Wautoma". After a quick look at exactly where Wautoma (Y50) was, it seemed like a logical place to divert to.
After 3.4 hours if felt GREAT to be on the ground. Wautoma ended up being one of the best places I could end up at. CHEAP fuel ($4.25/G), camping was allowed on the field, pizza delivery, GREAT FBO with showers and a pancake breakfast in the morning.
I met some great guys from Lubbock, TX who little did I know would run into EVERY DAY AT OSHKOSH. We shared some pizza and cocktails here, all stuck in this little Oshkosh in Wautoma, WI.
While when I landed at Wautoma I was severely disappointed I was not at Oshkosh, it ended up being one of the unexpected highlights of my trip
Last Modified: August 13, 2023