Oshkosh 2019: Baker, MT (KBHK)

Day 1 on my trip to Oshkosh. Crossing the Bitterroots was not fun. I had one hand gripping the crossmember and the other on the control stick, constantly correcting for all the turbulence. I landed in Three Forks, MT (9S5) for my first fuel stop. The windsock was pointed straight out, blowing about 20 knots from the west, pretty much directly across the runway. I set up to land on runway 20 and when I was literally less than 10 seconds away from touching down, some ignoramus taxied out in front of me for departure without saying a word on the CTAF! I powered up to circle around while announcing, "RED TAILDRAGGER AT THREE FORKS, you just cut me off on short final!" There was no reply and I checked my radio after landing to make sure the volume was turned up and on the correct frequency. It was, which means this other pilot wasn't talking or listening in addition to not even bothering to look before he took the runway. Totally reckless.

Total flight time for this leg: 3 hours

After fueling up, I was very cautious to take the runway knowing some bozo in a red taildragger is out there somewhere.

The wind was still screaming from the west and the sock was still pointed straight out and directly across the runway so this takeoff was going to require a fair bit of right aileron. The temperature was hot, the density altitude was high, and the airplane was heavy. This takeoff was going to require a fair bit of runway, but it was nearly a mile long so I wasn't concerned.

As the speed increased it took more right aileron to hold the wings level and before I knew it I was nearly at full deflection and when it came time for the stick to go forward it went SMACK... right into the instrument bezel mounted to the bottom of the panel -- THAT I SAID WOULD NEVER HAPPEN!

The liftoff eventually happened and I was on my way to Baker, MT (KBHK).

When I arrived, Roger at Baker Air Service told me where I could camp for the night so after snapping some pix of N11018 in the Montana sunset, I pushed her over to the grass, pitched the tent, turned on the AM radio, and slept under a thunder and lightning sky. It was great.

Total flight time for this leg: 3 hours
Total flight time for this trip: 6.3 hours

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