2022 KR Gathering Trip Log
Flying to the Gathering is something I've wanted to do since getting my first KR flight worthy. I never made it happen. After meeting Sam Spanovich a few times for the $100 hamburger or burrito, we talked about it. When Sam and wife Jordon visited my wife and me at home, we became committed to doing the flight. We figured it would be much easier doing the trip together. Spoiler alert: that was a good decision on multiple fronts.
Sam plans for 122 knots TAS and that was just fine with me in N133RM. I got to fly with a Navy jet pilot, much younger than myself and at least as enthusiastic to make the flight. We also agreed the safest route would be to cross the Rockies on the northern passage to keep our required minimum altitudes at or below 10000. The last stipulation was we'd do the crossing early in the mornings, when the air was more quiet and less turbulent. Stacking the deck with these cards, we agreed to meet up in Spokane, overnight and get an early start eastward. Below, all I can do is tell my part of the adventure. Sam will write his own recollection later.

20220905 Monday OR81~KSPB~KSFF
Departed home to local fuel stop Scappoose. Launched for Spokane Felts Field via GPS direct
Visited niece Katie, husband Nate & new baby Francis
Sam arrived around 6pm for hotel check-in, dinner. 99U key MIA

20220906 Tuesday KSFF~KGTF~KMLS
Crew car to auto parts; swap ignition switch; fuel-up; depart
GPS direct to Great Falls; Northern Rockies crossing at 9500’; Note those clear skies...

Great Falls landing and taxiing confusion enroute to Holman FBO & ensuing JB jamming fuel nozzle & spillage
Depart GTF, GPS direct to Miles City (bypass north of KLWT)
On arrival, 99U exhaust system was loose; crew car to Ace hardware, hit Wendy's, return to make repairs, off to hotel
Thank you to Tori who provided hangar space gratis

Fire Bombers and the twilight sky full of smoke they work to protect

20220907 Wednesday KMLS~D07~8V3
Ready to depart Miles City and 99U canopy latch broke, crew car to Ace hardware, return to make repairs
Depart MLS; GPS direct to Faith, SD; fuel-up
Depart D07 @ 97F and 90 degree 12-15knots cross wind; 99U fuel in the cockpit; return to base
Found the upper sight vent tube to tank hose cracked; repaired with unused static line
Depart D07 still 97F and 90 degree 12-15knots cross wind
GPS direct to KYKN Chan Gurney; 99U @ 9500 MLS had oil on the canopy & oil pressure dropped to 0psi
Diverted to 8V3; engine shutdown inflight; glided approximately 10:1 until 3000 MSL; restarted until landing assured; Sam's dead stick landing was perfect
Diagnosed ruptured rubber oil line from filter to cooler; replaced line & oil with spares; test flight ok

Bought a ride to the only hotel, Subway and collapsed into bed

20220908 Thursday 8V3~3Y3~KPPK~KMVN
Departed Parkston; 3RM had fuel smell in the cockpit; return to base; found fuel tank was just overfilled
Depart Parkston again; GPS direct Winterset; fuel-up
Depart 3Y3; GPS direct Pittsfield; fuel-up; depart GPS direct 3LF Litchfield to skirt STL Class B, turn and GPS direct KMVN

First clouds we saw on the entire trip east to the Gathering; just north of KMVN...

Following Sam through the LSA traffic, we arrived. Langford got this photo of my happy arrival, glad to be at the Gathering!

KR Gathering Thursday-Monday

Sam did 3 flights on Friday and his day was cut short when he landed at dusk with a flat tire; repaired with spares. That's a neat tire jack, eh?

I'm going to need Mark and others to fill in more event photos. What I DID get was;
Going Flying with Jeff Scott
That's a view you don't see in a KR...

Mt. Vernon's tribute to Roger Bulla's airplane

Sorry I didn't get many photos of the Gathering Awards Dinner. Roger Baalman won People's Choice and N734EM is beautiful example of what the KR-based design can be in the hands of a true craftsman.

N133RM won Furthest Distance travelled and 1 of 2 Aircraft Spruce $50 gift certificates. Rob Schmitt won the other ACS $50 certificate.

 20220911 Sunday our planned departure rained out...

But we did laundry and get to see a pretty hot VW. Well, sort of a VW Bug...

20220912 Monday KMVN~K52~KPMV~KAIN~KVTN
Depart Mount Vernon GPS direct Monroe City with VFR flight following through STL Class B; 44mph on the nose
Fuel-up; GPS direct Plattsmouth; GPS direct Ainsworth; fuel-up and a 34 mile drag race to Valentine;
Sam coached me through flying formation on his wing, to an overhead break and landing. THAT was fun!
Borrowed an ancient Crown Vic crew car to hotel, a really good dinner and back  to the hotel.
The lower right corner on the D100 is showing 44mph right on the nose. I should have gotten a photo of the GPS showing a blazing 89mph ground speed going West through the STL Class B. I'm sure the controllers were thinking "Will these guys ever get out of here!" To their 100% credit they were very helpful and patient. Thanks STL!

Pretty typical winds on the ground as well. Hey at least they sometimes they were actually aligned down the runways...

20220913 Tuesday KVTN~KSPF~00F~00U~KGTF
Jump crew car dead battery; 99U exhaust loose; crew car hardware run & repaired
3RM turbo coupler tube leaking; replaced with spares; fuel-up
GPS direct to Spearfish; fuel-up
GPS direct to Big Horn; 3RM showed excessive #4 CHT; diverted to W43 Hulett; IR gun showed NPF
Departed GPS direct to Big Horn; fuel-up GPS direct KLWS, made the turn, GPS direct KGTF
Rain forecast so we opted for the Holman Aviation hangar overnight; hotel shuttle & short staff Denny’s dinner

20220914 Wednesday KGTF~8S1~KLWS~KSPB~OR81
Fuel-up; GPS direct Poulson; We crossed first thing in the morning and had a smooth if smoky leg here.
Continental Divide crossing smoke & high humidity; carb icing -300RPM and a heck of an engine stumble for 20 seconds.
You don't want to have problems crossing this kind of terrain. Ain't no bean fields down there...

Poulson on Flathead Lake for fuel-up; GPS direct C64 Cayuse Creek through some vicious forest fire smoke, made the turn; GPS direct Lewiston;

Working on the latest recorded weather info, we letdown through breaks in overcast; upon reaching Lewiston there was clear sky to the west of the field. We should have called the tower for an update. We fueled-up & parted ways;  Sam to Anacortes, WA and John to Hillsboro, OR

GPS direct to 36WA Bob’s Field Trout Lake; letdown to 4500’ & follow Columbia Gorge through KPDX Class C to KSPB Scappoose; fuel-up; return OR81 home.
Not sure who was happier I made it home; me or my wife!?

Absolutely a great trip. Was it long, challenging and difficult at times? Certainly. Flying alongside Sam made the trip more fun and he handled most all the weather briefings. I'm not sure I would have succeeded in completing the flight without his help and guidance. Plus he introduced me to formation flight. Now THAT'S fun!
Sam's a bit more selective than I am in accommodations. Not that it is a bad thing but some of the choices we had weren't really choices. Parkston, SD has exactly ONE motel. And it had two beds and shower so really what more do I need? A choice might have been nice but it worked in the end.
We met some really fabulous people enroute. I cannot name them all but;
 -Clint at Holman Aviation in Great Falls helped me out in a pinch with a fueling issue
 -Tori and Lee in Miles City helped us immensely with providing us access to unused hangar space. Sure was nice having light to work by late into Tuesday evening
 -To the young father who helped us when we needed a ride to the hotel in Parkston, Thank you for the ride in your truck after the first day's dove hunt. I was willing to ride in the back with his dog but he made space inside next to the car seats for his kids and then he waited while we checked into the hotel. Dang, he offered to carry our bags for us!
 -Of course Chris Collins, MVN airport manager. When you're as good as Chris, it's hard to describe JUST how helpful and friendly a person can be. Chris built a KR many years ago and he does fit completely into the KR family
-Larry Flesner always had time to give us transport to and from the Mt Vernon hotel along with loading up his pickup with at least 4 toolboxes just to make sure everyone flying in could work on any issues that arise
-SRT Aviation, the MVN FBO, threw a BBQ for the entire KR gang and the LSA Expo attendees. I'm guessing there were 250 people they fed, watered and entertained. Kind of unbelievable. Hope they sold a lot of gas!
 -Jeff Scott came to my aid with inspecting an intake boot that wasn't sealing just right. Trusty Leatherman tool to the rescue in his hands and I was good to go
 -CFI Heidi at Valentine, NE answered our every question and asked many of her own. If she wasn't so hooked on her Taylorcraft, she might be a KR prospect
-And to the staff at every airport all along our route, Thank you. Even if your facility is unattended, your fuel pumps worked, almost every one offered a pilot shack (or far better!) with a couch, desk and a cooler with cold water. I can imagine the effort it takes for small towns to work the logistics to provide a runway with a wind sock, fuel and a safe place to get out of the weather. Even if it is just the sun and wind for 20 minutes. Thank you. I cannot overstress how welcome you all made us feel.

I logged 38.2 Hobbs hours in N133RM. I pumped 180 gallons of 100LL over approximately 1900sm each direction. The trip took us 2 half days and 2 full days coming east and 3 full days going back west to our homes.
I just received my oil analysis results from Blackstone Labs to see how the Valvoline VR1 2050wt oil held up over the extended duration. I usually change oil & filter after 25 hours. I think 38 hours in 10 days may be a new record for me though. The oil did look tired as it drained out but the test results showed the engine has never run better.
Lastly, I have new respect for a GPS coupled autopilot and especially in a KR. Allowing George to direct the flights in a straight line certainly helped minimize time aloft, not wandering back and forth across the route line. Sam hand flew the entire trip. He told me it was easier for him as well as he didn't have to chase me wandering around. And for the record, Sam IS a better pilot than I am! I hope you get to fly with him sometime.