My instrument ticket, you sickos. After the PDC fly-in yesterday, I filed IFR back to MSN at 7,000 feet. (Lance: It was bumpy all the way up there for me! ) It was a little different than I'm used to - I fly out of a Class C and so I call Clearance even when I'm VFR. This time, I called Green Bay Radio on 122.25 from the runup pad at PDC, and got my clearance: "ATC clears N8741E to Madison via direct QUEST then as filed. Climb and maintain 3,000 feet, expect 7,000 10 minutes after departure, squawk 5345, contact Chicago Center on 133.95, clearance void if not off by 2040, time now 2035." I read the clearance back, checked the time (almost 36 now), and freaked out just a little bit because I'm not used to having any sort of deadline before takeoff. Believe me, I take my time! I quickly glanced through my checklist again because I had to do things a little out of order from what I'm used to. After noting that everything was now done except to hack the time, I did so, announced my departure on the CTAF, and rolled onto the runway. I decided to follow the obstacle departure procedure even though it was good VMC, just to see where things ended up. There are a lot of hills around PDC! The ODP was to climb on runway heading to 2,000 feet before turning, and that's exactly what I did before turning to 045 to intercept my intended course. Now, the biggest mistake of the flight was my flight plan. I chose direct QUEST because it was fairly close by (17nm), and was on the quickest airway back to MSN. This airplane is /A with a VFR LORAN, and I figured I could maintain VFR until QUEST as the clouds were high and hadn't moved into view where I was. I figured I could use a combination of pilotage (there's a road that goes almost direct from PDC to QUEST), a bearing to PDC off the LORAN (course was 022, so I punched in Direct KPDC and went with my intercept angle until reaching 202 degrees to PDC), and good old-fashioned Brain RNAV (OK, I'm on the 110 radial from Waukon so I should be at about 23.5 DME...). Well, I climbed a LOT quicker than I thought I would, and the clouds decided to show up too. The Archer I've been flying for most of my instrument training is in the shop right now with engine problems (bad cam lobe, and was developing a lot less than 180hp) so I was getting a lot more power plus I was minus my 235lb instructor and his 50lb flight bag. I called Center as I was leveling out at 3,000 and they gave me 7,000 right away. I was probably at 4,000 when I intercepted my intended course. I had just enough time to establish a reference heading and as I was climbing through 6500 I saw a nice puffy white cloud ahead. I reached 7,000 feet, got about half the cruise checklist complete, and knew I wouldn't finish before I entered the cloud. I delayed the rest of the checklist and concentrated on the gauges so I wouldn't be distracted right when going IMC. I punched my #2 timer as I went into the cloud. Bouncy! I was almost to QUEST, the VOR needle being at about half-scale deflection when I went IMC, so I made the turn in the cloud and got established on the airway. A bit later, I could see again. I stopped the timer: One minute and 47 seconds, and more clouds ahead. They were calling the layer "broken" but it was definitely the 5/8 variety of broken. Chicago Center handed me off to Madison about 17 miles from Lone Rock, and they put me on vectors. Not too much later they gave me a descent to 3,500. I was in a cloud at that point, and the broken layer really wasn't very thick at all, so I knew I was about done racking up the actual. I broke out about a minute later. Total actual IMC: 9 minutes, 40 seconds. Hey, good enough for 0.2. So, I had to go looking for the IMC (it was a very thin layer), and I didn't stay in it for that long, but I got my first solo actual! I'm quite sure that if I'd had any passengers they probably would have gotten sick, and I know the air would have been much smoother at 9,000, but I enjoyed the heck out of it.