CHASE 2001
Daily Journal
CHASE #1 – TORNADO ALLEY SAFARI (commerical storm chase tour) – 8 days
Chasers – lead vehicle: Stephen Levine (TX, lead), Dee Pumphrey (IN), Jerri Nielsen (NC), Lisa Beal (IL), Stuart Johnson (U.K.)
Chasers – 2nd vehicle: Brian Press (CA), Holly Press (CA)
Prologue Bolingbrook IL Preparing for the trip
23 May 2001 Wednesday Bolingbrook, IL IL Oklahoma City OK
Fly to OKC;  meet fellow chasers
24 May 2001 Thursday Oklahoma City OK Lampasas TX
Hailstorm (Southeast of Lampasas,TX)
25 May 2001 Friday Lampasas TX Sonora TX
Chaser Convergence (Junction, TX)
26 May 2001 Saturday Sonora TX Childress TX
Hailstorm, double rainbow (North of Snyder, TX)
27 May 2001 Sunday Childress TX Liberal KS
Spectacular gust front, winds (Liberal, KS)
28 May 2001 Monday Liberal KS Liberal KS
Visited local attraction, “Dorothy’s House”
Night “stovepipe” tornado (near Perryton, TX)
29 May 2001 Tuesday Liberal KS Amarillo TX
Morning t-storms (Liberal, KS)
Afternoon storms (KS-OK-TX)
Rotating wall cloud w/incipient funnel (Hardesty, OK)
Astonishing shelf cloud (Gruver, TX)
Tornadic storm system (N. of Amarillo)
30 May 2001 Wednesday Amarillo TX Wichita Falls TX
Afternoon and evening storms (TX-OK)
Rotating wall clouds (Ryan, OK; Wichita Falls,TX)
Tornadic storms (Scotland,TX; Archer City, TX)
3-per-second lightning display (Archer City, TX)
31 May 2001 Thursday Wichita Falls TX Oklahoma City OK
Stormy weather out-of-range (5+ hours away)
Return to OKC, visit NSSL, SPC
01 June 2001 Friday Oklahoma City OK Bolingbrook IL
Return home
Epilogue Bolingbrook IL


Plan was to not chase GRAY
Planned Chase Day (future) YELLOW
Available to chase; no weather (“blue-skied”) BLUE
Chase Day (have partner and stormy weather) GREEN
No-Partner Day (Weather stormy, no partner) RED
Weather Stormy, but not available for chasing PURPLE



CHASE VAN SHAKEDOWN – TRIP 1 – July 3-7, 2001

CHASE VAN SHAKEDOWN – TRIP 1 – July 3-7, 2001
400+ miles, varied road conditions and terrain


From :   Bolingbrook, IL
Via:     South Bend, IN; US 33
To:      Fort Wayne, IN
Mileage: 203.3 mi
Time:    Approximately 4:28
Weather: 80-90 degrees, rain for the middle 60 miles


From :   Bolingbrook, IL
Via:     US 30; Warsaw, IN
To:      Fort Wayne, IN
Mileage: 184.8 mi
Time:    Approximately 4:35
Weather: 80-90 degrees, sunny


Major problems


Minor problems

  1. Transmission shifts a little roughly (“jumps”) around 18-22 mph during acceleration
  2. Transmission shifts a little roughly (“jumps”) around 53 mph during acceleration
  3. Engine makes a “trucklike” roar when running over 60 mph for sustained periods; fuel economy is around 27 MPG anyhow
  4. Driver’s seat slightly loose; seat rocks slightly during starting and stopping of vehicle
  5. Driver’s seat belt sticks during retraction
  6. Small ‘cats-eye’ knick near edge of windshield on passenger’s side

Other Observations

    • Observed as mileage rating exceeds EPA ratings (18/25) slightly: 18.8 city, 27.4 highway; overall for trip: 26.1 MPG
    • Approximate cost of fuel is 5.7 cents/mile (at $1.50 per gallon for 87 octane unleaded gasoline)
    • Calculated vehicle range is 528 miles, per the onboard engine/fuel computer. This is consistent with manual calculations.
    • Tire walls look very round compared to other tires I’ve driven, but this may be normal for this vehicle.
    • On previous trips, the steadiness of the weather instrument cluster has been tested up to 50 MPH.  The mounting system for the cluster is still under revision, and it will likely evolve from its current T-shape to an “H” for sturdiness at higher speeds. Both the T- and H-shaped base for the cluster strap onto the luggage rack cross members.
    • The metal pipe caps ans tees show significant rust after less than two weeks. (I thought these were galvanized!). Looks like a clean/prime/paint job will be required to fix his [cosmetic] problem.
    • I still need to find/buy/make software to tie the wind cluster and GPS together for somewhat accurate wind measurements while the van is in motion.


Provided the minor rough shifting does not indicate future transmission failure, this vehicle is ready for the open road.