Category Archives: Travel Notes

20180511 – CHASE2018- Day 1

11:02 AM – depart office promptly

11:45 AM – Depart from I-355, entering I-55 southbound. Drove through a brief call shower.

12:28 PM – Passed by Dwight, Illinois. Just saw a northbound Amtrak train heading to Chicago. Feels very like in my childhood memory of travel between Rockford and Monmouth, Illinois. The family used to travel US 34. We used to see many trains along that route. (Sorry, no picture, as I am in traffic.)

Traffic has slowed to a crawl. Seems there is some roadwork or a police action of a head up ahead.
“Work zone speed limit 55 mph.” (Actual speed 24, but it has been 10 mph for the last 10 minutes. Do the math!)  And there they are: those people who see the merge signs for the last 2 miles and wait to the last minute to join traffic because they think that the rest of us are stupid and will let them in. And it only takes one generous person to make them right. Now four lanes have become two lanes, one northbound one southbound. The southbound lanes of I-55 or being revealed re-built. (76.3 miles into the trip)

12:49 PM – Left the construction zone at exit 201, Continuing south on I 55. Detour signs indicating the delay was about 13 minutes with results. That feels about right. (Around Pontiac, Illinois)

1:03 PM – South of Pontiac, Illinois. It is wonderfully flat and open near here. This is prime central Illinois chase country. You can see all the way to the Verizon in almost every direction. And the landscape is almost completely free of distractions, except for the occasional microwave, cellular, or radio tower. There are power lines in the distance. A few scattered trees, I’m really not much here. Basically a blank canvas on which to paint a memory. (Tried to take a picture here, it was cut in half the long horizontal. What’s up with that?)  I have moved far enough south that I have left the 60°F weather in Chicago and I’m surrounded by 80°F temperatures.

1:36PM – stopped at rest area south of Bloomington-Normal, to stretch my legs, visit the restroom, and grab a light snack. Leving the Illinois pollination exhibit behind, By-bye busy little bee!

1:48 PM – Departed rest stop. Continuing south to St. Louis

2:02 PM – Passing the NWS weather radar at Lincoln Illinois (KILX).  It is approximately the midpoint between Chicago and St. Louis along interstate 55.

2:24 PM – travel note: 555 mile post 104 is the location of a rest area on the southbound traffic. This is a little closer to the midpoint of the Chicago St. Louis leg of the journey.

3:24 PM – Just outside St. Louis. Traffic has crawled to a near halt due to construction. We are
grinding along and about 20 miles an hour. Looks like the right lane is closed ahead. We are just south of Worden.

3:37 PM – Exited the construction zone. Very lucky to only have two delays in Illinois. On certain past trips I had 50 miles of construction; this time wasn’t so bad.

4:10 PM – Welcome to Missouri. Took I-255 across to I_44 and beyond. Definitely better than going downtown during rush hour. Temperature here is 91°F. It is like summer! I am loving every minute of it.

5:40 PM- fuel/bathroom/food stop at Roll, Missouri.

8:08 PM – Arrived at Motel 6 North, Springfield, Missouri. Feeling tired but very happy. So THIS is what vacation feels like, I had almost forgotten! Unpacked the van then went to sleep (gently). Zzzzzzz.

TODAY’S ROUTE: 499.3 miles as shown below (map courtesy of DeLorme Street Atlas 2014):

 

2016 Season Summary

08Here is the overall plan for my 2016 storm season (which I’ll update as events warrant):

CHASE 2016 DAILY JOURNAL

SEMINARS/CLASSROOM TRAINING:
DATE DAY START END MILES REMARKS
22Jan Fri Bolingbrook,IL Norman,OK ChaserCon 2016
23Jan Sat Norman,OK ChaserCon 2016
24Jan Sun Norman,OK ChaserCon 2016
12Mar Sat Bolingbrook,IL Wheaton,IL 26 DuPage OHSEM Advanced Spotter Training (seminar)
http://www.dupagesevereweather.com
24Mar Thu Oak Brook,IL Naperville,IL
Bolingbrook,IL
26 NEMA Radar Class #1: Rochelle, IL F4
http://www.napervilleema.org
07Apr Thu Oak Brook,IL Naperville,IL
Bolingbrook,IL
26 NEMA Radar Class #2: TX outbreak
http://www.napervilleema.org
21Apr Thu Oak Brook,IL Naperville,IL
Bolingbrook,IL
26 NEMA Radar Class #3: Mesovortices
http://www.napervilleema.org
GREAT PLAINS CHASES:
CHASE2016-01:
DATE DAY START END MILES REMARKS
12May Thu Bolingbrook,IL ??? Prologue
13May Fri Oak Brook,IL Kearney, MO 469 mi
(60694-61163)
DAY 01: To the “Show Me (Cheap Gasoline)
14May Sat Kearney,MO Oklahoma City, OK
(via Medford,OK; Wakita,OK;
El Reno, OK)
527 mi
(61163-61690)
DAY 02: The Unexpected
15May Sun Oklahoma City, OK Oklahoma City, OK 7 mi
(61690-61697)
DAY 03: Around OKC
16May Mon Oklahoma City, OK Plainview, TX 593 DAY 04
17May Tue Plainview,TX Ozona,TX 350 DAY 05
18May Wed Ozona,TX Van Horn,TX ??? DAY 06
19May Thu Van Horn,TX Raton,NM ??? DAY 07
20May Fri Raton,NM Limon,CO ??? DAY 08
21May Sat Limon,CO Kimball,NE ??? DAY 09
22May Sun Kimball,NE Dodge City, KS ??? DAY 10: Murky tornado
23May Mon ??? ??? ??? DAY 11
24May Tue ??? ??? ??? DAY 12
25May Wed ??? ??? ??? DAY 13
26May Thur ??? ??? ??? DAY 14
27May Fri ??? ??? ??? DAY 15
28May Sat ??? ??? ??? DAY 16
29May Sun ??? ??? ??? DAY 17
30May Mon ??? ??? ??? DAY 18
31May Tue Bolingbrook,IL Epilogue
 
COLOR CODE
Plan was to not chase GRAY
Planned Chase Day (future) WHEAT
Available to chase; no weather (“blue-skied”) BLUE
Chase Day (available and expect stormy weather) GREEN
Weather Stormy, but not available for chasing PINK
BUST DAY – no severe storms where we looked! ORANGE
Training Day WHITE

Accommodations
Restaurants
Tools
Web Links

11May2016 Wednesday: Rumble in my ‘hood

Thunder and lightning are at my door. Nothing severe here, but I feel like I’m being teased. Note: the two odd-shaped polygons in the center circle are the city limits for Naperville, Illinois (where I volunteer for the emergency management agency’s weather desk) and neighboring Bolingbrook, where I live.

20160511-2219C-KLOT-CR

I’m going through my pre-vacation checklist. I just finished one deceptively small item: cleaning my Nikon camera lenses, a two-hour job, thanks to not doing it in a very long time. Beats having dirty lenses!!

Here’s what’ was left of a much longer list when I started my work day:

  • Re-check with Tempest office – confirm all paperwork, T-shirt size (medium) etc. in good order. Let them know I am driving down, not flying – Thu
  • Respond to introductions (email) once they arrive – Wed
  • Computer and media checks:
    • Test laptop  – done
    • Test 3 TB hard drive – done
    • Format memory cards (an evening’s work) – Thu
  • Prepare vacation task list for work – Thu
  • Clean and check all Nikon lenses and camera – done
  • Utilities, etc. in VACATION mode – by departure date
    • Mail held at post office – done
    • Water –  a.m. of departure day
    • Gas – water heater – a.m. of departure day
  • Update travel plans with my U.K. contingent:
    • Sun 08 May – done
    • Wed 11 May – done
    • Fri 13 May
    • Sat 14 May
    • Sun 15 May

ChaserCon 2016 – Friday -Day 1

0230 – alarm sounds

0300 – depart home; gas up car

0340 – arrive at offsite ParkWhiz Nguyen for Chicago Midway

0410 – arrive at airport via parking shuttle

0556 – on board flight WN2653, bound for Dallas

0611 – De-icing treatment  

0620 -wheels up

0710 – daybreak. I snuck in a short nap.

0730 – sunrise reflected the off whitecaps 

0820 – arrive in Dallas

0850 – waiting on my flight to OKC. I would grab a Whataburger, but the airport price is $7. Too much for a burger!

1030 –

1200 – met by Lynda Whitfield and Cori Krehm, my regular ChaserCon homegirls. We headed to the Twistex Memorial

Later – …

Day 6: 14May2015 – Northward, Ho!

[My apologies: these are very rough notes, but I will refine them later. Enjoy!]

 

0900 – briefing

We will be positioning far to the north, in preparation for an active day in Nebraska on Friday:

 

Machine generated alternative text: Sprint •e  09:37  spc.noaa.gov  86%

 

Machine generated alternative text: Day 2 Risk  SLIGHT  MARGINAL  Sprint  09:11  spc.noaa.gov  96%  2: SLGT  HIGH  May 14, 2015 0600 UTC Day 2 Convective Outlook  Updated: Thu May 14 05:58:05 UTC 2015 (O, |  Probabilistic to Categorical Outlook Conversion Table  Categorical Graphic  SPC DAV 2 CATEGORICAL OUTLOOK  ISSUED:  VALID: tsn200z-16na:nz  FORECASTER. DIAL  Outlook  Area mi.)  49,736  166,508  Area Pop.  473,733  4616813  Some Larger Population Centers in Risk Area  Grand Island, NE...Kearney, NE...North Platte,  NE...Hastings, NE...Columbus, NE...  Omaha, NE...Wichita, KS...Linc01n, NE...Lubbock,  TX...Amarillo, TX...  —n—Oklåh6hG'CiiibK...Kansas City, MO... Isa, o es  SPC DAV 2 PROBABILISTIC OUTLOOK  ISSUED: cS58Z  VALID: Isn200z-16nzoz  FORECASTER: DIAL  NOAA/NI•VS Prediction Center. Norman. Oklahoma  Moines, IA...Overland Park, KS..  Probabilistic Graphic  Total Severe Probability Legend (in S):  Probability of severe weather within 25 miles of a point.  Hatched Area: 10% or greater probability of significant severe within 25 miles of a point.

 

 

 

0945 – dot hotel

1000CDT –  depart Love’s in south Lubbock

1015CDT – depart
Walgreen store in downtown Lubbock on I-27 N (where we picked up AB’s Rx)

____ – at
Amarillo,TX

 

13:37CDT – depart
China Buffet, Dumas, TX

____-  Depart Stripes c-store in Iraan, TX

14:28CDT – enter OK

15:18CDT/14:18MDY
–  enter CO (Time zone change)

 

17:18CDT –

 

Machine generated alternative text: Sprint  Stop  Altitude  3592 ft  Waypoint  sland  3G  16:46  .. . w 315.......N..  2950  COIumbus-  00:00 /mi  ETA  14748 hr 52 m  540.50 mi 186.90  Time  Distance  Giassli  —Amarill  318.77 mi  IkÅk'syA»s  OKLAH  GPS: i- 16 ft Alt: 13 ft  38.117405, -102.604171  GPS Data  Map  Waypoints  Tracks  Settings

16:46MDT – we move
north toward Lamar

 

Machine generated alternative text: e...o Sprint  Stop  Altitude  3581 ft  Waypoint  16:54  .....45........É.  .135...  850  540.49 mi 187.10  800/0  63.8 mph  ETA  13 hr 14m  Time  Distance  320.38 mi  'L6gal  GPS Data  Map  GPS: 33 ft Alt: 20 ft  38.114554, -102.576009  Waypoints  Tracks  Settings

 

1655MDT – E from
Lamar

 

Machine generated alternative text: Cheyenne Wells  eld  Sharon Springs  Tribune  ich  'Daniel Shav  cJohnson  FM01ton  Leoti  heal nv  Hugoion  Scott City  eßarden  Haskell  Sublet  Sewa-

 

 

1732MDT- at Holly,CO

 

Machine generated alternative text: Goodland, KS  KGLD  10  17:35 MDT 5/14/15  Tribune  Johnson City  Manter  Last Updated: 17:42  Composite Reflectivity  Sheridan Lake  Hartman  Granada  Buttes  VCP: 212 Precip Mode

_____ – enter  KS

 

Machine generated alternative text: Goodland, KS  KGLD  10  17:51 MDT 5/14/15  Hartman  anada  Holly  VCP: 212 Precip Mode  Coolidge  Syocuse  Johnson Cit  Last Updated: 17:56  Composite Reflectivity

______ – S from
Syracuse

 

(insert Nikon
photos, GoPro video here)

___ – extended sky
stop to observe tiered supercell to our west

20:02MDT – stop at
Love’s c-store in Syracuse, KS
  

Amateur Astronaut Checklist – 2015 edition

Every year my gadget collection evolves, as gear wears out or needs a technology refresh to keep up with new capabilities in the field.  The following checklist (and its predecessors) have been my constant companion for over 10 years:

The ever-evolving checklist, obviously technology-driven

The ever-evolving checklist, obviously technology-driven (click to enlarge)

Without the list, I’d be rushing off on certain mornings, only to return to the motel where I’d left a key piece of gear.

I learned the lesson years ago when a member of the tour staff left an expensive camera in Norfolk, Nebraska.  We returned several days later to collect the missing camera, but only after frantic phone calls and changes to our positioning strategy to allow the return. While the camera had been turned over to the local police department, it could have just have easily disappeared.  After witnessing the anguish suffered by my chase companion, I decided not to repeat his experience. Thus, the list was born.

CHASE2014: Season Plan/Summary

Here is the overall plan for my 2014 storm season (which I’ll update as events warrant):

CHASE 2014 DAILY JOURNAL

DATEDAYSTARTENDMILESREMARKSSEMINARS/CLASSROOM TRAINING: 14 FebruaryFridayBolingbrookILDenverCO-ChaserCon2014-minilogoChaserCon 2014 – day 1 (convention)
http://www.chasercon.com/15 FebruarySaturdayDenverCO—ChaserCon2014-minilogoChaserCon 2014 – day 2 (convention)
http://www.chasercon.com/16 FebruarySundayDenverCOBolingbrookIL-ChaserCon2014-minilogoChaserCon 2014 – day 3 (convention)
http://www.chasercon.com/11 MarchTuesdayBolingbrookILNapervilleIL-nexradNaperville EMA
Radar class (#1 of 3)
Weather Command Class I
http://www.napervilleema.org12 MarchWednesdayBolingbrookILNapervilleIL-nexradNEMA Spotter Training (mandatory)
http://www.napervilleema.org15 MarchSaturdayBolingbrookILWheatonIL-nexradDuPage OHSEM Advanced
Spotter Training (seminar)
http://www.dupagesevereweather.com26 MarchWednesdayBolingbrookILNapervilleIL-nexradNaperville EMA
Radar class (#2 of 3)
Weather Command Class II
http://www.napervilleema.org09 AprilWednesdayBolingbrookILNapervilleIL-nexradNaperville EMA
Radar class (#3 of 3)
Weather Command Class III
http://www.napervilleema.orgTBAPOSTPONEDBolingbrookILNapervilleIL-first-aidBlood-borne Pathogens (mandatory)
http://www.napervilleema.orgSOUTHERN/GREAT PLAINS CHASES: mid-May: 4060 miles / 11 days

 09 MaySaturdayBolingbrookIL––Prologue10 MaySaturdayBolingbrookILOklahoma CityOK–TRAVEL11 MaySundayOklahoma CityOK—PLAYING TOURIST12 MayMondayOklahoma CityOK______DAY 1: ORIENTATION; DEPART BASE13 MayTuesday_________DAY 2: _14 MayWednesday_________DAY 3: _15 MayThursday_________DAY 4: _16 MayFriday_________DAY 5: _17 MaySaturday_________DAY 6: _18 MaySunday_________DAY 7: _19 MayMonday_________DAY 8: _20 MayTuesday_________DAY 9: _21 MayWednesday_________DAY 10: _22 MayThursday_________DAY 11: RETURN TO BASE23 MayFridayOklahoma CityOKBolingbrookIL___Homeward bound24 MaySaturdayBolingbrookIL   EpilogueIL/IA CHASES/SPOTTING: Chaser/spotter fun within 300 miles of home
(TBA)(TBA)BolingbrookIL(TBA)– VIRTUAL CHASES/SPOTTING: Like chasing without leaving home (or the office)
(TBA)(TBA)BolingbrookIL(TBA)–


COLOR CODE
Plan was to not chase GRAY
Planned Chase Day (future) YELLOW
Available to chase; no weather (“blue-skied”) BLUE
Chase Day (available and expect stormy weather) GREEN
Weather Stormy, but not available for chasing RED
BUST DAY – no severe storms where we looked!
ORANGE
Training Day
WHITE
Accommodations Restaurants Tools Web Links

NOTE: The restaurant and accommodations links will be dead until I get out in the field.