Category Archives: Recording

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):

 

A brief seasonal introduction

Howdy!

My name is Lisa Beal. I’ll be touring with Tempest for my 15th trip this year. Where has the time gone!

I’m nearing retirement, but still have plenty of energy for storm days. I’ll need it: I usually carry a hefty assortment of gadgets, earning the name Gadget Girl on tours past.

I live in the southwest suburbs of Chicago, in Bolingbrook, Illinois, and I work as an IT middleware engineer (that means I make big servers go, go, go). Like my buddy, Owen, I’m tied to a keyboard most of my waking hours — and sometimes those hours run really long. To maintain my sanity, I will NOT be answering calls from work on vacation. Would you?

My typical chase-cation starts with a drive to Oklahoma city, usually with a stopover near friends on the way. And I take about 3 days to get home afterwards, if severe weather is around for chasing. I have a dedicated chase vehicle (“Gadgetmobile II“, as the first one was gracefully retired in 2007), and like chase in groups, with a friend or two, or solo. “Gadgetmobile III” is coming soon, probably at the end of the model year (and, yes, I’m leaning toward SUV for the next one).

I’ll be arriving in Oklahoma City on the Saturday evening before the trip so if anyone is wanting to explore locally, let me know!Usually, I make a trip to WalMart on the Sunday before departure, and it is pretty usual to have 2-3 others with me for that store run. let me know if you need to do that.
Text me … to connect for that store run, a lunch or dinner on Sunday, etc. I welcome the company.

II cannot say enough good things about the Tempest crew, especially Bill Reid. He is the storm whisperer, and has put me in front of at least 30 of the tornadoes I’ve seen, among the 50 total I’ve seen. Bill is also an excellent photographer. Don’t be shy if you need camera advice. His his very solid advice.

I will be blogging each evening (or early the next morning) after each chase day. Look for updates at
http://www.underthethunder.org/blog/2018/05/
(once I set it up, in the next few days) . I’ll also be posting (after the fact) to Facebook &/or Twitter. I’m user polarpal99 on both.

See you soon!
lisaB

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.

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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

07 May 2013 – CHASE 2013 – DAY 7

07 May 2013 – CHASE 2013 – DAY 7

06:47 – Wake, shower

08:15 – As I’m toweling down from my shower, I get a call from Danny: briefing over. I had written 08:30 down. Oh, crap! “Run, Forrest, run!”

08:30 – Depart Plainview, heading north to Kansas.

10:22 – Continue north from Amarillo,TX, after a stop for bathrooms and a McDonald’s run.

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11:00 – stopped at (adjacent) Walmart and Verizon stores in Dumas, TX. Dang! They do not carry the myCharge device I wanted to buy. Jenna is getting good use out of mine, but I still need one, too. I’ll try to find one later.

11:40 – Angled northeast toward Guymon, OK on US54.

12:06 – Cross into Oklahoma at
Texhoma.

13:30 – Lunch at the Subway in Hugoton, KS

14:00 – Continue north on KS25 through Ulysses, KS. Developing storms are building to our north.

15:00? – pit stop at Lakin, KS

16:05 – Headed north from Scott City, KS

16:15 – east on KS4 toward Healey

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1745 – Heading south towards Dighton on KS23, we briefly encounter quarter-sized hail. (I submitted an mPing report.)

1806. – Charged east of Leighton toward Ness City. Trying to get ahead of our hailer.

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______ – We catch a photogenic storm. Many photos, which Jim Reed will critique for me.

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23:00 – Arrive At Dodge City Days Inn. A neighbor is engaged in a knock-down, drAgged-out argument; the hallways look like something from The. Brady Bunch era. Wow!

23:30 – We grab dinner at Applebee’s, then turn in for the night.

(More photos soon)

06 May 2013 – CHASE 2013 – DAY 6

06 May 2013 – CHASE 2013 – DAY 6

10:00 – We sing Happy Birthday to Bill Reid, our meteorologist and main guide. Bill does the weather briefing: chances for storms are rising, chance of severe to be non-zero, too.

11:00 – depart Van Horn, TX for New Mexico. We are positioning to be close to the OK/TX Panhandle – western Kansas area tomorrow.

_____ – stop at Guadalupe Mountain (highest point in Texas) for photos.

_____ – stop at NM/TX line for photos of the welcomes signs.

13:45 (CDT) – stop at Danny’s Place (REAL PIT BBQ) in Carlsbad, NM (the one with the famed Carlsbad Caverns).

17:45 – Exit Roswell, NM via US70N. Fueled up. No aliens sighted.

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02 May 2013 – CHASE 2013 – DAY 2

02 May 2013 – CHASE 2013 – DAY 2 – Heading to the Big Bend

0700 – I’m awake! Did morning chores. Pulled myCharge, iPhone, camera batteries off their respective chargers.

0800 – packed everything but computer gear and iPhone. Transferred Nikon D7000 photos to my portable hard drive. Made shrunken copies of key photos for the day. Updated my blog entries for yesterday

1030 – meet others at the van to load up for the day.

10:35 – Do weather briefing. No expectation of storms for 2-3 days, at least. We will head to Terlingua,TX where we’ll set up our.base to explore
Big Bend National Park.

10:40 – Headed to The Beehive for lunch; arrived 20 minutes later. Excellent brisket and great stories about Albany and the restaurant from the owner, Ali (who came 33 year ago from Iran).

12:50 – stop for damage photos and video at a local oil company, Sazama Fuel & Oil. Departed Albany westbound, toward I-20.

14:36 – Continuing west on I-20, passing through Sweetland.
50 minutes later, exit at TX350 (Big Spring) for provisions.

15:51 – Continue west.

16:00 – Dust streaming across the interstate. All that is left of a lake north of us is a pitiful lakebed dotted with old tires and the dust spewing at us.

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18:45 – We do a 20-minute Walmart stop in Fort Stockton then head south from I-10 on US67.

_____ – we stop the McDonalds in Alpine for dinner (a grilled chicken Caesar salad for me).

21:00 – Arrive at our motel near Big Bend National Park (in Terlingua, TX). Unload gear, set up chargers, turn in for the night. (I briefly tried to find a view of Saturn, but low clouds and trees are blocking the view until hours later.)

01 May 2013 – CHASE 2013 – DAY 1

01 May 2013 – CHASE 2013 – DAY 1 – Oklahoma and Texas

06:15 – Wake; morning chores;; pack bags

07:30 – Drop bags at Holiday Inn; return rental car

08:00 – Return to Wyngate via shuttle; eat breakfast.

08:30 – Walk to Holiday Inn; meet other chasers; do introductions and safety briefing,

10:30 – Pack vans, grab cameras and head for Wichita Falls , TX then toward Abilene.

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12:50 – Rest stop then lunch 20 minutes later (just north of Wichita Falls, TX).

13:20 – Continue southwest from Wichita Falls on US277.

15:12 – stop at Munday for bathrooms, fuel, food. Continue southeast

17:15 – turn back north from Albany on US283. Storms with 55,000 foot have developed along I44 in southern OK, with the line spreading into our area. We are in a severe storm watch box.

18:00 – sky stop. We see a storm with a hard back sheared, take photos as it evolves.

20130501-135701.jpg18:30 – depart south on US283 as the cold outflow breeze of the storm invades.

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Air being pulled up into the storm

Air being pulled up into the storm, near Throckmorton, TX, 01 May 2013

19:35 – we duck south, bit by bit, trying to keep out of monster (2.5-inch or larger) hail. At one point we can to the hail roar of the storm. (Hail roar is the sound of large hail hitting the ground, cars, rooftops, etc. It can sound like thunder only it can last for minutes at a time.)

 

20:30 – We stop west of Albany,TX, where we witness a spectacular display of spider lightning. I have embarrassing camera issues here, because I miss a control setting. Our team leader helps me figure it out, but I miss the best part of the lightning. To add insult to injury, the Storm Prediction Center indicates an unfavorable weather pattern (for storm chasers) for at least three days. I feel terribly frustrated.

Still, I captured a little bit:

Spider Lightning,

Spider Lightning, 01 May 2013, just west of Albany, TX

22:30 – We depart for our hotel after a fast food dinner at the Dairy Queen in Fort Griffin.

23:00 – We check into The Ridge Motel in Breckinridge,TX.
23:46 – turn in for the night. I’m exhausted physically and emotionally.

Lisa’s Big, Fat Camera Collection







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Video


Top to bottom:
A. JVC
B. Panasonic
C. Panasonic
D. JVC GZMH77U HDD camcorder
E. Canon Vixia HDD+SDHC camcorder
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SLR / DSLR

Top to bottom:
A. Pentax ME super SLR
B. Pentax K1000SE SLR
C. Pentax ZX-5 SLR
– Focal M-200 flash w/W.A. Adapter & color filters
D. Pentax K20D DSLR w/pro master 7200EDF Digital flash

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Pentax lenses:

Top to bottom, left to right:
A. Sakar 0.42x fisheye
B. Pentax 35-80 AF
C. Pentax 28-70 AF
D. Tamron 28-200 AF
E. SMC Pentax-F 80-200
F. Toyo 200mm


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Support (tripods, clamps, etc)


Top to bottom:
A. MX2000 (brand unknown) tripod
B. Bogen 3001 tripod
C. Dynex DX-SW040 monopod
D. (2) Sima SVP-3 Videoprops
E. (2) ultra-compact “toy” tripods
F. Various Manfrotto quick releases

(No, Jim [Reed] and Bill [Reid — ‘no relation’], I do not plan on dragging all this to Oklahoma for this trip (LOL!) )