Summary: saw 3 tornadoes in north Nebraska
More details to come.
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.
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
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
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.
______ – We catch a photogenic storm. Many photos, which Jim Reed will critique for me.
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
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 – 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.
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.)
30 April 2013 – CHASE 2013 – Arrival
05:00 wake up
05:10 morning chores
05:20 Take trash to the curb
05:30 Airport limo arrived. My favorite driver, David, is driving. We talk about friends, relationship maintenance, and life on the trip to O’Hare.
0615 Arrive O’Hare. Due to my tripod case looking like a gun chase I check that along with backup photo gear. ($60 to check two bags! Highway robbery!!) I also end up gate-checking my carry-on bag (with my primary camera gear). I try to hide my displeasure and eventually settle in for the flight. Regional jets are more intimate than their massive cousins, but I always suffer separation anxiety when I travel separately from my most expensive toys.
__ Wheels up and on our way. Our compact yet comfy Canadair CRJ700 angles southwest toward the heart of Tornado Alley. As I sip my diet tonic water — scored a full can! — I chat with the flight attendant and compare note on her Canadair vs. the ski-equipped KC-130 aircraft of my Antarctic era. It seems that both planes began their lives as cargo aircraft are were later retrofitted with seats for passengers. (Learn something new every day!)
_____ arrive at OKC. To my chagrin, I discover my rental car location is not at the airport, but a $20 cab ride away. What’s more: the airport rental agent had put through the charge already, so I had to have him back it out.
_____ drove downtown. Ate lunch at Thai Kitchen (a recommendation from my Thai can driver). Great meal and great price. I guess the detour to the rental car served a second purpose. Lesson: Learn to make the most of detours; sometimes the scenic route turns out better.
_____ Consulted Google Maps to find a photo store. All the signs (Yelps, reviews, etc.) point to Baker Camera in Yukon, a short hop west of OKC. Upon arriving I make two wonderful discoveries: 1) Yukon is Garth Brooks’ hometown (“teenage!”) and 2) Hank Baker, the owner of this oasis of prosumer Nikon and Canon gear, is also an accomplished storm photographer.
_____ Swing by the Sam’s Club off McArthur Blvd. to pick up protein bars. Imodium (just in case), dried mangoes, and a jar of marinated asparagus.
____ Back to the Wyngate for a brief unwind.
_____ Go to the Texas Roadhouse. Celebrate Willie Nelson’s 80th birthday with a Skinny Margarita. A 12-oz. ribeye, and a cup of chili.
_____ return to the hotel. Charge up phone, photo and video batteries and myCharge (iPhone charge bank). Check the forecasts and models. Looks like we’ll dive south into Texas for our first chase day.
22:00 Turn in for the night
I usually read along with the flight attendant while she (or he) goes through the safety card. Besides the fact every plane is a little different, I’ve always considered it polite to pay attention to a person when they speak. Usually, the safety briefing is pretty repetitious, but today I found something new:
It never occurred to me that a person with a pacemaker would be required to turn it off during the flight! Everybody got a good laugh when I pointed this out. Now my joke collection has a pacemaker joke. “Who’d w thunk it?”