12May2016 Thursday : A Brief Introduction of … me

Photo: Lisa "Gadget Girl" Beal

Lisa “Gadget Girl” Beal

Hey, gang!

Some of you have chased with me before and some of you haven’t met Gadget Girl before, so here’s a bit about me.

I am a former polar explorer (3 years contracting for the U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP)), a career computer technologist, and — Surprise! — a storm chaser. I’ve been chasing in several forms now for 20 years: I go with tour groups, chase with a few local teams, and chase solo. I’ve seen about 3 dozen tornadoes and uncounted severe storms in that time. I still have plenty to learn, but I know enough to keep myself safe chasing and doing storm spotting for my local emergency management agency.

I’ve chased with Tempest Tours since 2002 (though I’ve missed a few seasons, due to job or economic constraints). If my count is correct, my 2016 trip will be my 14th chase with Tempest. I guess you become a regular after spending over 100 days with these folks. You may find other excellent tour companies, but none better! If I had all the money I could ask for, I’d still choose Martin Lisius and Bill Reid to guide me ‘under the thunder.’ (Yes, I use that expression a lot!) I would have to say that about 2/3 of the tornadoes I’ve seen in my life were with Tempest.

I tend to favor chasing in May, since we cover a broad range of the central and southern plains during a ten-day stint. I’ve found that this makes for better ‘blue sky’ days, as well as lots of target choices when the weather is active.

If you were to ask those who’ve chased with me before, they’d probably tell you I carry a lot of ‘toys’ and invariably am the unofficial IT helper for the tour. If your technology gets messed up, please feel free to ask me for help. I do not know every thing about every gadget or software package, but I give good guidance, tend to be generous with my time, and derive great satisfaction from helping others. (I also speak a little Spanish, should the need arise; I spent a lot of time translating for one guest a few years back.)

Also, those of you who know me will note that I’ve dropped about 80 pounds since last year. This is partially due to a (usually) strict low-carbohydrate diet, better commitment to exercise than I’ve had in years past, and the mysteries of modern medicine. You’ll see me eating a lot of salads, but trust me, I’m really enjoying myself.

One last thing: I sometimes talk too much. Feel free to stop me!

S M I L E S,
Lisa B

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.


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

06April2016 – The Sound of Thunder

“I woke last night to the sound of thunder. ‘How far off?’ I thought and wondered.” – “Night Moves”, Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band.(https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Night_Moves_(song) )

Actually, I woke at 4 AM this morning to a flash of lightning (and, yes, the sound of thunder).
The chase season is here. My vacation is coming soon, and I am counting the days. I watch the checking account for the deposit my tax refund that will fund my next adventure.

Month of May, please come soon!

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 9: 17May2015 – Get the Heck Outta Dodge (2015)

Relocated from Dodge city Kansas to Amarillo Texas.

Dropped “AB” at the Greyhound depot, as he had an emergency at home and he’d to get back to OKC to collect his luggage and then fly east.

Weird foreshadowing: as Phil and I were walking around Dodge City at 10:45, we bumped into a lady who was walking in Italian GREYHOUND.

Dodge City: Phil and Lisa act out the. “leaning drunks” problem