Plains here I come

Hey all,

I've decided to take a six day plains chase vacation (May 24-29, 2006.) I've never taken an extended vacation out there before -- I've chased Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin before but they were all one day trips -- leave early am, drive, chase, drive home.

I will be free to roam from North Dakota south to Texas over this vacation and I will be renting a car (I don't want damage to my car :lol: ) Anyone recommend a certain vehicle for chasing?

Also -- What are the good areas of the plains, and what are the bad areas of the plains -- mainly visibility reasons. Thanks in advance -- I hope I get an active stretch of days!
When chasing the Plains..there are no good areas or bad areas...just go where the storms blow up and take you and hope to hell its not into the Ozarks. Oh the wonderful Ozarks... :shock: No but seriously just have fun be safe, and good luck out there. The period you picked is a little more favorable for those "cooperative" supercells.
Yeah i agree umm MO pretty much sucks for chasing i mean you can still get storms but some of them roads are windy or however you spell it, and lots of trees and wildlife, other then that KS, NE, IA, and OK are real good for chasing, im eventually going to have some good equipment and be able to see radar i just wait for the setup, get out before a watch is issued, and try and be on the storms when they fire, id reccomend something with good fuel mileage, idk what else to tell ya lol JUST DONT CORE PUNCH with your rental vehicle that wouldnt be a pleasant deal there, thats about it the plains are awsome for stormchasing, i wish you luck on your chase vacation and i hope you have fun...

lets just hope for something soon" 8)
Rental car agencies are are now charging customers for damages caused by acts of nature. Wisconsin is one of a couple states that doesn't allow the rental agencies to do this so rent the car in your home state and enjoy the show. .. not that you would try and hit a core anyway. Most cars will suffice but you might as well get one with solid fuel efficiency. A medium sized 4 cyl would do fine and would be cheaper to rent than something bigger. Avis sucks. I filled up the tank after my last vacation and brought it back to the airport 8 miles away. They still billed me for three gallons of gas at $3/gal (back when gas was around $1.50) even though the tank was filled minus 8 miles of combustion. I'll never use Avis again.
Hey Tim, exciting to see another member planning a chase vacation.

Everyone will have their opinion, but I can't resist chiming in with a recommendation on a "home base" for a chase vacation. It is hard to imagine there isn't a more ideal home base than Kansas City - specifically, the southwestern suburbs - somewhere like Lenexa, Overland Park, or Olathe. This gives the vacationer a very cosmopolitan, cultural center at their back door with the Great Plains literally at their front door. Great interstate routes - zoom directly west en route to the High Plains on I-70, southwest down I-35 in to the heart of Kansas and beyond to Oklahoma, north on I-29 to Nebraska/Iowa. A great, affordable and interesting place to stay. Best of all, some of the most friendly and enthusiastic chasers around - always more than happy to help out and share stories. I am planning myself to spend at least several weeks in Kansas City again this spring. Good luck to you!
hey tim

well the buick rendevious has AWD, gets good mileage, and is really compfortable (sound system pretty good too)

and yes KC is a good outpost or Denver (though you could be a lil bit too far west depending where things fire in late May)
either way PLAN on driving a crapload - see ya out there!
Im shooting for May 11-22, Im also getting plans together. Ill be driving my 03 Astro, gets ok gas mileage, sleeps one REAL comfortably.

Checking radios, cell antennas now.
Hope to see you out there!
Mike R.
I've been chasing for a couple of decades, and have always rented my vehicles. I've utilized anything from Chevy MonteCarlos, to Pontiac Aztecs to SUV's.
What my chase partner/cousin Doren Berge's and I have's best to ALWAYS rent from one of the top two or three rental agencies...ALWAYS rent a 4x4 SUV....and ALWAYS take out the maximum insurance that is offered.
I don't know how many times having four wheel drive has kept us from getting stuck in the mud....getting swept off the road in major flash flooding where we truly did face drowning well as allowing us to get down very marginal roads and to the action. Having a 4x4 has bagged us tornadoes when other vehicles would have not.
The max. insurance usually runs us $25-30 bucks daily..on top of the rental fees. But's been worth it!
Utilizing the top 3 rental companies makes having to switch out a rental vehicle with mechanical problems a lot easier when the breakdown comes in an area where smaller rental agencies do not have terminals. This alone is valid reason in my mind for paying a bit more in rental fees.
And lastly.....NEVER tell that cute little hottie behind the rental counter that you're a storm chaser...even if you think she'd only have eyes for you after you told her. I know of some chasers that have done that...and have actually been black-balled from renting vehicles as a result.
One time in the mid 80's I rented a brand-new / never been rented before Dodge K-car (remember those....yucch) from a fledgling little agency in west Texas. When I brought it back a week or ten days looked like some madman had beat up the entire hood and top of the car with a ball peen hammer. Not only that....we had driven that poor thing in a major flash flood around Big Springs Texas...(which actually killed a little baby swept out of his mother's arms) water that literally came up to the bottom of the driver's windows. The ONLY way we made it out of there alive was by following an 18-wheeler on his rear bumper...with his wake allowing us to make it thru. When I turned in the hail-beat rental back into the had so much cotton hanging off every nook and cranny and body molding that it looked liked an abused 20 year old Rose Bowl Parade float. The manager of the agency's neck veins literally bulged with anger when I turned that car back in. He immediately grabbed my contract to see if I was responsible for the damages. Thank GOD I had taken out the max insurance. Whew!
I have to agree with mike. I lived in KC for a year and a half and found that there is great acess to just about any portion of the great planes. I met a lot of great people there as well. I am working in Orlando, FL so my days on the great plains are on hold for a while.....Chances are I may be able to experience a Hurricane. Gas milage will be a major consideration due to the high and fluctuating gas prices.. A turbocharged 4 cylindar car would be good for fuel economy and power when you need it in case a truck going way under the speed limit is encountered. One with all wheel drive would work pretty well as well as we all have been or almost gotten stuck out in BFE.
The one glaring thing that I can see as a detriment to baseing out of the K.C. area is that many areas directly east of you are not chase friendly.
Warren Faidley and a bunch of us were munching on this subject a year or so ago, and my thinking personally was that Great Bend, Kansas would be ideal. You can stab in any direction and be deep within the alley in each. Also, you can hit I-70 a bit north of there....and if needed....hit the alltime greatest east-west chase highway....I-80....with 75mph speed limits....and not much construction like I-70 always seems to have.
Yes but Great bend doesn't have as many "luxuries" if you will, where a larger metro area would. Although that kind of is a personal matter since to many chasers they could care less about "luxuries", but If you are that type of person that is somthing to consider. You could kind of compromise between the two and take wichita if you want.

Ok I'll stop over-analyzing the situation.
Yes, I understand your point, Samuel. It's a good one. One thing that I have found when chasing, is it's a bee-atch sometimes getting thru a city when the you-know-what hits the fan and you've gotta be on the road in a hurry when a tornadic cell pops somewhere. Aside from that, I agree with you. In fact..the last several years, a bunch of us have "hung our hat" in Amarillo...taking up a block of motel rooms at the same place. One room serves as "command central"...the rest for showers and sleep.
And I don't think you're "over analyzing" at all. You and well as the others logging into StormTrack..are simply getting "spring fever". When we log into S.T. and speculate, etc. etc. about chase's like a relief valve letting a little steam out! Nothin' wrong with that!