While some people considered the chase season to end in the month of June, I felt that it was just starting to fire up. Looking at the morning Day 1 outlook revealed most of IL under a slight risk. After looking at the models, I felt that it was a very slight chance of anything severe firing. I waited around for the 16:30z Day 1 outlook to come out before I made any plans. Sure enough, they had moved the slight risk to include just a sliver of eastern IL. It still included the central and southern parts of IN, which meant that I would still probably chase. Just around noon, Rob Stout (INCHASE) popped online and I asked him if he wanted to chase or at least nowcast for me. I told him I would head towards the Terre Haute area and go from there.
I departed Champaign at 12:30pm and headed south on Rt.45 to Tuscola. From there, I proceeded east on Rt. 36 towards Indiana. Around 1:45pm as I was heading through the little town of Hume, IL., I noticed a few lightning strikes to my ESE. Just after this, I talked to Tom (N9PLB) and Dale (W9JY) on the 444.925 repeater in Mattoon. I informed them that I was heading towards the Terre Haute area to chase some storms. From Mattoon, they told me that it looked real ominous to their NE, which is what I was seeing to my ESE. The repeater started getting weaker, so I said goodbye and continued east on 36 into Indiana. (found out that it was only putting out 5 watts of power, which is quite amazing seeing how far I was from the repeater!)
Around 2:30pm, I received a call on the cell phone from Rob informing me that these storms weren’t doing anything and didn’t look to intensify. I had a feeling that this would happen, but I continued to chase anyways. I asked Rob since I was somewhat in his area if he wanted me to stop by for a little while. He said ‘come on over’, so I got directions and headed that way. I arrived at his house around 3:30pm and determined from looking at radar that he was right in that the storms were all moving south and didn’t look to reach severe levels. Rob dug out one of his chase videos that he had (one of Warren Faidley’s tapes) and we watched that to pass some time. When that was over, we noticed this horse race on TV. The reason I point this out is because one of the horses was named “Arizona Storm”. (I know, we’re crazy!) I’m not sure if it was that horse or another one, but one of them had 99-1 odds of winning, which we both couldn’t believe. After that was over, we went outside and I showed Rob some of my gadgets and radios. In an attempt to demonstrate ham radio, I punched in the 146.970 repeater out of Indianapolis and called Chad (KB9WXQ). Of course, he didn’t respond so it didn’t do too well for demonstrating it to Rob, but I think he got the idea! 🙂
While we were outside, Rob’s 4 kids came out and started playing catch. Not wanting to feel left out, I dug out my old baseball glove in the back of the car and got in on the action. We played for quite awhile and I can’t remember how many times they hit the side of my van with the ball. (thank goodness we were using a tennis ball!) After that was over with, Rob wanted to know if I would stay for dinner. Having heard how much this man loves to cook, I wasn’t about to pass this up. 🙂 Noticing they were out of a few ingredients, Rob and I decided to run into town and pick up the goods. I took my HT with me hoping to hit the Indy repeater again, but I being 50 miles away from Indy and without an external antenna, I just couldn’t do. (I just don’t have the power, captain!!!)
We got back to the house around 9:00pm and he started cooking the yummies. During this time, we decided to watch “The Nutty Professor”. That movie had everyone crying from laughing so much, totally hilarious movie. Then we decided to watch the sequel, which was equally if not more hilarious than the first one. During the 2nd movie, we started chowing down on some awesome food. We had big baked potatoes, salad, and yes, STEAK! (sorry Aunt Meg, but no eggs this time!) 🙂 Rob’s reputation as a cook definitely panned out (no pun intended) as the food was fabulous. His oldest daughter decided to bake us some brownies for dessert, which were very good.
After the second movie was over, I decided that I’d better start heading back home. After saying my goodbyes, I left his house around 2:00am. I took the same route back home except instead of Rt.45, I took I-57 to get home just a bit quicker. I pulled in my driveway at 4:30am. *yawn*
Well, despite the weather busting on me, I had a heck of a time. After talking to Rob online and several times on the phone, it was great to finally meet him.
Huge thanks goes out to Rob and his family for being such gracious hosts! Good food, good company, lots of fun. Every chaser should have a friend like Rob! You da man Rob! 🙂
Total Chase Time: 16 hours
Total Chase Miles: 260 miles