Today was not an anticipated chase day at all. (seems to be a growing theme this year) I didn’t even look at any sort of weather data when I got up. My focus on this chilly morning was to visit a local amateur radio hamfest in Decatur, IL. I got up around 7:15am and got everything in order to make the hour drive to Decatur. My initial thoughts were to just take the laptop and HT, but some strange voice inside me told me to grab the camcorder and gear bag. (thanks strange voice!) I loaded up the car and headed out around 8:00am. I made a quick stop at the ATM to get some cash, but my debit card decided to expire without letting me know so I was unable to get any bling bling. (the stupid thing ate my card too!) Despite this minor setback, I decided to push forward and continue on my journey. I arrived at the hamfest a little after 9:00am and started roaming around to see if there were any goodies. I met up with my ham/chase friend George (N9IPO) and we made the rounds inside and out.
While we were walking around, my cell phone started buzzing. I figured it was just a weather watch for some place on the east coast or something. A few minutes later, it buzzed again. I checked it out and there was a severe thunderstorm warning as well as a mesoscale discussion for Illinois. (what the heck!?!?) Cell phone coverage wasn’t too good in the building, but I managed to find a spot where I could download the full text of the discussion. The lovely cold air aloft was triggering some decent hail, hence the warnings. I continued browsing the hamfest not thinking much more about the weather situation. George and I made one more pass of the outdoor vendors before heading on our separate ways. One radio had caught my eye earlier and I was surprised to see it still there when I returned. I really wanted it, but all I had was my checkbook and the guy said ‘cash only’. (blah!) Luckily, another ham friend of mine knew the guy and was able to convince him that I was a trustworthy person. (yay for me!)