Review of "May Tour #4" by Extreme Chase Tours
Now, how does one review a tour like this one. The last week of May is usually a great week for storm chasing but this year it really wasn't. On our 6 day tour we just had one real chase day (and two bust days), the rest were down days. So, from a storm chasing perspective there is not much to judge by but I felt very confident we got the best out of what was there (I checked the reports and there was really nothing going on the other days), thanks to Lanny (our tour guide). There were also other anomalies like ECT's normal van being repaired and that Lanny lacked a partner for this tour. This basically put a lot of pressure on our guide Lanny to drive, forecast, position, entertain us, plan for hotel rooms etc. and often everything at the same time. He literally had to use his iPhone for weather updates while driving since he didn't have a driver for this tour and he lacked his laptop stand so he couldn't really use that either. Not the easiest thing to do, I assume. This may not be the typical setup but I could only review the experience under the circumstances of this particular tour. Lanny did a great job to do this two-man job in a rented van! It is difficult to judge a tour that only had one chase day but from that perspective I give it a "strong" 4 and an even stronger 5* for Lanny as a guide, he was great! You can read my full day-by-day description of the tour in the blog, see link above.
Lanny's typical vehicle was being repaired during our tour so he had to use a rental van. Thus, this review may not be applicable to what you may experience when you ride in the original Extreme Chase Tours van. The rental van didn't have a laptop stand, "3G-booster" and some other features that Lanny was quite bummed out by not having. It didn't have Wifi but had an electrical socket, which was quite useful. It also had a DVD-player but we never used it. The seats were the best I have experienced on a tour and there were plenty of room for your stuff. I have not been impressed with the seats on previous tours so this was a nice surprise. But, once again, this was a rental van and the review of the vehicle is not likely to be applicable on future tours.
Tour guide review:
Lanny tried to 110% to make this weather-wise dull week into a great experience anyway. This was a really hard sell because I had looked forward to the trip for a long time and to only get one real chase day was a BIG disappointment for me. I don't blame Lanny for a second about this, he really went above and beyond to find anything - often staying up until really late to find some storms for us. So, turning this around was a difficult thing to do but Lanny really managed to make it feel like we were a group of friends on a vacation. We went go-karting, laser-tagging etc and had a really good time. He also held an excellent but sad guiding of what happened during El Reno where his good friend Tim Samaras so tragically passed. The vivid details from his own experiences and what likely happened made it feel very real and one could really imagine how it could have been that day. On the one day we actually did chase Lanny forecasted us in the perfect place (TX panhandle) and we had a really good time. He showed a good balance in terms of being safe while still experience the excitement, which I appreciated a lot. I also enjoyed the excitement he showed, when we saw a landspout it felt like he saw one for the first time. This excitement was contagious and brought a really good, positive feeling to the group! Lanny, as a person, feels very genuine, warm and is extremely dedicated to make his guests have a good time. He may not be the guide for you if you can't take some portion of strong language but I liked that, that was just his personality, and it felt honest and real. If there is one thing that could be improved it is the communication (as in e-mail, not on a face-to-face basis). Some mornings there were some confusion on what time to meet up etc. and the information before the tour was quite scarce.
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