Michael Diamond

Review of "Tour Five" by StormGroup Chasers

General review

I was fortunate to have been subbed into Tour Five this year at late notice, and I couldn't have hoped for a better experience for my first storm chasing tour! Peter was the consummate storm chasing tour guide, full of both knowledge and wisdom, quick to dispense both. He has a keen eye for developing storms and a passionate interest in the field. During inevitable down times during our weeklong tour (ie, several mornings), he has a considerate concern for his guests' interest levels and planned entertaining diversions for us, whilst always maintaining an eye on the forecast timing to ensure we were still "positioned" properly when it came time for active chasing. Peter also possesses a scholarly wit, and can regale his tour group with both weather facts on-the-move as well as personal tales of adventure that border on Indiana Jones-ish. Accommodations were secured every night at motels that were safe and clean, thanks to advance planning we never stayed anywhere inadequate. Our food choices were a mix of interesting local finds (fantastic Creole food in Montana... who knew?) and grab-and-go when there was a need to, well, grab and go! The vehicle was one self-contained SUV (previously a Suburban, but our tour used an upgraded Escalade). Because Peter's tours are limited to 6 people -- including himself and his co-driver -- it remains a compact, flexible, intimate, fast-moving group dynamic. With all due respect to the large caravan-style tours on the market, I much prefer this self-contained tour method. The other major difference of course is that Peter does not run this operation as a for-profit tour company. It's more like "splitting the costs" of storm chasing, which means that he's doing this to pursue a passion instead of dollars. In addition to Peter's knack for storm-finding and tour planning, I found Rich to be a courteous and competent co-driver, also knowledgeable and well-equipped to help gauge the skies. Brad, Jody and Lena were delightful companions making for a congenial backseat experience, even over a 4,000-mile road trip week. Thanks to all involved for a great experience! Already looking forward to next year! --Mike D.

Vehicle review:

The Escalade was as comfortable as could be for the many road miles traveled, certainly more so than a big tour group shuttle van and reportedly better than the similar Suburban that it replaced. There were plenty of power ports for charging purposes, as well as ample room for fridge and luggage in the rear.

Tour guide review:

Besides the positive comments above, Peter was also very thorough in helping me make last-minute arrangements to join the group, indulging my numerous email inquiries and working through quick logistical arrangements with me. Also, he provided a professional-grade briefing at the onset of the tour week which benefitted me and one other first-timer.

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