Meghan P

Review of "Anticipated Velocity Voyage Tour (Tour 4)" by Extreme Tornado Tours

General review

This is my second trip with ETT, as I previously chased with Tour 1 in 2022. I didn't think that it could get much better than last year's experience, until I went on Tour 6 in 2023. This trip was especially memorable because we saw a tornado on the very first chase day (near Higgins, TX), which set everyone's mood at an all-time high. Time and time again, the guides worked hard to find interesting weather events for us to experience. I truly loved seeing a massive mothership supercell near Springfield, CO and a crazy hail storm near Chugwater, WY. Go with an open mind, and try to see the beauty in all things! It isn't just about the tornadoes - you will experience some of the most beautiful (and remote) parts of the US. You will also make new friends on the tour, and our group has grown exceptionally close over the last few weeks. Please be advised that this is not meant to be a fancy tour with fine dining and 5-star accommodations every night. That is NOT what chasing is about, nor should it be. If that is what you are expecting, then be sure to manage your own expectations for the tour. Many of the places that you will chase are in rural areas with limited hotel options. There were only two hotels out of eight chase days/nights that I found to be subpar; the other hotels, such as the Candlewood Suites and the Best Western Premier, were excellent! As for the food options, the guides do a great job finding 'hidden gems' - with that said, if you are in chase mode or if it is late at night then your options may be limited. I would plan to pack a few snacks to hold you over in the event that you are chasing a storm with no time to stop and eat a sit down meal. The guides will definitely stop for bathroom breaks at gas stations where you can grab food and drinks. For down days (non-chase days) you may end up at a Wal-Mart or grocery store where you can stock up on essentials. You will also get to visit some interesting places when there are not any storms to chase. For example, our group went to Lookout Mountain in Golden, CO; the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial; followed the Yellow Brick Road to Dorothy's house in Liberal, KS; and paid our respects to Tim, Carl and Paul at the Twistex Memorial in El Reno, OK.

Vehicle review:

The vehicles were in good working order, and were well-maintained. There was plenty of room for guests, as ETT does not cram too many people into the vans (2 guides and 6 guests max). There are also chargers in the vans, and a cooler is kept in the back with drinks at all times. The only way to possibly improve upon the vans (in the future) would be captains chairs (or installation of head rests) - but it is definitely not a deal breaker.

Tour guide review:

Here is my review for the individual ETT guides, collectively known as "The Dream Team" of storm chasing: Trey (Lead ETT Meteorologist): Trey quickly recognized my passion for the weather, and let me tell you - he is a fabulous teacher! With Trey's guidance and expertise, I was excited to apply concepts that I learned in my meteorology program to what I was actually observing out in the field. He skillfully gaged each person's level of knowledge about the weather, and patiently explained what was happening in a way that inexperienced guests could understand. Trey is a thoughtful, strategic master of his tradecraft, flawlessly blending his experience in academia with his love for storm chasing to make accurate assessments regarding the best locations to observe severe weather. He is most definitely 'The Weather Whisperer!' Max: An accomplished documentarian and exceptional storyteller, Max eagerly shared his extensive experience as a storm chaser with ETT guests. Seeing his enthusiasm when we witnessed an amazing mothership supercell with near perfect structure was inspiring, and in that moment, you could truly see the passion that he has for storm chasing. Let me just say that I have never ever seen someone drive a white van like Max. He can NAVIGATE IT ALL, but his specialty is most definitely driving through a hailstorm at night with a cracked windshield and one operational wiper. He knows how to keep it 'between the lines' while staying cool, calm and collected...always ensuring that guest safety is the #1 priority! Max is a lean mean driving machine, and an absolute delight to have as a travel partner for over 3000 miles across 5 different states!! Stephen: There are no words to capture the amazingness of Stephen. He immediately makes everyone feel comfortable with his wonderful sense of humor and amicable nature. During the tour, he demonstrated his talent as a navigator, helping the team make split second decisions during a chase to ensure that guests are safe and still have a great view of approaching storms. Stephen's enthusiasm and positivity transferred to the guests, as well as his fellow guides. He is clearly the life of the party, sharing endless stories about his adventures as a member of the chasing community. Ask Stephen about photography, roller coasters or his most memorable weather experiences and you will be happy that you did! Ben: As the king of zingers with his dry sense of humor and chill demeanor, Ben is definitely the person that you want on your team when s*** gets real. He is the calm within a storm, no doubt stemming from his career as a firefighter and first responder. He is the strong, silent type and knows exactly when to provide input and when it is best to listen or observe. Ben has experienced both the exhilarating and the dark side of chasing, which gives him a unique perspective on severe weather. He is an excellent photographer, well-respected guide, huge asset to the ETT team...and an amazing human.

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