Bruce Tour: Epic April - Tour 1 - 10 Days Year:
My daughter has been fascinated by severe weather, especially tornados, since she was 6. So, the 2 of use (she is now 12) went on the upslope Tour #6 of Tornadic Expeditions in early June 2022. It was everything we hoped for, even though we did not see a tornado. The lead tour guide, Erik, got us to all the bad weather he could during our 7 days of chasing. Usually we were in the lead and first to the scene of all the other chasers (who were reporting their location). We got into large hail and under super cells and saw many beautiful weather formations. We chased until there was no more to chase, which meant very late nights at time. But that is the excitement of it. We had one night when the severe weather chased us about 170 miles east of where we wanted to be in South Dakota; we finally hide at a truck stop and weathered the storm. Usually when my daughter and I vacation, we have fun but after 4 nights are ready to go home --- we are both home bodies. Not this trip, both of us could have gone longer than 7 nights. Erik said we were the first father-daughter pair to come and Jade was the youngest he's ever taken on a tour. For those reading this and thinking of taking a younger child, you need to know that Jade is a super traveler and road tripper, that usually it is dad and his coffee that request the first stop. Understand there is lots of down time, too, waiting for and planning for the next chase, which could be 500 miles away. But, the down times were a blast: went to Estes Park, Badlands National Park, spend time in general stores or village playgrounds out in the middle of nowhere. One thing we both loved is we saw rural America from roads we would never ever probably see. Maybe we were just lucky, but the other tourists were great to be with and we all became friends and had fun together. After a few days my 12 year, who is reserved and shy, had warmed up to some of the other adults and I would find here going off and talking with them and not needing dad around. It is a unique time. Pretty awesome trip and would like to go again, and if we/I do, it will be with Erik. One thing I would do differently, when there is a Walmart stop get lots of healthy, non-perishable snacks because you really don't know where you will be from day to day. Looking back, Erik and his team have a pretty good handle on dining and motel logistics given you don't know where you are going to be from day to day.
Tour guide review
Erik was the lead tour guide with Steve and Colt supporting. They knew what they were doing and tornados, knew how to find and chase the weather, and knew how to keep us comfortable. We could ask any questions, even 2 or 3 times, and they would explain and answer. Erik likes good food, so be ready to eat, if/when you stop. They never seemed to tire, and I don't know how they did all the driving they did, 2500 miles in 7 days. All 3 are very personable and created a friendly, relaxed and fun atmosphere. Again, if you are looking for a tour, try to get in with Erik.
Our tour had 2 Toyota vans with a total of 10 persons between the 2 vehicles: 3 guides and 7 quests. Now this is the first time I've ever done anything like this, but this seemed like a ideal combination: not too many vehicles or too many people that made it hard to stay together or made the stops long and time consuming. Advice: if you go with a big group, then the number and length of stops could be a very big pain. Ask about the max size of the group before you sign up for a tour. The vans were comfortable and had all we needed including a WiFi hot spot that had service ability to all major carriers/ internet providers, so there were only a few times we were out in the boonies with no service. What to take: have a medium suitcase or duffle that goes in the trunk and then you can have a backpack of daily essentials/water/snacks/electronics in the seat/floor with you. A perfect combination. The vans were not big, so less agile folks may feel constrained or have trouble getting in and out, but that was not a problem for anyone on our tour. We were on the road 7 days for over 2500 miles and we loved it! Comment on this review