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Today was the perfect travel day: good weather, no traffic, and great mileage. I even surprised Jess by dropping by to see her at work. I spent a lot of time chatting it up with amateur radio operators across the country. I even got to work simplex (point-to-point, as opposed to through a repeater station), which is always a treat. It’s fun to talk with hams about storm chasing as a hobby. Of all the groups of people I talk to, they really seem to “get it” the most.

I had scheduled 500 miles for today, but having reached this milestone at 6 PM, I looked at the forecast and reconsidered my options. I drove another three hours and wound up in good old Zanesville, Ohio, a town whose name was eerily familiar. Only once I pulled into the hotel parking lot did I realize that I stayed in this exact Comfort Inn in 2009, also at the end of my first travel day.

So, here is the new plan. If I leave around 7 AM tomorrow morning, this puts me in position for a possible chase day! The Storm Prediction Center has forecast a broad slight-risk area for tomorrow, stretching from southern Texas all the way into Iowa. This will be a cruddy setup to chase, and I’ll have to get up early, but I’m out here to chase, not to sleep! If I play my cards right and get a little lucky, tomorrow could be really special.

I’m targetting St. Louis for late afternoon. Hopefully I can get through there before rush hour. This gives me two major insterstate options: I-70 due west, and I-44 to the southwest. I think I-44 will bring me into better air, but it depends on what the storms in the area (currently-ongoing) do overnight.

No matter where I end up tomorrow night, it will make for an easy travel day to Kansas City on Friday so I can pick up Jess at the airport on Saturday morning.

Bring it on, May 12! Let’s see what you’ve got!

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