Thursday 18th May 2017

In my original plans, today would have happened yesterday.  I would have spent the day doing all my shopping so I could then spend Thursday relaxing before the chase on Friday.  But I lost Monday due to the cancelled flight and so I woke this morning knowing I should get everything done early so I could get some rest and an early night ahead of our chase on Friday.
Except everything changed.
You see, I woke to a flurry of messages basically trying to bring our leave date forward to tonight.  There’s good reason as well. Today and tomorrow are some of the biggest days of the year so far, and after them the atmosphere gets wiped out for most of our chasing time.  In short, tomorrow is probably our best day of catching some extreme weather.
Except it’s been tracking south over the course of the last week to the point where the models are all targetting Oklahoma City, some 1700km away.
According to Google Maps it’s a 15 – 17 hour drive… if you don’t stop for fuel and food and the bathroom.
So we’re going to try the impossible… we’re leaving at 10pm tonight and driving through the night non-stop south.  I love how nuts this is.
Of course, by the time this was finalised I was at the Outlet Mall.  This is 6 miles away from the hotel and a little too far to walk.  As far as Outlet Malls go, this one was a disappointment.  First, American Eagle (the clothes brand I tend to buy out here as you can’t get their stuff easily in the UK) haven’t even opened.  Second, Lids weren’t even discounting anything (they had the same prices as the other non-Outlet Mall).  The only saving grace was Under Armor.
I need a new pair of gym shoes as the pair I bought in Oklahoma last year have started to split.  The stop had some on clearance for CA $ 60, but were offering a further 20% off.  So I got another pair of gym shoes for wearing around.  I love my Scarpa boots but having walked a lot these last 2 days, I could do with something a little lighter in urban environments.
I also got some underwear and a few baseball caps.
It took me an age to get a taxi, because no-one goes to the Outlet Mall (at least people who might need taxis), so I had to ask at Guest Services twice and still wait an hour before someone came along.  I got them to take me to the other (non-discount) Mall where I went and picked some bits up at American Eagle.  I walked back to the hotel from there, stopping nearby to grab my first (and probably only) Canadian geocache.
I’d seen there was one outside the hotel but I DNFed that but this supposedly harder one over near Polo Park was a doddle, and I was pleased to find that, yes, I had brought my pen.
I dropped my stuff off, and then walked back to the supermarket to pick up the world’s largest sandwich.  There was so much bread I felt like slipping into a food coma for a time.
And then, that only left a short amount of time to get video edited, batteries charged and this edition of The Climb written as I am being picked up in little over 1 hour.  I’ve still not finished packing.
I’d left videos uploading this morning when I went out but I’ve returned back to find that I’ve either been data capped or there’s a problem with the internet as they are going very slow.  Yesterday’s vlog was so long and complicated that I think the 2gb file size has caused havoc with it uploading.  Managed to get it to Youtube as Facebook just wasn’t playing ball.
Going forward, I think I’m going to have to drop the quality, reduce the vlog length or just upload to Youtube, or some combination of all of them as I suspect  uploading is only going to get harder.  I’m currently trying to get vlog0013 uploaded but it says it still has 2 hours and 13 minutes to go.  I think Youtube will resume uploading.  I hope so as I plan to use Starbucks and free WiFi to try and get it up.
Tomorrow is going to be a busy and tiring day so if I’m ever going to fall behind with the daily vlogging and blogging, it’s going to be tomorrow.  But in theory I have all the kit I need to upload on the road.  Still I suspect that releases (which I’ve been scheduling) will start to get a bit more erratic depending on the weather.  Worst case scenario, I’ll just create them and bulk upload them on a down day.
I’m not sure where The Climb will come from tomorrow and I find that quite exciting.  It’s the unknown element of it all that I find so exciting and freeing.  You just follow the weather, never knowing where you will be sleeping the next night.  In a little over an hour Chasepalooza will officially start and with it a new stage in my storm chasing ‘career’ will begin.
I suspect that we’ll be in Texas before the weekend is over and then start making our way back up next weekend.  It’s just a shame that I’m not going to see the Dakotas in daylight.  I’m feeling exhausted and plan to sleep most of the trip (given I’ve been averaging about 3-4 hours a night since Sunday).
I really, really could have done with that extra day to relax.  Stupid cancelled flights!
If you want to follow more of my journey, then be sure to check me on my social channels.  Likewise, if you’d like me to expand on any point mentioned above, please say so in the comments.

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