Tuesday 23rd May 2017

Today was a down day.
Down days are days when you aren’t chasing any storms.  Sometimes this is simply because there aren’t any storms within driving range, but sometimes it’s because chasing a storm would put you out of reach for a better storm the next day.
They’re also a good chance to recharge.  Storm chasing is pretty mentally instense, and the long drives can really tire you out even as a passenger,  so down days are a good chance to catch up on sleep and just relax before the next band of storms roll iin.
I’m in a shitty hotel with no internet so I’ve not had chance to check the models (everyone else liked the hotel so I sacrififced good upload speeds so people could get a good night’s rest) but I’m hearing that Friday and Saturday could be huge storm days.  There are a few people who now only chase the big storm days who are driving down from Canada
For that reason, a few down days might be good.  We want a tornado before we drive back to Canada after all.
We woke up in Roswell New Mexico.  The little motel we were in was, for me, probably the best hotel we’ve stayed in.  The internet was fantastic, I loved the bed..  And it cost us like $30.  I was a bit worried how hotel hunting would go but I’m pleased to say that I’ve managed to find us some real bargains (although between the four of us, we all have slightly different price brackets / requests).
I’m already thinking forward to next year and what I want to do.  Some of my friends who were unable to chase this year are talking about going back on a tour, and as much as I loved the experience, I really feel I’ve outgrown that.  I need some more experience of positioning whilst on a storm, but this trip has proved to me that I know more than I think I know.
This morning we went to the UFO museuem in Roswell.  It was basic but a lot of fun.  12 year old me, who lapped up UFO conspiracies and Eric Von Daniken books would have loved it.  I could have spent a lot longer reading all the exhibits.  There was a virtual geocache there and as I don’t have a New Mexico geocache, I made sure to do it.  I bought some gifts from the gift shop and then we headed north.
I put on my headphones on the drive back up to Amarillo and just had some ‘me’ time.  Mostly I was thinking about next year and the opening to Black As Knight which needs some changes.
We stopped at a place called Cadillac Ranch just outside Amarillo.  It’s a famous art installation in a field of a number of Cadillac cars planted nose down in the ground.  The cars are graffittied and people are encouraged to come and paint them as part of the installation.
What I didn’t know was that there are spray paint cans around.  So I turned up to find this old gentleman come up to me with a can and say “do you want to have a go?”
I spray painted my initials which just looked like a silver blob, an gave me new found respect for those graffitti artists who create something other than a tag.
I spent a bit of time trying to find the geocache.  To claim it you need to sign the log, and so I was keen to find the container so I could log  it.  Except, as I read further, the cars ARE the container and log book, and to claim it, I just needed to graffitti a car.  Best geocache ever!
I’ve done more geocaching on this trip than I think I have in the last few years combined.
I got some great video for the vlog and then we headed to our hotel for the night.  It’s the one we stayed in a couple of nights ago.  I didn’t care for the WiFi, but the others liked it so better the devil you know…
We dropped off bags and then headed out to Peco Duros Park.  It’s  this huge canyon hidden just outside of Amarillo and apparently the second largest canyon outside the Grand Canyon.  We got there a bit late so the sun was too far down to do timelapses of shadows, but we drove around to find a good spot and then I got a decent timelapse of the sun setting.
As darkness drew on, we met up with some other Canadian chasers to do some fire-spinning photos and star photography.  I’ve not really done any photography outside of timelapses this trip  (all my pictures have just been iPhone snaps) but I got a few good ones, I think.  I’ll review when I get home.
At about 11pm we called it night and headed back to the hotel.  There was talk of a bit of socialising but the bar was shut and so I came upstairs to edit the vlog and swear about the internet.
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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