Now that we have turned the corner into 2012, it is time to start getting plans ready for my 2012 Chasecation.
This year will be a lot different, as I have a more flexible looking calendar from mid May to mid June to spend two weeks out in the Great Plains. I really wish I could stay out longer, but I have not been able to save up that much time off. Next year I will have more time to play with, and I might consider skipping a year of chasing to stock up enough time off to do longer chases beyond that.
A lot of things culminated together last year to make it a pretty terrible chase, including dry, hot weather and a fairly tight chase schedule. On top of the improved schedule availability, over the last couple of months the southern Plains have gotten a fair amount of wet weather, which should help the overall weather pattern a little heading into the late spring. It would be ideal to see the wet weather continue in the southern Plains as the drought is still widespread despite the recent rain and snow taking a dent out of it.
For equipment, I have decided to invest in a DSLR camera for this trip. My old consumer-level digital camera has broken, and I do not want to use my cellphone as my primary camera. It will be a nice improvement that will bring all of my equipment up to the “prosumer” level. I do prefer shooting video, and I will use my Canon HG10 for that. While a prosumer-level camcorder, I plan on upgrading to a more professional digital camcorder a few years down the road. Other already-acquired equipment I will have available includes my HP laptop, tripod, Garmin nuvi 1450 (as a backup GPS) and a backup 400w power inverter.
For chase partners, I plan on teaming up with Jason Foster and Ian Livingston again this year (same as 2011). Jason has switched out the 2000 Subaru Legacy with a 2000 Jeep Cherokee, and that will be our chase vehicle if he can get it ready for the Plains in time. I will help him prep the vehicle if he requires assistance. If that fails, we will acquire another vehicle for the trip.
On top of being an excellent driver and navigator, Jason will also provide all of the chaser equipment for the trip, including a laptop stand, GPS and road map software, antennas and a signal booster, power inverter and extra plugs and a satellite internet card. He will also have a dashcam and has the capability to do live streaming.
This year is looking a lot better than last year (couldn’t get much worse, am I right?), and I can’t wait for May to get here!