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I have kept a good mileage log for every storm season since 2003. A while ago, I went back and reconstructed a close estimate of the 1993-2002 mileage using old chase reports and Google Maps. Here are the numbers as of today:
A few items of note from this data:
- The near tripling in miles in 2000 was due to having my first vehicle that I could freely chase with, and 2001 marked the first trip to the Great Plains.
- The jump in 2003 was due to starting my business and investing in travel to acquire footage.
- The jump in 2004 was due to my efforts in the weather video business 'paying off' and supporting even more travel and observing (hurricane coverage, tornado outbreaks, winter storms, etc).
- You can see the state of the video market reflected in my numbers after 2007.
- In 2011, I had the lowest mileage since 2002. This was due to an all-time low in video sales, high gas prices, a new full-time job, no Plains trip and most of my expeditions being 'local' around and close to St. Louis.
- This year I should easily cross the 150,000 mile mark given normal observing operations.
- My total mileage is roughly equal to the average lifespan of a car, meaning my all-time total weather expeditioning has cost me a whole extra vehicle in terms of wear and tear. That's in addition to fuel and hotel costs. In other words, had I not been an expeditioner, I would have bought one less vehicle (2) in the period between 2000 and today, instead of 3.