Long-Term, Private Storm Chasing Guide & Consulting Services by Dan Robinson
Introducing the only private all-season storm chasing tour guide service!
Would you like to go storm chasing with an experienced guide for the entire Great Plains tornado season? Are you a media company or photographer wanting to devote the entire spring season to get some great images and footage of tornadoes and supercells? Chasing successfully takes many years of experience and study. If you're new to storm chasing, going out alone will often leave you empty-handed in the search for tornadoes. Storm chasing tours - while a great option for some - cost thousands per person, and will lock you into a fixed trip date that may have you chasing during a period of quiet weather.
MEDIA CREDITS: Dan's media credits
TORNADOES: See Dan's tornado catches
Let me bring my 20 years of experience to make your trip a success. I offer a unique solution as your whole-season private storm chasing guide. Rather than book dozens of guests for several week-long expeditions, I contract with individuals, groups or companies to act as their personal guide for the duration of the spring storm chasing season in the Great Plains of the USA (from April to June). We will chase as much as you wish for as many days as you wish. My service means that you can chase during all of the active periods of severe weather, maximizing the odds that you will capture tornadoes and photogenic storms.
Your 24-7 storm chasing guide
How does it work? My no-nonsense service is simple. In addition to the guide fee, you cover our travel and lodging and your meals, and I will ride along while acting as your guide, forecaster, navigator and advisor - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the duration of the expedition! My rate philosophy is also very simple: being a storm chasing guide in the spring is my primary income from April to June. That is, I put my normal day job on hold when I book an expedition. My rates ensure that I can continue to pay my bills while guaranteeing my availability to be your storm chasing guide for either all or part of the spring tornado season. What you're paying for is a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week reservation of my expertise to help you be successful in your storm chasing efforts.
My service works best for groups of two or three who can 'pitch in' to share the costs. In the end, you will be able to chase for much cheaper for much longer that you would with a standard storm chasing tour. Even if you chase solo with me, the total fee is much less than you'd pay for a storm chasing tour seat for the same amount of time.
- My service is cheaper than a conventional storm chase tour used long-term: If you were to chase with a conventional tour for an entire month, you would be paying for two or three back-to-back tours for close to $4,500 or more total per person. Contrast that with my fee, split among your group.
- Unlimited flexibility: With my service, you chase as much as you want, anywhere you want, when you want! That means we can chase when the season is the most active, maximizing your chance to see great storms and tornadoes.
- My service is private: Instead of riding along with a van full of strangers, you'll have your own private chase expedition all to yourself.
A different kind of chase tour
My expeditions are different from a conventional storm chasing group tour. I offer private guided tornado chasing expeditions using your vehicle. Instead of riding along in a van full of people, my tour consists of you doing the driving with your own vehicle. I simply ride along as your personal guide - putting my equipment and my 25 years of intensive storm chasing experience to work for you to help get you to the right storm. This arrangement gives you the freedom to make your own decisions on your trip - you go where you want, when you want. It's your own private storm chasing expedition, with an experienced chaser dedicated to helping you succeed in your goal.
Why we use your vehicle
Using your vehicle keeps the cost of the tour affordable. If I were to use my vehicle and carry my guests as passengers, I would incur a significant expense in maintaining the proper state and federal permits and commercial motor carrier insurance (just like a taxi cab, limo or charter bus must do). This would dramatically increase the price of my guide fees to a point beyond cost effectiveness for you. Removing myself from the driver's seat also enables me to focus on the task of forecasting and navigating.
A unique tour to serve unique guests
I designed my tours to serve a unique type of clientele, but it is not for everyone. My tours will be a good fit for you if:
My service is probably not a good fit for you if you're looking to just be 'along for the ride', if you don't like driving long distances, or if you are just looking for a short tour of a week or two. If that reflects your desires, there are many other excellent tour services that I can recommend for you.
- You want to chase with a small group of friends or family. With most chase tours, each person pays a full fee for their seat. With my service, the fee is the same for everyone together. This means that a group of two or three can split the cost.
- You want a longer chase trip than just a week or two. If you want to chase for a whole month with a conventional tour service, you must book and pay for two or three consecutive tours (most tours offer 7 to 10 day bookings). I book my tours on a monthly or whole-season basis. Again, you'll find my rates to be competitive with booking multiple conventional tours for such extended trips.
- You want freedom and flexibility during your trip: On a conventional tour, you are 'along for the ride' with whatever the group and guide decide to do. With my service, the details of the expedition are all up to you: How many days we chase, how far we drive per day, what hotels we stay at, where we eat, where we go on 'down days', etc. For example, if you want to stay out until 2AM capturing lightning photos, go see Mount Rushmore, or go visit your aunt in Wakita, you'd be free to do all of that with me as your guide. You aren't burdened with considering the collective wishes of a large group. Flexibility is a hallmark of my guide service. The only stipulation I make in my terms and conditions is that we do chase all of the good tornado days - after all, that's why we are both out there!
- You have a lot of film equipment. My service is perfect for filmmakers, reporters, media crews or freelance photographers. Carrying a large amount of gear on a conventional tour is usually a difficulty. With my service, bring as much as you want (as long as there is room for me).
What I provide
I will bring along all of the tools I normally use when I'm chasing by myself, including cellular and satellite data connections, a laptop, GPS receiver, a wireless internet router and dash cams. I'll need to affix a temporary connection to your vehicle's battery to power these systems (as the cigarette lighter plugs and circuits are not robust enough to handle the load). I pay for the cellular internet and satellite data feeds (there is no extra charge for them). My data provider does impose bandwidth restrictions.
My minimum booking period is one month. My rates are as follows:
||Total guide fee
|Full season (April, May, June)
|Extended season (March, April, May, June, July)
|Hourly Consulting (non-chase days)*
My rate philosophy is very simple: being a storm chasing guide in the spring is my primary income from April to June. My rates ensure that I can continue to pay my bills (living expenses, groceries, health care, taxes, etc) while guaranteeing my availability to be your storm chasing guide for either all or part of the spring tornado season. What you're paying for is a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week reservation of my expertise to help you be successful in your storm chasing efforts.
My rates are cost-effective when compared to booking conventional tours for the equivalent number of days. Calculate how much it would cost to book a conventional tour for two to three people for an entire month, and you will see the cost savings of my service: The average cost for a single seat in a 7-day storm chasing tour is $2,800. Let's say you have 3 people in your group and want to chase for a month on a conventional tour. You will be paying for 3 seats ($8,400 each week) for four consecutive tours: a total of $33,600 per month using a conventional storm chasing tour! My guide fee for one month is just $4,500 total for your entire group. Your only other expense will be your vehicle and the hotel rooms for yourself and for me. In the end, you'll be saving approximately $27,000 on storm chasing expedition costs by booking your month-long tour with my service instead of a conventional storm chase tour.
*I also offer consulting services for time outside of traditional chase days (consulting is not available during storm chase-in-progress days). I can assist you with chase planning, forecasting instruction, equipment advice and any questions you may have about putting together an expedition. This service is billed at $85/hour.
Terms, Conditions and Limits
I take a no-nonsense approach to my terms and conditions. Every time I've gone storm chasing, I've had to accept all of the risks and rigors that go along with it in order to reap the rewards. That includes the risks of damage, equipment malfunctions and even missing tornadoes on a big day. All I ask is that you accept those same risks.
- Limited to one vehicle and up to 3 guests - Caravanning with two or more vehicles presents many logistical problems and safety issues when storm chasing. A maximum of four people in your vehicle (three guests plus myself) ensures a safe and comfortable expedition for all.
- Client vehicle - Client(s) agree to provide vehicle in safe working order, with valid tags, inspection stickers and registration, and with full insurance coverage. Client agrees to be fully responsible for the maintenance and safe operation of the vehicle for the duration of the trip.
- Rental vehicles - Client(s) acknowledge that I have advised against the use of a rental vehicle for storm chasing. In the event that a rental vehicle is used, Client(s) understands the risk of having to fully reimburse the rental car agency for any storm damage that occurs, and that any supplimental insurance policies purchased may not cover storm chasing-related damage to the vehicle (including but not limited to hail, debris, wind, mud and water). Client(s) agree to take full responsibility for the decision to use a rental vehicle.
- "Must chase" days - Client(s) agrees that we will chase all days that have appreciable risks for tornadoes and supercells. This includes all SPC moderate and high risk days, as well as slight risk days that outlook 'hatched areas' for tornadoes and/or hail.
- Vehicle Space - Client(s) agree to reserve the vehicle's front passenger seat for me (the guide), and space for all related equipment and gear.
- Liability - Understanding the hazards of severe weather, client(s) assume all liability during the full duration of the expeditions. Client(s) must agree to sign a liability waiver prior to expedition departure.
- Fuel, hotels and tolls - Client(s) agree to pay for their own fuel, separate hotel rooms for guests and myself (the guide), tolls and any other related travel expenses.
- Meals - Client(s) agree to pay for meals for themselves and the group. I will provide my own meals.
- Weather Unpredictability - Due to the unpredictability of weather patterns out of human control, I offer no guarantee of the sighting or intercept of tornadoes, severe storms, lightning, supercells or any specific form of weather. Client understands that a storm chasing trip may result in no storms observed at all if weather patterns are not cooperative. Client also understands that storm prediction and interception is often a difficult and imprecise process, and may result in missing tornadoes or storms occuring close by.
- Equipment Contingencies - While I make every effort to keep all equipment in working order during an expedition, client also agrees to hold the Guide harmless against any unanticipated equipment failures, loss of data, and innacurate or incomplete information.
- Payment Policy - A non-refundable 50% deposit is required at the time of reservation, with the remaining 50% due within 1 week of the date of departure. If an expedition is booked less than 7 days in advance of departure, the entire guide fee is due at the time of reservation and is non-refundable. I accept all major credit cards and checks.
- Refund policy - Deposits (required for trip reservations) are non-refundable. The remaining balance of guide fees are refundable only if cancellations are received no later than 30 days prior to departure. If for any reason the Guide must cancel a scheduled tour, your entire guide fee (including the deposit) will be refunded.
- Smoking and drinking policy - To ensure the safety of everyone, no alcohol or drug use is permitted while on a guided chasing expedition. Any smoking must be outside of the vehicle.
- Client photography and video - Client(s) retain all rights to all photographs and video recordings acquired with the client's own photographic and video equipment. In other words, you own the exclusive copyright to all photographs and video that you shoot with your own cameras during the expedition.
- Guide photography and video - I retain all rights to all photographs and video recordings acquired with my own photographic and video equipment.
- TV and Media Interviews and Appearances - Television interviews, video feeds and other media activities may occur during an expedition. Client(s) understand that they (or their voice) may appear on television in the event of an interview or if media outlets use footage filmed by me.
All tours originate by default from my home base in St. Louis.
Arranging a meeting location for the guide
You may choose to pay for my transportation expenses to any city of choice. If another tour is booked adjacent to yours, I may already be 'on location' somewhere in the Midwest/Great Plains. In this case, I will communicate with you as to a convenient place for you to arrange air travel. You may elect to either purchase air transportation, or pay my travel expenses to have me drive my personal vehicle to a meeting location of your choice.
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