The cold, hard numbers behind this chase.

Saturday, April 19, 2003
Length of Chase
9 hours
Distance Covered
253 miles
...for the year
1,620 miles
Chase Partner(s)
Valerie McCoy
Mike Buban
Andy Reader
Amy Buhl

I don't recall much of the meteorology from this day (except for a strong cold front that pushed through the Central Plains). The main reason this chase will always stick in my mind is the mess we got ourselves into east of Enid, Oklahoma.

It began when we decided to turn off the main, one of the many unmarked "Farmer Bob" dirt roads you see on maps. It was a few miles down this road that the squall line hit us. The road quickly turned into slick and sloppy mud. As I tried in vain to get us back to the main road, my tires sunk deeper and deeper into the muddy mess. Hail to the size of quarters began to fall as we sat in despair.

Once the squall lines passed to our east and the rain stopped, we were able to push the car about an eighth of a mile before we were down for the count - she wouldn't budge an inch. While contemplating our situation, "Farmer Bob" spotted us in his pickup truck. He had mercy on us and tied a chain to my undercarriage, with the understanding that any damage caused by the tow would not be HIS fault. With Valerie sitting helplessly behind the wheel of my car, Farmer Bob floored his accelerator and both vehicles fishtailed wildly, slowly drifting off the road and into the field. I thankfully had my dashboard-mounted video camera rolling, which showed the front of the car, narrowly missing telephone poles, with mud and rocks flying through the air. But hey, we were moving again, and we quickly agreed to give the guy $20 for his troubles.

This went on for about half a mile before both vehicles slid into the drainage ditch on the side of the road, and got stuck. Covered in mud, we couldn’t help but laugh at the situation, though Farmer Bob was all but amused. Our donation suddenly doubled to $40. He telephoned his wife, who picked him up in her truck, and took them both back to the farm. They returned twenty minutes later with a large John Deer tractor. This time, they meant business. Farmer Bob pulled his truck out of the ditch and then positioned the tractor such that he could once again hook the chain up to my undercarriage. This time though, the chain wasn't strong enough and it snapped in half! He thankfully had an old fire hose with him, which did the trick. After many thanks and shaking of hands, we were on our way. He never did take the $40!





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