The tour package includes arrival day lodging and tour t-shirts. As always, the package still includes daily hotel lodging during each of your scheduled evenings with us, a professionally-edited highlights DVD and lifetime discounts on all future tours.
THE VANS: We conduct the tours in our own customized passenger vans, each outfitted with sufficient technology to get the job done. Specifically, we carry equipment required to stay connected to the internet so we can access weather data while on the road; we also carry commercial radios to permit the individual vans within the armada to remain in constant contact while on the road. Our equipment includes:
- Passenger vans customized for maximum enjoyment of the storm chasing experience.
- Portable computers with state-of-the-art GPS navigation and wireless data capability.
- Cell phones and broadband data cards connected to boosters for frequent high-speed data downloads on the go; with the current cellular network and an external antenna we enjoy connectivity most of the time.
- Private channel commercial radios for van-to-van communications.
- Numerous power outlets for charging your equipment.
- Separate Baron XM Mobile ThreatNet satellite systems for viewing continuous high-resolution radar data.
Finally, remember that only people 18 years of age or older may attend the tours solo. However, minors 14 and older can join the tours if accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Said parent must be willing to indemnify the tours. Each year we have one or two parent/child teams joining us and it is always lots of fun!
Smoking inside the vans is forbidden.
- TOUR MEETING LOCATIONS: The tours will meet/depart from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma or from Denver, Colorado (except Desert Thunder which meets/departs from Tucson, AZ). Upon arrival at the airport, a complimentary hotel shuttle will transport you to your hotel. We always book each tour’s block of rooms for both the arrival and departure evenings months in advance. Additional details will be mailed to you two months prior to the start of your tour. This information always includes details such as: suggested packing list, typical tour daily itinerary and arrival day logistics (the “arrival day” will be described in the next item below).
- WHEN TO ARRIVE AND DEPART: Each trip is bracketed by so-called “arrival” and “departure” days. These dates are established for the purpose of allowing people sufficient time to travel to and from the base city. For each of the dates listed in the schedule table above, you must arrange to travel to the base city on your tour’s designated arrival day and you must arrange to depart (unless, of course, you plan to stay in that city afterwards) on your tour’s designated departure day. Example: If you are scheduled for the “Great Plains Cyclone Tour” (May 9 to May 15), you would arrive at Will Rogers International Airport (OKC) on May 8 sometime during the day several hours prior to 6 pm local time (at which time an orientation meeting is conducted; more on that below). You would leave OKC on May 16 after 10 a.m. local time in case we return to the host hotel late the evening before.
- ORIENTATION MEETING : We will have a very important orientation meeting at 6:00 pm local time on your arrival day. We will give you a presentation designed to help you get the most out of the tour. Most importantly, we will discuss very important safety practices that are put in place to ensure that these tours are a safe and enjoyable experience for you. Afterwards, we will go to dinner together!
- COST AND PAYMENT DETAILS: Please see the Tour Schedule for a complete listing of tour costs. (If you’re taking two or more tours, please see the multi-tour discount described on the page.) This includes all expenses EXCEPT airfare, food and incidentals. It includes, of course, ground transportation and lodging during the tour. We require a non-refundable deposit of $700 for all tours. You can pay your deposit via credit card, personal check, cashier’s check, or money order. The balance of the tour fee is due no later than February 1st of the year your tour occurs in. If you sign up after February 1st, then your tour fee will be due at the time of sign up. (Example: You sign up for Tour 6, 2020 on November 15, 2019. The deposit is due when you sign up and the balance is due no later than February 1, 2020. If you sign up for a 2020 tour after February 1, 2020, the entire tour fee is due at sign up.) Please note that there is a discount offered if you choose to pay your tour by personal check, cashier’s check or money order.
- CREDIT CARD PAYMENT DETAILS: We are very pleased to offer our participants the convenience of paying their tour deposit and tour balance with a credit card. The transaction is totally secure and very fast. Paying this way is quite easy. Upon receipt of your completed tour paperwork we will send you via e-mail an electronic invoice. This invoice will contain a secure link to a website where you will enter your credit card information and choose the amount to be billed (i.e., the deposit amount). Our accounting system will automatically and immediately notify us that payment has been received and your reservation will be consummated at once. To pay using credit card: you must first sign, complete and mail the agreement. Once we have received the tour agreement, you will be invoiced electronically as described above.
- TOUR LODGING: The tour pays your lodging on each of the tour days as well as the arrival night. You will get a clean, comfortable room each night that you’re with us. Although we do not have an unlimited hotel budget, we always do our best to ensure a reasonably high caliber of lodging on your tour. During the past few years, here are the motel/hotel chains we have used most often: Comfort Inns and Suites, selected Best Westerns, AmericInn, Holiday Inn Express, Quality Inns/Suites, Red Roof Inn, Fairfield Inn, Hampton Inn, Hilton, AmeriSuites, Wingate, Country Inn and Suites, Baymont Inn and Candlewood Suites. We will look for and use these places wherever they exist. We prefer to stay at a higher quality hotel for your comfort and safety.
- WHAT TO BRING WITH YOU: You should plan on bringing a medium-sized suitcase or duffel travel bag as well as one personal bag that will accommodate your gear. Make your best attempt at packing lightly (again, these types of details are expounded in the additional tour information that every participant receives two months prior to the start of her or his tour).
- WHAT WE DO DURING “SEVERE CLEAR”: Much of the success of your tour (i.e., the number of tornadoes and/or storms that we witness) depends on the atmosphere. Although we offer our tours during the very peak of the climatological tornado season, the large-scale weather pattern does occasionally become unfavorable for frequent severe thunderstorm episodes. We have not yet had a tour during which there were no severe storms encountered , but during these occasional inactive severe weather regimes, we can go 2-3 days with no significant thunderstorms. On days when there are no storms expected (of course, we hope those are very few!), we will offer a few tried-and-true recreational options. If a down day occurs on the first day of a tour, we could use that day to drive to our chase target area for the next day. However if this happens on the last day of the tour, we would use that day to drive back to our base location. These activities are weather-related whenever possible. Examples from last year: we toured the Storm Prediction Center/National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, OK; we toured three National Weather Service Forecast offices; viewed tornado damage; the famous Big Texan steakhouse in Amarillo, Texas; we even throw cookouts and barbeques on dud days! We often find ourselves in the vicinity of beautiful state and national parks. We have visited Devil’s Tower, Mount Rushmore, Rocky Mountain National Park, the Badlands (we love South Dakota!) and the Medora Badlands National Park (western North Dakota).
- EDUCATION: We work very hard to give you a meaningful education. While you are with Silver Lining Tours, you will enjoy a unique opportunity to learn from us. You will have plenty of time to learn about the formation, structure and dynamics of severe thunderstorms, tornadoes and other interesting weather phenomena in terms you can understand. We try to teach (time permitting) a Weather 101 class at the start of each tour to help you gain a better understanding of severe weather. We also have a copyrighted workbook we give each guest to help you with your understanding of how weather “works”. You will enjoy the advantage of gaining insight while you are watching the atmosphere in motion. We feel strongly that if you come to our tours with a genuine interest in increasing your understanding of the atmosphere, you will walk away feeling like you have really learned something! We pledge to work tirelessly at increasing your knowledge about severe thunderstorms, storm chasing, forecasting and weather. We will answer all of your questions to the best of our ability.
- ADDITIONAL PERKS : Each participant will receive a complete professional-quality dvd of the tour highlights from all of that year’s tours and a Silver Lining Tours t-shirt. It is emphasized that the quality of our highlights dvd has become quite excellent due to the efforts of SLT co-owner Roger Hill, who is also a world-class professional videographer. This is yet another advantage of taking your storm chasing adventure vacation with Silver Lining Tours!
PLEASE read the Frequently Asked Questions section of this web site for more information about our price structure, philosophy and more!