This month has been a roller coaster ride. With a new TV project in the work's for a series about storm chasing and the business of chasing, it has added on to the workload of an already busy year.
For the project starting this late in the season, the only sure thing was to head to Arizona for the Monsoon Season storms. The storm's were there for the one day that we needed them for the production shoot. Ben McMillan, Robin Lorenson and I were able to intercept an incredible lightning storm that looked more like a western Kansas high plains storm. The best part was we were able to get into an HaBoob or violent dust storm to the Southwest of Phoenix that was picked up by serveral networks and proved to the production company that we were for real and could get them to the storms.
Now the fingers are crossed to see if the network will green light the project for a full season. If they green light this, the show will make a lot of people in the storm chasing community go WHAT THE... because of the fact that a lot of the behind the scenes B.S. that some people have done will be coming out on TV. Yes, I have a laundry list of shady stuff people have done and if this thing is green lighted, it will be fun to get some of the truth out there finally.
And speaking of shady B.S. while driving down to Arizona last week, I had in issue with my Jeep as I was passing through Wichita, KS. The front drive shaft was going out and started to make some wicked vibration as if I was riding on the rumble strips. I had a feeling it was a CV Joint or one of the drive shafts that were replaced or the front drive shaft that was not replaced started to throw the U-Joints out. I had just had my Jeep worked on in Saint Cloud and the shop replaced everything except for the front Drive Shaft and told me to keep an eye on it. The deal with the Jeep, it is a 2005 model and some idiot thought it would be a great idea to PRESS THE U-JOINTS INTO THE SHAFT, and prevent anyone from replacing the U-Joints on their own, and making it so you needed to replace the whole drive shaft for a lot of money instead of buying a $20 part and fixing it an an hour or less.
So with the drive shaft starting to go out, I pulled into the Wichita, KS airport and booked up a rental and had to wait until 6:00 a.m. for the staff to get their to get another truck. The Cluster F... started to get worse, as I booked up a full size SUV from Alamo and a tow with Verizon Wireless Roadside Assistance to bring my Jeep into the shop. Alamo did not have any rentals that they said they had on line and their staff was running late so they did not open at six in the morning when all the other rental car companies had staff at their desks. So after waiting around for another fifteen minutes to find out they did not have any SUV's, I had to go and rent from another company and the only thing they had was a Lincoln Navigator. After stressing out enough, I took the Lincoln and knew I was getting ripped off on the rental from Avis as I have rented the same vehicle for the cross country trip and paid half as much but I was pretty much in a take it or leave it situation.
Then the fun keep's adding on. I was suppose to have a tow to bring my truck to a Jeep dealer in town that was only a couple miles from the airport. I thought I have had enough issues this morning, I would bring it to the one place that could fix it fast and correctly. So after waiting around for an hour for the tow truck to show up, I get an automated call from Verizon saying that they wanted to verify everything was ok since the tow company said they were already their. I'm standing around in the parking lot of Avis wondering WTF, nobody is here. So the phone call asks if their is a problem, please press this number to talk to us. So I talk to a rep who said my truck should be there now and I'm telling her nobody is there. So she puts me on hold for several minutes until I got disconnected.
I waited around for another 15 minutes and finally called the number that was texted to me of the towing company that was suppose to come out. They said they could not tow my Jeep because of the possible drive shaft problem and canceled the tow. I asked WTF, nobody told me, you could have called me an hour ago and I could have called someone else. The towing company just said, Oh Well and hung up. That was KIDS Towing in Wichita, KS that left me stranded. FU KIDS!!!
So after finding out that I just wasted 90 minutes on a tow that was canceled and never notified and Verizon Roadside left me hanging, I took the matter of finding a competent towing company into my own hands. Made a call to Arrow Towing in Wichita, KS and told them what happened and the lady said "Don't worry sir, I'll have a flatbed truck over there in about 10 minutes." The truck was there in ten minutes and it took him longer to hook up the Jeep and get it secured safetly onto the flatbed then it took for them to show up. Arrow Towing in Wichita, KS get's a A+ for their service and the tow only cost me $75 out of pocket, which Verizon will be pay for.
Now hour's later then planned, the Jeep is now at Eddy's Jeep of Wichita, KS. The logic was take it to the experts to fix, take it to the dealer. What a Fn Mistake that plan was.
At Eddy's, I met Taylor who work's in their service department and told him what I had done to the Jeep and what I thought was the problem. I told him the CV Joints were replaced and the rear drive shaft was just replaced so it could be the front drive shaft or maybe one of the CV Joints. I told him that I was on a trip and would not be back until Monday (this was on Wednesday August 20th) so they had
six days to work on it. I also told Taylor that their was some recall's that needed to be worked on that I keep getting notices for that I have not had time to get taken care of so if they could fix those too, that would be great.
On Thursday, I get a phone call from Taylor saying they found the problem and it was the Tranfer Case and it would be about $1800.00 to fix and the tech also said I needed lower ball joints on both sides as they were leaking grease and loose. That was my first warning sign because the shop I bring my trucks to here in Saint Cloud know what I do and they just replaced the ball joints and greesed the heck out of them to protect them from me driving through flooding. So the ball joints were brand new and Eddy's tried selling me brand new ball joints. Um, ok, but he said that the transfer case was shot and needed to be replaced. I told them to go ahead and replace the transfer case if it was needed. They said they should have it ready Monday for me when I return back through Wichita, KS on my way home.
Friday I did not get an update on the work and if the part would be their and everything would be ready Monday. So instead of driving Robin back from AZ with me to split the drive and make sure I was not burned out, I booked her on a flight home on Sunday back to Kansas City so I would not have to stress out over making sure she got back after telling her she could drive back with me.
So I needed to get back to the office by Monday, I left Phoenix ASAP to head home and left Robin with Ben to hang out for another day and told Ben to make sure she gets on the flight. I haul ass back to Minnesota with knowning I'll get a phone call saying that the truck won't be ready until Tuesday or Wednesday. When I got home early Monday Morning, I got a phone call a few hour's later from Taylor at Eddy's saying that the part would not be in until tomorrow (Tuesday) and that he would rush to get everything taken care of for me to pick it up. I told him I already had a feeling that was the case so I drove back to Minnesota to work for a couple of days and then drive back down to pick up the truck on Wednesday morning and told him just make sure everything is taken care of. He assured me that everything would be fine.
Monday evening I get a call from Taylor at Eddy's Jeep saying they have the new tranfer case in the Jeep but it is still making the same noise and not safe to drive and the tech thinks its the drive shaft.
WHAT WAIT, what did I tell him last week and what is on the paperwork? "CHECK DRIVE SHAFT AND CV JOINTS"
Taylor told me that he would have new U-Joints put in the drive shaft at a local shop in the morning and get is rushed and if the problem was the drive shaft, they would not charge me for the transfer case. I told him I would need the old transfer case boxed up and I would take it back home with me to have it inspected to verify there was anything wrong with it. He told me no problem and he would get this taken care of for me.
So Tuesday evening I hit the road again and head down to Wichita, KS to drop off the $1,300.00 rental that I got shafted with but not complaining since it was a comfortable ride it and I did not have to clean it out after the dust storm along with putting almost 5000 miles on it in a week.
I roll into Wichita, KS around 7:30 in the morning after an uneventful drive and met up with Brandon Ivey to help me out with picking up the truck and dropping off the rental then have breakfast before leaving to head back north to pass out for the night.
Brandon and I get to Eddy's Jeep and I not happy about my wasted time. Don't really care about the money, I can make more money but you can never get your time back. So the charges now come to just under $800.00 which is average and I asked if they left the new transfer case in as Taylor said they would do if it was not the problem. Nope, they put the old transfer case back in since there was no problem with it and the drive shaft was bad.
I find out that not only did they not listen to what told them what the problem might be, they removed the old transfer case for no reason at all and replaced it and then removed the new one because they totally screwed up on what they said the problem was, which was what I told them in the first place.
When I picked up the Jeep, I asked if the drive shaft was rebuilt, knowing that everything on it was pressed in and not able to be serviced. I find out that they just got another new one from another shop in town and that if they would have followed my instructions on what I though was the problem, I could have been able to leave Phoenix on Friday and get into Wichita on Saturday and pick up the Jeep and drive home and save myself another 1,800 mile round trip, several wasted days and major stress. Then again, almost nobody fucking listen's to me and they fuck up and I end up having to clean up the fucking mess.
To top it off, when I dropped off the Jeep, I told Taylor that their were several recall's for the computer that needed to be fixed with software updates. As Brandon and I were walking out the door, Brandon reminds me to check on the recall work. So we go back into the shop and ask if the recall work was done, Taylor tells me yes it was done and I ask are you sure, it is not on the invoice as work that was done. So he walk's back into the service area and comes back out like a kid that was just caught shoplifting and tells me nope but it will only take about another half hour to do that.
At this point Brandon can tell that I'm totally holding back from going MMA on this fucking idiot and beating this guy to death from wasting my fucking time and I just turn around and tell Brandon lets get the fuck out and Brandon and I leave to go to get breakfast and then head back towards Minnesota.
Oh and it get's even better. So while driving home yesterday in Iowa, I get this phone call from some lady at the shop wondering where I was and just wanted to make sure I was satisfied with the work they did. Oh boy, she got my verbal assault with not only did Eddy's Jeep of Wichita fail to do the service that I asked them with the recall work on the Jeep, they ignored the problem I brought the Jeep into their shop in the first place which was the drive shafts, wasted my fucking time and charged me for labor on it when the labor was more like class room training for their fucking idiot service tech's to learn what a bad drive shaft is and how to install and replace and then reinstall two perfectly good transfer cases in a 2005 WK JEEP.
And the icing on the shit cake, after telling their customer service lady all this and told her to have the owner of the dealership call me if anyone was going to call me back, another service manager call's me and leaves a voice mail message saying they are sorry and this type of thing "ALMOST NEVER HAPPENS". Almost never happens so it has happened before. So I should call Jeep and talk to their dealership reps next week to let them know what kind of cluster fuck operation they have running with Eddy's Jeep in Wichita who when asked to do recall work and have a week to do it, blow it off on top of replacing thousands of dollars in wrong parts.
Bottom line, if you are readying this and thinking about taking your Jeep to Eddy's in Wichita, avoid them. Avoid them if your life depended on it.
If you are with Eddy's Jeep, go fuck yourself.
Unseasonably cold weather blankets the midwest today with lunch time temps in the Twin Cities only in the Upper 50s with highs in the lower 60s for the day. It feels more like an Early October day then the middle of July.
Footage shot around Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet in Minneapolis, MN.
Clip 1 Skyline shot over the water from Lake Calhoun
Clip 2 Bank thermometer showing at 11am it was only 55F outside
Clip 3 Group of women walking around Lake Calhoun and one is adjusting her sweater while another is wearing a jacket and a scarf in the chilly temps.
Clip 4 Woman walking her dog and looking really chilly
Clip 5 Two women waling to their car and walk in front of a Detour Ahead sign while looking chilly
Clip 6 - 7 The south beach of Lake Calhoun which would normally be packed this time of day in the middle of July, is totally empty.
Clip 8 Man riding a bike towards the camera.
Clip 9 People on roller blades looking chilly
Clip 10 Man on a bike wearing long sleeves
Clip 11 Woman walking her dogs looking cold
Clip 12 Two women walking looking cold
Clip 13 Woman walking in the rose garden at Lake Harriett with a fleece coat on.
Clip 14 Woman with her kids taking photos in the rose garden. Everyone's wearing a coat.
Clip 15 Man with his dog in the rose garden and a woman takes his photo.
Clip 16 A sign in the road garden saying Count Only The Sunny Days
Clip 17 Fountain in the park with clouds rolling by
Clip 18 Man walking towards the camera with a coat on
Clip 19 Two women in the rose garden checking out the flowers but wearing coats to stay warm.
Clip 20 Couple walking towards the camera.
Clip 21 To women walking towards the camera.
Clip 22 Man walking towards the camera.
Clip 23 To women roller bladding towards the camera.
Clip 24 Woman in all black walking toward the camera.
I finally did it, I took a perfectly good brand new HDSLR camera and hacked it for use in the full spectrum photography. I'm been wanting to do this for a while now and now to document storms in the Near Infrared and Ultra Violet light.
Here is the test video I shot in eastern Colorado before returning home for a family emergency. The lightning is a lot more visible in the daylight in the Infrared with the storm then it was to the naked eye.
Today was a little soggy for the weather but it was a fun local video run with the flash flooding in Saint Paul, MN.
Kellogg Blvd. under highway 52 turned into a lake for about a half hour as the water rapidly filled the roadway. I also shot some footage around the Downtown Saint Paul airport and a lot of B-Roll around Harriet Island that is now part of the Mississippi River.
Today was one of those days you live for as a chasers. I was able to make it out to South Dakota to chase today and got on the tornado that formed near Alpena, SD and tracked all the way up to just southwest of Huron, SD.
From what I can tell, the torando did not hit any towns or homes, just farm fields and tree's. As a chaser, this is the perfect tornado because they form over an area that does very little impact to personal property. The worst damage I saw was roofing shingles torn off and powerlines down.
Here is a photo from today.
Here is the video from today.
Time to make the long drive home and get some much needed sleep.
Wow, that was a pretty extreme day on the road running the desk from the field but I did not miss a beat. Lots of tornado footage from my crews including a world first live stream from Ben of Twin Tornadoes on The Weather Channel in Nebraska.
All of the video is on our youtube channel at www.youtube.com/bnvn1
I did not make it down to Nebraska but I did cover the storms around Southwest Minnesota. I got under what I think was a Micro-burst.
Just a little something from this morning after the moon set before the morning civil twilight when the Auroras were dancing in the sky.
I know I said I was going to update my blog a lot more then I have, yeah well, been busy with work and putting all my energy and time towards StormChaingVideo.com the facebook pages, the social media sites, the other stuff and life.
I'm going to be working on a site overhaul this summer with more stock photos and video stuff. Until then, I'll try to get more updates about what I have been up to.
Saturday I was woken up with the calls about thunderstorms and flooding. Yes, it has been flooding a bit here in Central Minnesota.
Here is some footage I shot around Albany, MN.