Welcome to our November 2023 edition, Gregg!

Visit F5TornadoSafaris.com

Rather than field a question from one of you knowledgeable and engaged newsletter readers, I thought I'd take the lead this month.

In May 2024, F5! Tornado Safaris will celebrate our 25th season of chasing twisters. Over the years, some of our most memorable clients have been recipients of someone else's largess -- a gift of the highest order from loved ones.

The details vary, but are invariably inspiring:

  • A young man from a hardscrabble town in California's Central Valley who worked his way through school as a night watchman: upon his graduation (the first in his family to earn a college degree), his relatives pooled their resources to send him in pursuit of tornadoes, his long-time passion. Being from California, he had never actually seen one -- until we mounted a ridge to the glorious site of a funnel cloud touching down in west Texas. Then and there, he decided to pursue a degree in meteorology at Penn State.

  • A widow whose children paid for her to accompany her best friend on a chasing safari: She showed up as a reluctant traveler; after all, it was the first trip she'd taken with anybody except her husband in 30-some years. Day by day, it was evident to everyone that her life force was returning. By the end of the week, she made tentative plans with her best friend -- and two safari cohorts -- to scuba dive in the Bahamas. She informed me that her week chasing tornadoes had altered her life by making her realize that chaos is always around the bend -- it's how you choose to confront it that defines a life.

  • A talented high schooler from Virginia whose parents gifted him a ticket on the tour due to his love for weather got everything he could have imagined. Just days into the tour, we happened upon a total of seven tornadoes in eastern Colorado dancing on the prairie. These were the picture-perfect funnels, long and white extending from the high cloud-base. Although he did not go on to become a meteorologist, he now reports on the weather for a large radio station in Washington D.C.

As I've been espousing for nearly 25 years, chasing tornadoes is about so much more than witnessing funnel clouds touch down upon Mother Earth. The lone quote on the F5! website -- right there on the top of the home page -- is one that I Iive by: "There is nothing so life-affirming as an up-close and personal audience with the awe-inspiring forces of our planet."

So while you're shopping for the holidays, consider that gift that a loved one will remember for a lifetime -- and may just change a loved one's life. If no one comes to mind, consider a gift to the most deserving person of all -- you.

Questions? Ask Gregg!

Early-payment discounts have shrunk to $50 -- and after November 30, they'll be gone altogether. Sign up for our 2024 chases now!

Roommate and Loyalty Discounts are based on remitting $750 down payment. Early-Payment Discount is based on the date of full payment, although $750 down payment will hold your seat.

Balance due by March 1, 2024. Maximum discounts per client = $500.

This month's Early Payment Discount of $50 expires 11:59 p.m. Pacific on November 30.

SIgn up for a 2024 Tornado Safari

Have a friend, collegue or loved one who digs the thrill of the chase? Sign 'em up for our mid-monthly email newsletter, and they'll be eligible for our monthly drawing for $50 in free F5! merchandise!

Sign up a friend for our newsletter
Check out all our merch!

Let's face it: There's a lot of down time between our adrenaline-pumped chases each May. Half the fun is revisiting old road haunts and discovering new locations to eat, drink and be merrily entertained. Because F5! goes where the wind blows, we've cataloged hundreds of towns, restaurants, bars and hospitality venues over approximately one million square miles of the Great Plains in the past 24 years. Each month, we'll revisit some of our favorites.


October 2023 Issue: Carlsbad Caverns (Carlsbad, NM)

September 2023 Issue: Garden of Eden (Lucas, KS)

August 2023 issue: UFO Capital of the World (Roswell, NM)

July 2023 issue: The Big Texan (Amarillo, TX)

Enchanted Highway

Regent, ND to Gladstone, ND

Last F5! visit: 2013

As we continue to revisit our favorite road stops of the past quarter century, one distinctly American theme keeps resurfacing:

Capitalism is alive and well on the Great Plains -- every nook and cranny of it.

Where Americana thrives, it's a sure bet that local oddballs, artists and entrepreneurs have sewn their legacies. So it is with the Enchanted Highway in southwestern North Dakota, a 32-mile stretch of a two-lane highway with no official numeric designation.

For purposes of assigning addresses, it's known as as 100 1/2 Avenue SW, and the "enchanted" stretch of it connects the tiny towns of Regent (population 167) and Gladstone (population 271), an off-ramp town on Interstate 94 just east of the more populous (25,000+) city of Dickinson.

Those 32 miles have consumed the life of a sculptor named Gary Greff, who grew up in Regent and was seeking a way to halt the town's demise amid a plummeting population.

“One day I was looking around and said, ‘you know, this town has gone from a town of 500 people to a town of a hundred,’ ” Greff told the Grand Forks (N.D.) Herald in 2019. “I thought if someone doesn’t do something, it’s only a matter of time before we’re gone.”

In 1989, Greff, then 41, read an article in the Dickinson paper about a farmer whose small sculpture was drawing passersby off of Interstate 94. "In my mind, no one was going to drive 32 miles off the freeway to see a normal-sized structure. But they might for the world's largest."

Over the next 17 years, Greff constructed eight super-sized scrap-metal sculptures to fill in the space between his hometown and Interstate 94. The sculpture that diverts drivers from I-94, Geese in Flight (above), was certified by the Guiness Book of World Records in 2013 as the world's largest metal sculpture. Its impressive dimensions: 110 feet tall x 154 feet wide and weighing more than 150,000 pounds.

The venture -- a sucession of human-dwarfing sculptures of a tin family, Teddy Roosevelt, pheasants, grasshoppers and more -- proved so successful that in 2012 Greff opened the Enchanted Castle, a theme hotel and gift shop at the southern terminus of the Enchanted Highway.

Like the late Samuel Perry Dinsmoor, a cement sculptor who constructed the Garden of Eden in Lucas, Kansas, or the entrepreneurs who framed the dusty town of Roswell, N.M. as the center of the UFO universe, Greff's creativity sprang from financial desperation -- another example of the resourcefulness of dying towns bypassed by the intestate highway system along the F5! circuit.

Now 75, Greff recently was successful in getting the state to agree to finance the upkeep on the Enchanted Highway's sculptures.

“I’m doing this for the city, for our state,” Greff said in that 2019 article in the Grand Forks paper. "We’ve got to become the Mount Rushmore of North Dakota for metal art and I’m thinking bigger than what I’m doing. I’m just planting the seed for the state, and hope that the next person that takes over for me will make it even more masterful than what I did. If this project dies when I die, then I haven’t accomplished anything.”

Take a 19-second speed tour of the Enchanted Highway sculptures