Category Archives: TRANSPORTATION

Anything to do with moving people and “stuff” from one place to another.

bad weather traffic

Blog bad weather traffic accidents

Ah springtime in the Rockies. We have been going from temps in the upper 60s & 70s to upper 20s and low 30s with rain and snow. So today, the roads were slick with ice covered by snow.

Between yesterday and last night at least 4 public service vehicles slid off the road and nk telling how many civilians.

About 1100 2016-04-30 there were reports of traffic accidents with injuries on the interstate blocking the west bound lanes. It took a good 30 minutes for the first fire/EMS to get to the scene because of the other vehicles blocking the flow of traffic [for miles] . Responding vehicles had to weave in and out between stopped vehicles and drive on the shoulder of the road. Due to the stopped cars in the way they the fire chief requested that the neighboring county respond units from their direction which was still flowing.

During the hour plus of this incident to this point police, fire/EMS did the best they could as it was a very dynamic situation.

Lessons learned and points to ponder.

When the road in front is blocked especially on the interstate there is NO reason to go around stopped cars [in the right hand lane] just so that you can stop up the left hand lane. If you are driving in the passing lane and see blockage ahead do your best to change into the right hand [driving] lane. The left hand lane should be left clear for emergency vehicles.

This is another situation where having vehicle to vehicle communications [like ships have] for local area Comms would be great to get local road reports. Yes, cell phones are great for specific point to point Comms. Cell phones on the other hand are not so good when it comes to talking a few cars over unless you know their phone number. Given that most if not all truckers already have CB radios, CBs are great for local information.

The biggest issue is that comes to mind is….. If you don’t HAVE to travel during bad weather, STAY HOME. IF you do have to travel during bad weather be sure to top off the gas tank. Let family know where you are going, what your plans are and when you expect to be home.

What I would like to see the vehicle manufacturers do is equip all new vehicles with with a built in FRS type radio that only has 1 or 2 frequencies on it so that cars can share information and receive directions from public services. This would be similar to ‘on-star’ except that it would be free and close in local.

What are your thoughts?

Cross ref –

Mormon handcarts

Mormon handcarts for evacuations

Recently while checking up on friends and family on Facebook I ran across a picture of a family I know. They were participating in the sesquicentennial celebration of the pioneer trek the “Mormons” [The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints] did when the early church migrated to Utah. The hand carts that they built and used for this trek were very sturdy and could carry a heavy load. The people were very sturdy too, both then and now.

Literally these people carried all of their worldly goods with them. They walked over one thousand miles rain or shine, pulling the handcarts for months on end. In this day and age how many of us could pull that off today? Not many I bet.

Every year our town has “Frontier Days” 9 days of rodeo and party. There are 4 parades during this time and the local LDS members [Mormons] always has handcarts in the parades. Very interesting to watch.

Hold that picture in your mind and follow me down this rabbit trail if you will. ; ]

I have seen what some people call their 72 hour kits. Some of them have weighed in at 70lbs and they think that they are going to bug out on foot when the SHTF. Or worse they don’t plan on walking at all so they have boxes of stuff in the car and then hit the long parking lot of the freeway out of town and use all of the gas in 10 miles of bumper to bumper traffic.

With this in mind another friend and his family built a Mormon handcart to base their bug out plans on. I think that he had a good idea. Following is a report on how large of a payload could be carried by the handcarts.

***The handcarts generally carried up to 250 pounds (110 kg) of supplies and luggage, though they were capable of handling loads as heavy as 500 pounds (230 kg). Carts used in the first year’s migration were made entirely of wood (“Iowa hickory or oak”); in later years a stronger design was substituted, which included metal elements.[10][11][12]
The handcart companies were organized using the handcarts and sleeping tents as the primary units. Five persons were assigned per handcart, with each individual limited to 17 pounds (7.7 kg) of clothing and bedding. Each round tent, supported by a center pole, housed 20 occupants and was supervised by a tent captain. Five tents were supervised by the captain of a hundred (or “sub-captain”). Provisions for each group of one hundred emigrants were carried in an ox wagon, and were distributed by the tent captains. Excerpted from ***

Bartering bikes

We have a guy in the neighborhood that purchases used bicycles fixes them up and then sells them. With the price of gas and with the economy not being so good he has really started having trouble keeping bikes around. He said that people who are on fixed income or that don’t have much money are starting to come to him more often to get bikes as their only mode of transportation. He lives in the lower income section of town so he is right in the middle of the people who are having the most trouble.

On the other hand we had one bike that we weren’t using any more, along with 2 bikes that the grandkids had outgrown and 1 bike that needed work on that we did not know how to do. So the question was what do we do? Try and sell our bikes in a garage sale? Put an ad in the paper? And then after we sold them, if we could, we would have to find other bikes that the grandkids could ride now. That would mean looking through the paper for used bikes their size or coming up with the money for new bikes both of which take time.

The solution we came up with was taking all of them [total of 4] over to his place and negotiated trading them in for 3 bikes that were usable for the grandkids to ride and was in workable order. Bartering is a good way to get rid of what you don’t need any more and getting what you do need. We ended up not paying anything in the process and we got what we needed and he got more bikes to sell.

So a couple of the take away on this is that you can trade for things that really do not need to be new, thus saving money and that you can take a skill such as working on bikes and turn it into money.

Evac kit container


Perhaps the second most important ‘thing’ about emergency kits, is something to carry all that stuff in. Having a container that is well organized, makes for easy access of any item during a frantic moment. Periodic inventory is also easily accomplished when you have a printed list and your equipment organized in appropriate containers that are laid out in an orderly fashion. The container you must be easily carried by family members. There are several types of containers you may consider.

BACKPACK: This is the most convenient, versatile, and appropriate container in which to store and carry your Evacuation Kit. We strongly recommend that you consider this type of container. It should be of large size, of waterproof nylon or leather, lightweight frame (internal or external), padded shoulder straps, and padded hip belt. It need not be expensive. If you are not able to use your car to evacuate, a backpack will allow you to carry your kit comfortably for long distances while freeing your hands for carrying small children or other items.

BELTPACKS (fanny packs): These must be a waterproof nylon or leather and are especially good for expanding a backpack. However, they are simply too small to be seriously considered for a 72-hour kit by themselves. However, the basic essentials such as fire starters, knife (s), string, iodine tablets and signaling equipment should be carried on your person.

POLYETHYLENE PLASTIC BUCKETS: These are air tight and waterproof, but are also awkward to carry for any distance. If you do use one of these be sure to attach a sturdy padded handle. They come in four, five, and six-gallon capacities.

DUFFLE BAG: Very awkward to carry long distances. If used, get the kind that has shoulder straps and looks like a backpack, which makes it almost as good. Also be sure to get one made of water resistant nylon. Do not use ones made of cotton.

TRUNK OR FOOTLOCKER: Must be sturdy, and waterproof with strong, padded handle(s). They are great for placing in your car, however, they are very difficult to carry when full, and generally require two individuals.

PLASTIC GARBAGE CANS: They hold a lot of items and are good for initially collecting items in for the kit, but to carry them, even just to the car, is difficult at best and impossible for most to do. For this reason I discourage anyone from considering using a garbage can for his or her 72-hour kit. If you do use a garbage can, get one with wheels.

LUGGAGE, wheeled. Get the kind that has good wheels and strong straps/handles. A main compartment with several outside pockets is best, if you are going to go this route.

This is just a start on the topic. Cross ref post about the Quick Start Guide book.

Driving plan 1

For your next trip OR as the start to your evacuation planning you have to know how much fuel you will need if you are driving. How far will you be traveling? [Break this down into days or legs with planned rest stops.]

To estimate this you will need to know what your current gas mileage is. You should be tracking your mileage anyway along with the oil and other fluids used in your vehicle.

Every time that you get fuel, log it into your travel records along with your odometer reading. Then divide the miles traveled by amount of fuel used = miles per gallon.

Example I drove 350 miles and used 21 gallons = 16.7 miles per gallon.

Take the projected total miles you plan to travel and divide that figure by your current mileage, the result will be the projected number of gallons fuel you may consume for the trip. ADD 10% for variance and safety aka fudge factor.

To keep things simple enough so that even I can understand it.

My current vehicle gets 10 miles to the gallon of gas in town [actually it is closer to 17 miles to the gallon but that is harder to do the math]. The miles per gallon –mpg- that we get out on the highway is 20 [actually we get closer to 23 mpg].

Total projected round trip miles is 2,000. So the problem is set up as,

Total projected trip miles / mpg
=_____ fuel amount needed.

We always plan for the worse mileage so that we can take side trips if we see or hear about fun stuff while we are gallivanting about.

How far do you plan to cover during each day or leg of your trip?

Back when we were much younger we would split the driving between 2 or 3 adults and we would cover 1,200 miles in a day [24 hours] so that we would have more time at our destination.

Realistically if you are going to see stuff along the way and be a tourist don’t expect to cover more than about 300 miles a day IF that. And plan way stations along your route.

As an example one year a friend from our military days was visiting from ‘back east’. At the end of his visit I took him to the state capitol to catch the Amtrak train home.

The drive was planned to take 2.5 hours with a planned detour of 4 hours to a park along the way. The park is a natural rock bridge that had been carved over the centuries by a large creek.

The park portion had several hiking trails and there were those standing BBQ cook areas with picnic tables that were comfortable for the lunch we had packed.

The site was / is very beautiful and has a rich history as an oasis for the local American Indians. One of the pluses is that it is well protected from the wind. Some of the other features included more than enough fresh water for the tribe and their animals. There are several apple trees which are reputed to have been planted by the Indians. Game such as fish, deer, rabbits and birds are plentiful. I didn’t have time to search very hard but there were many edible plants such as Purslane, plantain, cattails, milkweed and burdock.

I can really see why the Indians would tarry there and perhaps even a good place to settle in the general area.

Round trip was about 400 miles and took less than a tank of gas. Total time away from home was under 12 hours

That was a brief example of a travel journal entry.

Extra petrol

Extra petrol

As I write this regular unleaded gas is under $1.75 a gallon. The friend that I was talking with commented that he hoped that the prices would stay down for the trip he has planned for this summer. I asked him if he had his fuel storage as well setup as he had his food and water storage. [He has a full year of food and water put up.] He said he did not and asked what I meant.

The following is the gist of what we discussed. Once this system is set up, it will not cost you any more to maintain it as what you would normally spend on fuel for your vehicle. Start off with 5 gallon fuel cans [gas or diesel whatever your vehicle uses]. Given the about half off what we are used to paying for fuel I would think that you could start off with 12 fuel cans. If you want to get more cans great, if you want to get fewer fuel cans… whatever… that is up to you. Number the cans 1 to 12 so that you can rotate them. Depending on how much you drive, you can use one can a month and you will have rotated all of your fuel out in one year. The procedure for this would be to transfer the fuel from the can to your vehicle prior to heading to the filling station and then filling both your fuel tank and the can.

If you have the space to safely store the extra fuel you have and depending on how many vehicles you are storing for, you may want to store more than 12 cans.

When it comes time for the trip, load up the extra fuel cans and take them [all] with you. During the trip or at least the first part of it, use the stored fuel. When he gets home from the trip or during the extended lay over he can start refilling the gas cans and place them back into the rotation cycle.

To make transferring the fuel consider having either a large funnel or siphon pump OR both. It is way easier to transfer the fuel if you have a helper. Given that 5 gallons of fuel weighs about 40 lbs you may want to consider 2.5 gallon cans. Also the transfer pump is easier to use than a funnel.

Are there safety concerns with storing fuel? Well.. DUH, of course there are. Keep in a well ventilated space away from sources of ignition and avoid breathing the fumes. Also, I would not want to transport it inside the passenger compartment of your vehicle. Check with your local fire department for the rules on storing and transporting fuel.

Ireland 6

6 ******************
Minus 80 days and counting

The Republic of Ireland and North Ireland have a very long and interesting history. Florence and I were writing to each other during most of the time referred to as “the Trouble”. She would send me newspaper clippings so I got to see some of it “almost” first hand. There was also a very long drought during that time and many farmers lost their crops and animals. Now I am reading about it in the “history” of Ireland. It does give a person perspective, though. Ireland is a country that has struggled through wars, droughts, famines and political unrest, and yet they are among the friendliest people in the world. When we think of US history, we are looking at a couple hundred years (if you don’t look at Columbus and the Native American Indians). Ireland’s history is a few thousand years. A house in our area that is was built a hundred years ago is considered old. There are castles in Ireland (and Scotland, England, Germany, etc.) that have stood for several hundred years. We sometimes forget that WE are the rookies in the history game. I’m just glad I studied American History in school and not Irish History. I’d still be there and we’d only be up to the Industrial Revolution!

Here is an interesting thought: Remember the movie “Around the World in 80 Days”? I have the same number of days to get ready for a one week trip and I’m panicked that I won’t be ready in time or forget something. [following ‘project management’ guidelines helps a lot with planning trips ect…-R]

Although, I have to say, my kids are being very helpful in making this trip happen. Dan will take me to the bus that takes me to the airport and then pick me when I return. He is also keeping my dog, Indiana Jones, while I am gone. I could put Indiana in a kennel, but he was a rescue from a puppy mill and spent the first six months of his life in a crate, so I think he done his time in Hell.

travel entertainment

Travel by Car – Just for Fun!

Materials: one or more bored children (or adults)

Idea 1: Choose a color and watch for a car of that color. Whoever spots the car first calls out, “(color) car!” and then that player gets to choose a different color for the next car.

Idea 2: Watch out the car window for the number 1 through 9 in order. First person to reach 9 wins.

Idea 3: Prior to the start of the trip, make a written lists of things to look for; such as a dog, police car, flashing traffic light, railroad tracks, etc. There should be a different list for each person so that there is no arguments as to who saw what first. The first person to complete their list wins.

Idea 4: The first person to spot a field of cows gets to keep the cows in the field for their count. (You may have to guess as to how many cows are in a herd if there are too many to count.) Keep track of each person’s cow count. First person to see a church double their cow count, because the cows “got married”. First person with 500 cows wins.

Idea 5: Each person chooses a license plate, such as “New Hampshire” or “Wyoming”. The only state players cannot select is the state being traveled through. The first person to see the license plate they chose ahead of time wins.
Idea 6: To keep kids entertained on long trips, make a goody bag for each kid-full of stickers, crayons, coloring books, a disposable camera, etc.

Idea 7: Every time you see a different license plate, write it down. The purpose isn’t to compete, but to see how many of the 50 states are written down before the end of the trip. This can be done competitively, but be ready for heated discussions as to whom first sees a particular license plate.

What other ‘games’ can you plan for your trip?

spare tires 2

spare tires 2

Last time we talked about a couple of ideas for spare tires to make logistics easier. Here is another idea to cut down on the spare parts you have to stock.

Little Wink had a cargo trailer that he would take out into the woods with him or into town for supplies and deliveries. It was a combination of cargo trailer and camper. What he had changed on it was the wheels. He replaced the factory set up with one that would take the same rims and tires as his truck. That way he could get by with less extra parts.

One of the ways Little Wink earned a living was by cutting fire wood and selling it in town to the city folk. The up side of this was that he could work around his ‘day’ job during the year. The down side was that he didn’t get paid for cutting wood until the fall when folks realized that they were going to need wood for heat. He only sold seasoned fire wood so this years worth of work he did get paid for until the following year.

What he did then was when the tires were worn down to the point that they needed to come off of the truck he could still use them on the trailer out in the country. The other issue was that by extending the useful life of the tires that way he could schedule replacing the tires for when he got his tax refund.

A bit about Little Wink and his family. Today they would be off the grid back to the landers. They raised chickens, goats and a few pigs. They had fruit & nut trees along with the acres of black berries. Closer to the house they had a large garden with a roadside stand for the produce and eggs. On that part of the mountain the people who had a phone to use it was a party line and you had to take turns. Back in the day this was how most of us country folks lived and did business.

Spare Tires

Spare tires

This time we are not talking about the spare tire around your middle. We will save the tire for another day. Today we are discussing your vehicles spare tires. A friend was up on the hill hunting last year and some how had a blown out tire about 15 miles from the paved road. He did change the tire; it was a good thing that he had a ‘real’ spare tire to put on instead of the normal undersized ‘idiot’ tire that is only good for 50 miles IF that. To be on the safe side he did go into the nearest town to have the tire fixed. Unfortunately the tire was beyond repair so he had to buy a new tire. They did not have the same tread pattern as was already on the truck so he actually bought 2 tires so that they would match on the axel.

With the economy doing as well as it is this year [tongue firmly in cheek] it may be hard to afford at this time, but it is easier to do ahead of time, go ahead and get 2 rims that will match your other tires. If you are buying a new vehicle you can order it with 6 rims [4 on the vehicle and 2 spares] with matching tires and the price will be rolled into the total price. If you are not getting a new vehicle you can still order the extra rims from the dealer or an after market supply house. A more economical source for rims is at the ‘junk yard or ‘U pull-it” place and get rims and maybe even reasonably good tires to act as your spares. Generally it costs less than ¼ the amount for rims and tires doing it with the u pull it route. One person that I know went that route and got 6 [six] full sized rims and decent tires for his vehicle so that he had basically 2 complete sets of wheels / tires and he would have a one set of studded snow tires for the winter and regular all season for the rest of the year.

Another alternative with that idea is to have them all the same and then you can rotate them and if you are out hunting [or post SHTF] you will have the extra as spares when you may not be able to get good tires mounted. When the economy gets worse than it is now you will have already bought your next set of tires ahead of time and most likely for way cheaper – just like food storage.

Years ago a family friend [Little Wink is what he was called] made his own super studded tires for out in the forest. He took a well used set of tires for his truck and drilled holes all around the tire in 4 rows. He then took ½ inch bolts and large washers and put them in the holes that he had drilled. When he went into the woods he would put those tires on and even though it did take a little bit of extra time and work to do that he never had to dig his truck out of the snow and mud because he was stuck. His system worked way better than chains. I am not sure how well it worked on dry pavement but he also never got stuck going to town during or right after a snow storm.