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Old 12-02-2011, 02:30 AM   #1
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hunker down or get out of town?

The old instinct that every living creature capable of fighting and fleeing is one that even us sophisticated humans have and can be ruled by. We all have surely acted under these instincts in the past, and the collapse will make them prevalent again.

At what points do you make your decision and which path do you take? I know there are countless scenarios, so feel free to describe those that are applicable to you. Obviously, here on PMBug, man made economic disasters are on the forefront of our minds, but natural disasters are a worthy topic as well and any other situations that back us into the same corner.

I'll give a natural disaster example:

I happen to live in a hurricane prone area, so I have had the valuable experience of truly having to make this decision. In my case flight is the clear answer for a serious storm. What truly sealed the deal for me was the predicted storm surge, which could have easily left me with "waterfront property", not to mention waterback property, and waterside property.

I remembered the scenes from Katrina with folks stranded on the roofs of buildings trying to wave down rescue helicopters and passing watercraft. Even if my place was in tact, even if I had food and other supplies, I didn't want to be stuck on an island without a boat, so to speak. Add in the possibility of no utilities and the prospect of leaving looked much better than toughing it out without running water, refrigerated food, and cooking energy. Yes, I was ill prepared to survive without modern technology, and still am for the most part.

So, the plan was to make a run across the state to stay with family. I spent the night figuring out what was worth taking and what had to stay and gathering those items to be packed into the car the next morning. I had only lived in this area a few months when this event happened, so hurricane season was a very new thing to someone accustomed to tornado alley.

The next morning I packed up, secured what was left as best I could, and hit the road. And by road, I mean back roads. I had family in the past get stuck in evacuation traffic and wanted no part. So I left a good deal before the storm arrived and nearly doubled my trip in length by taking the scenic rout. It worked, as I had a quiet, if not long, trip at an average speed of 53 mph. Didn't have trouble finding gas either, but picked up a few jerry cans and funnels to be safe for next time. When I came back over a week later, the only damage was a few trees that fell harmlessly and some food in the freeze that wasn't trustworthy. The power was on when I came back, but I don't know how long it was out for (it did go out) and didn't want to take a chance on meat of dubious condition. Most of the grocery stores were devoid of things perishable, but driving a few miles to the next town over I was able to find some meat and veggies. It took a while for the fences and traffic lights and etc. around town to get fixed, but the food supply came back within days of people coming back en mass it seemed. I was lucky and gained some great experience.

What I took away more than anything from this experience was going through the process of determining what possessions stay and what goes with you. I came to some conclusions that I would not have expected having not done this before, and I'm much more confident in my ability to get moving quickly, for whatever reason, in the future.

But hurricanes are pretty easy. You know pretty much when they are coming and where. You know about how long one will last. And you know what the aftermath will consist of, at least big picture (power outages, flooded homes, etc.).





For the economic/political disaster, I don't know what I would do. Part of me would want to leave since I'm not self sufficient at all in terms of food, energy, and the like, but I don't really have a place to go that would be any better, so maybe staying is as good as anything. Also, it is really hard to figure out when to leave even if you know that is what you would do as economic collapse doesn't follow ocean currents and jet streams.

How do you guys see it?
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Old 12-02-2011, 09:56 AM   #2
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I think it really depends...

If i'm not out of the country by then, I'll probably put most of my stuff into storage and go spend a few months overseas with family.
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Old 12-02-2011, 09:59 AM   #3
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I too faced that decision when Hurricane Ike came barreling down on Houston. I live right on the edge of what was at the time the mandatory evacuation zone. Evacuation was not mandatory where I live, but was mandatory just a few minutes down the road.

I chose to stay through Ike. I stayed up all night as the weak side of the storm passed over my house. I enjoyed a few minutes or eerie calm as the eye of the storm passed overhead and then we got hammered by the back side of the eye wall.

We didn't suffer any catastrophic damage or flooding in my neighborhood - mostly a lot of roofs lost some shingles and sections of wood fences got blown down.

However, I will never forget living through the following days with no power, no gas and no groceries. No one in our area had any idea when any of those essentials would be restored. We (ie. my family) got lucky - we got power back after 3-4 days and grocery stores and gas stations started re-opening shortly thereafter. Some areas around us went much longer without power (some over two weeks). Three days without any internet access was particularly torturous for me personally (I was Jonesing like an addict!).

Many people had evacuated prior to the hurricane's arrival, so it was kind of surreal to ride my bicycle around and not hear any auto traffic or kids/people out and about. About day 3 I ventured out with my car to see if there were any stores open selling gas or ice. There was a gas station near the I-45 freeway that was open and selling gas so I headed over there. Traffic near the station was a mess and people were driving desperately - like you experience during a Christmas shopping rush when folks are cutting other off chasing the only parking spot in the lot. The streets were dangerous IMO. I remember thinking at the time how crazy it was and how much worse it likely would have been if people didn't know that everything was going to get back to normal pretty soon.

If Chris Martenson et. al. are correct about peak oil / energy and in the future, the power grid may contract in capacity, I fear that we may see just how thin the veneer of civilization really is.

As things stand right now, I am likely set to hunker down with whatever preps I have managed to achieve. If time and finances permit, I would like to prep a country living home for more independent and off-power grid living.
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Old 12-03-2011, 01:56 PM   #4
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I was in Friendswood when Ike was on his way, and we bailed. NASA shut down the space center so we couldn't work anyway. I bugged out back to Central Florida and returned to work at KSC. I look at hurricanes a little differently since Francis and Jeanne blew through. We have hardened the house to withstand high Cat 2 - low Cat 3 winds. With the whole house genset and buried 500 gallon propane tank, we have fuel for a month if we don't abuse the privilege of electricity. In a big Cat 3 or higher, we're out.

Hurricanes are serious business and if you think you can survive a Cat3, 4 or 5, then you're simply not thinking.
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Old 12-11-2011, 03:06 AM   #5
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My personal thoughts are that for the coming economic storm, it is best to leave the bigger cities. In fact, I would think that 300 miles from the nearest big city would be the minimum distance. Now I know that is not possible for the vast majority of Americans but moving any distance in my eyes would be an improvement.

Ideally I would like to be in a very small town in a very remote area. Again just plain not feasible for most people. And as much as I would like to do that myself, I see no way that I can do anything except hunker down and hope for the best.
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Old 12-12-2011, 10:37 PM   #6
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The question you pose is a familiar one that nearly all of us have to face, and in most cases is not always easy to answer due many variables.

Since you stated that you don't have a place to go if you did leave, then your best best (at least for the moment) is to plan to stay where you are, with a small contingency of portable supplies handy in case things were starting to look bad enough that you might have to leave.

One factor, that Merlin mentions, is what size city are you in. If it is a large city, then the small contingency of portable supplies becomes very important since large cities will likely be hellholes if things get really really bad. If it is a small town, then the likelyhood of having to leave becomes much smaller.

One thing that could help is getting some basic items together now, while the atmosphere is still relatively benign. At least get your important documents in one folder or one box for quick portability. You are probably familiar with bug-out-bags, and a real simple one can be prepared on the cheap.

As far as getting a little more prepared, remember that you don't have to do it all at once. If you have one week's worth of food stocks, increase it to two weeks. And then a little later increase it to three weeks, then a month, and so on. Even simple small incremental moves like this can help in a "minor" event.

If it looks like something big is strongly imminent, don't wait too late to get out, or else you will be in a standstill with the rest of the masses.

Oh, and remember what DCFusor says, have some fun along (even lots of fun) along the way!
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Old 12-13-2011, 04:27 AM   #7
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Quote :
Three days without any internet access was particularly torturous for me personally (I was Jonesing like an addict!).
Nothing to joke around about but that line reminded me of this South Park episode.

http://www.southparkstudios.com/full...6-over-logging
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Old 03-04-2012, 05:51 PM   #8
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found this today -

http://video.google.de/videoplay?doc...4352139663774#

good blogumentary (?) of a family who 'did it'

they found a good site in a bit of Canadian wilderness and created a practical, off grid homestead.

It was hidden amongst this lot - http://free-university-in-internet.blogspot.com/

along with this -

http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...5835135425727#

2 hours 25 minutes of uninterrupted Pink Floyd 'Pulse' concert

with this note at the top of the main page )-:

Dear friends of FUII,
Google‘s decided to shut down its Google Video service, and in an email sent Friday night (4/15/2011), reminded those who’ve uploaded videos to the site that they have until May 13 to download them before they are removed.
Google says that on April 29, Google Videos will no longer be viewable on the site, and the download function will still be available for a couple of weeks to allow users to retrieve their work.
If you like to watch any of still working videos, do it fast.
It was great serving you!
Your, FUII
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Old 03-05-2012, 07:13 AM   #9
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Youtube version of the "blogumentary":


Here's the wiki on the guy featured in the video:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_Stroud
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Old 03-05-2012, 10:52 AM   #10
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Yeah, Les Stroud is freakin awesome.
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Old 03-05-2012, 12:03 PM   #11
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ok.. releasing Racoons on the property was a complete WTF moment for me...

Beyond that.. It's about what I expected.
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Old 03-05-2012, 02:38 PM   #12
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Ah, yes, brings back some memories of my own struggles in this field.
He made some mistakes everyone makes - and sometimes you're forced to, but I should point them out.

Forget log homes - they're not as much better as they are much more work. There are prefab ones, but they're expensive for what you get. Really, conventional building tech is pretty darn good, it works well.

Don't ever, unless you have no choice and are willing to accept very bad living standards for way too long, do the fixer upper thing - you'll note they gave it up and just bought a prefab cottage. It's almost always cheaper and always much faster to just build a new one, even if you have to burn the old one down to make room for it. I've watched many friends (and their marriages) fail on this one - you can only breath that crap for so long before you go crazy in the cold and windy indoors.

Love our friends to the North, where evidently power = hydro, but gheesh, there's still plenty of places with better weather around to do this, and unless you're totally cheaping out - closer to "civilization" for when you just need that. The mountains around where I live satisfy that - you can be pretty close as the crow flies, but still well away from the zombie apocalypse due to the difficulty of punching big flat roads through it all - we have enough, make no mistake, but we just don't make it super easy for people to cruise by as we're not right off an interstate and so on.

He got the good stuff - Xantrex (now Schneider) and Rolls for his solar - this is what I have, and it's made in Canada. That's not enough panels, though, as he will surely find out. I have, lesse about 42 of about that size - now that's enough! I have a 24kwh battery (also 24V), and more of all that kinda stuff - for me the battery is the weak link, it should be double or triple that size to get into the "forget about power completely" range - but then again, that's with owning an electric car too, which dwarfs the house and shop in what it can easily eat - neither of the latter is trying to yank 4k pounds zooming up a hill, after all. In my case, the car doesn't *require* electricity, nor do I have to drive every day.

Water, water, water - I posted some about that here already. Some heresy - those filter rigs are expensive and worse than nothing, if you need one, work more on a better source. I'm actually able to get enough water for me - more on that later - off my roof. There are a couple months a year when you don't want to drink it, as it's full of pollen. But you know what, if you do things right, 99% of the water most use isn't for drinking anyway - who cares what the toilet gets flushed with?

And yes, a drainfield - mine wasn't legal when I put it in, but I push so little water into it that even a plain old big hole in the ground suffices fine. Water from washing and showering doesn't have to go into one of those at all. I personally have had both running water (conventional) and the type I have now - sneaker net. I found interestingly than when it doesn't fly out at the twist of a knob, you use a heck of a lot less. I might hook up the pressurized stuff again and compare again, though, since the roof collection is getting me a lot more than I can use the old way.

I might be weird, but I use a 6 gal bucket, in the bathtub, heated to the perfect temperature with an electric heater for bathing. It's really a rush to pour 2-3 quarts of hot water over your head, no shower can really deliver that whoosh. I have a solar water heater on another building that I'm not using, but I might restore that. Only good when weather is above 50 or so - but will boil 55 gal of water before noon otherwise, and it gives a great shower since I pick up the feed off the bottom of it, so your shower gets warmer as things progress.

Really, just do the prefab house thing. I bought a 16' x 32' shed from Classic Manor builders for $16/sq foot...and then did the finishing inside myself once it was weather tight. This way, you get a place right away (that pic of the guy doing two nail guns at a time begins to give you the idea - but think 3-4 guys doing that - it's amazing). You can then take the time to get real serious about the indoors, insulation, vapor barriers, highest quality stuff and build - when it's your time and not a bunch of guys you're paying union scale to, and it's a labor of love, you do a lot better work - you learn fast enough. I didn't have any diggers or major power tools, and did fine - it just took longer.

For me, the change in quality of life out of the rat race, and into a neighborhood of all nice folks was worth far more than some temporarily primitive living conditions, and now it's finally all pretty easy, feet up time mostly.

Yeah, the snarks over on ZH would say this or my setup don't count because they used stuff bought from the "Grid" to get it going. I refute that - it'd just be dumb to go mine rust and make your own axe head if you don't have to. All this basic stuff is quite reliable; my first Trace inverter is still going - it hasn't so much as burped since 1979 when it was first turned on - and it's been on the entire time since.

More later, my final shipment of solar panels is arriving at the church up the hill - a tractor trailer won't make it down here, fine with me, and I gotta go get it now!
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Old 03-05-2012, 06:51 PM   #13
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I hope my plan is good enough to survive this coming congflagration.

I fear the onslaught of the "entitled class" as they rove through the neighborhoods looking for sustenance.
I will resist.......with.........great zeal.
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Old 03-05-2012, 09:06 PM   #14
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My best wishes, ancona - I hope so too. But where my money is involves just getting away from too much density. Here and elsewhere I hear tales all day long of those persecuted by crap neighbors (homeowners associations seem to be a real problem), even in fairly good times. And they tell me they'd chew off an arm to get away - but never manage to actually do it, even though it requires a lot less than an arm-chew, actually.

Not only does high density mean more people, I'm convinced that the easy living near the welfare window means the diamond to turd ratio in humans is lower there on top of it.

It's funny how people rationalize to themselves, things like "but I wouldn't have cable" or "I wouldn't make as much money" or "I couldn't drive to the opera in 15 minutes" or other various silly things. Those aren't reasons, they're rationalizations for a decision already made, emotionally, out of fear of change, I think.

Yeah, I don't make as much money (anymore, I did quite well telecommuting and got paid silicon valley money while living here to spend it - sweet) - but the ratio between what I make and what it costs to live went WAY up, actually, so instead of being a wage slave, I am now "rich" in the eyes of many.

I had cable when I had people here who watched it. And I don't like opera much myself, but do like the symphony they share a hall with, and yeah, it's worth the 40 minute drive sometimes. If I want to go to a singles bar or something, yes, I have to drive 30 minutes to get there. Not exactly a deal-breaker, at least for me, the roads are in good shape and for a sports car driver - as close to heaven on earth as it gets.

But each and every day, the fact that at most 3-4 people drive by my frontage (two are the mailman and school bus), and I never see my neighbors at all unless it's to get together on purpose for party-like activities - priceless. If I want trouble, I have to go looking for it. What's the value of that? If I want good live music, I can pick up an axe - or the phone, and have it quick and to my taste at the moment. And so on and so forth. Funny what turns out to be important - and what really isn't - once you've experienced a few different lifestyles. The things I thought I'd miss, well, not so much. The joys I didn't know I was missing in the old life - well, I like them real well now that I know about them!
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Old 03-06-2012, 02:50 PM   #15
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Do you think we can get Ancona and family to relocate ?

Would we get more entertainment out of it though ........

p.s.

I always enjoy reading your stuff DCF and see you as a good role model,

if only i could understand half of what you are up to .....

just dont give up on your attempts to educate us (-:
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