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Posted: 9/24/2005 5:32:28 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/25/2005 5:31:00 AM EDT by ClayP]
Just wanted to share my evac story.

Sunday 18th: News shows storm heading with possible Houston strike. Bug wife to fill up cars with gas and grab water. Wife angrily leaves during Desperate Housewives episode to come with and grab cases of water and canned food. She mumbles something about me spending too much time on the "gun board". She gets totally flustered when I try to discuss an evacuation route with her. She just says - "I WILL GO TO AUSTIN! I-10! NOW LEAVE ME ALONE!!"

Monday 19th: News shows storm building in strength. Some bug out gear from TADGear arrives via UPS. Wife scoffs at "more survival stuff." Asks why I am now re-reading my Army Survival manual and roughing out bug-out-bags instead of paying attention to her.

Tuesday 20th: News now looking very scary. Wife gets concerned. Asks if we are planning to leave and where we would go. Supplies at local markets now dwindling or gone. No more water, no batteries, and lumber going fast. Amazingly long lines at gas stations and even empty stations appearing. I pack the wife's car and make her chamber and work the safety and mag loading procedures for the Beretta 92C. She no longer is afraid to touch it.

Wednesday 21st: I make my wife call her mother and sister and tell them they are leaving this morning. They are extremely unhappy about this. They think I am crazy. This time the wife is on my side. We force them into the car and they are off to Conroe before noon. When they arrive, I inform them they will proceed to Ft Worth since Rita is now a strong Cat 5. No arguments now. They are hearing of sheer the sheer traffic carnage that exploded right behind them. I finish boarding up the house and prepping my car to leave. Supplies were near non-existant at the local Lowes, with 50 trucks lined up to grab the last scraps of plywood and lumber. No batteries, no water, no gas left in the area. I work the nite shift and drag the reluctant dogs into the truck at 3:30am.

Thursday 22nd: 4:00 am. I check the local TranStar feeds and see that I-10, 290, 45 are all f*cked. I take back roads north out of Houston and hit 249 within minutes. My friend leaves 2 minutes behind me and wants to take I45N instead.

5:00 am. I am near 2920. Traffic is now stopped/5mph. Already cars running out of gas or overheating. This is not going to work. My friend has not even gotten to 610 north yet. He has gone 2 miles in 1 hour. I take back roads and follow anyone who looks like they know where to go. 50% of the time I go on a wild goose chase. The other 50% usually gets me 4-5 blocks further north. 249 is totally locked up.

7:00 am. I am near Conroe. My friend has now burned 1/4 tank and still is not to 610N. I tell him to follow my route. He doubles back and tries to get to 249.

9:00 am. I get a break and somehow get to hwy 90N. Running at 60 mph now. Radio says 45N is getting opened to Contra flow. I hit 45N and it is running 20-30mph. Southbound lanes are wide open with no traffic. No provisions set up to get anyone onto the contraflow lanes. My friend is now stuck in Tomball. Cannot even get to 2920.

11:00 am . Traffic at a crawl on 45N. People trying to drive on shoulders atre being blocked by angry motorists. No one seems to understand that maybe a million people are behind us and cannot evac if the flow does not improve. Cars now dropping like flies. Anger or initiative sparks and people now are crossing the grass median on their own accord and taking over the south bound lanes. Hwy patrol cannot stop us. It is a mob of cars crossing over. Initially everyone tucks behind the lead car over every hill just in case the car on "point" catches a head-on collision. After 2-3 miles no one cares anymore. Some people are up to 90mph or better on the southbound lanes. As the northbound lane cars see the phenomenon, they swerve over the median to cross as well. This creates a very dangerous "dodge the swerving car" phenomenon. This is like the Road Warrior now. I take 1 handed pictures with my camera to try to catch the mayhem.

1:pm I get to Arlington, where I grew up. Everything here is so normal. I am soaked with cold sweat. My hands and calves are cramped from defensive/offensive driving. I fill up with precious gas at a station like a starved castaway.

2:00 pm. Reunited with the wife and inlaws at a friends house. I tell them all to get gas now because us refugees are going to suck this town dry. I hit every auto parts store and hardware store looking for fuel canisters. I scrounge 3 5 gallon tanks, 4 2 gallon tanks at Northern Tool, and 8 1 gallon tanks at HD. As I fill them up at the station, some woman glares hatefully at me and curses in her minivan because I am holding her up. The woman across from me asks if I am from Houston. I guess I look that desperate.

4:00pm. My friend is now only to the Woodlands. He is under 1/2 tank. His family is spent and wants to turn around. He manages to call on an acquaintance who takes his whole family in and feeds them. They nearly done emotionally. This is par for what is going on on the major freeways. He has gone 35 miles in 12 hours. They rest. I sleep for 30 minutes and then start plotting another route for them, but they don't have the energy or gas to continue.

WHAT I LEARNED:

1)Always keep your cars near full of gas. Fuel was a huge limiting factor. The Houston area is the major petroleum refining capacity of the nation. If we ran out you will too. Also keep a couple of 5 gal gas cans around with gas in them. 10 gallons will get most any car at least another 100 miles further or several hours of A/C or heat in a traffic jam.

2)A good local map is far better than any GPS or in-car NAV. You cannot be f*cking around on the dashboard looking for alternative routes and drive at the same time. You CAN drive and read a map quickly at the same time. Trust me, in an evac quick alternative route hunting can mean the difference between getting out and being stuck with the masses.

3)do not be afraid to try side routes. In severe congestion I had only a 50% success rate each time I tried an alternative route. When I hit a dead end, doubling back revealed I lost maybe 2-3 car lengths in the traffic jams. When I succeeded, I got a few miles ahead each time. This saved me hours

4)leave early and leave quickly. Don't hesitate. I'd rather people laugh at me being hypervigilant than hate myself for being indecisive and missing the window of opportunity to flee.

5)Have a route idea mapped out in your head. The most direct/convenient escape path most likely will be the most congested in an emergency. Travelling an indirect path at 30-60 mph is FAR better than being on the direct path at 0-5mph.

6)Chevy makes a damn good pickup. I was screwed b/c my SUV was in the shop and my only other car was a sports car with no room, no water clearance. I acquired an 01 Silverado Z71 with 110k miles on it for cheap to bug out on Wednesday from Mac Haik, sight unseen. It ran like a champ and got 20mpg with the A/C even in the stop 'n go traffic. Nothing gives you peace of mind like a 34 gallon fuel tank.
Link Posted: 9/24/2005 5:42:09 PM EDT
Thanks!

I can see from your post that evacuations are not feasable even in a red state. The roads are just too small for the population, and rail service is not viable.
Link Posted: 9/24/2005 5:43:34 PM EDT
hmm, I call BS.

Just kidding.
Link Posted: 9/24/2005 5:45:04 PM EDT

Originally Posted By skypilot:
Thanks!

I can see from your post that evacuations are not feasable even in a red state. The roads are just too small for the population, and rail service is not viable.



Population?
Link Posted: 9/24/2005 5:47:56 PM EDT

Originally Posted By BigB1129:

Originally Posted By skypilot:
Thanks!

I can see from your post that evacuations are not feasable even in a red state. The roads are just too small for the population, and rail service is not viable.



Population?



TEXAS do the math
Link Posted: 9/24/2005 5:50:31 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/24/2005 5:55:46 PM EDT
Absolutely. My aunt left Galveston at 4am on Tuesday because she could see what was about to happen. She spent the week with relatives near Shreveport.

Hope your wife learned something from this.
Link Posted: 9/24/2005 6:00:30 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/24/2005 6:03:58 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Troy:
Great report. As those in the Survival forum have stressed over and over, the most important reason to make BugOut preperations is so that you can be the FIRST person to leave the area. Once the mass of the population figures out that it's time to go, you are totally screwed. You MUST be both PREPARED and WILLING to leave EARLY, or you may not get out at all.

-Troy



My wholehearted thanks for those who have contributed to the survival forums especially with respect to the thread on Rita. I learned a helluva lot from those threads and got all my family out with little-to-no drama. Only 2 of my half dozen or so friends with family got out of Houston at all. Both of them had a miserable experience on the road due to lack of preparedness and planning which led to wavering and DELAY IN ACTION. All the others could not escape traffic and turned around, only to spend hours in terror waiting for the storm to come.
Link Posted: 9/24/2005 6:08:30 PM EDT
I want to see the road warrior pics! Can you put 'em up?
Link Posted: 9/24/2005 6:54:21 PM EDT
I-45N clogged up at Madisonville/Centerville, people too scared to hit the southbound open lanes




One of the first to break the reigns of tyranny onto the southbound lanes




The sheeple catch on




Mass exodus

Link Posted: 9/24/2005 7:14:44 PM EDT
Great report!

I am thankful that she took a turn to the East but my heart goes out to my neighbors in the areas that were hit hard.

Here in Lufkin we got some high winds and there are many trees down but it could have been much worse.

Take care.

BigDozer66


Link Posted: 9/24/2005 7:16:08 PM EDT
Great story, thanks for sharing that and the photos.
Link Posted: 9/24/2005 7:23:33 PM EDT
Great pics.

Thanks.
Link Posted: 9/24/2005 7:28:41 PM EDT
Hey, whatever it takes to get away.
Link Posted: 9/24/2005 7:36:36 PM EDT
... Best thread of the day!
Link Posted: 9/24/2005 7:40:37 PM EDT
Hahahaha. That's awesome.
Link Posted: 9/24/2005 7:52:03 PM EDT
wow

all you need now is a sawed off shotgun and a lunatic with a mohawk
Link Posted: 9/24/2005 7:55:21 PM EDT
The weather doesn't look all that bad
Link Posted: 9/24/2005 8:00:44 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/24/2005 8:01:14 PM EDT by A_Free_Man]
all you need now is a sawed off shotgun and a lunatic with a mohawk

...and a 6-71 blower.
Link Posted: 9/24/2005 8:11:41 PM EDT
Next time, do your rig up all in diamond plate and call yourself The Humongous.
Link Posted: 9/24/2005 11:05:36 PM EDT

Originally Posted By ClayP:
Mass exodus



Nice to see that everyone is still reserving the leftmost lane for passing/oncoming traffic...
Link Posted: 9/24/2005 11:12:23 PM EDT
DAMN.....
Link Posted: 9/24/2005 11:17:21 PM EDT
pics dont work
Link Posted: 9/24/2005 11:19:59 PM EDT
I just have to say, my state is beautiful, even on the highways.
Link Posted: 9/24/2005 11:32:25 PM EDT
cool pics
Link Posted: 9/24/2005 11:32:36 PM EDT
Why did it take authorities so long to open up I-45 to contra flow traffic?
Link Posted: 9/25/2005 1:09:12 AM EDT

Originally Posted By A_Free_Man:
all you need now is a sawed off shotgun and a lunatic with a mohawk

...and a 6-71 blower.



Don't forget the ass-less leather pants.
Link Posted: 9/25/2005 5:09:51 AM EDT

Originally Posted By SWS:
Why did it take authorities so long to open up I-45 to contra flow traffic?



This was puzzling. The radio stations were all announcing that the contra-flow was starting at 9 am on thursday. It was to begin down in Galveston and go all the way to Buffalo. It was clear when I got to 45 (by 9-10 am in the Madisonville area) that the lanes were indeed cleared. We would see an occasional DPS trooper flying down the southbound lanes going SOUTH, but no one was directing us to crossover and there were no obvious areas to crossover.
Link Posted: 9/25/2005 5:49:52 AM EDT
I think the biggest lesson for the rest of us is to
ALWAYS have alternate routes planned for
emergency bugouts !

I always figure that the masses will head for major
highways,and not nearly as many plan on using the
secondary roads.

Normally main highways are the way to go,but when everyone
does that at the same time,well you see what happened.
Link Posted: 9/25/2005 6:47:38 AM EDT

Excellent post, thanks!!


Bigfeet
Link Posted: 9/25/2005 7:00:59 AM EDT
20 mpg from a Chevy pickup in all that mess? WOW

My Crown Vic gets 20-21 mpg on 100% highway cruising... wtf??????
Link Posted: 9/25/2005 7:08:24 AM EDT

Originally Posted By metroplex:
20 mpg from a Chevy pickup in all that mess? WOW

My Crown Vic gets 20-21 mpg on 100% highway cruising... wtf??????



5.3L Vortec. Damn good motor. With that kind of mileage I would be hard pressed to take a diesel over it, just for the fact that diesel pumps are not nearly as common and the stations that carry diesel have 1 diesel pumps vs 6-10 gas pumps.
Link Posted: 9/25/2005 7:12:00 AM EDT

Originally Posted By SWS:
Why did it take authorities so long to open up I-45 to contra flow traffic?



I don't understand why that is such a hard decision. From stories that was a major problem in Katrina as well. During Ivan, and Dennis, Governor Riley of AL opened up all lanes of hwy 65 northbound all the way to Montgomery. Traffic moved great.
Link Posted: 9/25/2005 7:12:44 AM EDT
Great post! More pics from the AP wire:



Motorycles get good gas mileage. Off road capable models are best.



It really sucks when family members don't want to leave and you must force them to go with you. Also, sometimes children don't want to wear their seatbelts and will climb on top of everything if you don't pay attention.
Link Posted: 9/25/2005 8:29:28 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/25/2005 8:30:03 AM EDT by metroplex]
I checked the gas mileage specs for 2005/2006 Silverado 1500s and they were rated 16/20, the same as my Crown Vic. How are you able to get 20 mpg in stop and go SHTF traffic w/ that pickup? Hot damn... that's some fine fucking factory tuning if you ask me... Ford claims they use the OHC Modular motors because of their efficiency. My 2003 E-250 with a 5.4L SOHC V8 gets 16 mpg in highway driving with rush hour congestion... it CAN get 21-22 mpg if you draft behind tractor trailers on 100% highway driving for long distances (600 mile trips).

But DAMN, 20 mpg with that much motor and that much truck is very good. Keep that truck as long as it runs, don't let anyone talk you into selling it.

My Crown Vic will get 13-15 mpg in heavy stop and go traffic w/o the A/C.
Link Posted: 9/25/2005 8:51:46 AM EDT

Originally Posted By cobrasks:
I think the biggest lesson for the rest of us is to
ALWAYS have alternate routes planned for
emergency bugouts !

I always figure that the masses will head for major
highways,and not nearly as many plan on using the
secondary roads.

Normally main highways are the way to go,but when everyone
does that at the same time,well you see what happened.



I've got 16 ways out of my city that don't include the major roads. All mapped out all traveled and reconed. When I go to events that are put on for the wisconsin crew, I don't take the highway if I am driving, I use it as an exercise to travel and check out alternate BO routes.
Link Posted: 9/25/2005 9:54:41 AM EDT

Originally Posted By cobrasks:
I think the biggest lesson for the rest of us is to
ALWAYS have alternate routes planned for
emergency bugouts !

I always figure that the masses will head for major
highways,and not nearly as many plan on using the
secondary roads.

Normally main highways are the way to go,but when everyone
does that at the same time,well you see what happened.



And take some INITIATIVE.

Don't endanger your vehicle or passengers, but do what needs to be done to continue moving safely in the direction you need to go.

Great thread, ClayP.

Have your priorities in order and do not let greed, a soft heart, lust, ego, overconfidence, machismo, ect. blur your focus on your objective.



Link Posted: 9/25/2005 10:11:11 AM EDT
I have to say that just prior to my departure at 4am, I had a very difficult time focusing on exactly what small tasks had to be completed. I had to slap myself a few times to clear my mind of any inklings of panic, and re-focus on my mental checklist. In retrospect a concise written checklist would have been a great aid to oneself.
Link Posted: 9/25/2005 10:20:29 AM EDT
Interesting thread. Thanks for sharing. Have you thought of adding a wrist-mounted crossbow to your survival gear?

Link Posted: 9/25/2005 10:23:56 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Saguaro:
Interesting thread. Thanks for sharing. Have you thought of adding a wrist-mounted crossbow to your survival gear?



No but that man-bitch is rather tempting...
Link Posted: 9/25/2005 10:24:04 AM EDT
I think part of what took so long to get contraflow in effect was that they did it for such a long distance. I-45 was turned to contraflow all the way up to Corsicana at one point, that's about 200 miles of interstate that they have to get police and state troopers set up to block traffic from entering it going southbound.
Link Posted: 9/25/2005 10:24:25 AM EDT
I have some of the same issues with my wife. I dont let my truck get below 1/2 a tank(chevy 2500 34 gallon tank), she doesnt care and routinly runs here jeep to dang near empty. I keep trying to explain to her that since we live in Tampa that if the SHTF we will NOT have available resources if everyone is buggin' out if we decide to leave etc:

Gonna have her read your thread and then MAYBE she'll listen
Link Posted: 9/25/2005 10:58:08 AM EDT




ClayP, is that you?
Link Posted: 9/25/2005 10:58:38 AM EDT
Good story and pics, there is a lesson to be learned everytime something like this happens, but we learn from our and everyone elses mistakes. Looks like you were pretty well prepared and everything worked out well " i hope". Nice job Clayp
Link Posted: 9/25/2005 11:08:57 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/25/2005 11:30:12 AM EDT
I evac_ed from kemah to spring. Didn't leave until 6:00pm I noticed no one was on the HOV even though the main lanes were at a complete stand still. Once I got on the HOV it was smooth sailing.
Link Posted: 9/25/2005 11:44:09 AM EDT
Too bad we missed the Evac fun.

Instead, we stayed and bar-b-qued and grilled outside everyday this week. A nice long 4 day vacation without any traffic to fight.
Link Posted: 9/25/2005 11:47:52 AM EDT

Originally Posted By napalm:
dc.indymedia.org/usermedia/image/4/56598.jpg
ClayP, is that you?

You ever hear that actor's remarks about doing that part? He was hounded mercilessly for YEARS by all the fetish/leather groups to get him to make an apperance at their conventions...

Kharn
Link Posted: 9/25/2005 12:01:17 PM EDT
Sounds like you didn't quite leave early enough. I got high winds and some rain in Lufkin. No damage to home although some on my street did. Did get lots of limbs in yard and some broke off trees. Lights were off from about 0530 Saturday until 0230 Sunday. I had water and gas the whole time.

Did lose what little I had in the freezer and refrigerator though.
Link Posted: 9/25/2005 12:35:37 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Timanator:
Too bad we missed the Evac fun.

Instead, we stayed and bar-b-qued and grilled outside everyday this week. A nice long 4 day vacation without any traffic to fight.



Us too. we watched movies and ate popcorn, and loaded mags for the chuds and chickenheads.
I bought a new playstation game for the kids, and they were good to go.
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