Well, we've had high winds and rain since about 6pm. It's now 10:30pm and after quite a bit of flickering, the power seems to be off to stay.
Doing what we do best!
Dun Coille update, approx 60 miles n-nw from Alexandria, LA:
Mild weather so far - stronger than normal wind and very light rain. (stronger than normal is still less than most people have on a daily basis) Our friend made it up from Lafayette just after 1am today.
Spent some time "up the hill" with the aunts and Mammaw - took them a couple bottles of lamp oil and a GMRS handset for if/when power fails. Went over their supplies and plans and discussed some future preps.
Overall, we're in great shape so far.
ebay-jitsu - This form allows practicioners to find mislabled or miscategorized items of interest and to bid on them in such a way as to win the item for a pittance.
google-fu - Practicioners of this art can find literally anything on the internet. Anything. Plans for Air Force One, locations of Soviet missile silos, Patrick Hurley's favorite drink - ANYthing.
wikido - These artists know how to nail down the facts as known to the general public and recorded in the wikipedia.
Wikido and Google-fu adherents can often be found trying to prove which art is the more comprehensive.
(some of us have waaaaaay too much imagination...)
Allen has made it safely to Kuwait. Now, he just has to make it through the rest of his deployment in such shape...
Okay - if you live in the Gulf South, I'm sure you realize Gustav went "from zero to 60 in nothing flat." If you are in the Gulf South and don't have a plan for responding to Gustav, figuring you'll wait to see which way he breaks before starting to worry, then you are on the wrong site!! If you don't already have your stuff together and think it would be a good idea, let me plug a website:
Our farm, Dun Coille, is already on standby to receive evacuees. They have their stuff together. If you don't, you might have time to get through enough of Shane's materials to get a leg up on Gustav. IF you start right now.
Well, my son-in-law turned 25 today. For his birthday, Uncle Sam gave him an all-expense-paid trip ... to Kuwait. He's a vehicle driver in the Air Force and just finished up a bout of training in San Antonio, including Combat Life Saver and .50-cal mg classes. He'll be running convoys through the Iraqi countryside. If you have a minute, we'd appreciate a prayer for Allen - as well as for all of our other friends already over there, like Houston (USMC) & Sarah (LaNG).
I've spent the past few days not really worrying about the Storm that's brewing - I've been focussing on trying to get us moved and on enjoying time with my wife and kids. I hope the world didn't end and I missed it...
I am astonished by how many people act as if phones will always work. For those who even consider the fact that phones might become unusable due to an outage of whatever nature, most seem to think that the only way to talk to someone becomes face-to-face. If the two of you aren't right there together, then you have no way to communicate.
Then there are folks who know ham-radio exists and can be used to communicate around the world in an emergency. Most seem to assume that is only an option for long-distance communication.
But some folks know a few acronyms. 2m. FRS. CB. GMRS. These are all local communications options - and there may be others I don't know about.
Currently, we are testing out CB and FRS/GMRS around our areas. With that in mind, I'll ramble on a bit about what we've used, encountered, and had problems with.
First, CB. I got a pair of handheld CBs off ebay, made by GE. They sport rubber-ducky antennas of about 8" length. We tried them out in the Louisiana piney hills. We tried them out on a pipeline right-of-way. Almost totally worthless. Honestly, the FRS radios had more range. (that's not saying much) On the open ROW, the CBs would reach something like 1,000 meters at *best* with line of sight. Toss in a dip and they were useless.
What about FRS/GMRS? FRS seems to be eaten by the trees. Our Midland LXT350s had trouble reliably reaching a quarter-mile through the trees and hills. That is what occasioned the CB purchase. We tried a test of the GMRS channels over the same route and were having better luck. The distance test was terminated when a local bobcat took an interest in my radio operator. We'll be trying again soon.
As it is, we have:
CB: Royce base-station, Midland mobile, 2x GE handhelds
FRS/GMRS: Midland LXT350 22ch, Uniden FRS1400 14ch, Audiovox FRS 14ch, Realistic 12vdc FRS 14ch
IMO, Audiovox is not worth the money. The Uniden radios were good, reliable units. The Midland GMRS units are awesome. Haven't tried Motorola ones yet. Think I might have some Cobra FRS units lying around, if I didn't give them away. Midland makes a "base" unit that I plan to get, as well. Multiple power options, including a hand-crank and picks up AM/FM/TV.
I suggest that everyone who is in any way figuring on riding out the storm buy some GMRS units. You can get small, simple ones at Academy for $20 a pair. I know - I held them in my hands Sunday. I would encourage you to get Midland GXT models, but that's because I have the older LXTs and am very pleased with them. Get you an optional recharging station and battery pack so that you can have fresh power as needed. That, way, during an event, you can leave your unit on round the clock to keep a neighborhood radio net active.
I also suggest getting some sort of headset to go with them. I won't make recommendations on these yet, as I've not yet found one that is comfy for me.
Talk to your neighbors. See who already has radios. Encourage those who don't to invest a little in some. They make life a lot easier.
Yes, I'm breaking down. Adding a blog to the Webstead. Why? Well, it seemed like a good idea...
No, really. It'll be something like an interactive journal for me. I need to record, somehow, quite a few thoughts and such and some of them could definitely use feedback from others who have "BTDT." I've actually been working on this journal - in a notebook - the better part of the year.
Riding The Storm Out. That's what it's all about. What form the storm takes is immaterial, for the most part. What matters is that you are prepared to ride it out. We're trying. I look at a lot of different possibilities and plan accordingly. I'll be sharing some of my ideas and thought processes here as I have them and can record them. Maybe they'll be worth reading. Maybe they'll help someone else.
Because ... the storm *is* coming...