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Old 07-16-2009, 12:43 PM   #1
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RV Escape Pod

I've been pondering the concept since it came up in another thread. I think that I can pose it in a way that will keep us from venturing into "no-no" land.

First, let's imagine a scale. On the left of the scale is a blow-up in the Caldera in Yellowstone. By all accounts, that event would be so catastrophic that all human life in the US (and perhaps the world) would be gone, some sooner than others. I'm going to call that place on the scale "pointless" because no escape pod would work.

On the other end of the scale is yesterday. I'm going to call that place on the scale "needless" since nothing of any consequence happened that would have caused me to consider an escape pod.

IMHO, preparing the RV to function as an escape pod requires consideration of risks and where they are between needless and pointless. For example, you've exercised your RV escape pod and are parked in a remote forest in Colorado. Suddenly, a 20 member motorcycle gang shows up, bent on doing you harm. The solution may be an AK-47, 3,000 rounds for it and previous sharpshooter qualification with it. The objective is to completely overcome the threat as any living members of the gang become an on-going threat to you with an additional revenge motive. Even a 9mm and a couple of hundred rounds with it probably won't get that job done. An incomplete result moves quickly to the pointless end of the scale since your objective was to remain alive.

OK. It is graphic. Sorry. So, in that context, what does the RV escape pod really do? Let's look at a couple of events - 9-11 and Katrina.
In 9-11, the catastrophe was limited to one specific geographic area. In any other part of the country, you are quickly at the needless point on the scale. In Katrina, it was demonstrated that a lot of people could not/would not fend for themselves. Again, it was confined to one specific geography (needless elsewhere) but if it weren't, the potential for violence and anarchy goes up quickly and in a more widespread area, it might be hard to find that safe place for the escape pod. Like the motorcycle gang, the threat to the escape pod is our fellow members of society in a wide-spread Katrina like situation.

Probably more important, our society has become pretty interdependent. Unless your RV escape hatch scenario included some means of barter, you might not be able to obtain the things that you need to keep your escape hatch working for long enough to weather the crises. It goes back to the 60's bomb shelter mentality when every home was supposed to keep food and water for 6 months - as highly impractical then as it is now. Without spending a lot of time in survivalist training, I have serious doubts about my ability to live off the land for more than just a little while. Any other scenario assumes I have access to finances and others have access to the things that I need to keep my escape pod going and that we can trade.

OK. Now for the questions:

1. How long is your RV escape pod good for?
2. What do you have to do to prepare your RV to function for that time?
3. What is the upkeep on keeping your RV escape pod always ready at that level?
4. What are the limiting factors which shorten the escape pod's potential use time (and what could you do about them?)
5. Exactly what situations are you planning to use it for? To me this really is identifying the triggers for when I exercise the escape pod.

Let's stay within the boundaries that I've laid out. Venturing into the causes for any reason to use the escape pod is definitely heading us for "no-no" land.


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Old 07-16-2009, 12:55 PM   #2
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As a former member of a rather well-known motorcycle club, I have to ask, why did you use an imagined assault by a motorcycle "gang" in your post? Why couldn't you use a bit more imagination and perhaps come up with another analogy? The Bloods and the Crips would be a far greater threat to you than a bunch of bikers in the mountains of Colorado. Even Hollywood could have come up with a better scenario (but not by much).


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Old 07-16-2009, 12:57 PM   #3
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I guess I don't see the point of your post.

What in the world do you think is going to happen?

I certainly don't see doomsday in my neck of the woods.

If you want to "escape" that bad, pack up and move out of this country.
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Old 07-16-2009, 01:15 PM   #4
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Steve, I intended no disrespect for motorcyclists and, you are correct, using Crips and Bloods would be a better example. Sorry.

Randco, there was another thread that addressed using the RV as an escape pod. Instead of exploring how and when to use it for that purpose, the threat got caught up in some forbidden discussion areas My purpose was simply to try to revive the concept and discussion.

I have personally considered using our RV as an escape pod. It is probably not appropriate (pointless on my suggested scale) to use it for one of our bigger threats in Texas - tornados. It couldn't be activated in time. My curiosity is about other situations where it could function. I do believe it possible that we could have civil unrest (perhaps it is more likely than some believe) and would like to consider using our RV if it does happen.

Perhaps I was too graphic in my examples. I didn't mean for them to replace the purpose of asking the questions.
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Old 07-16-2009, 01:47 PM   #5
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I suspect a high priority is the acquisition of gasoline to keep the escape pod going.

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Old 07-16-2009, 02:09 PM   #6
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Societal breakdown scenarios get pretty grim pretty fast. Once power plants start shutting down, if you don't get energy from the sun or hydroelectric, you won't be using your RV unless you have installed a wood stove in it. Refineries and gas stations take energy to run.

Maybe there is a problem with the "escape" paradigm. Maybe heading toward a problem area to help out is better, taking as much water & supplies as you think you will need. Imagine how much better the volunteer clean up would have been in New Orleans if the mindless media hadn't been reporting phony rapes & murders, as tho they were news, and reporting societal breakdown in a hyped up, exaggerated way.
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Old 07-16-2009, 02:22 PM   #7
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I used my RV not as a 'escape pod' but as a 'rescue ship' during Katrina but there are tremendous parallels to your questions.

I have another post from last year that chronicles my Katrina adventure but I'll stick to how I prepared for the trip into the unknown.

1. Fuel - filled up when I was well above 1/2 a tank as I never knew when I could get gas again. Also had six 5-gallon gas containers on a hitch rack in large Rubbermaid containers (so no one could see my cargo and steal it). It was a bomb if someone rear-ended me. Also filled up my LP tank.

2. Water - filled my tanks as high as I could. Had 4 full 7 gallon water jugs in the shower. Also about 5 cases of bottled water. Pump water filter for emergencies.

3. Protection - an 870 pump shotgun with about 300 rounds. My son's T-ball bat and a sheath knife by the drivers seat. Also a video camera to record evidence or attempted breakins.

4. Cash - credit cards are no good when there is no power. Had a couple thousand in small bills. In times of crisis, cash is king.

5. Food - minimal perishables but tons of canned, packaged, and freeze dried food. Focused on food that did not require cooking which would use my LP.

6. Tools and spare parts - if something breaks, you are on your own. Chainsaws, axes, pull straps and chain, automotive tools, oil, grease gun, spare belts, tarps. etc.

7. Relief - If you are going into an area of need, think of the needs of the true victims. Portable generators, windowless AC, water filters, duct tape, shade, dog food, locks, etc.

8. A way back - don't use all your resources getting there with no option of getting out or changing plans. If on a rescue mission, make sure you don't tax the system more. Your supplies should give the system relief. We left the Katrina area when we felt we were putting a burden on the system. We did our job, provided relief, and got out.

9. Hope and faith - Tomorrow will be better and God is ALWAYS in control. Material items are just a small part of what the victims need.

I was also in NYC on Sept. 11, 2001. A natural disaster or a terrorist attack can happen anywhere. It ain't 'Mayberry' out there any more. As the Boy Scout motto goes 'Be Prepared'.
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Old 07-16-2009, 02:45 PM   #8
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I agree with Tom (RVthere) in that we have needs for an "Escape Pod", but more often than not, it's for reasons related to Mother Nature (Hurricanes, Floods, etc) than Gangs.....unless of course, you really live in the wrong place. With a population in excess of 75K people, I doubt some Crypts or Bloods are going to take over Wilmington, but a Hurricane...that has already happened.

Having a MH makes getting out of town a bit easier.....we've got the gas to get us over 300 miles from home....where I'll assume that there is more gas available....at least I hope so! Same with water and other needs. The RV will also allow us to not have to worry about toilets along the way....or food and such, as we bring these things with us. Most motels within 100 miles will be full....we can park at Walmart!

We have evacuated from home before we had the RV...and it's tough...you need to stop along the way, and you are hoping you'll find a place to stay.

I hope we never need to use the RV as an escape pod...but it's there, with a full tank of gas, so we're ready.......yeah, the Boy Scouts have it right

And it comes in handy when you just want to get out of town for some R&R
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Old 07-16-2009, 03:03 PM   #9
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I think in any scenerio you want to come up with, your most important asset is between your ears. Everything else is just a tool. The RV could be a tool, but like any tool if used foolishly it could get you into more trouble than you were in the first place.
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Old 07-16-2009, 03:36 PM   #10
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Agree that most scenarios would be of the natural disaster type. We try and keep the fiver supplied for any quick exit or potential emergency living accomondations that could happen. I also keep in mind that the one ton truck needs to be ready to tow it at a moments notice.

As others have mentioned, sometimes all that is needed is get a few hundred miles away from the storm. An RV is the best way to bug out of an area in a hurry and be self-sufficient for awhile.

We live on a ranch and have the RV at the house all the time. Always nice to know we can move into it quickly if something happens to the house (burst pipe, air or heat out, fire, ect).

The remoteness of the ranch dictates that we be ready for power outages (they happen often), weather events, wildland fires, ect. I have a standby generator for the house and water well(with 100 to 400 gallons of diesel on hand). I have a generator for the fifth wheel. It runs on gasoline so my supply for it is 25 gallons at most. I have fire fighting equipment for the ranch to fill in while the VFD is on the way from 7 miles away. Wildfires are something we need to prepare for in our dry area.

I refresh the 50 gallon drinking water tank in the fiver about every two weeks. Keeping that tank full and fresh is the biggest hassel.

Amateur radio is also a good tool when in a disaster.

I'm in law enforcement so lets just say I have the protection scenario thought out and supplies/equipment prepared.

No one can be 100% prepared for all the possibles. At the house, I see our main weakness for a long lasting problem is fuel (diesel /gas). I would like to install some solar, both on the RV and possibly the house. I have a DC generator on a windmill that puts out minimal power, but it can charge deep cycle batteries for a few lights or run a small inverter. The livestock would feed us for awhile but lets hope it doesn't come to that.

To sum it up I do believe in the "Be Prepared" motto of the scouts. I was one (a scout) a long, long time ago.

Here is a link to the State of Texas site for disaster preparedness with lots of tips and guides to help plan for the unknown
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Old 07-16-2009, 05:56 PM   #11
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Some heavy stuff you're talking here!
Been watching the Stephen King movie "The Stand" again huh? or perhaps "The Postman"?

The Yellowstone eruption is a few thousand years overdue and pressure continues to build under the lake. We may stand a chance on the east coast if it does blow, but would life be worth living afterwards? Certainly western civilization would collapse. Himalayas or Andes some place to live? Alaska if the jet stream stayed at it's current pattern??
Interesting to think about the possibilities, but sort of spooky as well.
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Old 07-16-2009, 07:14 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by StevePav View Post
As a former member of a rather well-known motorcycle club, I have to ask, why did you use an imagined assault by a motorcycle "gang" in your post? Why couldn't you use a bit more imagination and perhaps come up with another analogy? The Bloods and the Crips would be a far greater threat to you than a bunch of bikers in the mountains of Colorado. Even Hollywood could have come up with a better scenario (but not by much).

same here steve with the club ... and i agree 100% with the original posters way of phrasing the question ... it is what it is .... from Co to laughlin to elCajon to Jersey
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Old 07-16-2009, 07:56 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by FatDog View Post
same here steve with the club ... and i agree 100% with the original posters way of phrasing the question ... it is what it is .... from Co to laughlin to elCajon to Jersey
The OP's scenario was something that could have come straight out of a poor TV or movie script. Come on, if you've been there you know better. Motorcycle clubs just make good targets for people starved for drama.

I suspect that if the OP's disaster scenario truly played out, he would have to worry about everybody he met, not just some oddball bunch of riders in the mountains. I don't recall any bikers causing a problem during Katrina or 911.

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Old 07-17-2009, 08:58 AM   #14
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To the O/P.. You have brought up some good items to consider

First: Since I don't care to carry firearms should the Hell's Angles attack.. I'm going to have to count on what I can do to them with over 11 tons of motor home (Major damage)

However, there are many things I can "Escape" from in the RV.

For example. I have a friend who lives on New Orleans High Ground (All of five FEET above sea level) now she came through Katrina with fairly minor damage... but since we usually have a few days warning.. How nice it would be to hop in the old RV and visit me, up here in Michigan, when the next huricaane is due (She hopped in a car and visited a house well out of the path of the storm.. She is NOT an idiot)

Likewise, there are other natural happenings where they are fairly well predicted and you have at least a day to get out of the way.. And for this kind of thing, escaping in an RV.. Good idea

However human made disasters... That is another thing, Usually when the car pulls up in front of your house and the occupants open fire... You do not have time to evacuate.. (Thankfully the house was next door, not mine, It was vacant, and their aim was good... I am not kidding, They came back and fire bombed it a couple weeks later)... I escaped before that)

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