By Jennifer Duty
We recently sold our house and are now traveling full-time until we find the right house in the right location. Not an easy task.
Over the last four years, we survived three of the largest wildfires in Northern California. The Lake County landscape is scarred forever as well as the neighboring counties. We were evacuated several times in moments notice, to ease the stress we held evacuation parties, bringing family and friends together.
Pacific Flake donated California's finest finishing flake salt to help raise money for the Sonoma County fire relief dinners held later that year. It was an exhausting period of time for many people. So many people have been affected. It hurts. For me, one of the best ways to deal with stress is to remove some of the stress.
This is where emergency preparedness comes in.
You might think because we are full time in the Airstream that all is well. It is. It is fabulous, but we are always looking for ways to improve.
For instance, an early 2019 summer trip to the desert put us to the test. We were at a beautiful RV Resort in Palm Desert when the power suddenly went out. Within 20 minutes we were alerted that a transformer in the park had blown. It was 9:00 a.m. and the heat index was rising. We were told the park would have power by 1:00 p.m. and the Airstream was designed to work without shore power with the exception of the microwave and the air conditioner, so I figured I could make it until 1:00 pm no problem. Keep in mind, the summer desert heats up pretty fast, by 11:00 a.m it was nearly a 100 degrees heating up to well over 100 degrees outside and 102 degrees inside the Airstream by 1 pm.
Luckily for me, the RV Resort has some large shade trees, so I sat outside and read. Thankfully there were lawn sprinklers that came on and there was shade.
Occasionally an RV neighbor would come by to see if there was any news on the power being restored. Most of the big diesel pushers (class A RVs) have diesel generators on board, they lose shore power and within a few seconds the generator powers on and magically everything keeps on working. This is not the case with little Airstream travel trailers.
So I waited in the shade until early evening and there was still no power. At that moment we realized we counted too much on being in a fancy RV Resort. We just assumed we would be fine, so later that evening we went down to the local home depot and bought a Honda generator and the proper oil and fuel can. We went and got fuel, too.
Why have a generator if you can’t start it? Which ended up being the case for the RV across from us. They had a generator that was out of fuel and didn’t even have a gas can to fill it up. By the afternoon they were going to town to find a gas can and fill it up.
Being prepared means all kinds of things.
In July we took a major trip with my brother. He is Mr. Prepared. I love traveling with him, but even he was caught off guard.
We were leaving Truckee for Crater Lake. We would be taking a very rural route on the Eastern Sierra side. There would only be a few chances to fuel up with diesel and we passed by all of them. Dan thought we would have enough fuel. Well, we did but not by much. Thankfully the little Airstream doesn’t suck as much fuel when towing as Dan’s big toy hauler did.
We made it to camp fine, but Dan needed fuel. So we unloaded the trailers and headed out to find diesel, 40 miles later, we barely made it. We filled up the trucks and the generator and drove back to camp.
Rule #1, always fill up your rig at half a tank. Half a tank can get you pretty far. Half a tank can get you out of a rough situation. Your town may not have power and no power means no fuel in most cases. Very few gas stations have back up generators, especially in the smaller towns. Find out where these gas stations are. You don’t want to be worried about the amount of fuel you have when you are trying to evacuate.
Another thing we do when we go to a new town is to learn a few other escape routes. Tragedy doesn’t take a vacation. Some of the towns we visit are small and have small roads. Last year during the heavy rains many roads were closed for days and weeks at a time. Take note of alternative ways to leave town, in case you need to leave in a hurry.
We always keep the freshwater tank full in the trailer. We now have solar on the roof so the batteries are always 100%. The generator lives in the back of the truck and it is full and ready to go at a moments notice. We always drain the black tank in the trailer before we leave just in case we get held up on the road we can use the toilet and have a shower. We always keep some canned food and bottled water, always!
Traveling is amazing, but you still need to be prepared. Life happens, mostly, when you are making other plans.
Research emergency preparedness, and then do something about.
Safe travels, and support the local community you are visiting.
By Jennifer Duty
“Pacific Flake, your local sea salt harvestry”