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Getting Home - Alternate Route - By Water

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by Withak, Aug 9, 2016.

  1. Withak

    Withak Monkey

    As I think through plans for getting back home in the event that the 'big one' hits us here in the PNW, I've wondered about various routes, considering that roads may be impassible due to various reasons and that bridges and overpasses may be down as well. Then there is the potential issue of crowds of desperate people looking to rob anyone they come across.

    I have been thinking of an alternate option - one that could be available under certain circumstances and I wanted to see what you folks here thought about it.

    I work near downtown Portland. Assuming I survive the quake, relatively uninjured and able to move, I started thinking about how the Willamette river could be a potential route south, closer to home, about 10 or so miles away. Benefits would be that it could be done relatively quickly (depending on the boat), it would likely be safer (at least in terms of roving bands of looters, etc.) and would likely be fairly open most of the distance. Drawback #1 is I would need to find someone with a boat that I could potentially barter with to make the trip upriver since I have no practical way to have a boat on hand.

    The best option would be if someone with a powered boat could be flagged down and travel could be purchased/bartered for at least part of the trip. As we won't be getting past Willamette falls, that would be the end of the trip. But what are the chances that I could find someone with a boat, and that they would be willing to make the trip?? Is there a good option to have a person-powered boat of some kind stowed and available? Since I'm not a boat guy, are there options like a collapsible or inflatable kayak or canoe? Something that could handle the journey?

    Considering the route, I thought about things like collapsed bridges blocking the waterway. In my case, that includes the Sellwood bridge (brand new and built to withstand a 9.0 quake) and the 205 bridge at Oregon City (likely to collapse). But in all reality, because of the location of Willamette Falls, I could stop short of that bridge and get on foot from there because getting past the 205 bridge would only gain me another 1/2 mile or so before I'd have to stop anyway.

    Anyway I'm just curious if any of you have thought about something like this, and if so, what types of considerations/planning would you/have you made? Considering this type of trip could cut days off a trip by foot, it certainly is a highly desirable option. I just need to get some more input from folks that perhaps know more about this kind of travel than I do.

    What are your thoughts?
    Ganado, Joe13 and Meat like this.
  2. Meat

    Meat Monkey+

    The same thought has crossed my mind. I'd "borrow" anything available in the situation you described. Zoom zoom. Off I go. [afro]
    Ganado, Joe13 and Withak like this.
  3. Bandit99

    Bandit99 Monkey++

    @Withak Ahhh, yes! The Cascadian Fault! The one that makes the San Andreas Fault look like a toddler! Yes, Portland will be gone as will everything West of it, Seattle also. I became really interested in it when the New Yorker did an amazing article on it. I still have it on my desk. It says everything West of I-5 will go. What is so amazing is that they can predict when it will happen due to old Japanese records and historical findings in Cedar trees on the coast. The scary thing is it was due to happen 70 years ago so it is late but when one is talking about an event that has occurred on a regular basis for thousands of year - well - a few decades mean nothing.

    Anyway, you are right to prepare for this as there is a excellent chance you will see it in your life time. It is not an 'if' but a 'when', not being Chicken Little here but scientific fact. The New Yorker describes it perfectly and it was written so well that even a layman could understand it: 'The Really Big One', pg. 52, 20 July 2015, The New Yorker.

    Man-oh-man when that happens America will be kicked in the gut something fierce...
    Yard Dart, Motomom34, Ganado and 2 others like this.
  4. Withak

    Withak Monkey

    I try not to dwell on it, but I'm also not going to turn a blind eye to this. It's going to happen, as you mentioned, we just don't know when. We've begun to add additional planning steps to allow for as many eventualities as we possibly can. It's impossible to plan for all potential issues, but we're doing what we can, step by step.

    Just this week, new information was released that goes further than the New Yorker article did. They are now saying the quake is more likely to happen even sooner than expected and will likely be a higher magnitude than previously thought. In addition, a report was just put out on one of the local stations yesterday - almost every bridge in our area (and there are a lot) will either completely collapse or be unusable to for weeks or months. Only 2 were rated to survive and be back up and running within days to weeks after the quake. That means a lot of folks will have to consider the possibility that an alternative water crossing will be a real concern.
    Yard Dart and Joe13 like this.
  5. Bandit99

    Bandit99 Monkey++

    "new information was released that goes further than the New Yorker article did"
    Really! I would be interested in reading it if you can point me in the general direction. Did it just come from the media or...?
    Yeah, none of the bridges will make it, that's for certain. Even those rated for such a quake will not be trusted. This quake will change the face of America overnight. Hell, the financial implications could cause the tipping point! The death toll from the quake and afterwards will be astounding! I think the New Yorker article finally woke some people up so they started asking questions.
    I think it is too late now...
    Ganado, Withak and Joe13 like this.
  6. Joe13

    Joe13 Monkey

    I doubt in that situation you would find a willing boat to come to shore to barter or pick you up - too much risk getting your boat stolen IMO.

    I have thick black garbage bags in my bags that can be used to keep my clothes and gear dry but also as a makeshift floatation device to cross rivers.

    As far as keeping an inflatable boat with you - even the kayaks being as small as they are, do take up a lot of space even when deflated. I believe they are quite expensive as well + you will be subjecting it to cold and hot temps in a truck so it may degrade faster then normal.
    Gator 45/70, Motomom34 and Withak like this.
  7. 3M-TA3

    3M-TA3 Cold Wet Monkey

    You are likely to be hoofing it and the Willamette river will not be your friend and you will need to figure out how to cross it.

    Inflatable one man raft & swim fins. Your gear and clothes go in the raft. You use it like a flotation device and steer it across the river. Your kit includes some microfiber to dry you quickly on the other side. Outside the summer months you would need a dry suit to keep hypothermia from killing you. Fairly narrow doable crossing spots by Elk Rock Island (Milwaukie area) and Goat Island (Gladstone area). IMO Goat Island would be the best of the two since the banks are easy on both sides. The narrower section through Oregon City has steep cliffs you would need to climb.

    It's also possible that the Canby Ferry would still be running if your vehicle could get you there.
    Motomom34 and Withak like this.
  8. Withak

    Withak Monkey

    Here is a link to the report recently released: Research says Big One could rattle state sooner than we thought

    And to a story on local bridges in the Portland area and how they would do in a large quake: The Portland bridges that will collapse in an earthquake
    Motomom34 likes this.
  9. Withak

    Withak Monkey

    Most of the time, I'm on the correct side of the Willamette, but I would have to cross the Clackamas, which does have some good spots near Gladstone. Crossing the Willamette or Columbia are real concerns, depending on where I am at any particular point during the day - though most of the time, I'm on the correct side of both. Canby Ferry likely wouldn't factor in for me based on where I tend to travel.
    Motomom34 and 3M-TA3 like this.
  10. Withak

    Withak Monkey

    Okay, sounds like hybrid car/boat/sub ala James Bond is the way to go then. Since I drive a company car, I wonder if they'd be willing to get me something different...maybe a Duck (DUKW)?? :rolleyes:
    Joe13 and 3M-TA3 like this.
  11. Withak

    Withak Monkey

    Hmmm...they might be right...:whistle:
    Joe13 likes this.
  12. lucky I live next to a large hill and work on one cuz Aberdeen is going to sink and a few members of my group did the Cascadia rising training and they said when it hits it is going to be a mad house because the training was that way it will be a fend for your self type thing
    Joe13 likes this.
  13. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    Setting fantasy aside ,
    Providing your self a pair of truck inner tubes and cargo netting ,one can make a raft float their gear and them selves for that matter .
    Large trash bags work well to protect your gear and something to paddle with to navigate with .
    A wet suit and fins sound good too but then I like to swim.
    Learn something about swift water rescue and using ropes can make a big difference in your efforts .
  14. and there has been a couple trimmers here lately
  15. I used to do swift water rescue and you are very right
  16. Bandit99

    Bandit99 Monkey++

    Yeah...it's a pity that the fault line doesn't include Hollywood and some of the whacko's homes down that way...IMHO of course.
    Joe13 likes this.
  17. Yard Dart

    Yard Dart Vigilant Monkey..... Moderator Site Supporter++

    One thing to keep in mind during a major quake.... there will be lots of debris that could come into the rivers such as falling trees, blockages do to landslides and associated flooding. You may run into more than just having to do water crossings, but also treading of water in areas normally dry. If you are coastal, tsunami in an earthquake is a real concern.....
    A good example of what we could experience in the NW :
    Withak likes this.
  18. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    it would be prudent too , to be aware of the energy plants in the area be they water reservoir or atomic energy .
    Power transmission lines can be like an antenna for EMP and CME events as well .
    But even if it's just a down line, Having a little voltage detector is handy for more than testing extension cords @ a price of $9. -$15. bucks, it's cheap insurance . saved my butt several times .
    Withak likes this.
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