Destruction Aftermath, Book 1
Copyright© 2010 by radio_guy
We got up the next morning and Mary went in to get the radios on while the rest of us prepared breakfast. Sylvia and Michelle were typical sisters, teasing each other, while they worked together. They seemed like a couple of nice girls though they weren't much younger than Shirley and I. Janice seemed to blossom relating to Michelle.
Mary came in and said, "Robert and Mitch are starting on their way here now and should be here in two or three hours. Charlie and Jack are going to start out soon. They heard me talking to Robert." She grinned. "We're going to have company and see some new faces to go with the voices we have been hearing!"
We sat down to breakfast with everyone talking excitedly. After breakfast, Shirley and I stayed in the kitchen to clean up while Mary and Janice took Sylvia and Michelle to the radio room. They left the doors open so we could hear them. I heard Mary call Ted on the repeater and tell him the news. He had heard on the HF but expressed his excitement to her. As we came into the room, she was introducing Sylvia and Michelle to Ted who was glad to hear some new, female voices. Sylvia had a particularly good voice. I bet it sounded good over a radio as well. When Mary came on, she invited him over to meet Robert and Mitch at lunchtime and to stay for the arrival of Charlie and Jack. We figured they would arrive around or before supper. I said, "Tell him to come over now. We have a little work to do. If he has a tractor he can trailer over, it would help." Mary gave him the invitation and he said he would be over in an hour with his tractor. Mary cleared off the air as monitoring.
"Okay," I said, "we need to do a little work this morning before our guests arrive. Mary, why don't you and Sylvia stay here and work the radio for contacts and monitor. We'll take HT's and talk. That way, you'll know what's going on. Does that work for everyone?"
"No," Shirley said, "I need Janice here to help clean up. You and Michelle go up the drive and get started. We will join you in about an hour."
With that, we all went about our chores. I took a blower and chain saw from the garage along with some chain and a come-along and put them in the back of the truck with a can of mixed gas and oil. Mr. Davidson had been a meticulous person and things in his garage were orderly and neat. I was striving to keep it that way in his memory and because it was a good idea. We piled into the truck and went up the drive. On the way, I asked Michelle if she could drive.
"I am learning. Sylvia is better, particularly, with Granddad's truck. I did bring the keys though. Sylvia thought you would need them."
"Sylvia was right. We will have to move it some and then we'll bring it to the house." We arrived at my makeshift roadblock and got out. The tree was laying across at a slight angle to the drive and I thought the first thing would be to start removing limbs. I told Michelle I would do that with the chain saw if she would try to carry them into the woods out of the way. She nodded and we started to work. By the time Ted arrived with his tractor and Shirley and Janice came up, we had made a very respectable start. I was ready to "top" the tree and cut it into manageable pieces for removal.
Shirley and Janice came up just as Ted drove up from the other side of the drive. Everyone met at the tree. He was introduced to Michelle and shook her hand telling her he was glad to meet her. We all conferred and decided to cut the tree into small pieces and haul the pieces a distance to keep the drive clean. Ted had brought a chain saw and, with two, the work went quickly. Ted backed his truck and trailer a bit and unloaded the tractor and brought it to the tree. He pushed the big pieces well off the road. Shirley went to my truck and got the blower and started clearing the drive of leaves. We followed her removing anything that didn't blow easily. It took an hour to clear and return to the house. Back at the house, we washed up and had some coffee. We had heard Robert and Mitch talking to Mary and Sylvia on the Mt. Cheha repeater while we worked. They were close. Mary was giving them road instructions when we came in to the radio room. Ted again said that he liked our station. He noticed that we had added a CB and asked about that. I explained the reasoning and he agreed that it was a good idea.
We sat around and waited for Robert and Mitch to arrive. Shortly thereafter, we heard a vehicle come down the drive along with a call of "we made it!" on two meters.
Two tall, slim older men stepped out of the truck and walked to the front door. We all poured out and they were immediately deluged with hugs of welcome. We ushered them into the living room, offered coffee and drinks, and everyone got comfortable.
I had noticed that Robert still had a limp as he had come in. I asked him to detail his run-in with the rhinoceros. He said, "I had not quite gotten into Birmingham. I was on a four lane highway going east around a slight curve. Suddenly, I saw a shape moving rapidly across the road from the right. I had to swerve to keep from hitting it. It was a big, gray rhinoceros with a horn sticking up. I skidded off the road and hit a tree at the edge of the right of way. I hadn't anchored the radio and it went flying. The tree buckled the front of the truck and I got a bang on my knee. That's why I'm limping. It's bruised but is getting better. I was using a small truck and that thing was as big as it was. I think it would have been worse if I had hit it. It might have gotten mad at me!
"That was the only incident on the trip except for the problem of finding another vehicle and radio. That took more time than you would think. I also noticed that the power was out in some areas of Birmingham. That doesn't bode well for the future."
I said, "That's been my fear for some time. The power grid is going to fail and we know it. We just don't know when or where. No one, to my knowledge, has the practical knowledge or experience to repair it. We don't even know how to find the problem or problems.
"With that thought in mind, Shirley and I have started to figure out how to set up water wheel generators. We also have to figure out how to replace the internet when it goes out, too."
"You don't set low goals, Jack." Robert said. "I can understand the power though you can get it using gas generators. The internet will be tough."
"We are figuring that gasoline and diesel will go away and that we will have to prepare for that day."
Shirley said, "What we are doing on the internet is to load locally everything we can think of on every subject we can imagine as quickly as possible to be prepared as far as possible. We won't get everything but figure we can get a lot and store it locally before we lose the connection. Jack is going to hook up a local net here at the house for that purpose. We've started with a simple paper list which will also be our file storage system on the computers."
Robert said, "I've built some pretty good sized farm pond dams but nothing to run a turbine or a water wheel. Have you figured out a location and can you get earth moving equipment to it?"
"As a matter of fact, we have a candidate in mind and it's accessible for us to work on it. I am figuring to bury our lines from the dam site and generator to the house and outbuildings." I said.
After a bit, I excused myself to go into town and pick up some computers. We had a small store that was pretty good. I wanted to get in and load up a couple or three computers with massive hard drives for our downloads. Sylvia and Michelle went with me to help carry computers out to my truck and keep me company.
We went in to the little store on the square and picked out two computers that were ready to go. I went in back and found some hard drives while Sylvia opened the cases. I rigged each computer with an additional hard drive. Once finished with that, Sylvia closed them up and she and Michelle started carrying them out to my truck. I found a third and loaded it up. We loaded everything into the bed of my truck and then went back inside to find routers and "CAT-5" wire that was made up. Shirley and I had already decided that the garage would be the place for our little "shop." The local office supply store provided desks and chairs. The hardware store provided plenty of extension cords and power strips. We headed back to the house.
Everyone was still there and helped unload my truck. I decided that hook ups could wait a day while I went back to playing host.
We had an enjoyable time as the afternoon progressed. Charlie and Jack drove up in the late afternoon and we went through another round of introductions. Shirley and Mary prepared a big meal with the other females helping. We ate together buffet style and then adjourned into the radio room for our "net."
Mary called the net together. With five of our members visiting, we had a crowd in the room and they each took turns announcing their presence and appreciation for our hospitality. All of our out of town members checked in including Ollie who asked for a minute with me when we finished. Tom announced that he and Matthew would be joining us tomorrow if we could handle more visitors. He was invited to "come on down." He said he would be at our place sometime around lunchtime allowing for the time change.
We completed the net and I called Ollie. "What's your situation, Ollie?"
"We are gathering our equipment and personal items. I wanted your advice on a vehicle. My daughter and I both have cars which aren't big enough for the trip and that's the reason for my question."