Destruction Aftermath, Book 4 - Cover

Destruction Aftermath, Book 4

Copyright© 2011 by radio_guy

Chapter 8

Nothing lasts forever. It just seems that way sometimes. That was our situation. The wind slowed, the snow stopped, but the cold intensified. Going outside the check on the horses was rough. No one went out alone.

Bennie was the only who had experienced this much cold. He said that it had been many years since Nebraska. Time passed slowly but after a few days, it warmed up but by comparison only! Everyone who could went outside to feel the sun and look at the landscape.

We all enjoyed our time outside though the temperature was still below freezing. The southeast doesn't have weather like this for any kind of long period. We talked about it together and to Dad who said he would talk to some of the people who came from up north. We arranged to meet by radio in two days to talk the situation through in more detail.

Two days later, we were all gathered around the radio in the main room. We had even moved Oliver's bed in so he could hear and participate. He was feeling better and stronger every day.

Dad came on the air, saying, "Hello, Son and everyone. There's quite a crowd here to offer some thoughts. Ben is here along with Michael, Jimmy, Jeff, and Doc Ollie with Dr. Anne. Of course, your mom is here, too. We had supper together and have been talking and looking at weather information for a while. We are concerned about your location and where you can go, no matter which direction you choose. Let me put Jimmy at the mike."

"Hello, all. Jimmy here. I used to live in Wisconsin before the Day. The cold there was something we simply had to endure until what here is late spring. Michael and I agree that you won't have clear and remotely warm travel for three or four months yet." He paused.

Our vox operated creating a buzz of stunned conversation from our end. I got it under control and turned off the vox.

Jimmy resumed, "As we see it, there are three problems; first, the cold; second, the snow; and third, the storms. There is little you can do about the first two other than prepare. The third is the real threat because being caught out in the open in a big storm would be deadly. We have some suggestions for you with regard to the cold and snow. On the storms, Jack has some thoughts and plans."

He continued and explained snow suits, snow shoes, masks and snow glasses. We had the suits but no one had thought of snow glasses or masks in a serious way. Snow shoes hadn't been considered at all nor skis. I saw Jen and Mama Mary taking notes. I keyed the mike and said, "We have been taking notes and will be better prepared for the weather. Dad, what are your ideas on weather?"

Dad came back on and said, "As you know, we have some weather information going now. We are putting together more and can give a pretty good picture of fronts and the like as they move east. We can give you warning of larger storms but a small one could slip by us. We think that, even more than ever, jumping from town to town is going to be important. You should also consider using a scout team though becoming separated is a serious risk." Janice and Bennie grinned broadly at that. Dad continued, "I know you have maps showing the route and the different towns on that route. However, it is important that you can go from point to point in case you have to stop for a while to wait out a storm. We suggest that you go one town at a time with your scout team in front. Once they find a place, they would wait for the main party and then continue to look for the next place. Now, Doc Ollie and Doctor Anna wanted to talk to Oliver about his injury.

That talk went on for a while as his grandfather and mother tried to test out his condition over the radio with Oliver's wife, Anna, trying her best to help. They finally but reluctantly gave him a limited approval for travel though they still didn't want him out of bed.

After some personal messages, we signed off and our group talked and made plans. We decided that Janice and Bennie would be our scouts. We would spend a couple of days preparing a little better based upon our radio conversation and some of our recent experience. We also wanted to get something going more for wagons. We would use one for Oliver which we would cover and protect him from the cold as best as possible. Jim would drive the other and I would drive another if we could find one or build it. One thing that Jimmy had emphasized was the need for sufficient supplies which meant more food than in warmer weather. The snow was pristine white so, after melting it, we would have plenty of water. It took fuel to heat us, cook food, and melt water. so we had to consider that issue in traveling.

We made another trailer to pull from another pickup body we found. That gave us another way to carry goods which helped our safety margin. Janice and Bennie started out on the last day of January for New Castle which our maps showed was about thirteen miles away. We would not leave until we heard from them that there was a good place to stay for the next stage.

Janice and Bennie had two meter HT's with them and we listened in. Knowing that, they keep a running talk about conditions. The snow was deep but the road held no obvious dangers as they went along carefully. Bennie said that they were in no hurry and had all day to reach New Castle and find shelter. Janice agreed and they moved slowly over the ground watching for every slight danger. They were trying to sense every nuance of the road and surrounding terrain. Preventing problems and surprises were uppermost in their minds. Now that we could move Oliver, leaving Glenwood Springs was a priority.

The day passed slowly but they reached New Castle around noon. The search then began for shelter. They found it in a school. It would do for the night and kept the entire party together. Janice radioed in on HF after trying and failing to make any more contact on two meters. She and Bennie wanted to push on but Rulieson, the next town, was over twenty-five miles away

Weather permitting, we would start out in the morning and they would make the run to Rulieson at the same time. I knew they would be careful but it did leave both of us on the move at the same time which meant giving aid would be difficult until both parties stopped and set HF radios in place assuming that we could.

Our trip to New Castle went without incident. The road was fairly smooth and the tires on our "wagons" were smoother than the wheels on our previous wagons. I thought to myself that we would do this as long as possible. We also made better speed. We were close and skipped lunch to reach New Castle as soon as possible. Oliver had made the trip comfortably and George seemed to be happy to be out even though it was cold. Jen and I had him between us in the wagon. He was beginning to really take notice of his surroundings. It was the most enjoyable trip we had taken in the snow.

We pulled in and found the school that Janice and Bennie had chosen. We found it plain but it warmed up easily and we quickly sited an antenna and got on the air. Dad was there and we talked for a few minutes. He told me that Doc Ollie would be in tonight to talk to Oliver. Oliver was there on his bed and answered that he was feeling well and was looking forward to talking to his grandfather.

At that time, Janice and Bennie came on and said that the trip was even easier and they had found very nice accommodations in Rulieson. They suggested that we continue on in the morning. I told Janice that that was our plan unless Doc Ollie felt differently. We signed off until the evening and I went about my chores and playing with George.

As we worked, I told Papa Jim and the others what Janice had said and we prepared to head out in the morning. We knew we had a long way to find warm weather but all were eager to find better conditions and remove ourselves from the constant of snow and ice.

That evening, we talked with Preservation and Bennie. He echoed Janice's words to keep going. Doc Ollie gave Oliver an "okay" for more traveling based upon their discussion. Dad said that the radar west of us showed clear and that we should move on before more bad weather hit. We agreed and all of us went to bed prepared for an early start.

We rose in the morning loaded what gear we had used and Oliver's bed and left New Castle. Janice and Bennie were right. Travel was even easier on this stretch and we had another enjoyable day. Even though it was still cold, the sun brightened things and gave a brightness to our little area of the world that made you feel good inside. Jen talked to George and gave me frequent caresses during the day. We stopped for lunch a little early and then continued on. We reached Rulieson in mid afternoon and found Janice and Bennie there to meet us. We all hugged and kissed, glad to see one another though the separation hadn't been long. We just weren't that big a party and the land was so empty of people. Even the animals seemed to be hiding from the weather though we saw tracks in the snow.

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