greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I would like your assessment.

Those of you that have read my previous posts know that in my opinion, as the remainder of 1999 unfolds, we will likely see a steady and accelerating rise in preparedness, and at some point prior to rollover, the Government taking steps to assure "stability." One of the areas of focus for the Government will almost certainly be the banking system. There may be others.

As a part of our (my family's) strategy for the coming rollover, we are planning to drive a RV from just outside of Houston to our farm located NW of Atlanta. This trip will occur immediately following Christmas.

I am asking for your opinion on the likelihood/probability we will be able to satisfactorily make this trip.

Specifically: Give me a probability percentage of the likelihood we will be able to do so, and then state your reasoning for the percentage.

I am interested in your thinking with respect to the continued availability of fuel without constraint (other than price), and the ability to be able to assume continuation of "unrestricted" travel.

I solicit all potential respondents and thank you in advance for the benefit of your perspectives.

With respect,

-- Dave Walden (wprop@concentric.net), June 11, 1999


Dave: Thanks for your sincere request. I don't know how much help this will be, but here goes. How long will this trip take ? Can you do it in one day ? What about back roads ? I recommend watching the situation unfold in the fall, but if at all possible, be ready to move on short notice. I can't give you percentages because I am really clueless. As far as fuel, try to carry what you need. I'd try to have it on hand before this time. Best of luck. God Bless !

-- reed moore (reed_moore@postmaster.co.uk), June 11, 1999.

Sorry dave, I agree with the previous poster. Too many variables to even begin to reach a conclusion. Alot could happen between now and Christmas. My parents have begun to think Christmas may be too late to get to us. Public awareness is the key, in my opinion. How could you predict that? I assumed they would have awakened before now. have your gas in place, RV loaded, CB radio or short wave, more than one spare tire, etc. Anticipate breaking down, make a 'back roads" trial run and have detailed maps. Good luck!

-- Will continue (farming@home.com), June 11, 1999.

Dave, I am in agreement with Reed Moore. Watch closely and if things start going bad make your move then. Try to have all your fuel and supplies ready to go. I think things will start happening before Christmas and if it looks like they may start marshall law -go. Good luck!! Marcia

-- Marcy Sawyer (marcia@madnet.net), June 11, 1999.


You are trying to look too far ahead for that information. You might as well email the Farmers Almanac and ask if the weather will be OK for that trip right after Christmas. I presume you are trying to spend Christmas in Texas, then move out. You will know more about what is going on during October and November. If things are really getting hairy during December, it could be a big mistake to wait until the final week of the year to try that move. That's really cutting it close. However, you should have a much better idea of what to do by Thanksgiving. I also wish you good luck with your plans.

-- Gordon (gpconnolly@aol.com), June 11, 1999.


If your traveling takes you into territory that might get snow or ice, make sure you have a set of tire chains for that RV. They CAN be found, but are sometimes difficult to locate on a moment's notice.

-- Getthem (while@you.can), June 11, 1999.


NOTHING will happen until SOMETHING happens!!! That being the case (unless refuted) how can you pinpoint the best month or week to pack it in??? You cannot!! Everyone is in a hold pattern------------ until some major event takes place effecting the masses, you know the--"OH SH**!!" phase. At that point you will know its time to go! YOU WILL KNOW!! without question! Respectfully

-- Dave Butts (dciinc@aol.com), June 11, 1999.

The waiting and not knowing is the hard part, isn't it? I wish we could come up with an answer for you, but most of us are second-guessing our own plans and trying to figure out when we should do what. It's hard in the beginning of summer to anticipate what we might need and when. I guess all we can do is keep on keeping our ears to the ground. Good luck!

-- Libby Alexander (libbyalex@aol.com), June 11, 1999.


"The fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles of travel in 1997 was 1.7." (NHTSA) The distance between Houston and Atlanta is about 800 miles. All other factors held equal, this means an average of 1063 Houston-Atlanta round trips for every fatality.

Of course, your odds are far better than the "average" driver. "In 1997, 43 percent of the intoxicated drivers (BAC = 0.10 or higher) involved in fatal crashes were speeding, compared with only 14 percent of the sober drivers (BAC = 0.00) involved in fatal crashes." (NHTSA) I think it is safe to assume you plan to drive sober.

In addition, you will probably wear safety belts. "Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of the passenger vehicle occupants killed in traffic crashes in 1997 were unrestrained." (NHTSA)

Your age also reduces the statistical calculation of your risk. "Compared with the fatality rate for drivers 25 through 69 years old, the rate for teenage drivers is about 4 times as high, and the rate for drivers in the oldest group is 9 times as high." (NHTSA)

Because most of the trip is on limited-access freeways, your risk is reduced. Primary and secondary arterials create far more accidents than limited access roadways. (Intersection and curb cuts are accident magnets.)

You can reduce your risk further by avoiding major metropolitan areas during the a.m. and p.m. peak congestion hours. An analysis of DC belway accidents suggests three types of accidents accounted for a majority of beltway crashes.

"Stop-Slowing (3,381 crashes; 36%) In most cases, the crash report had enough information to assign one of several sub-groups of stop- slowing. Typically, congested-related (2,756) crashes show that a lead vehicle slowed or stopped because of congestion, and a following vehicle in the same travel lane did not slow down fast enough to avoid it. In lead-vehicle swerve (113), a vehicle changed lanes in front of a second vehicle and then immediately slowed down and in follow vehicle swerve (118), a vehicle changed lanes coming in behind a vehicle that had already slowed or stopped. These were two maneuvers where a swerving vehicle attempted to avoid a stop-slowing crash in one lane only to become involved in a crash in an adjacent lane.

Ran Off Road (2,282; 24.3%) This type is not usually congested related and typically involves a single vehicle, often late at night. A vehicle leaves the road and strikes some object or overturns at the road-side, the shoulder, or another point off the main lanes.

Sideswipe-Cutoff (1,672; 17.8%) This crash type differs from lead and follow vehicle swerve crashes in that the collision occurred during the lane change and not immediately thereafter. Congestion was often a factor, as lane change maneuvers were made in response to slower moving traffic ahead. In some cases, it was made while attempting to exit the Beltway and in a few cases, by an inattentive driver. Most commonly, this crash type involves a car sideswiping another car (768), followed by a tractor-trailer sideswiping a car (399) and, less commonly, a car sideswiping a tractor-trailer (208)." (NHTSA)

I think this knowledge, combined with defensive driving, will reduce your risk. Information on the crashworthiness of recreational vehicles is available, but I did not have the time to download the database.

It might be fun to crunch the numbers. Of course, we would need additional data on your vehicle and driving history. We could even access access route specific crash data. I am afraid, however, there is insufficient data to calculate the "Y2K factor."

Let me offer this, though. The "critical" dates thus far have passed with little fanfare. The majority of Y2K news reports have been positive. Most people agree that we we will not experience rollover problems until January 1st. Unless there is a dramatic shift in public perception, there should not be major Y2K-related problems before January 1st. If there is a perception shift, it will be widely reported in the media. This ought to give you plenty of time to adjust your travel arrangements.

I think only a serious/fatal accident would interfere with your travel. Based on the limited data (including my assumption that you are a prudent individual who will take all due precautions), I think the odds are greatly in your favor (99.99%).

As such, have a nice trip.


-- Mr. Decker (kcdecker@worldnet.att.net), June 11, 1999.


I am substantially in agreement with the previous posters, but this may be a little more help in planning.

This is some "old" advice, but the best still that I've seen that answers your specific question.

"2) From the failure of public confidence and the turn to government solutions to 1/1/00 --

Many who take Y2K seriously as a threat to our way of life make the mistake of thinking that Cinderella will magically hold together until midnight 12/31/99 and then suddenly all these bad things will happen. But consider this, when it occurs to the investors all over the world that Y2K means the computers running the business they have invested in may go down, Wall Street will drain rapidly. On the heels of this count on a run on the banks. Following this, count on a cry going up to the Federal government to protect everyone and save them from the depression now and enable them to survive Y2K when it comes. When government heeds this call and steps in you can count on a restructuring of society for survival. It would be a good idea to be where you want to live for the next few years within a week of the failure of public confidence. Don't confuse in your planning what government can do before Y2K with it's limitations after Y2K. Two different situations will be in effect." (red emphasis mine-Hardliner)

There's more at that site, but this paragraph addressed your question and I believe that even though written last year, that the advice is still sound.

-- Hardliner (searcher@internet.com), June 11, 1999.

MATH ERROR! I chopped off two zeroes from the round trip calculation. Sorry, Dave! I was playing with a few different quotes and dropped the ball. [This is why my former "diffy Q" professor wanted me to have "check work" tatooed on the back of my hands.]


-- Mr. Decker (kcdecker@worldnet.att.net), June 11, 1999.

Wow...Decker. You really DO have a really, really big brain!! How do you get through a door? Phewwww. I don't know about anyone else...but I'm sure impressed!

-- Will continue (farming@home.com), June 11, 1999.

Right after Christmas I will be making a trip to Texas from Ark. and back. . The only thing I will be worried about is maybe ice on the roads. Good luck. Hey, we may meet each other coming and going. I will honk!

-- Carol (glear@usa.net), June 11, 1999.

Dave - you will probably reach your own conclusions as the time draws near. Recommend that if things get tense - move the RV way ahead of schedule - and on the final trip - take something a little less conspicous (sp?). Backroads may be guarded by militia - and an RV is a moving wal-mart. On the highways the rest of the rabble will be out in force.

now - this is in the event that panic escalates significantly. But - time will tell.


ps - my long distance family is also planning such a trip - so we are actually having some serious discussions.

-- justme (finally@home.com), June 11, 1999.


I've admired your posts on this forum. It's for this reason that I'm dismayed that you would consider a trip of this magnitude during the holiday season (not to mention...a season wherein other folks fearing Y2k problems may be considering the same option.)

Panicked travelers make poor bed-fellows. I'm sure you're already aware that Texans drive "differently" than folks from other areas. I grew up in Chicago, and when my kids learned to drive in Texas I had to warn them. "You do NOT go when the light turns green." You wait at the intersection until either a few OTHER cars go, or it's clear that the cross-traffic is stopping. They caught on quickly as they watched while three cars zoomed through while WE had the green light.

Okay...so you have a portion of TEXAS to go through before you reach other states (which MAY or MAY NOT have a different type of driver.) I would be TERRIFIED if I had my family in the car with quantities of gasoline to make the trip uninterrupted by stops at gas-stations. I'd consider it to be a moving BOMB.

I don't know the age of your children, Dave, but teenagers (especially) are VERY reluctant to relocate. The stress of driving during this period could be exacerbated by the stress induced by your children. If you're accustomed to making this trip annually, they may be used to it, but if this is a first, you're in for lots of griping. Consider adding THIS stress to your Y2k stress.

In conclusion: What's wrong with Houston regarding Y2k? You're part of the ERCOT grid, so even if your local power companies can't perform as you'd like, you can get power from those of us in the more Northern areas of Texas. I actually have a friend in Houston who states that LP&G? (now consolidated under Reliant?) is pretty unwilling to divulge information. PRESS them for information before you make decisions. Press the city of Houston for information. I pressed my utility providers beginning in 1998, and I got information that didn't comfort me at all. I continued a discourse with them each week, however, and I feel quite comfortable now with their progress.

Hope these thoughts will help.


-- Anita Spooner (spoonera@msn.com), June 11, 1999.

Agree with Hardliner.

-- Bigdog (BigDog@duffer.com), June 11, 1999.

Anita - can you point me in the direction of some sites I can research on Houston?


-- justme (finally@home.com), June 12, 1999.

will continue: Gee wiz, you ought not to post like that. Nothing in Mr. Decker's post indicated that his brain was abnormally sized. What it showed was that he is willing to put some time and effort into his responses - which is uncommon enough - and also some thought into them which sometimes seems uncommon too. There is nothing wrong with using statistical data when making predictions, and who's to say what the situation at that time might be in respect to Y2K. It STILL will not be 2000 during that trip, so public reaction would be the main concern. Perhaps it will dramatically reduce traffice and throw off Mr. Decker's odds that way. Perhaps panic will have set in before then, but Dave likely can recognize the beginnings of any wide-spread panic. It won't be hard to spot if and when it comes about. And it will likely allow a sizable window of time before major escalation. Houston and Atlanta aren't so far apart. I've gone from Missoula to Grand Rapids, MI without stopping except for fuel - and with considerably less motivation than what Dave could have. Dave solicited all potential respondents for their perspectives. In most responses that is what he got.

Dave, my 2 cents: Go sooner unless you have a very good reason not to. If you're worried enough to make the trip, and worried about not being able to make it, then it ought to be worth making adjustments to your schedule. But if you're stuck with that schedule, I predict 99%+ that inter-state travel is unrestricted and 95%+ that fuel is available if your pockets are deep enough. Get a trailer to pull with a fuel tank on it too if you can. The GPS thing and September 9th will be non-events (another unsupported guess). That will decrease chances of panic. Government not likely to do much prior to there being an immediate problem. Bank runs or stock market crash I see as pre-2000 possibilities, but shouldn't affect your ability to travel if you have cash.

Overall, I'd guess in the neighborhood of 95%+ success chance for your trip. Good luck with it!

-- Gus (y2kk@usa.net), June 12, 1999.

Still need additional information:

(1) Exact distance to the farm.

(2)MPG rating (experienced) for your vehicle.

(3) Gas tank size in your vehicle. You can add in additional cans stored within your vehicle. Exterior tanks could cause problems.

Divide (2) into (1). Evaluate against (3).

Consider secondary roadways...but freeways may be less likely to suffer "local" problems.

-- Mad Monk (madmonk@hawaiian.net), June 12, 1999.

Thanks for pointing that out Gus. I suppose, now that Dave has those seat-belt stats, he won't be needing a shot-gun.

-- Will continue (farming@home.com), June 12, 1999.

Re: advice about "back roads"

Unless your RV can ford rivers, using "back roads" won't do you any good without "back bridges" too. (How many "back bridges" cross the Mississippi?)

If you are concerned about main-road restrictions (of whatever kind), then I recommend that you first simply circle all the bridges crossing rivers between Houston and your destination, then plan your trip accordingly. Perhaps you can drive far enough north to get around some lesser rivers, but how much time, distance, and fuel can you afford to trade off this way, and will it matter in case all Mississippi bridges are effectively closed before you cross?

-- No Spam Please (nos_pam_please@hotmail.com), June 12, 1999.

... not that _I_ think all Mississippi River bridges will be closed.

I'm just pointing out that *if* you think you have reason to avoid main roads, then rivers and bridges will be very important to your RV-driving plans.

-- No Spam Please (nos_pam_please@hotmail.com), June 12, 1999.

... and I suppose there's the possibility of ferries, but if main roads and bridges are not traversable (for whatever reasons), how many ferries will you be able to count on, unless you carry your own inflatable model or tools for building a sufficient raft where necessary?

-- No Spam Please (nos_pam_please@hotmail.com), June 12, 1999.

First, thank you to all that responded. I think I can safely say that it is too early to determine if our plan to make the trip that necessitated my request to you needs to be reconsidered.

Our plans call for spending Christmas in Houston with my wife's entire family. Her brother has a 5 acre "spread" with a reasonable level of preparations already made. We intend to enjoy a family Christmas and then immediately head for our spread in the mountains of Georgia.

MR DECKER: Thank you. I deserved that. You continue to maintain your large "lead."

GETTHEM: Decker and I could learn a thing or two from you.

HARDLINER: Thank you for the link. I have begun to digest it Interesting reading.

CAROL: I too shall honk

JUSTME: "A RV is a moving WalMart." Outstanding! I am still laughing although the seriousness of your point is well taken.

ANITA: Thank you for your thoughts. My brother-in-law has already made substantial preparations in the Houston area. Were it not for the fact that I and my family have been building our future "spread" in Georgia for a number of years, and was therefore largely "prepared" when the potential significance of the coming months/years "dawned" on me, I would certainly have considered staying with her family in Houston.

Depending on what has unfolded through Christmas, staying there remains a potential option. However, I have life-long friends and neighbors in Georgia that have adjacent farms. Together we (all of our families)have made preparations to live a substantial portion of the remainder of our lives there.

Thank you again for all of your responses. I look forward to the continuing dialog.

With respect,

-- Dave Walden (wprop@concentric.net), June 12, 1999.

Anita, a spokeswoman for HL&P (now Reliant Energy) told a FOX News Reporter that we WOULD have power outages in Houston. The interview was conducted earlier this year, and was shown on a Y2K special presented by channel 26. (Local FOX station.) She also stated that all crews would be standing by, and would have the power restored as soon as possible. (Who knows how long that will be????)

-- Gayla Dunbar (privacy@please.com), June 12, 1999.

Dave, just one more thing, and I don't know how or IF it would even fit into the picture, at least until 2000: the State of Georgia and Atlanta in particular seem to be very behind in their Y2K fixes. Atlanta recently fired its contractor and things seem to be quite a mess, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

North Georgia will be a nice place to be, Y2K or not. BUT, make sure your well pump will work, if you have one and you're dependent upon electricity. I'm in semi-rural Georgia and the closest town has no contingency plans in the works so far. Had a full-page article in the local paper about the wonderful state of readiness of the local water supplier. The company head is not planning to store any water, etc. Then the last paragraph...."of course we are entirely dependent upon the electrical company."

-- Jill (jdance@mindspring.com), June 12, 1999.

Spend a little money on stupid little things, like fuses for every circuit, fanbelts, tire sealant, radiator sealant, tire valve cores, brake fluid, a set of new spark plug wires, and other little items that cost very little - usually don't fail, but could stop you in your tracks.

I agree about puting circles on the map of all bridges. The best maps to have are 1:24,000 from USGS http://mapping.usgs.gov/mac/maplists.html though they are $4 each and you'ld need a bunch. Not as detailed but close, is DeLorme's 4 CD set of USA Topo, if you own a laptop. If travel is restricted you have a problem unless you have a good reason to spin.

-- Ken Seger (kenseger@earthlink.net), June 12, 1999.

Hey - welcome to the neighborhood up here!

Not real sure why so much commotion in this thread -

You'd would need to refiill twice, possibly three times. Possibly four times if you only let the gas gage get down to 1/4 full before looking for a refill. Don't get carried away with carrying extra gas, if you wish to bring a jerry can, many recommend carrying an empty, not a full one. Your choice there - clearly there will likely be much more concern then (after Christmas) about uncertainities than there should be be - if everyone were prepared, there would be no concern.

Don't need anything else (except a motel somewhere in the middle - we normally stop in west LA, perhaps Mobile. If going the northern route through Vicksburg on I-20, then in Vicksburg or nearby)

Pack a picnic lunch for two days to save some cash if you wish. Power, food, lights, water, and amenities along the road and all should be running as usual then - before rollover. After, highways could be a problem in one area, and be okay a few miles furtheralong. Or worse a few miles further.

We have driven straight through (no stops) several times. It's easier when the kids were little to leave them sleeping. Now, they're older, so its easier to stop for the night.

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), June 12, 1999.

To others (perhaps less familiar with RV'ing), yes, it is an RV, but that doesn't mean all of the bunks are available while driving, safe (for passengers) to use while driving (the driver is generally not recommended to be in bed while at the wheel!), or comfortable. Many times, the bunks in the fwd area (not bedroom) are the couches or seat themselves, but are folded up or slipped under. So don't assume sleeping is safe or practical or possible.

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), June 12, 1999.

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