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Thread: Story of a trip that sorta went South and could have gotten worse.

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    Default Story of a trip that sorta went South and could have gotten worse.

    I've never experienced a truly survival situation but have had a couple that were interesting.

    East and South of Corpus Christi, Texas is Padre Island. It is a 63 mile stretch of beach on a barrier island that runs down to Port Mansfield where a cut goes throughout he island. There are jetties down there and the fishing is extraordinary at times. The time to go is at low tide when you can run about 35 mph next to the water (even thought the speed limit on the island is 25). It would be idiocy to go down there in a two wheel drive vehicle. I had a 1997 Toyota T100 4WD at the time. #2 and #3 sons were with me on this trip. We had an ice chest packed and strapped to the trailer hitch rack. We got down the beach and found that the ice chest had bounced off somewhere in the 63 mile trip (that's the last time I used the damn trailer hitch rack. live and learn). So, no food for a two day trip. It's best to wait until the tide is out to run back as well. The sand on Padre Island is very fine and it is very hard to run in even with a light vehicle with 4WD. No biggie right? We'll catch fish and eat like kings. We caught some fish and I dry fried them and they were the best fish we'd had all day. We fished some that night and slept in the truck. There was a breeze and we slept well.

    Next morning we broke out the surf rods and got them set. The boys were messing around on the beach and #2 asked, "Hey Dad, what is that?" pointing up the beach. There was a mist covering the beach about a mile away and there was not a breath of air moving. I looked at it for a minute and said, "Oh, that's just some mist rolling in off the Gulf."

    About thirty min prior three trucks of guys had arrived and set up camp next to us, grabbed their rods and headed down the jetties. The gulf was calm and had a mirror finish.

    Approximately one minute after my "Rolling Mist" remark, ….. the mist rolled right over the top of us at about 60 mph. It took the newly set up camp, tents, tables and anything that didn't have four tires on it, rolled it up and sent it toward Mexico. Our stuff was all in the truck. I broke the surf rods down and stuck them in the truck. We were getting sandblasted pretty good but we got in the truck and I started rolling into the wind. It blew like that for the entire 5 hours that it took us to make the 63 mile return trip at high tide in the loose sand. All along the way we were passing by our less prepared beach fishermen hunkered down behind their stuck trucks. The Toyota kept going.

    We stopped at a survival place (Whataburger) as soon as we got back to the pavement and refueled on some Double Meat/Double Cheese Burgers. I attribute the fact that this situation did not turn into something worse for us to several things. First, I had a sound truck capable of the task it was asked to do. It was in good repair and in addition to the full tank of gas I had starting out, I had two 5 gal cans of extra gas. I also had two 5 gal cans of water. Although we didn't have to use them, we still had them. We were traveling light. We were ready to move as soon as things went badly and the fact that we got rolling and could keep rolling got us out of the jamb. My biggest mistake was not having the food secured properly. That never happened again. We did have to make a pit stop on the way and it gave a whole new meaning to Pissin in the wind. Even in that short time the sand was piling up around the wheels and it took a second or two to break out and get moving again.

    That was how I handled the survival part of our trip. I think a bunch of other guys handled theirs by spending the next day digging their trucks out of the sand, being thirsty and trying to get their engines started.

    When we got back, there was sand in everything. I had three big Penn surf reels and they were full of sand, on the inside. I cannot imagine how they filled the guts of those reels with sand. There was a cup of sand on the inside of my air cleaner but none past the filter. All my CV joints were intact and an oil change showed no sand in the oil. I put another 100K miles on that truck and gave it to #1 son for a work truck. It's still going.

    That was at least 15 years ago and whenever one of my sons asks me something and I give a sage type answer, one of the other smartasses will pipe up and say, "Yeah, just some mist rolling in off the Gulf".

    Alan
    Last edited by Alan R McDaniel Jr; 07-11-2017 at 11:19 PM.


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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Great example of how fast stuff can go south...Thanks for posting...
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    As in other coastal areas and other areas in general the weather can change in a heartbeat. While my sons were growing up, we were likely out and about most every weekend and lots during the summer months. One of the main reasons I went into education was to have the same schedule as my boys so we could do all those things. #1 wife tolerated it well but worried a lot. I would always call her when we got back to shore so she would know we were off the water and we'd drive to a little store near the ranch to use a pay phone to let her know we were through with the hunt for the day.

    But, I always told her that I was not going to do anything stupid while I had the boys with me (there's lots of reason why she had good cause to need to hear that. She knew me for a long while before we had kids.). I always told her that if we did not call or come in some night after we'd been fishing, it was because we were pulled up on the lee side of an island someplace with a driftwood fire waiting for the weather to clear. I always carried plenty of water and all the necessities to make it a couple of nights on just what was in the boat. I always carry a stash of sardine tins in the boat. Mostly a person can only eat one tin of sardines and then they aren't hungry again for a while. I've got tarps and emergency blankets, first aid kits and of course an assortment of flares and aerial signaling devices. I also told her that if there was no moon that I was not going to run at night and that we would be home the next day.

    That scenario neve happened. There were some times that we pulled up on the lee side of an island and let a storm blow through but we never had to spend the night unless that is what we went out there to do. There were a few times when storms blew in on those trips. It is a bit harrowing to be on a boat on the bay in a lightening storm.

    We were pulled up on the barrier island next to what was termed an old lifeguard stand. I'm not sure why it was called that as it was thirty feet in the air. We had a bow line with the anchor on the beach and a stern line with the anchor perpendicular to the beach. The storm blew in after 10 PM. #1 son would fish through Armagedon. I chose to sleep through it. I laid seat cushions on the floor and pretended to sleep. I'd reach up now and then to turn on the bilge pump she water started getting in my ears. One of those times #1 son was fishing intently for something off the back of the boat. I asked him what he saw. He just said "Sharks, but they won't take the bait". I looked back there and sure enough there were a couple of 6' - 8' sharks swimming around. I made I'm stop doing that. Then, in the lightening flashes I could see a family of skunks trying to tight rope out from the beach on the bow line. Lightening hit that lifeguard stand three times that night. We wet about 50 yards from it and I guess that's how it was guarding lives, by acting as a lightening rod. Lightening is VERY loud when you're 50 yards from the strike. I was sure glad when that night was over.

    Alan

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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    The pay phone caught my attention......LOL
    Used to have to check in with DW at least once a week on a trip....
    Even included 4 quarters in my PSK....still there.

    Little town we were hunting close to would be a afternoon's trip.....on Wednesdays
    Wednesdays are "Dump Day".....empty the garbage.
    Then, to the truck stop,.... wash your your clothes, take a shower, fuel up, and find a saloon....

    And call home......
    One year the pay phone ...the 6's didn't work...so I called collect,.. as my number had a lot of 6's in it.
    DW answered the phone...
    Operator say "Will you accept this call?"
    DW says, "I'f it's from my husband...tell him no, don't want to talk to him....glad to know he's alive.....but he pizzed me off and should have called sooner..."

    I heard this and said..."I love you Dear...."
    She says, "I love you too ....but sometimes you make me mad... (clean version)....."
    Operator says..." Is that a no..?"

    With cell phones everywhere....That still makes me laugh.
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    Senior Member Antonyraison's Avatar
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    Woah, you where lucky.
    Weather can turn so quickly I find especially by the ocean.
    Thanks for sharing the experience.

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    Good stories. Being prepared turns what could be a disaster into a little discomfort.
    Can't Means Won't

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    And, as I'm sure everyone knows, those are two experiences from a lifetime of outdoors activities. The vast majority of trips are relatively uneventful. As my mind wanders back through the years I can think of a few other times when we encountered less than perfect conditions. Most of those times involved some drastic change in the weather. We've been through a couple of hurricanes (NOT while camping) and those are interesting but not really survival situations. My desire for preparation was driven by two factors. One, I like to be prepared. Two, I knew that I absolutely could not show back up at my house without, at least, as many children as I left with or my life would have NO value. That little curly headed girl would have ripped my head off.

    #1 wife's brother rode out Katrina and stayed in NO for two weeks afterward and one of my nephews did the same in Houston after a hurricane they had there. I will relate those experiences as they were told to me another time. My BIL has limited experience in camping and survival but much experience in living in the urban jungle. My nephew is a primitive camper and used those skills in his situation. They both did very well. I just don't feel like typing that much this morning.

    Alan

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    Senior Member Antonyraison's Avatar
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    I myself Could have been in a situation a year ago
    we had flash flooding, and for some reason I decided to take a different route home, and the storm broke whilst Driving, I was caught in very heavy rain, but got home fine,
    here is what happened on the HIGHWAY the same day , the same time And would have been the route I normally would have taken:

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    That will take the "new car smell" right out of your vehicle.

    Alan

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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    It's raining again right now......street flooding again.
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    Most cars were stopping , looking at the water... then going back...
    One guy stopped behind the line of traffic.....started honking his horn...the blasted thru the water...
    Here he is still there.....Dumas
    That as far as it made it......

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    Good for him. When we lived in South LA it was a shooting offense to put up a wake while driving down flooded streets. #3 son worked in San Antonio as a firefighter/paramedic for four years after he finished fire school. He told a story of doing three high water rescues only to have an idiot weave around the fire trucks and ambulances to drive off into the very place he had just pulled three people out of. He chewed the guys a$$ the entire time he was "rescuing" him. I'm not sure what people are thinking when they do that stuff. Even driving through running water is very dangerous. Sometimes all it takes is the tires of a vehicle blocking enough water to float a car. Once the wheels come off the pavement, that's it. You're tubing in your car. The vehicle then acts like a dam and it gets worse fast.

    Alan

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    Senior Member Antonyraison's Avatar
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    A foot of running water can be enough to wash away a vehicle.. People are stupid and impatient and take Silly stupid risks..
    I rather be very late and alive than on time.

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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    We have official warning in the media ....."Don't Drown.. Go Around"......
    Geezer Squad....Charter Member #1
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