Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Most of my readers are old enough to remember the September 11, 2001 attacks. There's an awful lot that one could say about that day, but I'm going to focus on one small aspect: the shut down of transportation.
All air traffic was shut down for days. The bridges and tunnels to Manhattan island were closed. Even shipping took a hit.
A lot of people were stranded. It was pretty upsetting, especially if you were in an airport on one coast of the United States and needed to be on the other coast.
At least it was still possible to drive a car across the country. That could have been shut down too.
Things changed in a day. People were stranded, but there were work arounds and it was only temporary.
My lovely wife and I plan on being far from home for almost six months. If the world can change that much in day, how could it change in months?
As we prepare for out trip, Syria and the rest of the Middle East are in turmoil. The fires are getting hotter over there. Sabers are rattling. The United States is not immune from repercussions.
At the very least, it's safe to assume that a wider war would cause oil prices to spike even higher. Transportation fuels could become much more expensive and difficult to get.
Roads could be blockaded -travel restricted to approved vehicles only. Bridges might shut down. Even major seaports could be closed if there are terrorist attacks.
The government could even do things like shut down civilian access to the GPS system. That could shut down a lot of private boat traffic as many rely on it almost exclusively.
My lovely wife and I could be two thousand miles from home and discover getting back suddenly got a whole lot more problematic. At least we have more options that most. Our van can use multiple fuels: diesel, heating oil, hydraulic fluid, and just about all vegetable oils. If the roads are open, we can find a way to drive on them. Our boat uses the wind, and we have a lot of paper charts and a good compass.
Who knows? We might have to take our sailboat home. It is possible to sail within 100 miles of our place in the mountains. We'd have a number of options for getting home from the coast.
Odds are that this is just an intellectual exercise -a game of “what if?” Most likely the worse thing that will happen is that the price of diesel will go up, again. However, you never know.