Bad Highway Planning and You (Post #508) 8/6/2014

Ever wonder why certain places on the highway? I know I do. My friend Dave showed us a place on the 405 in Los Angeles where the traffic just slows down or stops. Traffic engineers have studied it and can’t sort out why.

I-35 in south Oklahoma City has its spots too. But there are NO mysteries. It’s easy to see why the pile ups happen where they do. The N. 12th street on-ramp was once such spot. Before it was corrected the on-ramp was south of an off-ramp on the other side of the highway to Shields Blvd.

You can see it here in its current CORRECTED state.


The on-ramp to I-35 (red) was moved north of the off-ramp (blue). This stopped people from entering the highway and trying to cross three lanes to just immediately exit on the Shields off-ramp. Instead of just driving a mile north on city streets and then on to Shields the inconsiderate drivers caused several traffic jams for decades. Including the first time I was hit in my Range Rover. I was rear ended due to the traffic jam caused by this situation.

The state finally studied the highway there and moved the on-ramp so that drivers could not cause the problem. It was a long time coming. But today the slow down there is due to traffic two miles up at I-240.

There are a few other on ramps between Norman and Oklahoma City that were designed back in the 1960’s and were never intended to carry the amount of traffic they do today. Traffic backs up there every day.

I came up on another on-ramp that was not corrected when they widened I-35 ten years ago. The traffic piles up after the S.E. 15th Street on-ramp. INCONSIDERATE drivers enter I-35 and then attempt to cross four lanes of traffic to exit on to I-40 west bound.

You can see it here.



The pile up happens once traffic reaches critical mass just after 7:30am. I-35 and I-40 are called “The Crossroads of America”. I-40 is coast to coast and I-35 is Canada to Texas. This intersection needs a multi-million dollar over haul. The confluence also has a rail spur and a river to add to the fun of correcting the horrible traffic in this area.


I got to enjoy a lovely hour-long traffic jam the other morning. It was the perfect storm.

  • Poor highway planning.
  • Oklahoma rain.
  • Inconsiderate driver.

The road is poorly designed. Nearly anything can cause an issue. Any driver that doesn’t have good driving skills or as I often imagine doesn’t have the confidence they should to drive in the rush hour traffic.

Only God knows why Oklahoman’s can’t drive when it rains. They can’t drive when it snows either. I believe it is a confidence issue. That and most Oklahoma students do not understand enough Physics to know what their cars and tires can and cannot do.

An lastly an inconsiderate driver, who just pulls out on to the highway. Slows down and starts meandering their way to the far left lane on less than a mile of very congested roads. Add in a little testosterone and a kid who thinks they would make a good addition to the TV show Street Outlaws and you have a recipe for disaster.

You can see every lane is jammed. When I got up to the actual place the accident occurred two OKC fire engines has been dispatched and an ambulance.


I was only delayed 25 minutes. But the highway at one point was backed up all the way into north Moore causing more than an hour delay for many thousands of drivers.


You can see the pickup had obviously spun and hit the center wall. At least two other cars were also impacted. I don’t know who the ambulance was for, none of the cars were damaged enough to look like someone needed to be taken away by ambulance.

Unfortunately for me if they started TODAY this intersection, it would be completed just a few years before I am eligible to retire.

So what’s the take-away. Be a considerate driver. Find routes that don’t cause others to back up or cause them to stop while you futz your way across four lanes. It’s just bad manners.

Be safe out there, thanks for reading, take a driving course, and Happy Rovering.

Sometimes Things Don’t Go Your Way (Post #473) 3/23/2014

I once blogged that every time I touch the Range Rover something goes wrong. Well yesterday was no exception. Mr. Fisher and I were sorting out our two camping kits. We were trying to determine how much gear we were going to be hauling to S.C.A.R.R. We determined that we had a fairly large amount of kit. Mostly lots of pieces that don’t necessarily fit efficiently in the back of the Range Rover. Let’s be honest, it takes a lot of gear to make two 50-year-old guys comfortable for two days of camping.

I decided it was necessary to remove the 70% seat out of the back. I know Bill Burke removes his 30% seat to house his ARB refrigerator. So with that idea in mind I went to remove the seat. Basically it is four 10mm bolts and the seat comes out. I flipped the seat up and started to work on the bolts. It took some figuring to sort out they were 10mm. I took 10mm sockets to use but my 12 point socket in 3/8ths didn’t turn the nut. I wondered what size the nut was if 10mm didn’t work. Turned out my 12 point socket was stripped. That’s disappointing but not a show stopper. I had a 10mm in 1/2 that was 12 point and narrow walled. That narrow wall was very necessary because the nuts are very close to the seat bracket.


I got the socket set and made one turn and bingo, the bolt breaks. Continue reading “Sometimes Things Don’t Go Your Way (Post #473) 3/23/2014”

Gearing Up for SCARR, Part One (Post #459) 3/10/2014

I’ve been getting my kit together for S.C.A.R.R. the past few weeks. I am going to be putting up a few posts about new, new-old, and old kit for the trip.

Coleman Cooking Stove

colemanstoveI’ve been reading posts from Land Cruising Adventure. Karin-Marijke, Coen, and their Toyota Land Cruiser BJ45 have been overlanding since 2003. An amazing fete’ if you ask me. So amazing, Expedition Portal named them Overlander’s of the Year for 2013. I subscribe to Overland Journal and love to read and see the adventures. Their reviews of gear each issue and in their yearly Gear Issue are most of the reason I am a subscriber.

They have a great site and I highly encourage you to go over and visit. In a recent post they were featured in Overland Journal’s gear issue. Overland Journal asked Overlander’s what was their  “Most Valued” gear. Karin and Coen picked their Coleman Camp Stove.

After reading their post about their Coleman stove I had to go find the one my dad left to me. It had been in the attic of the Newcastle house since we moved back home from Guam in 1971. I think my dad used it once on a hunting trip with my Uncle Ben in the early 1970s, but I need to confirm that. I have my dad’s Coleman Lantern too. I know we used it a few times in the early 1970s when our power got knocked out from some blizzards and a thunderstorm or two. It’s safe to say it hasn’t been lit since 1975. Continue reading “Gearing Up for SCARR, Part One (Post #459) 3/10/2014”

Preppers Anthem (Post #316) 1/19/2013

If you don’t watch “Doomsday Preppers on the National Geographic Channel” (National Geographic) then this song really doesn’t mean anything to you other than a message about how we are destroying the world around us. To those of you who do watch “Preppers” you “get it”. I enjoy watching the Preppers show. I have learned something different in every episode. For me, the hardcore preppers are a trip. One of those guys has at least a million dollars invested in his plan to survive…whatever happens next. Seriously, if you watch that show you will see people who are preparing for an end to the way of life as we currently know it.

Think of a worst case scenario, really think about it, now take the severity of that and multiply it by ten, there is a person out there preparing for that to happen. The show goes through several of these scenarios:

  • Failed financial system
  • Comet/meteor impact
  • Civil unrest
  • Famine
  • Natural disasters
  • Dirty bomb attack

All of these might happen.

If you watch the show you know that they assess each prepper at the end of their segment. The give them a score on their readiness and the “experts” give their opinion of the likeliness of the particular disaster actually occurring. I haven’t heard one that said, it was very likely.

I am a firm believer in the momentum approach. You know the physics adage, “objects in motion tend to stay in motion”. Just a decade ago, people had over-inflated worries about the Y2K bug. Remember that? It was the thought at the time, that all the computers would just magically stop working when the date rolled over to January 1, 2000.

Did a lot of people spend a LOT of money to make that not happen, sure they did. Not all of it was necessary. I worked for my buddy JagGuy back then and he made a pretty good living off the regulatory concerns of the Federal Deposit and Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the banks it serves. Among the many things we did for the clients, we helped banks certify elevators that didn’t even have a computer in them, “Y2K ready”. Madness.

Let’s get back to my momentum theory. I had a concerned citizen back then ask me about Y2K and their concern there would be no power. They detailed how they were going to buy a generator and stock up on food, “Just in case.”

Even though deep down inside I wanted to laugh at them, I didn’t belittle them, I thought, “If this helps them sleep at night, good for them. At least they are preparing.” I listened to their concerns and then I asked them a simple question.
“Does the power company make any money if they can’t provide power to their customers?”
They finally said, “No, I guess not.”
Then I said, “Don’t you think they want to continue to be able to bill their customers for power?”
You could see the lights come on, and they said, “So I shouldn’t buy a generator?”

I told them that was not my call. Do whatever you think will be best. They were preparing for a disaster. Why discourage them? They are working out a plan for some unforeseen event. GOOD!

I believe the momentum of the society we live in will continue. People will always need water and food and fuel and electrical power and the basic necessities of life. There will be someone there to provide those things in all but the absolutely worst case scenarios.

World War 3 was once a real worry, some of you younger readers might not remember the START treaties and how we were all sure we would die from nuclear war. Nuclear détente (Wikipedia) was inevitable. People planned for this event by building bomb shelters and stocking up on food. “Blast from the Past” (1999) (IMDB) was a romantic comedy about a naïve man who comes out into the world after being in a nuclear fallout shelter for 35 years. As you know, it never happened. It will most likely never happen on that scale.

Not a Prepper
I’ve had people say I was a prepper. I have seen the 1984 version of Red Dawn (IMDB) literally 100 times. Thirty years ago, we believed it was a real possibility that Russians might invade America. This isn’t even part of any serious discussion at the Pentagon today. There is no way we are being invaded, not even by China. (Who would they sell all the stuff they produce to?) With this in mind I’ve been prepared to wage a counterinsurgency since 1984.

I think it is important to clarify my position:

  • I believe it is important to be prepared for EVERY situation.
  • I believe I am more prepared than most people.
  • I believe our system of government and the organization of our society will survive nearly all man-made catastrophes.
  • I believe within two hours I could leave my home and live anywhere for at least a week.

As far as I am concerned, I am not a prepper. Am I prepared for an event that might change the way I live comfortably off the resources provided by an organized system of government and society?
Short answer, not as prepared as I’d like to be.

What should we prepare for?
Our biggest worry should be natural disasters. Tornadoes wipe out communities almost every year in Oklahoma. Being ready for an interruption in basic services is probably the place you should put the majority of your resources. We are not likely to see a tsunami wipe out tens of thousands of people, or a volcano spew magma all over our cities. But a tornado could plow a mile wide path through your hometown tomorrow (any tomorrow). I’ve seen it.

So to wrap this up. If you want to prep/be a prepper by all means go for it. My advice for most everyone else in Oklahoma in descending order of importance:

  • Have an alternate source of water
  • Have some sort of shelter and or a way to heat your home
  • Store some rations if you plan to bug in
  • Be prepared to repel looters

If it is a natural disaster, the government and the aid societies will be onsite in a few hours after it strikes. Your friends will be able to help you too so don’t be afraid to ask for help.

If you are just getting started I suggest you read about making a Bug-Out Bag (Art of and formulate a plan. This type of planning will get you a LONG way toward being prepared for something temporarily terrible happening.

Arming Myself to the Teeth

Contrary to what you may read on some websites, you don’t need a fully kitted-out expedition-class Land Rover Defender with ring-mounted MK19 40mm grenade launcher to survive. (I didn’t say you shouldn’t have a MK19, I just said you don’t NEED one.) A full tank of gas for your Range Rover will get you a long way toward getting out of the way of danger.  I see a lot of guys paying for some very expensive firearms. For what an well configured AR-15 costs, you could buy 3 months worth of portable food and a very reliable Mossberg 12 gauge shotgun.

Well that was a lot. It was possibly a little scatter-brained but I think most people will get the gist of this post.

Key points…

  • Something bad will probably happen (think natural disaster not societal collapse)
  • Make a good Bug-Out Bag
  • Be prepared, have a plan

Thanks for reading and Happy Prepping Rovering.

How to Bug-In (Post #303) 11/6/2012

Friends, it is that time in Oklahoma when the weather is beginning to demonstrate a chill. As I watched a pathetic whining lady beg President Obama to bring her a generator on FoxNews last night (11-05-2012), I was reminded it is always good to PLAN AHEAD. President Obama (nor any president for that matter) is not going to bring you a generator.  

(I don’t want any of my readers to think I don’t have a heart or concern for those people. That was a wickedly terrible storm and it disrupted hundreds of thousands of people’s lives. Truly terrible. I can only hope they are banding to together like we Okies have in the past. I have friends up there. I say a prayer for them every day.)

So with that being said, you shouldn’t have to look any further than the devastation in New Jersey to know you should have some way to take care of your own in case disaster strikes. The blizzards of the plains are just a few weeks away. I hope none of my readers are so myopic that they have forgotten what it is like without electricity. The longest Mrs. OkieRover and I have been out of electricity since we have been married was 28 hours. My wife thought it was the end days. Try 28 days.

Storing some water and food, having a well thought out plan, and taking just a few precautions doesn’t make you a survivalist whack-a-doodle. It makes you a self-sufficient survivor. And like the classic Aesop’s fable, be the Ant and not the Grasshopper. In fact, owning a shotgun is expressly for the purpose of making sure the bloddy grasshoppers of the world don’t come knocking.

You have read my posts about bugging out and being prepared for a Zombie Apocalypse. You now know that you must be able to “ride it out” too.

The Art of Manliness (a truly superior website, by the way) has posted another excellent how-to article. I highly recommend you read it and act on it. Act on it now while you have sufficient electricity, water, and fuel to accomplish these tasks.

Winter is Coming.

How to Bug-In: What You Need to Know to Survive a Grid Down Disaster

As always, thanks for reading and Happy Rovering.

The Perfect Wife (Post #225) 12/1/2010

I know I read this line somewhere but I can’t find the reference.

Its a rare thing and when you find it, you should grab it with both hands and hold on to it.

Maybe its a paraphrase of something I heard in my youth. I found some lyrics to a song by Outkast that come close. Some where around the 3:20 mark you’ll hear the prophetic lines…

So if you find one, I beg you, hold her tight
If you spot one, good sir, treat her right

Some of the comments on the video are funny.

Kinda old song, but I like it and i feel a lot of people need to hear it.  – dh2130, June 28, 2008

According to Wikipedia the album was released September 23, 2003.
Kinda old? 
That’s funny. But dh2130 is right, a lot of people do need to hear this.

You will encounter things your entire life that will hopefully fit in to this “hold on to it philosophy”. It could be a Camel Trophy vehicle, it could be a classic motorcycle, it could be a rare photograph or painting that really speaks to you. And it could be a lady.

I got the following text from my good friend JagGuy today…

So I’m laying in bed with my wife last night and she said to me the most wonderful thing,
“I think you should buy some more army trucks.”
I love my wife!!!!!

My best friend has been working on a new venture and he enjoys the work and turns out a product people really want. It would seem at first that his wife is happy with it and he should do more of it. How awesome is that?

My response to him was skeptical, mostly because I know his wife. In general I would say I “know” most people’s wives…

Is this after you gave her the Tiffany tennis bracelet?

It turns out I was close, this was actually in response to him selling another of his Bobbed Dueces. I’m pretty sure JagGuy is going to hold on to Mrs. JagGuy, as you can tell above, she’s a keeper.

But what if this was due to the fact that they both had a hobby they enjoyed….together? 

They may have a hobby they do together, I don’t know. But that quote got me thinking. Besides the obvious hobby couples share and usually both enjoy, only a few of my friends have hobbies their wives enjoy with them. A quick survey of my closest circle of friends produces only a few things some of the couples have in common. Kids, sports, grand kids, movies…kinda bleak.

I know my hobbies. Let’s see if any of them line up with Mrs. OkieRover…
Land Rovers?…not a hobby of my wife.
Living History?…again not a hobby of my wife.
Soccer?…not a chance.
Camping…not YET a hobby of my wife. I hope to change this in the coming year.

We both love to go on road trips.
We both love staying away from home.

Now all I have to do is combine road trip with staying away from home in a tent and BOOM we have a hobby together. I think I can add bird watching and swimming in the ocean to the package and sweeten the deal. Mrs. OkieRover doesn’t do cold weather.

See when you have a woman, like Mrs. OkieRover, you hold on to her. She has put up with a lot of my crap over the years. She has allowed me to have hobbies and spend time doing stuff I LIKE for 20 years. We played competitive softball for a few years together, but our bodies have not allowed softball since we gave it up to watch our kids play sports.

We are just a few short years from being what is known as “empty-nesters”. Our nest, which we have built over the last 20 plus years is going to be a few bodies short in just a few years. And until now, we haven’t thought much about it. But with only teenagers in the house the last few years we have been able to steal away a few trips. And we like it.

Our future is coming at us faster than a K5 Blazer without brakes on the Lion’s Back in Moab.

Now we are looking at have what might appear to be years and years of time to entertain ourselves. We have got to find something we both like to do…together… other than play backgammon. We need to find something to do away  from the house….together.

The obvious is travel.
Lots of couples travel together.
I have a Land Rover. Hey! you can travel in a Land Rover, I’ve seen it.
My wife has a … ummm, uh, a love for my company! Yeah! Well most of the time anyway.

My wife loves my cooking, for the most part.
I love the way she moves her mouth when she eats.
See we are perfect for each other! Perhaps we can enjoy cooking and eating in the wilderness together.

Cooking is a very popular activity in the off-roading magazines. It seems lots of foodies love off-roading. Expedition Exchange used to have the Iron Chef Showdown. Teams would compete by cooking a gourmet meal. We are not gourmet meal people but we both enjoy a nice steak and a baked potato. I know I’ll enjoy cooking us some nice dinners while we are camping.

Or perhaps we can get the grand kids and take them camping and fishing. Maybe we can throw in some board games and some swimming or surfing, maybe some star gazing and some bird watching and make a good time of it. I’m sure the grand kids will love it…at least they will until it begins to interrupt what ever hand held gaming system they will own and what ever cell phones are like in the future.

The possibilities are endless. Well, not endless per se. We just have to find something and try it. I’ll have to have patience as we work out what we like to do together and Mrs. OkieRover will have to adjust to not having a roof over her head and waking up in a hotel every morning.

I can’t wait to see what the future will be like. I hope it is filled with lots of mornings waking up in some remote place and spending lots of time together.

Like my quote above, I’m going to put her in the Range Rover and hold on to her with both hands. Wait, she usually fusses at me when I don’t drive with both hands. She always says something like, “I can’t believe you are driving with your knees and eating a cheeseburger.” Okay maybe I’ll hold her with just one hand, I’ll use the other to steer.

As the famous Geritol commercial from the 1970s says, “My wife, I think I’ll keep her.”
I wish I could have found that clip online…and you thought the internet had everything.

Thanks for reading and Happy Rovering.