Dear readers, most of you already should know my country was a successful oil and derivatives producer until the red plague devastated it. Political facts that led to man-made disasters apart, there are some crucial aspects this fuel crisis has made me more aware than ever.
First, you really need a place with a garden to produce your stuff and the means to defend it. (I think I had mentioned this already). Second, you´re going to need much more than just canned food, guns, and ammo. If you plan for a six months disaster, very likely this can last 5 years. Don´t ask me how I know that.
This being said, you´re going to need much more than just what I have mentioned. Everything we used to have on the cheap just in a few weeks, suddenly is under jeopardy, threatened by the coming and goings of international trade, now under a new and fairly gloomy light. Cheap shoes, clothing, blankets, I start to wonder if they are going to be there in a few more months. Once stocks run dry, prices are going to go up. Given anything is left.
With this situation and everyone´s income diminished severely, the procurement of some basic needs has been delayed. Underwear buying, shoes, and other stuff we need have been put on hold…indefinitely. And yes, these items are as important as the other ones. Maybe not “urgent” but important, yes, they are.
In all-seasons weather, where you need more clothes, one of the solutions is to have tons of good quality clothes. Fashion can wait for better times. You will have to use the same clothes maybe for two or three years, that´s why you´re going to need good quality stuff. Depending on how vigorously you wash it, it should last longer. (One of my “green” devices is going to be exactly for that very same application).
Our weather is normally as hotter, and much more humid, than your average summer. Therefore, we tend to use our same clothes until these are faded and worn, because they are not used to buying clothes for the “new season”. In my case, I´d been buying clothes a piece every couple of months, needed it or not. That was when I had a good salary, but I had already understood that having plenty of clothes and using them alternately should make them last longer.
Same with shoes. Most of my college years I used two pairs of welder´s boots with steel toes (they were comfortable enough and dirt cheap), one pair of cowboy boots, and a pair of sports shoes I used sparely. I´m talking 5 years. My daily driver was the cowboy boots, and they were repaired beyond believing. I used to walk a lot, and the leather held up pretty well. At least in city conditions. In, other soil and terrain, duration surely decreases.
I am looking now to get a pair of jungle boots (terrain at my cottage is rocky, and snakes are abundant) and make some knee-high ankle protection for the kiddo, just like those used in the trench wars. I have been thinking than some soft leather properly treated should work as a good start, but that is material for coming articles once I can produce my own hide from some native species.
For those with more manual skills, I would advise getting some shoes repairing material and I mean the good stuff. Kilometer of thread in diverse sizes, and a good quality leather sewing machine (after a couple of years, polymer-based fabrics may start to show wear, unless they are extremely good quality) is going to be a quite good investment. Experience has taught me enough these last few years, and I´d rather have a few profitable skills than just one specialization in this now confined-by-disease new world.
I would advise quite seriously those in warmer climates to get a few pairs of leather sandals. These can be repaired at home (make sure to look and download for some online tutorials and get the materials you may need) and could last for years without excessive wear. In weather such as Tibet, sherpas use Yak leather sandals, with thick wool socks, and have been using them for a long time. Maybe this would help to make your rubber boots last longer.
What about the fuel shortage?
This being said, I am analyzing how to get around the fuel scarcity we will find once we arrive in Venezuela. One of the possibilities, is generating fuel to burn. A biodigester would be the choice and a very good one. However, until not trying it actively, I can´t but keep an enthusiastic optimism about it. Once I´ve built one, filled up a bottle at 4 bars with a compressor, and drove to my hometown back and forth in my cruiser, I will be able to base my articles on solid facts.
It´s almost 40 kilometers, and using the bike daily is prohibitive. Too much fuel needed for such a large engine, over 1000cc. (75 cu. In.) Even being gentle on the throttle, it would gulp gas. I´m already in the concept and visualization stage of the needed accessories: a “governor” fixed to the right handle and a gas valve attached to this lever, next to the carb, with a fitting and a hose running straight into it. Diameters will be dictated by trial and error, and the gas reservoir will be a small bottle. This will be carried in a bracket inside a small two-wheeled trailer, indispensable to increase the loading capacity of the bike and taking some products to the hometown.
Stay tuned for this project. It´s going to be a real survival essay, on how to actually make something within limited means in a devastated land.
The other alternative is using an electric motor for our already existing bike. There are different designs, but I´d favor the one used on the front wheel, with a pull-behind cart to carry a large battery rack, with a 30 or 50W solar panel on top. In my area, this could be a huge lifesaver. Electric bikes are all but forbidden. No one is going to give a 2nd look at a bicycle with a cart. A real problem could be delinquency, but this could be managed with a smart schedule and without routines. No thug wakes early, at least in my hometown. Anyway, the armed ones have been so active roaming the streets terrifying people that any potential assaulter is going to think twice before leaving out on the open. Once the quarantine is finished, people will start to move more or less normally…without gasoline. I´ve heard about elders and pregnant women walking 7 or 8 km from their humble homes to downtown to buy some food. People is seen walking on the streets, or in all kind of vehicles, instead of cars.
Therefore, the kit to assemble or convert your current bike to an electric bicycle would be a great addition for most people in Venezuela. No matter your country is filled up to the top with fuel. Just assign a low priority but keep it in mind just in case. See what has happened, and use it to prepare your plans B, C, and D. The possibility of a global fuel supply scarcity or some other holocaust, now seems to be more plausible than ever, under this light.
Back on topic, just the possibility to move silently for a relatively long distance without too much physical effort is worth it. It is even possible to make an off-road bug out, if you have experience in off-road cycling. Remember we are not getting any younger, and carrying a load is a completely different experience than just hiking with a small daypack and a few items. That’s why my plans have changed drastically for the next threats. Because I’m sure, this is just beginning. Mark my words.
I will not provide any links this time, and please forgive me this time. There are too many alternatives out there and I cannot check which ones are suited.
Make sure you get your equipment from a trusted source preferably local, and that you are not feeding any beast that has already bitten our (global) backside. We have to make an effort to recover our respective local economies, instead of buying manufactured goods made by slave workers exploited by a despotic regime, just because they are cheaper.
Remember, if you buy cheap, you buy twice. There will arise tons of opportunities, now the global market seems to be reshaping completely. If you have some business idea to execute from a small or medium-sized workshop, I am sure that in countries with a developed economy and stability, it will be taken in account much differently.
Be safe people, and keep prepping no matter what.
Jose is an upper middle class professional. He is a former worker of the oil state company with a Bachelor’s degree from one of the best national Universities. He has a small 4 members family, plus two cats and a dog. An old but in good shape SUV, a good 150 square meters house in a nice neighborhood, in a small but (formerly) prosperous city with two middle size malls. Jose is a prepper and shares his eyewitness accounts and survival stories from the collapse of his beloved Venezuela. Thanks to your help Jose has gotten his family out of Venezuela. They are currently setting up a new life in another country. Follow Jose on YouTube and gain access to his exclusive content on Patreon. Donations: paypal.me/JoseM151