Letter Re: G.O.O.D. Vehicle Alternatives

Jim, agree with your advice on vehicles. Trucks are the way to go and the more towing/hauling capacity the better. Here is one area of vehicles I have often been interested in and thought would make an excellent choice is the event of evacuating: Commercial vehicles, i.e. former rental trucks (Penske comes to mind because of the great care that is given to these vehicles why they are in the fleet and the low miles that they are released at.) These trucks not only have a large load capacity but have the added advantage of keeping your belongings hidden from prying eyes as well as safe from the elements. These trucks almost always come with a time tested and reliable diesel–the one I most recently rented and drove nearly 6,000 miles–had a 190 H.P. in-line 6 cylinder International engine that gave us NO problems. I’m sure there are disadvantages to using these but some other plus’s are mileage–we averaged close to 10m.p.g. with a gross weight of 22,000+lbs! These trucks are of course 2WD but can be converted to all 4WD. All that it takes is bucks. eBay Motors is an excellent source for these vehicles. You may find that they are cheaper that purchasing a dually 4WD pickup (new ones are nearly $50K, while used still command top dollar as well, saw one 2003 GMC fully loaded Duramax for $37K–not really a bargain). Extra fuel tanks can be fitted as well. (They normally come with a 50 gallon fuel cell.) Boyce Equipment of Utah sells refurbished transfer cases and entire axles that would more than likely fit these vehicles. The suspension on these vehicles is typically very robust and any modifications would just enhance that. As well you can add extra cabs, sleepers etc. to these vehicles for hauling other people. Of course, like you say, its better to be in your retreat location in the first place but think of the amount of gear you could haul…repeatedly…to your pre-postioning location. I would imagine that in a city environment storage of the vehicle would be a concern but spaces can be rented at the numerous storage facilities that all good-sized towns now seem to have. I see dozens of vehicles parked in these secure, guarded areas. Also, once stationary at a retreat the engine could perhaps then be utilized as a makeshift generator. With a properly maintained cooling system a diesel engine can run many, many hours. Anyway, that’s my $.02 worth. – J.M.