Eclipse Traffic: This is What a Bug Out Would Look Like

Oregon Traffic

Here in Oregon, because of this eclipse thing, people are flooding into the state. They expect at least 1.5 million to arrive here…tens of thousands already arriving since yesterday!

Today, on Oregon Highway 26, from Prineville, OR for 15-miles east, they closed the road – it is bumper-to-bumper traffic, nothing is moving – vehicles are running out of gas….with no place to go… Gas stations in Bend and Redmond Oregon are already out of gas…don’t know if they will get another delivery of fuel in the next day or two…

In our area,  gas prices went up 30-cents per gallon since yesterday…I needed to top-off the gas tank on my pick-up, I couldn’t get into any of the gas stations because of the lines…glad I keep spare gas cans full – at my digs, at all times!

I have never seen anything like this in my life. We can only imagine how much worse it would be in a serious SHTF bug out situation.

Here is a news story about the traffic:

Highway reopened but eclipse traffic jam continues in Central Oregon


  1. Yes, this is to be expected when mass vehicle traffic is routed towards one area. It happened along Interstate 45 when Hurricane Rita threatened Houston Texas as well.

    I feel sorry for those who will be inconvenienced during this event. I’m sure restaurants and hotels who benefit from this are happy though. I’m happy enough to be witnessing the partial eclipse from my backyard.

  2. I’m fortunate enough to live at my retreat in my rural area, but it took me years to do that, and I recognize that most folks can’t. To me, this situation illustrates the necessity of knowing how to navigate the back roads to your retreat. Don’t even think about the highways, they’re not an option.

  3. I’ve noticed that every entry ramp to interstate hwy’s are gated. If the interstate was blocked getting across say the Mississippi would be near impossible.

    1. A master key is something we always travel with. What’s a master key you might ask. Why simple bolt cutters. Back roads or major highways can be blocked with gates and locks, the master key works well in any emergency.

  4. Thank you for the update. I don’t know what this would look like so it’s informative to hear from like-minded people. Please all, continue the observations. Thank you.

  5. Hurricanes Katrina (New Orleans) and Rita (Houston) are also good examples of Bug Outs.

    Roads full and at a stop, cars running out of gas, stations running out of the “It’s a disaster and you’ll pay this special NEW price” fuel, food, and water they had.

    The only folks who left and arrived in comfort were those who left early.

    The traffic jam scene close to the end of the movie Deep Impact is a good example what it looks like.

  6. I didn’t have to travel yesterday, but traffic in southern Oregon on I-5 and Hwy. 99 was brought to a standstill by a combination of eclipse traffic and lane closures due to a small forest fire. Fortunately the fire was quickly controlled, but if my relatives had been forced to evacuated they would have had great difficulty.

  7. I sometimes miss our old conversion van. We had bucket swivel chairs, a bench seat that laid down for a bed in the back, and a 12 volt TV with VHS tape player. With a family of 6 we made many trips between Cheyenne and Seattle, much more relaxed than in a commuter car. Once when we were parked in the highway with all the other cars due to avalanche closure, we were having fun. When we opened the door for a minute, the car driver next to us cried out in chagrin, “Hey! They have TV!” If you can still find an older van in decent running condition, I recommend them for packing along good preps, a toilet bucket, water, and other items when traveling a long ways and/or with family.

    1. I remember those fondly. We have the modern equivalent in our more fuel efficient 8 seat Honda Odyssey with four captains chairs, but instead of the third row seating folding into a bed it folds flat into the floor for more space. We’ve slept there many times. Instead of a VCR we have a DVD player and cassette deck it has a DVD player and 6 disc CD changer. It also has a built-in inverter and a compartment under the middle center seat cushion that we lined with a box and trash bag for an emergency toilet. Our five year-old had to use it on two occasions when traffic was at a standstill. We’ll be driving it 1,000 miles to Disney World this fall for midday breaks watching movies reclined in air-conditioned comfort in theme park parking lots.

  8. just want to make sure nobody gets the wrong impression from the satire, watching an eclipse from a place that will not achieve totality is nothing at all like being in the path. I have not yet experienced it but I have been to shuttle launches, so I understand when somebody says “I can’t explain it, you just have to be there”. You can get pictures of previous eclipses online right now, don’t waste your time watching one live. Sure, see the partial from your yard, nothing wrong with it, but don’t think you’re getting the whole thing. I’ve already had to cancel plans to visit my son in Idaho after planning ahead far enough to have a hotel. Now I’m trying for a closer small town, so if I don’t make it it’s not a 2,000 mile disaster.

  9. This is just the mildest hint of how bad it’ll really be when people are climbing all over each other in a panic stampede evacuation, with no clue where their next meal and jug of clean water will come from. They are like locusts swarming the outlying towns, too, stripping them bare.

  10. Yes, this will be a great lesson in preparing for the massive traffic jams and lack of fuel and supplies that would certainly affect bug out drivers after a disaster.

    Suspected drunk driver causes massive traffic jam (every day fragility of overtaxed highway system):

    Colorado Department of Transportation predicts worst traffic event in history:(eclipse)

    Colorado gas stations and delis are busy (eclipse).

  11. I had a hotel reservation in the band of totality 500 miles away, but my daughter is only six so cancelled it when I found out there is a much closer band of totality when she is 13 in 2024. We still have our eclipse glasses verified by an accredited testing laboratory to meet the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard so will be watching the partial from home.

  12. Most traffic is caused by unskilled,poorly trained drivers that are a road hazard when alone then dangerous when in traffic. The lack of training is designed to make people demand autonomous vehicles

  13. Before we were able to escape we lived through a lot of hurricanes in Florida. Every time they ordered an evacuation the roads became nightmares ( ). You learn quickly in those kind of situations. Things like avoid choke points bridges, highways, narrow roads, etc… Gas stations will always be more expensive than you plan for and almost always out of gas. Plan for your tank of fuel to only go half as far as you think until you break away from the masses. Wives and daughters will almost pee on themselves before they’re are willing to go behind a tree. Cell phones and electronics are never charged when you need them and the family that depends on them doesn’t get along well when they don’t have them. Spare dry and seasonal clothing including shoes (beyond what you have in your B.O.B/G.O.O.D. bags) should be kept in the vehicle at all times; and you can’t have enough water. Have multiple back road routes to where you’re going with predetermined and isolated way points for camping/sleeping/supply caches. A luxury is enough drivers rotate every 3-4 hrs to stay alert and still have an awake navigator and lookout. I’m lucky here with 5 children some old enough to drive and all trained in firearms. Roads are for those that like to get ambushed but shortcuts tend to take longer than round about road ways.
    I hope that some of these thoughts can help those that have never lived through such things; but now that we are living at our homestead/retreat full time in an isolated part of the mountains, I hope to never need to evacuate again.

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