At the risk of stating the obvious, the Code Green Community can only be a useful resource for you if you can be sure of being able to reach it at times when you feel it appropriate to ‘bug out’ and move to the community, whether it be for a short-term or longer term.
There’s not any specific magic distance, less than which it is appropriate to plan to join the Code Green Community, and more than that making it impossible. But there are several measures and considerations that will help you identify a realistic maximum distance you can plan to travel.
How Far Will You Need to Travel?
We’re not publishing the exact location of our retreat for obvious reasons, but if you figure on driving to the ID/MT border on Hwy 2, MT 200, or I-90, that will put you within about 50 miles of where you need to be.
But don’t just plug in your starting point and the ID/MT border as your destination into Google maps and read off the distance and use that for your figuring. Look at the route it is suggesting, and then adjust it to detour around major cities or areas of known freeway congestion. Maybe there would be a different route depending on the time of day you set out so as to avoid rush hours on the way; maybe there is a different summer and winter route, and also consider your ideal route and then alternates that you might need to take if there are bridges out, roads closed, or any other interruptions.
You shouldn’t plan to drive any further than the fuel you have with you will take you. In an extreme situation, you can’t plan on being able to buy more fuel along the way.
So, how much petrol or diesel will you take with you, and what is the range that this (plus a full tank to start with) provides?
In answering that question, we suggest you assume a less than optimum fuel consumption. As you probably already know, if you’re stuck in dense traffic, your fuel consumption gets worse, and if you have to divert around any obstacles, again you’re driving in a less efficient mode and also adding extra miles.
You should also reduce the total distance you can travel by some amount to allow for some extra miles you might need to cover for any detours or wrong turns (hopefully that won’t be an issue, but you never know) or other problems along the way.
Remember also that if your vehicle is more heavily loaded than normal (more people, more stuff, and even the weight of extra fuel) it will give slightly lower fuel economy than if it is lightly loaded. This isn’t a big difference, but it is still something to factor into your equation. It seems that each extra 100 lbs of weight will typically reduce your mpg rating by between 1% and 2% (the lighter the vehicle to start with, the greater the impact).
On the other hand, if you’re driving to your retreat in a scenario where fuel has suddenly become ultra-precious, maybe you’ll reduce your cruise speed so as to get better fuel economy. There’s little benefit in driving slower than 50 mph (and the longer you spend driving, the greater your overall risk is anyway), so we’d suggest trying to keep the speed to 60 mph and not exceeding that. Depending on your normal cruising speed and situations, this could give you an extra 10% – 25% fuel economy.
We also suggest you keep some type of portable cheap tire pump/compressor at home and over-inflate your tires slightly before setting out (the only exception to this being if you’ll be driving in heavy snow and need the extra footprint of the tires on the snow). Each extra pound per square inch is about the same as a 0.3% improvement in fuel economy. Don’t go wild and crazy with the tire pressures, but make sure they are at least to recommended pressures, and maybe a few psi over.
The biggest variable though is how much extra fuel you’ll choose to take with you. How many 5 gallon containers of fuel will you choose to load into the vehicle?
Do your figuring, and when you come up with the number, that’s the maximum distance you can travel. Many vehicles, with a 16 gallon fuel tank, 20 extra gallons in the trunk, and assuming 25 mpg, would have about a 900 mile range.
If this distance is insufficient, please see our comments below about our Halfway Houses.
Time, Distance and Difficulty Considerations
There’s more to how far you can travel than simply the range your vehicle can travel before running out of fuel. There’s also the range you can travel before collapsing at the wheel!
Two thoughts here. First, if you have other people who can share the driving with you, that’s a great partial solution.
Secondly, once you get going, you want to be able to get to your destination (ie our Community) without any need to stop, other than for short bathroom breaks. Time is not your friend. Eat in the car. Don’t stop to overnight somewhere, keep driving through the night.
We all know that there’s a tremendous difference between driving 50 miles on surface streets through a congested city, driving 50 windy difficult miles over a mountain pass on a dirt forestry road, and driving 50 level smooth straight miles on the freeway with the cruise control on all the way. The freeway driving is of course the best case scenario, and (depending on your vehicle) the city traffic probably the worst.
So you want to consider not just driving distance but also traveling time and difficulty. Maybe, in theory, you could load your vehicle up with so much fuel that you could travel 2000 miles, but just because your vehicle could go that far, is it realistic to expect that you can travel that far too, remaining alert and aware all the way?
Extending Your Range – Our Halfway House(s)
Recognizing all the above challenges and limitations on how far you can realistically plan to travel, we are instituting one (and possibly more) ‘Halfway Houses’ – a secure location allowing people to break a journey to our northern ID/MT location into two easier parts.
Your first segment to the Halfway House can then be followed by a good night’s sleep at a secure location and a chance to refuel your vehicle from pre-positioned fuel reserves you’ve already located at the Halfway House. You can also carry out any essential simple maintenance on the vehicle, communicate by long-range radio with the Community, and then continue your journey, refreshed and resupplied,the next day.
This greatly extends the area within which you can live and still plan realistically to be able to get to the community if needed, and is discussed more fully here.
Other Types of Travel and Range Extensions
You are also of course completely free to make your own independent arrangements to travel longer distances to reach the community. In particular, we have discussed the appeal of air travel via your own private plane – either a float plane or regular plane, in this article and this second, subsequent article.
Bottom line – if you think you can get to our community, then you’re welcome to join us.