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Old 09-09-2005, 12:57 AM   #1
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Chicago chick convoy to Katrina ...

... i'm leaving for New Orleans on the 21st, pulling a U-Haul full of things that I sure would want in that situation (my "prepare-for-2-months-overseas" packing list has been a perfect source of ideas, which is sad on some level).

After my dog Osita jumped the fence tonight to party with my neighbor Elena's labs, I learned that Elena's going too. But, as an emergency vet tech, she's focusing on the animals.

So if you live in the Chicago area & have something useful that you want to contribute, please bring it over. We promise zero overhead. We're just going to drive that direction till we find people who need a hand. We're canvassing the neighborhood & gently mentioning this project to stores where we have longtime shopping relationships. We are NOT strongarming anyone or even accepting cash.

My focus is going to be things like rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, cotton balls, Q-tips, can openers, pop-top soups, nail clippers. For the first time in my life, I'm going to pick up one of those ugly sale circulars & head to Wal-Mart. Elena thinks dog dishes, food, leashes, pet carriers, well, you know as well as I do what will come in handy.

I also am taking a few boxes of beautiful things, like my NICEST clothing, not the castoffs, and some of the antique Japanese kimonos & gorgeous quilts that I collect, because even a good supply of cotton balls & nail clippers isn't really ... LIVING.

I'm excited. And feeling hopeful again.

As landmarks go, we live next to the Brookfield Zoo. First & Ogden, kind of.

Crazy about you all,
Theresa
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Old 09-09-2005, 01:55 AM   #2
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addendum

maybe there is something i'd specifically ask for if it's possible:

Elena & her (female) veterinary friend are a little apprehensive about their safety around New Orleans. They're expecting their journey to be a nine-day trip. They've been warned to bring a tent & to stay alert. But I'd be more than happy to lend them my perfectly functioning Bambi (which probably would seem like heaven on earth down there) if Elena had a hitch on her smallish SUV. She's a student teacher, though, and very broke. For this trip she's using every day of vacation that she'll get this year.

Is a 2" drop hitch something that a couple of guys/gals in the area could band together & install for her? I recollect that mine cost me a few hundred dollars but I wrapped a whole bunch of alterations in that particular shop visit so who can say. Is a hitch just a welding chore? I can approach my favorite body shop 2 blocks away for a contribution too but I'm worried that businesses are getting hit up left & right.

I'd host any workers overnight. My pool's still open & warm & I have 2 extra bedrooms.
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Old 09-09-2005, 01:58 AM   #3
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Oh, and Overlander63, thanks for the suggestion that I rent a UHaul one way because that idea would never have occurred to me.
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Old 09-09-2005, 05:21 AM   #4
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Make sure she has some kind of sway control on that hitch. A WD hitch would be better. Remember, short wheelbase SUV's do not make good tow vehicles.
I may be going to Mississippi next week myself. Not sure if I am taking A/S or not. Guy I am relieving is tent camping off of the EDICS (Emergency Deployable Interoperable Communications System) trailer, which has a 10 KW diesel genset and A/C. They are set up in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Waveland, MS.
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Old 09-09-2005, 05:31 AM   #5
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Teresa... first... our best wishes for this trip. Then, what kind of SUV does Elena have? The Bambi may be too big for it even at a modest 2000 lbs loaded. If you're caravanning, perhaps you can have UHaul outfit her SUV and let her pull the cargo trailer, and you can pull the living accomodations.

Roger
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Old 09-09-2005, 06:32 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by summerkid
maybe there is something i'd specifically ask for if it's possible:Is a 2" drop hitch something that a couple of guys/gals in the area could band together & install for her? I recollect that mine cost me a few hundred dollars but I wrapped a whole bunch of alterations in that particular shop visit so who can say. Is a hitch just a welding chore? I can approach my favorite body shop 2 blocks away for a contribution too but I'm worried that businesses are getting hit up left & right.
Depending on the SUV, you can get an El Cheapo class 3-4 hitch, with a 2" receiver, for less than $200. If you are at all handy, and can read instructions, you two and possibly a male friend (so he can tighten those mounting bolts) can get the job done in about an hour and a half. Also, depending on the SUV, you can get a plug-in trailer lighting plug, that goes right into the existing harness of the SUV. Installation time would be a matter of minutes, it will take longer to find the connection on the SUV than it will to plug it in.
If you do this, it would be better if your friend tows the UHaul trailer, they are designed to be towable by almost anything, and if you get the optional insurance for it, even if the worst happens your friend will be covered. Also, honestly it would be better if you were towing your Airstream, in case something happens (you wouldn't, even subconsciously, be blaming your friend for the damage). Been there, done that, bought the tee shirt.
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Old 09-09-2005, 07:40 AM   #7
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Can't help with the hitch, but if either of you would like a stop over place, I'm located in Chattanooga and would be happy to play host. Don't know if you would be coming through here or not.

Good luck with everything you are doing! AND BE SAFE!!!
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Old 09-09-2005, 10:22 AM   #8
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I agree with Terry installing a hitch is normally about a 2 beer job But be forewarned if your friend's SUV is a Ford Exploder Uhaul WILL NOT rent a trailer to you if they know it is going to be towed by one.

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Old 09-09-2005, 11:46 AM   #9
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Gotcha. I think the better option for her is the many offers of accommodation along the way. I don't see her vehicle over there right now so can't ask about its capabilities.

I must admit being shocked to have PMs waiting this morning titled along the lines of "NO Help" .... and I thought, "well, that's not very generous." !
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Old 09-09-2005, 02:40 PM   #10
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NO Help

Quote:
Originally Posted by summerkid
I must admit being shocked to have PMs waiting this morning titled along the lines of "NO Help" .... and I thought, "well, that's not very generous." !
Theresa:

Could, by chance, NO be an abbreviation for New Orleans, Louisiana, as in NOLA????

BTW (By The Way), regarding Orleans parish - ALL of New Orleans is closed to ALL non-military personnel, unless approved by the military and/or FEMA.

Exceptions are FEMA and Corps of Engineers contractors for levee work, police assistance personnel, body (morgue) recovery personnel (50 from Houston), and other as necessary AND CONTRACTED by the directors of the emergency agencies. Some surrounding parishes are opening up - along with most of Mississippi.

Hardest hit is St. Bernard parish - no roads open in or out -

Seems strange that the hardest hit areas have not been on the news.
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Old 09-09-2005, 11:30 PM   #11
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yeah, i figured that out after opening the message.

i don't know the exact situation in st. bernard, whether everyone evacuated & left it a ghost town or what. but usually, it's just as hard & dangerous for journalists to get into those areas as it is for everyone else and, if no people are there right now, then it really doesn't make for compelling reportage.
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Old 09-10-2005, 07:31 AM   #12
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I have to stop in Tallahassee, on the way to MS, to get proper credentials from the Florida Dept. of Emergency Management, before we are allowed in. NOTHING is open in the area I am going to, just 18 miles West of Gulfport. Tents and MRE's will be the order of the day. (Not even McDonalds is open!) I want to take the A/S, but the logistics of personnel replacement will not allow it.

Even worse, this is going to mess up our Ft. Desoto trip
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Old 09-10-2005, 08:39 AM   #13
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I'm just going to get as close as possible & look for people who need cotton balls & rubbing alcohol! As far as food for myself, I figure fliptop soup cans & a Bunsen burner.
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Old 09-10-2005, 08:50 AM   #14
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Quote:
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Even worse, this is going to mess up our Ft. Desoto trip

That is a REAL bummer. I was looking forward to see you guys again
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Old 09-10-2005, 09:06 AM   #15
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Have always dreamed of having an airstream due to Katrina it may come true. House not livable. Looking for used airstream to pull in drive and live in for approx 8 months to fix home. Never owned camper before, any suggestions as to what size would be comfie for 8 months! Hubbie has a Toyota 4 Runner would like easy to pull. Not to complicated for first timers! Dont want to spend to much, lost everything on first floor with no contents on flood! Who knew we would EVER see a 22 foot tidal surge in back bay!
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Old 09-10-2005, 05:04 PM   #16
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Quote:
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Never owned camper before, any suggestions as to what size would be comfie for 8 months! Hubbie has a Toyota 4 Runner would like easy to pull. Not to complicated for first timers!
Hi, and welcome to the forums. I am sorry to hear of your loss, at least you are okay. Posessions can be more-or-less replaced, and people can't.
Now, for your question.You are in a catch-22 as far as what trailer you need, and what can be pulled by the 4 runner. Any trailer that the SUV could safely pull, would be much too small to live in for any length of time. The minimum size to live in would be a 25 footer (Tradewind model), but it would be too heavy for the Toyota. The 4 Runner could pull maybe up to a 21 foot trailer, called a Globetrotter.
Now, if you are going to be parked for a year, why not get something big enough you can live in, and worry about getting a suitable tow vehicle when you are ready to travel?
By large enough, I am talking about vintage coaches of 25' and longer, Tradewind (25'), Overlander (27'), Excella (30'), and Sovereign (31').
Good luck with your search for a coach.
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Old 09-10-2005, 09:37 PM   #17
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Thumbs down Just some info.....

Summer -

Just talked today with a friend of mine from Georgia, who traveled with a church group that got into Mississippi just two days after Katrina. They got back Labor Day and her husband was immediately called back to help organize the next church group. By the way, our church is the LDS (Mormon),who were there before FEMA. The church had semis parked in a variety of locations outside of the hurricane area full of supplies and were in the hardest hit areas within 24 hours.

Anyway, my friend and hubby had to take absolutely everything they would need to live for a week, including tents, sleeping bags, and extra gas. She said the TV pictures don't begin to show the absolute devastation of the Gulfport and west area. Very few roads are open, very few gas stations are open, and the lines are terrible. Gas is more expensive too. Be sure you have an updated tetanus shot at the minimum.

In many places they are not allowing people to come in unless they are a resident, a part of an organized relief effort or have been approved by the Red Cross. By the 21st you should be able to get "certified" by the Red Cross as a volunteer. In our area, they have already finished one class and have started another.

I commend you for wanting to help. I wish I could physically go too, but my health doesn't allow it. So I am contributing in other ways. We have several displaced families right here in Leavenworth that need absolutely everything and I will continue to work with the Red Cross locally to see that they have everything they need to survive a Kansas winter.

My best to you in this endeavor.
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Old 09-10-2005, 09:42 PM   #18
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Summerkid,

I don't mean to throw cold water on a great idea but, according to my sister in law, you won't be very welcome.

The various organizations, Red Cross, Sal Army, Baptist, Methodist, etc. churchs are already there with the first wave of helpers. They are training a 2nd and 3rd wave to relieve right now.

I do understand security concerns by local authorities and the staggering logistics of supporting a large group of people that have to be fed, clothed, schooled, etc. in an area that may not have electricity, water, sewage treatment, natural gas, or a/c.

She says one of these organizations will get you trained in 2-3 weeks and you will be wave 2 or 3. Sounds like Pick has a particular skill but, they will train you for what they need if you don't have a particular skill.

Her church group says people with self contained units will be accomodated.

I am investigating right now for myself and the wife. Retired seniors should be able to stay longer & needed for something
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Old 09-10-2005, 10:23 PM   #19
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Jesus said "If you do not know the poor, you do not know me." Good luck as you go to serve those who are in need. If I hear one more person say "those poor people are lazy, that's why they didn't leave" I'm going to punch somebody. Thanks for daring to go, when so many of us are tied to our present lives. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

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Old 09-11-2005, 06:43 AM   #20
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Theresa, everyone is right. You will not be able to enter the area at all, unless you have proper credentials. My neighbor, who is helping with power restoration, had to get 6 different shots, and has to wear a very large badge across his chest, so he is not mistaken for a looter and shot. He will be working right in New Orleans.
I will be briefed on what hoops I have to jump through, tommorrow.
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