Poppa Jack has asked that I take over writing this journal. I've never turned him down on anything else so now I'm a writer! Before I tell of our latest adventure, I will bring events in my extended family up to date.
Mike and Jen are coming up on their second anniversary. They seem to be as much in love as before their marriage which, of course, is a good thing. Mike has been working the pond and raising horses with our dad.
Fuel is not much of a problem any more with the Lavacans providing it. We don't over use planes or cars. We have three tankers to make the trip down and back monthly with gas for vehicles. We still have fuel for our planes on hand though it's starting to become poorer with time and use also lowers the amount available. Preservation is the biggest and fastest growing of our allied communities. We now cover from beyond the Savannah area in the east over into Alabama and I-65 in the west. We are beginning to head north of I-20 in more places. South is the only area that is not seeing much growth. We are over the old border into Florida but not very far. There is still a lot of land and not many people. Florida is not the place to go any more except for the panhandle. We are talking about redeveloping the port of Mobile if we can figure on enough boat traffic to make it worthwhile. There is talk about operating a tanker from Lavaca to Mobile but it's still only talk.
My spouses and I divide our time between Preservation and Protection. Melissa had Elaine Lois and she is young and active. My spouses and I have renewed our debate about more children. Mel is still willing and would like to have more. The rest of us are concerned about the affect on her body from being pregnant so many times. Doctor George has said that we need to think carefully about any more children for that reason. He said that having children takes a toll on a woman's body. He says he has noticed that six children have taken a toll on Melissa. She's on birth control again for now.
We have started to include our two oldest in our family councils. They have some good ideas. Charlie was a little shy originally but Bobbi spoke up readily from the beginning. I wish I had their smarts and their way of thinking things out when I was their age.
Anyway, that's the latest news.
That leads us to consider our next two projects. Mike and Jen want to go to California and it looks like we will go with them. Also, we decided, as a community, to activate and operate the old AM commercial radio station, WSB.
We came down to Preservation and found that project well started. A number of Preservation members had become interested in radio as well as the hams in our community. We all use the ham radios regularly. We have classes for the young people and Mike and Jen had gone through all the engineering ones with a quickness that startled everyone including their parents.
A couple of others were almost as fast though older. They were visiting at Mike and Jen's place one day and started talking about the old AM radio stations. They had heard stories from some of the older folks like Poppa Jack's parents and grandparents tell how important and far-reaching AM radio had been years before the Day. They made an overnight trip to northeast Atlanta and realized quickly that the old radio station could be operated if there were a source of power.
It took some working but a dam was built for the sole purpose of providing power to the transmitter and studio and the support persons needed. They have collected musical recordings and other equipment as the project spread to more people.
We had heard a little about it but I hadn't thought much about it until we were at Preservation and Mike and Jen came to the house to talk. They were both excited about getting the station on the air and expected it to be operating within the week.
They wanted to tell us about the radio project and their proposed trip as well as see us. We quickly discovered there was another purpose in their trip. They wanted Bennie to record a number of announcements for the station to broadcast. They wanted to record the rest of us as well. For some of it, they had scripts for us to review.
Bennie looked at me with his usual "I don't make speeches" eyes. Before he could say anything, Pam said, "You will be perfect for it, Bennie. It will all be recorded but you have a voice that should be heard over a radio."
Then she added, "Your face would work well that way, too." Everyone laughed but Bennie did agree as long as it would be recorded.
He said, "We aren't here all the time and I don't want to be trapped in a studio being an invisible voice."
The next week had all of us up by the old Northlake Mall in northeast Atlanta making recordings and telling snippets of our story. A couple of examples will suffice.
One for Bennie was, "This is Radio Freedom coming from the old city of Atlanta, Georgia, on seven hundred fifty kilohertz. Most of the content you will hear is recorded but was recently recorded or programmed by members of the communities of Preservation and Protection.
"Contact is available nightly on 3.970 MHz and 7.185 MHz. Find and power a ham radio and join us on the air."
They had one for Pam and I to do together. We recorded it as, "This is Janice of Preservation. This is Pam from Protection. We're married but there are many men and women in our communities who are not and would be glad to meet newcomers. WSB used to stand for, 'Welcome South, Brother.' People who want freedom and peace are welcome to join us or to become allied with us by radio. We have technology to share. Welcome Surviving Brethren."
There were many others that Robby and others did. Mike and Jen even coerced their parents into recording some "spots" as they were called. They flew up to Protection and down to Port Lavaca and Pintlala to include voices from each area in the announcements recorded.
Mike wanted to record instructions to tell people how to make simple radios until Charlie said in his quiet way, "Uncle Mike, there's two problems with that idea. First, if they are listening, they have radios. Second, if they aren't smart enough to figure out how to make a radio, then they simply aren't smart enough." At some point, Charlie might have to learn a little more diplomacy! The alternative is to take more lessons from me.
We have made flyers to post at any new area by anyone going any direction. In those, we did give basics on building simple radios and low power hand-cranked generators. We also made them in Spanish for the Lavacans to post further south. Their boats went that way frequently.
As it turned out, this was the first formal outreach any of us had made since the many years ago recording by Momma Shirley on CNN! All previous efforts have been as a part of exploration or ham radio or in responding to threats. It would be interesting to find out how much response we receive and from where.
Mike was concerned about attracting an army like what had happened years ago. Poppa told him that the eastern half of the old U.S. was pretty safe. Preservation and Protection had successfully fought off incursions from groups trying to take over our territories. He emphasized that there still might be some small groups of scavengers slowly going back in time as technologies failed without maintenance. However, the day of the large groups trying to take over in the east was over.
At a council meeting, Poppa said that, with our alliances with Protection, Pintlala, and Port Lavaca, it appeared that the east and the gulf were covered. He said that the now unknown areas were west of the Mississippi River. He continued saying that the open spaces out there should include some good people. Jim noted that we haven't heard from the Salt Lakers in years. They were going to move and were never heard from again. Mike said that now we had the journal of Arnold Ralston who was going to try to make L.A. He said that gives another question to answer for that big area.
That meeting was the genesis for the trip west project. Mike and Jen were its promoters and champions. Finally, Poppa Jack said he would give his blessing if Mike's older sister and her spouses would make the trip and lead it.
Mike and Jen had been thinking on this travel project since just before their marriage. They learned to fly and have taken over our old Cessna. They have learned to fly it in any conditions and to provide any repairs needed. They have Tom and Vic's complete approval and are starting to learn about a new twin-engine airplane. It's a step up but not too difficult. It's quicker with a greater range and payload. The fleet now includes five Beechcraft King Airs plus our King, the Connie, and six Cessna's. The effort continues to get a jet going but it never gets much attention because there is so much that can be done with the propeller planes. A jet can cover a lot of ground in a hurry but the Cessna's are still the best for looking around.
We met with the brothers of flight. They had new planes for us that would help improve our capabilities. They had found two almost new Twin Otters. It was a plane made in Canada and quite popular for commuter airlines. Parts availability would be great. It had more capacity than the King Air series and could take off and land in an incredibly small space and on rough surfaces compared to the King Air series. The last thing was the engines were turboprops and used jet fuel. Jet fuel was surviving better than gasoline.
They insisted we learn the new planes before leaving. Bennie and I loved it. It had the maneuverability of the old Cessna and could easily carry our entire family with luggage. It was a little noisier but that was a small price to pay. We quickly learned it. It was different from the King series but it was easy to fly. Even Mel learned to fly it and Charlie and Bobbi were taking lessons! We named our plane, King Two. Mike and Jen had the other. Both planes were painted a soft light blue. After rejecting Bobbi's suggestion of Queenie, they settled on Bluebird.
Tom and Vic were also going to retire the Connie. It was beautiful but maintaining it was becoming a serious and time-consuming effort. They had also found some C-130's configured for passenger use. It could take off and land using shorter runways and was tough as nails. It was a much more modern aircraft, too. In its own way, it was impressive to watch. Also, a turbo prop, it would use jet fuel. The air brothers wanted to convert our distance and people haulers to turbo prop planes and get away from aviation gas.
Jen and Mike are going to take Bluebird and we will, of course, fly King Two though we just call it, King. Our two oldest, Charlie and Bobbi will go with them. They are young but both can shoot and are learning to fly.
I suggested to Mike and Jen that they work with Charlie and Bobbi to map out our course and present it to the rest of us. It didn't take long. The first part was to Port Lavaca to pick up George and Lois. They were George's son and his wife. Though they were a couple of years older than Mike, a real friendship had developed between the two couples and they wanted to go. They would be up here on the next trip by the gas trucks unless someone was flying here to learn more about flying and to take my course in hand to hand fighting and Bennie and Robby's course in general survival. They could fly a Cessna already and used it frequently to check out the areas around Houston.
They picked up flying the Otter series quickly and were staying with Mike and Jen while here. The four of them, with our Charlie and Bobbi, were waiting for a final approval from the brothers of flight. Tom and Vic give the final okay before anyone embarks on any serious flying in any plane.
When Tom and Vic looked the planes over, they wanted a couple of things done that they freely admitted didn't have to be done but that would make things safer on a long trip. Those items were quickly completed by the six and my husbands. Mike and Jen, George and Lois, and Charlie and Bobbi made flights each and received Tom and Vic's approval as fliers.
It was now time to set a flight plan for our trip. Charlie was selected by them as the presenter of the proposed plan.
Charlie said, "We have tried to cover a lot of territory in our plan. We plan an outbound trip that takes a southerly route returning on a more northerly route. George's dad wants us to look at more of Texas. We would do that on the trip west. We propose to go to Jackson, Mississippi, and then to Dallas from there. We can follow I-20 and continue further west picking up I-10 close to El Paso. The Interstate then turns northward to Las Cruces, New Mexico. From there, we would continue to follow I-10 west to Tucson, Arizona. The route then takes us to Phoenix and then turns west for Los Angeles. We are still working out the details of our stops in those areas. There is a lot of vacant area out there. Once in L.A., we want to explore the area. It's very large and we won't get to everything but can try.
"Once we leave L.A., we suggest flying up to San Francisco. That would give us a view of most of the California coast. Sacramento is close and we suggest a quick trip that way. At that point, we are faced with the decision to either head further north into Oregon and Washington or to head east from Sacramento. We would like to see some sights out west including Sequoia, Yellowstone, and Crater Lake.
"We have mapped out a route from Sacramento back that will take us through Salt Lake City, Denver, Kansas City, and Memphis. There would still be wide gaps that we wouldn't see but it will take a while to cover those routes and do any exploring or follow any leads we may find."
Poppa Jack and Jim were both there. Jim said, "Charlie, that was an excellent presentation. I think you are right. The far north can wait a while longer. There never were a lot of people in that area. I think the routes out and back are good. We should get an idea about the Salt Lakers and any other groups as well as check on Arnold's possible progress.'
Poppa said, "I would suggest that you all consider one other precaution on your trip. That is arid land. Take water as part of your supplies. You will be surprised with the lack. We are used to water in our part of the country."
We would have to make a quick trip up to the farm in Protection before leaving but would return within a week. George and Lois would use that time to fly home with Mike and Jen. We would leave next week from Carrollton's airport to Pintlala and meet Mike and Jen and George and Lois.