The weather seems to have taken a turn for the mild. It’s gone up about 20 degrees on average over the last week, which is pretty awesome. Those 35 degree nights are going to be bad enough in January, let alone all frigging October and November. Of course there’s nothing I can do about it, one way or the other. Can’t change the weather. I can however change how I stay warm. This weekend I actually did some work on what exactly I needed to do to stay warm.
I think I mentioned earlier on that I had electricity. Which I do. There was a good sized generator in the basement of Hall E (where I am) that I got running. That makes it sound like I’m a mechanical miracle worker though, which I’m not. It just needed a refill of gasoline, and some basic cleaning. With the fuel I have in the tanks of all the vehicles parked around campus I figure I have enough gasoline for electricity for maybe 6 hours a day. What I really need to think about is the fact that the heat here is supplied via oil furnace. The furnace has electric ignition though, which means it will only fire when there’s electricity supplied to it.
So there’s a few problems I need to deal with. I checked the various oil tanks on campus, and there’s a metric fuck-ton of oil for me to burn. Each building has oil heat, and almost every building has a pretty full 500 or 1,000 gallon tank. I should have oil for years. However, I do not have enough gasoline to run the generator for years. There’s about 20 vehicles on campus, and most of those have less than half a tank of gas. I figure that’s about 200 gallons of gas, at most. I will need heat overnight at the very least during winter, which is at least 6 hours, which means all my gasoline will be used up generating electricity, strictly to keep my furnace running. Not really a great situation. I definitely need to address two problems:
I need way more gasoline. I need gas for the cars, should I need to leave here, and I need gas to power the electric generator.
I need a more renewable heating system. Something like a wood stove. There’s trees all over the place here, and I will never run out of firewood. Shit, there’s enough downed trees to keep me in firewood for this year just on campus.
So. Now what? What’s my first step to solving the heat and gasoline riddle? I have no additional reserves here on campus to tap into that I am aware of, so that means going into town. Well, at least that means going to a convenience store or something where I can get more gas. Worst case scenario there’s a small gas station about 4 miles from here down the road I can hit. I know there are manual cranks to get the pumps working, and If I can scrounge up some gas cans, I think I can get myself set up pretty good. I know very frigging little about installing wood stoves though. I don’t even know where to find one.
So I guess I should start thinking about how to hit the gas station. If I’m even a little lucky the electricity will still be on down there, though if my power is out here, it’s probably out down there. I was surprised how long the power stayed running though, almost 6 weeks before it shit the bed.
There’s about 12 houses in the little neighborhood where the store is. There’s also a country store with gas pumps about a mile from there too, which is an option. I’m betting there might be food at both places still. It stands to reason that if people downtown went out after the shit got bad to get food, they probably went to the grocery stores and the shops downtown. These fringes of town places might not have been picked over yet. I guess yet is the operative word here. I guess the sense of urgency in getting to any leftover supplies should motivate me to get my ass in gear.
Alright, here’s my plan: Find as many gas cans as possible first off. Maintenance has two F-150 dump body trucks. Those are pretty sturdy vehicles, and the dump body is big, and could be used to climb into if I get surrounded. It’s pretty high off the ground and the solid steel is obviously tough as hell. Plus I checked, and truck #1 still has a full tank, so that’s a plus. Take truck #1, load up the guns, sword, and ammo, and head to the closest convenience store.
At the store, my main plan is to get gas into all gas cans. That’s my primary need. I have enough food to last me for winter and then some, so that’s a secondary thing. However, if the coast is mostly clear, and I’m feeling good, I’ll check the store(s) for anything food or supply related that I could use. It’ll be a thrill for sure to head back out into the scary world again. What are the downsides of doing this though? I haven’t really considered that yet.
Getting killed is obviously one. I really don’t want to be eaten alive, and I sure as shit don’t want to get killed by another survivor. I could definitely lead zombies or survivors back here too. The school is at the end of a dead end road, so if anyone sees me make the turn up here, all they gotta do is go straight to find me. I know the zombies are stupid, but one thing they can do is go straight for a long time. If one sees me turn, I could lead them back here. That’d lead to me defending the campus with guns I’m sure, which might make enough noise to get more up here, spiraling everything into an enormous shit storm. Let’s face it, no one likes a fecal tornado.
Good, positive thoughts are important at a time like this. Sigh.
I’m sure there’s more that could go wrong. But, the simple fact is this: at the rate I’m burning through gasoline I will not make it through winter. I will freeze. Scary thought really. I also really need to think about alternative heating sources like the wood stove or something. Maybe I can look into solar panels or something? You know a woodstove would be great for cooking too, it’d save on the gas consumption big time. The electric stove is killing me I’m sure. That and running the fridge. Well not so much anymore really, as I don’t have anything perishable in there anymore to speak of. Leftovers really. And in the Winter I can easily just set my leftovers outside somewhere the bears can’t get at. Oh yeah, we have bears up here. Forgot to mention that.
I’m gonna go check around campus tomorrow to see if there are spare gas cans. I’ll also double check around truck #1 to make sure that it’s in good shape for a run outside. I probably ought to be starting these cars more often and letting them run for a bit. Families of squirrels and field mice are probably inside all of them by now too.
I’ll keep you updated on how things go.