1. SuttonMichael254
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    SuttonMichael254 Active Member

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    Travel by foot or by truck

    Discussion in 'Research' started by SuttonMichael254, Jun 28, 2012.

    the project im writing right now is a post apocalyptic story of a brother and his vision seeing sister who must seek their father after their mother is killed. Right now i have them traveling by truck which allows them to carry more supplies and cover more distance, but would traveling by foot make it more realistic? I mean in a situation like that fuel will be hard to come by and i really can’t have them travel 3 states on one tank of gas?
    I do have situations where they will be helped and they can refuel, but then again i don’t want to make it unrealistic.

    Open to thoughts por favor
     
  2. James Berkley
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    James Berkley Banned

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    well they chould siphone gas out of abandoned vehicles. carrying spare gas is also an option.
    dependent on their knowlage level they might be able to hook a generator up to a gass pump and top her off
     
  3. Madman
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    Madman Active Member

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    This is a hard choice, in the end both can be made equally appealing/realistic.
    If one of them are technically cunning, they could always have with them a device to take gas from stations and other sources and refine it, if necessary, before using it.
    You could also have them only start out with a truck, but then somewhere along the journey they loose it? Might add tension and realism to the story.

    When traveling by truck in a post-apocalyptic landscape, I would guess that roads and such will be very hard to cross on. Roads might be broken, and there might be lots of debris in the way and not to mention people walking along the roads. This will make it very dangerous. But it will also be a very good choice as they wont be have to eat and drink as much as they would have to if they walked.

    When walking on foot, instead of fuel, the main concern will be water, shelter and food. This will make their journey a constant struggle for survival, as it will be hard to carry around too much. Walking on foot will also increase the time-table by a crapload.
    But maybe they could find horses along the way?
    In a post-apocalyptic landscape, my personal favorite mode of transportation would be a horse.

    As a side-note, if you plan on having them walk. I would suggest you also go for a very long walk during a week or more. This will give you a lot of personal experience that you can add to the story, wich will make it very interesting.

    One time when I was out walking a 30 kilometer distance from my hometown to a nice place out in the woods, a small stone had gotten stuck under my heel in my boot. I never even noticed it until I took of the boot.
    It had lodged itself into my heel and I had to pull it out using my multi-tool. First day I didn't feel much, but the second day, whenever I was taking a step, my whole fot stung.
    On the third day as I was walking home, it feelt pretty nasty. I was limping quiet a bit when I got into town. But it wasn't too bad, a couple of days rest and light use of the fot and it was fully healed. No hospital needed at all.
    But in a post-apocalyptic world, a tiny thing like this could be fatal.
    If you can't get from point a to point b, you might die.
    If you keep straining a wound/injury, you might die.
     
  4. SuttonMichael254
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    SuttonMichael254 Active Member

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    Well on the truck is an L tank (An extra gas tank that people use to fill up equipment out in the field) They usually hold about 100 gallons, so if this was full it would take them quite a ways.

    And Madman, its funny you say that cuz i do have them loose the truck later on.
    I have walked quite a bit in my time as well. I walked 28 miles one time when i was homeless. It wasent fun, one of the things i got from that experience is to stay hydrated believe me. So hopefully my whole experience will be useful to the story as well.

    I get what both of you are saying, and thank you for your reply. I was worried that if i decided to make them go on foot that i was going to have to change a WHOLE lot in my outline, and basicly re write the story. I just wanted to make sure i wasent falling into any clechie or making it unrealistic having them use a vechicle.

    Thanks to both of you
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Okay, I'm gonna toss in a usage point. It's a common mistake, but it makes my teeth grind every time I see it.

    Lose, lost, losing - to stop possessing something.
    Loose - not tight.

    We now return you to your regularly scheduled topic.
     
  6. ithestargazer
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    ithestargazer Active Member

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    Well if it's a post-apocalyptic story based in the future (whether near future or far future), who's to say that vehicles still run on petrol? Maybe they run on something else? It's very likely that at some point this may happen but I understand you might not want to do that.

    Just a thought.
     
  7. Complex
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    Complex Senior Member

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    Because in 40 years from now you can be sure the United States hasn't switched over the system of highways and gas stations that currently line them? The infrastructure required to do a total switch over from gas is just not going to happen in any realistic time frame before 2050. If quick charge electric cars become popular, you will probably see a gas/charging station to meet the demand. Works for diesel and kerosene pumps. Natural gas ones float around as well, many of the buses use it. So yeah, fuel types may change, but someone will always offer the fuel provided that there is a demand for it.

    If the truck requires petrol in any form, then you can be sure a gas station will supply it. If it requires hydrogen cells, I'm sure a station would have those too. Electric? Now maybe you are doomed. Though until range issues, charge issues and accessibility does an about-face, I wouldn't worry about the type of fuel.

    As for the issue of the vehicle being realistic, it is no concern. Transportation is a staple of rural living when the nearest store is 5 miles away. Its drive or walk for a really really long time.
     
  8. ithestargazer
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    ithestargazer Active Member

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    Wow, okay I was just making a suggestion. I also know nothing about the time you're stipulating, it could have been far future or near. If it's 40 years and you want to use petrol then that's reasonable, obviously. But technology does drastically change and that's the point I'm making. I was simply saying that there's always ways to think outside the box and in a story you can realistically invent any variation of a future if it's written well. I mean, it might not be realistic that there'll be a robotic uprising in the 2030's but it can be realistically written in fiction.

    I'm just giving some thoughts. Of course, petrol is most likely going to be the dominant fuel for the next century but part of writing is the fun of dreaming things up.
     
  9. Thumpalumpacus
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    Thumpalumpacus Contributing Member

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    Having managed fuel stations, I can tell you that the ground tanks are easy to siphon. Siphoning from vehicles would work, too. The challenge to find fuel could provide a challenge to the characters similar to a deadline, which would add natural tension as they understandably try to avoid walking; but at the same time, it gives you an escape hatch if the story doesn't progress to your liking: make them run out of fuel and see how they respond.

    It also allows you to manipulate the pacing of the story very directly.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    countless post-apocalyptic novels have been written with characters traveling by car and truck... same goes for other modes of travel, such as by foot, or on horseback... if you haven't done the requisite research and checked out what's already been written based on the same premise, you certainly should...
     
  11. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Agree with all the above about being able to siphon petrol off other abandoned cars--although maybe it would be easier just to change to the other car, if they can start it. Also, the majority of cars where I live run on LPG, with some on diesel, not petrol, so it's not such an into-the-future concept to think that maybe an alternative fuel has taken over, surely? I think a car/lorry would be better than a horse and cart because it would provide somewhere to shelter at night as well as transport.
     
  12. SuttonMichael254
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    SuttonMichael254 Active Member

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    I have done the research and past stories have used both, im actually reading Alas Babaylon to see where the author brought it.
    Im pretty sure that i will make the gas type deisel,
    The story is based on the idea that it happened like tomorow so futuristic cars will be out of the question.

    The main battle i have going on in my head about this stoy is that is HAS been done before. Im worried the idea is too cliche. I have great conflict and some great twists, but i am worried that it will just be another project i throw to the side because its not good enough.

    Thank you all for your imput and thoughts. I trully love this site.
     
  13. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    They could also use a two-wheel cart (ala "Fiddler on the Roof"). If you look at European refugee photos from the world wars, they used them a lot (and no need to worry about taking care of the horse, either). Just a thought :)
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    everything's been done before... if everybody worried about that, no new stories would be written... but no two writers can tell exactly the same story in exactly the same way, so we all keep on writing...

    you'll never know, if you never write it, will you?
     
  15. SuttonMichael254
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    SuttonMichael254 Active Member

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    ......yeah your right... thats what my wife said as well.
    Im about 6 chapters into it, im about to post a part of it right now..

    Thanks all of you for all your imput
     
  16. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I wrote an post apocalyptic screenplay in which I had the characters choose an el-camino - which helped set up an action scene as one character was riding in the back and nearly knocked out during a raid.
    Unless the use of vehicle or walking is going to dramatically alter your characters behavior or scenes than either one would probably do.

    What I mean is - excessive walking would bring about blisters , and your characters would constantly be tired or worn out.
    If the end came suddenly and traffic was halted - are the roads clear enough for a truck to get through? are they being chased by anyone? or
    have to watch out for gangs? Maybe motorcycles or a jeep with easy, jump in jump out, access would suit your scenes better.
     
  17. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    To me I think the key question is how far post apocolyptic it is. If its any more then a few years, petrol would be gone. What there was would have been used up, and to get proper high octane fuel you need refineries, ships to take the crude to them, and then a transport system to get it to petrol stations. Within five to ten years most roads would also be fairly broken up, with the exception of major highways. Plant roots tend to destroy even concrete quite quickly.

    However, and I've used this myself in a book, trucks with high ground clearance and diesel engines could still run. They'd need a little mineral oil of course, but the fuel can be grown. Think farmers growing sunflower oil or such to run their tractors.

    After more then ten years the real problem would not be fuel. It would be finding a vehicle that actually ran. Batteries die. Metal rusts - a serious problem for radiators. Rubber hoses perish. Even tyres perish. And if they puncture, how do you inflate them?

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  18. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Also, since I double posted and have to edit the post anyway, where do you get spare parts?

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  19. ithestargazer
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    ithestargazer Active Member

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    psychotick made a few great points which could really make for some interesting plot ideas.
     

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