We just got back from a week on the Oregon Coast. I've been vacationing there since I was a kid. Growing up in Oregon, we never worried about earthquakes, and we certainly weren't concerned about tsunamis. But with the recent uptick in discussion about the Cascadia Subduction Zone and the fact that it will eventually generate a very destructive quake, got me thinking. So, before we left on this last trip, I started working on a travel emergency kit, something I've not done before. I threw together a variety of items from water, food, stove, fuel, lights, batteries, first aid supplies, extra medication, tarps and a few other items in a big tote that I threw into the back of our truck. I also threw in a spare backpack for use when away from the truck. I also decided to order 2 Midland weather radios from Amazon. Not expensive, and would help alert us or even keep us informed after the fact. I reviewed evac routes for the various places we would be visiting while we were there. Any time I left the house, I made sure we had our bag with us if we were any distance from the truck. That meant carrying extra stuff no matter where we were. And I'll tell you, it was a pain. And it wasn't even a fully equipped go bag. It wasn't the weight so much, but having to lug another item around when you're trying to do fun stuff. It gets in the way. I had a 9mm, .22lr and 12 gauge, all with extra ammo packed with me too (though only the 9mm was on me when we just had the bag alone). What really got my attention though was reading more closely about how much warning you would get if a massive Cascadia quake were to hit. Estimates put the 'big one' at anywhere from 8.5 to 9.5 - catastrophic - followed by massive tsunami waves that could easily exceed 40'. Then they talk about what to do when the quake hits if you're on the coast - wait for the shaking to stop, then get out, fast. Their estimate is that you could have as little as 6 minutes to evacuate to higher ground before the waves start to hit. 6 minutes! Holy crap. The big quake in Anchorage shook for almost 5 minutes in 1964, that leaves precious little time to get out. And from where we were staying to the nearest 'safe' evac point was just about a mile away. So if you have to do it on foot (maybe the road is buckled and impassible by car/truck), you're likely hosed. It had me thinking all week. Where to go? How quickly can we get there? Should we even be here? It got us both thinking that maybe it's time to re-think our coastal visits. Now, knowing this quake could be dozens or even hundreds of years away, I don't want to panic and miss out on one of my favorite parts of the state. But it did make us wonder if vacationing in a place like Rockaway is the best idea. It's very low lying, and surrounded for miles to the north and south by low-lying areas that would be completely inundated if a massive tsunami hit. They have very few resources in the area for emergencies, no hospital (the one in Tillamook would likely be wiped out, and that's 15 miles away), very few emergency personnel, most of whom are volunteer, few stores of supplies available - assuming they even survive the tsunami. And the chances of getting out of the area and back to the valley - unlikely for a long time - perhaps a month or months. It became clear that, if we really want to be well prepared should the quake hit during a visit, it probably isn't the place to be. So, next year, if we return, we're thinking about choosing a place that can first off, offer some areas that are elevated above the flood zone. So, Lincoln City comes to mind. It has a lot of areas that are well above sea level, with rocky cliffs to help with a solid base for that space. Plus, the city is much larger, has more resources available, and would, in my best guess, be more likely to receive outside help first after a big event since more people are there. All this has my head spinning a bit. The last thing I want to do is worry/obsess about this, but I do want to have a good plan and be reasonably prepared should the worst happen. I really got a wake up call this past week. Planning for an event like this, especially when you're far away from your home base camp, is far more complicated and inconvenient than I had ever imagined. I guess the good news is that now that I've sufficiently startled myself, I can put more time and effort into better planning for those events. How about you folks? Those of you that live or vacation on the coast? What are your thoughts? Oh, one last thing. A friend/former co-worker retired to the Rockaway area 2 years ago. We had dinner with them and I asked how they plan/prepare for the potential Cascadia quake/tsunami. I got blank stares followed by "well, we'd just head to higher ground until it was clear". I left them with a few things to consider before we left, hopefully they'll think it through a bit more. Because if the big one does hit, everything they own will be gone in minutes. There wouldn't be anywhere to return to.